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Author Topic: Feature limits for clipboard extenders  (Read 3953 times)

superticker

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Feature limits for clipboard extenders
« on: September 25, 2006, 03:01:53 PM »
Why not combine this program "Clipboard Help+Spell" and "The Form Letter Machine" into one new program for clipboard control and writing text blocks?...
I thought about this suggestion for a long time because I use both programs a lot.  But honestly, combining both applications would make program operation too confusing for beginners.  Clipboard Help+Spell employs a single integrated database for everything in its clipping tree structure.

In contrast, The Form Letter Machine has separate files for each unrelated passage/answer tree, which is reasonable.  It also has separate symbolic variable substitution files for each collection of symbolic variables used for text substitution.  For example, one passage/answer tree structure may supply information about seasonal semester classes and use symbolic variables to denote class times.  If the response requires information about fall classes, the fall-class variable substitution file is selected; if it's spring classes, the spring-class variable substitution file is selected instead.  Adding collections of symbolic variables to a clipboard extender seems unexpected and awkward.

Adding radio buttons to clips also seems awkward.  You would have to take time to appropriately group your clipboard clips before you could add radio buttons to them, and most clipboard users wouldn't do this.

I think clipboard extenders should stick to managing data that's more transient and emphasize easy/quick text manipulation.  In contrast, a canned response manager like The Form Letter Machine should manage static data trees.  As a result, the configuration of such trees can be carefully crafted for radio buttons and check boxes for conditional assembly.  If transient data exists in these carefully crafted tree structures, it needs to be coded with symbolic variables, which falls outside the mission of a clipboard extender.

The other commercial program, AceText http://www.acetext.com/
I took a detailed look at that very nice program, and it does support collections of acronym/mnemonic substitution for different trees.  I'm not sure if you can use different collections for the same folder tree though.  For example, for seasonal class times, could you have one substitution variable collection for fall and another for spring semester.  But adding simple acronym substitution into a clipboard extender might be useful.

I reviewed both AceText and Clipboard Help+Spell in my StumbleUpon blog.  Go into my blog and select the "Windows" or "clipboard" tag to find it at http://superticker2.stumbleupon.com/
« Last Edit: September 25, 2006, 03:08:47 PM by superticker »

allen

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Re: Feature limits for clipboard extenders
« Reply #1 on: September 25, 2006, 04:39:53 PM »
Just a quick note while you're reviewing clipboard extenders, AceText doesn't offer any degree of richtext that I'm aware of, and I use it. A lot. :)  There are some more indepth comparisons floating around here somewhere, there are quite a few clipboard extender apps around all of which are "the best" depending on the needs of the user in question.

mouser

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Re: Feature limits for clipboard extenders
« Reply #2 on: September 25, 2006, 05:16:55 PM »
very nice write up Mark, as are most of your writeups - i hope you'll keep us informed whenever you add something.. it's daunting to see how much overlap there is between all of these programs, and the note taking programs, don't you think?

superticker

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Re: Feature limits for clipboard extenders
« Reply #3 on: September 25, 2006, 06:20:15 PM »
Just a quick note while you're reviewing clipboard extenders, AceText doesn't offer any degree of RichText....
Thanks for noticing that.  I corrected it.  There's a screen shot showing a WordPad window such that it looks like part of AceText, but it's not really.  See the last screen shot at http://www.acetext.com/screen.html  The intention of that screen shot is to show (1) that AceText can be split into two windows, main and AceTower, and (2) how it would work with a second application like WordPad.
There are some more in-depth comparisons floating around here somewhere,...
Please post any links to comparative reviews of clipboard extenders.  I would be very interested in them.

There are quite a few clipboard extender apps ... "the best" depending on the needs of the user in question.
I have a follow-up to that observation.  I use Firefox because it empowers developers to write extensions (code snippets) for it.  My list of Firefox extensions is probably different than yours because your needs are different than mine.  Moreover, trying to organize enough independent programmers to enhance Firefox to its 2000 extension level would be mind boggling.

The truth is adding DLL or ActiveX objects as plug-ins for application enhancement has an important place in community software development.  There are too many clipboard extender apps because no one has developed an extensible plug-in standard at SourceForge.net for this class of application.  What's worse, nobody even talks about doing it.  :(
« Last Edit: September 25, 2006, 06:52:08 PM by superticker »

superticker

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Re: Feature limits for clipboard extenders
« Reply #4 on: September 25, 2006, 06:50:46 PM »
It's daunting to see how much overlap there is between all of these programs, and the note taking programs, don't you think?
Just another example of the need to use a plug-in standard (DLL or ActiveX objects) whenever possible so individual programmers are empowered to enhance a part of the application for their special needs.

Once Firefox with its extensions and IExplorer with its ActiveX components establish themselves, the browsers which don't support plug-in extensions will probably go away.

mouser

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Re: Feature limits for clipboard extenders
« Reply #5 on: September 25, 2006, 07:02:50 PM »
firefox really does open your eyes to the possibility of plugins.