The short version is we have a new article submission wizard (and updated systems) that provides
- An all new, single page article editor.
- An auto-save facility in case of crashes
- The ability for members to edit "edited" articles safely. No more needing to send in updates manually.
- Simplified references to uploaded files.
- A new "Alternative article" option that allows you to create alternate versions of existing articles
- An update for Tips n' Tricks so that they now use the standard article UI
- You can now upload images and downloads for blog and tip articles.
- The ability to easily switch article types (Make an article a tip, promote a technical blog to full article, etc)
The longer version:
About 6 months ago we finally had the time to revamp the aging submission wizard. I wanted a single page editor that allowed in-page (ie Ajax) file and that looked very much like what the final article would look like. The idea is that it would feel like you were editing the article in-place. Click on the title to edit it, upload a file and add the file to the content with a single click etc. And, of course, auto-save with a simple recovery model for those bad times.
I also wanted to address the need to allow our authors more access to their articles. Currently what we do is we pick the top articles and edit them. This editing corrects formatting, spelling, cleans the downloads and generally ensures that the article conforms to our standards. However, once an article is edited by an editor it is inviolate: it can no longer be updated online by the original author.
The reason for this is that, after spending so much time fixing articles, we were getting a little frustrated when members would go an re-edit the article's we edited and re-introduce all the errors we had fixed. This is understandable because they would often simply take the copy of article they had originally written, make corrections to it, then copy and paste it over whatever we had done. So we put an ednd to that for our own sanity and made a pact with ourselves (and with you) that we would be as fast as possible in posting updates you sent in.
However, this punishes those who are good authors for the sake of protecting the few that are bad, so we've come up with a compromise, and also a solution to a subtle problem.
Previously when you posted an article using the wizard, the article would be placed in a Pending queue and would be reviewed by other members who would then approve, disapprove, and/or comment on the article. After approval the article became public and everyone was happy. Except that the author could now edit their new article, upload a bunch of inappropriate material, and have it available immediately. The solution was to modify our system so that all edits of articles create a new pending version of the article. After editing, the old version will still be seen by most members, but moderators will be able to see (and approve) the new version. Once approved the new version replaces the old version and goes live.
In doing this we had to tackle a few issues with files. We choose not to store files as database BLOBs, but as system files, so where do we store your upload files while you're editing? When you start the submission wizard you haven't chosen a section, yet you can upload files. When editing an existing article you may need to upload new versions of files (updated zips or images) but we need to ensure the old version of those files and images are still available for the current article.
We ended up introducing a "Working" directory for your new uploads in order to separate out the old and the new, but this then made life difficult for those looking to reference files in their article's HTML. Previously we had the concept of a "Basename" for an article, which was effectively the name of the article's directory, and which author's used to reference an uploaded file (eg src="basename/myfile.zip"). We've abandoned that since it causes problems with name uniqueness, and in fact abandoned the whole concept of asking members to worry about directories. Now you simply reference an uploaded file by its filename, and we make sure we track things like which file (old or new) you're talking about, as well as ensuring we adjust the references in your articles during the various stages (composing to pending to available).
We've also introduced the concept of Alterative Articles. There are many, many articles that are no longer being maintained and this is a first step to allow other members to take over abandoned articles, or to simply provide different implementations such as a different language.
To provide a symmetric article experience we've now upgraded the Tips n Tricks articles to be displayed in the same manner as traditional articles (as well as their alternatives), and now make it very simple to convert a tip to a standard article, or to any other article type. No more complaint about short articles or long tips. We can quickly recategorise as needed.
This also brings a nice benefit: you can now upload images and zips to your blog and tips articles.
With regards to moving tips to the new UI - you might notice something a little weird with your rep. We moved all the comments that were associated with tips into their own separate forum for each tip instead of having the confusing comments-per-tip-plus-bonus-forum-at-the-bottom.
This release should be conidered a Beta release, so please send in all feedback and bug reports to the Bugs and Suggestions forum.
As far as we know the kinks are gone, but we have seen a couple of issues from bugs in our old system that only manifested once we moved to the new system. It's amazing how these bugs hibernate - like cicadas.
What is the URL of the article? I'll take a look and sort out whatever the issue is.
I fixed up the links and it's all good now, though I think I may have inadvertently published a version of your article you were still working on. If you wish to rollback, go to the Revisions tab on your article, choose the version you wish to revert back to, and hit revert.
I noticed while editing your article that there were line breaks in the text which I corrected. These line breaks were actual HTML line breaks (<br/>), so for instance you had the line
For this reason <br/>
it is always better to just do pre increments
which is rendered as:
For this reason
it is always better to just do pre increments
When you say "the preview" do you mean within the WYSIWYG editor, or when you hit the "Preview" button? If the former, then it could be that this line break matched the width of the editor screen so wasn't evident. If the latter then we have a bug!
