Re: My 2 grams

Scott Fritchie (
Tue, 14 Dec 1993 13:00:21 -0600

> From: (Professeur) (Kevin Sarkies)
> [...]
> Apart from HTML assisted editors and verification tools, is there perhaps
> a need for a tool to allow graphical representation of the structure of
> a HTML document, and to maintain its structure with verification etc.

As an avid reader of the Usenet newsgroup comp.infosystems.www, I can
provide some tantalizing clues on this front. I'd also like to pitch
the project that I hope to work on in January '94.

I've seen and briefly used a Hypercard stack (for the Mac, alas) HTML
editor. It isn't WYSIWYG, but it makes it possible to create an HTML
document without typing a single HTML tag.

Several people are using macros for Microsoft Word and a word-
processor-I've-never-heard-of-before to assist HTML markup. Word
users have been using a program called rtf2html (spelling?) after
saving their documents in Rich Text Format. I haven't tried this, but
others swear by it.

I also haven't used the HTML WYSIWYG editors for the NeXT or using
Tk/Tcl + X.

(Please contact me directly if you're interested in obtaining those
things mentioned above.)

Those solutions, though, only work on single platforms. At St. Olaf
we've got Macs, PCs, and several flavors of UNIX workstations.
However, the Macs and PCs are using NCSA Telnet for most interaction
with those workstations.

I'd love to see a tool that everyone on campus would be able to use.
That would mean something character-based unfortunately, but that's
life for now. I imagine something done with Emacs, with a split
screen a la WordPerfect in "reveal codes" mode where the top half
would be WYSIWYG and the bottom half would show all the gorey HTML
tags. If the user pressed the delete key to delete part of a tag
(e.g. the ">" character), the user would be asked a la WordPerfect if
that tag should be deleted.

I don't know how useful such an editor would be. (I write HTML from
scratch. :-) I'd guess it would be worth the effort. <Sigh> Perhaps
it's time to use a project like this to get *really* comfortable with
Emacs Lisp....

My pet project: To create a process where students submit their papers
to a professor electronically (e.g. email, diskette, fileserver "drop
box"). The professor grades/marks up the paper via HTML and returns
it to the student.

I mentioned something like this to the comp.infosystems.www newsgroup.
Two professors contacted me saying "We're interested." I also heard
from a student from Gustavus Adolphus College who was writing his
final paper in HTML for submission to his Religion professor. The
disk would also include MacMosaic and other assorted tools. Comments
would be done via the "personal annotation" feature.

I'd like to see something more flexible, adding HTML tags to the text
directly. I hope to start work on this in the first part of Interim
'94. If you've seen this done before, have started work on this sort
of thing, or are interested in using/testing this beast, I'd love to
hear from you.


Scott Fritchie, UNIX Systems Manager
Academic Computing Center, St. Olaf College
1510 St. Olaf Ave., Northfield, MN  55057 ... 507/646.3407