With "preview" I mean the preview-button. At that time I thought it was very evident. Preview after preview-button was different from the view when the article was pending. ... but hey I did it at 2-ish at night so my mind was mush.
I.e. I think it's a bug, but I wouldn't stake my life on it.
I've tested both on live and on development and can't replicate the issue. It may have been an earlier bug we've since fixed. A few days ago I did reset the document format on a few articles that had been incorrectly set, and we also updated our rendering code.
In any case, if you see it again just let us know.
BTW - you have a ton of outstanding Draft versions of that article you recently published. Would you like me to clean up the debris for you?
* Provide the tool bar the the bottom of Editor. Mostly, when writing new article, the author would generally be writing at the end of editor. So, when author needs to apply some formatting he/she would need to make toolbar visible and then hit appropriate button. But then, the original text would not be visible. I have 22" monitor, and I write on about 150% of zoom in IE9. But toolbar isn't visible.
* Add more shortcuts, Ctrl+D is good, but what about "Formatted" for code? How to switch between HTML and WYSIWYG?
* Most authors don't know additional formatting, like "div=callout", and instead use "Formatted" instead. The parser would read it as text rather than special comment.
* On code pasting, convert tabs to 3-4 tabs, instead of author doing that manually. Also additional lines would come up when pasting.
The HTML of the original (to be edited) article may retain the old style file references (eg src = "MyArticle\MyArticle_Image.png"). In this case, it is necessary, but not obvious that the reference MUST be revised to src = MyArticle_Image.png. You provide a good clue by saying that uploaded files are relative to the article (or something like that). It would be better if that statement was augmented by something like "Check that the HTML references do not contain Directory names" -- hmmm I'm sure you can improve on that!
I do not know that the invalid refs are cleaned up on submission - I never had the guts to try. I do know that the invalid refs are NOT cleaned up on Preview.
I was updating 2 articles and only one showed that problem.
Thanks for the feedback, Jim. We tried to be clear on the submission wizard itself where an example of referencing files is shown within the list of uploaded files, as well as providing "insert" buttons that will do all the work for you.
The trick here is that, underneath it all, we still actually use "MyArticle\file.ext" (though this is now "1234\file.ext" since we've ditched basenames due to uniqueness headaches and just moved to using the article ID). Within the submission wizard editor we strip the "MyArticle\" from the raw HTML, then when you switch to design mode, add it back so the WYSIWYG mode shows the images.
So: it's the same as it always was, but when editing the raw HTML we do some magic so it seems like references are now relative to the directory containing the article.
Further, if you upload a file and reference the file using Directory\file.ext, then it should all still work. If it doesn't, please let me know which article and I'll dig in.
Thanks for the quick reply! I think I will have to look harder for the "Insert" buttons!
The one thing that threw me off is that for some reason when I switched to Html view, the MyArticle\ was not switched off. I was explicitly looking for something like that since my image was not showing in Preview. In the Design view, the older Image was the one displayed. I had deleted that Image file and add/upload a new Image with the same name. The way I fixed both of these problems was to manually strip off the "MyArticle\" from the src = and also from the download files, in Html view of course.
I was making a mod to an old article that I had updated the day before (a mod to a mod). What really irritated me was that I had had the same problem with the first update and didn't note or remember how I had fixed it then - after all, it was only 12 hours between updates - I should have remembered.
Just to make it more confusing, I was doing two articles over the same time period and the first article, of about the same vintage or even older, did not have any of these problems.
Bottom line: The suggestion I made was to address a problem that should not occur.
Should you wish to chase this one, the article's ID is 11654.
I had a quick play and it seems the article is all good now. Having the old MyArticle\ appear is annoying. This most likely happened because of some bad data our end.
Some more background: initially all articles simply referred to downloads in their MyArticle directory without any recording in our database of what was actually in that directory. We fixed this by scanning the directories and recording, and associated, downloads for files.
In some cases we had servers that were out of sync and so this association was inaccurate. When this happens the submission wizard doesn't know how to trim links because it doesn't trust anything other than what the database says.
That error will be triggered anytime a major portion of the template exists in the content.
With the new submission wizard you don't need to publish it to save it. You can hit the Save Draft button and your current work will be saved as a draft. To view drafts, just go to the submission page[^] and you'll see, on the right hand side, your drafts.
Unfortunately I gave you some misinformation: you can change the article type, but only when posting a regular article. You've posted an alternative to an existing article, meaning that your alternative must be the same type as the original article. An alternative to an article is an article, an alternative to a tip is a tip, etc.
Sorry for the confusion.
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Microsoft C++ MVP
Last Visit: 31-Dec-99 18:00 Last Update: 29-Jun-17 3:24