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Author Topic: Feature suggestion: search and replace  (Read 4612 times)
rjbull
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« on: November 04, 2006, 02:41:53 PM »

Thought I'd posted this, but must have only hit Preview instead of Post.

Mouser,

Not sure how useful it would be, but how about search and replace?  I'm not thinking of regular expressions here, just simple syntax like the basic mode of "Ministry of Truth" (which can do a whole lot more):

atm=at the moment
fwiw=for what it's worth
etc.


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mouser
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« Reply #1 on: November 04, 2006, 02:52:09 PM »

there is powerful search and replace within a single clip, but do you meant for a whole set of clips?
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rjbull
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« Reply #2 on: November 04, 2006, 03:17:04 PM »

there is powerful search and replace within a single clip, but do you meant for a whole set of clips?

Sorry, I'd overlooked that, but I meant the ability to apply several search-and-replace pairs in one pass on one clip, so you could change many strings in one go.  If there needs to be a limit on the number of pairs, maybe 30 should be enough.

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mouser
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« Reply #3 on: November 04, 2006, 03:30:09 PM »

thats a good point.
actually you know chs has a way to apply an external program/script on a clip through a menu.
a great way to do what you want might be to write a perl script to do this, and then add it to your chs text formatting menu.
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superticker
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« Reply #4 on: November 04, 2006, 08:54:19 PM »

there is powerful search and replace within a single clip, but do you meant for a whole set of clips?
... I meant the ability to apply several search-and-replace pairs in one pass on one clip, so you could change many strings in one go.
The existing Find and Replace function can change all instances of a lexical string.  But you would have to define a preset for each string replacement.

Are you saying you would prefer to have a glossary of established string replacements (equivalents)?  If so, AceText does this now.  Checkout its description at http://www.acetext.com/im.html

AceText goes one step further allowing multiple glossaries.  For example, DVM could be defined as:

dvm=Digital Volt-ohm Meter
dvm=Doctor of Vet Medicine

and depending on the most recent context, the appropriate glossary would be used.  This feature was really designed for use in Instant Messaging where abbreviations are common.

I'm wondering where one should draw the line between what AceText does and what a clipboard enhancer (like CHS) does?  In a perfect world, the clipboard enhancer would support plug-ins, and one could install an AceText plug-in (or even a glossary plug-in) if they really needed this feature.

I think the reason there are soooo many different clipboard enhancers is because the end-user's expectation of them is not clear.  The ideal solution would be to have just a few clipboard enhancers with many simple, compatible plug-ins for them.  Then the open-source community could concentrate on writing simple plug-ins rather than reinventing the clipboard enhancer.  Firefox extensions are an example of this.

The problem with plug-ins is that someone has to invent a COM or DLL API model for them and published it so open-source third-parties can download the SDK and develop them.  Who takes this leadership role is unclear.
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mouser
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« Reply #5 on: November 04, 2006, 09:04:40 PM »

just as an aside - i'll tell you what i think is wrong with plugins:

there is a fairly high overhead and significant amount of work to write a plugin api, and then document it fully.  the documentation is important if you want people to code for it, and it's a lot of work.

now that alone would not be bad, but you have to combine that work with the fact that most programs can't support a significant community of plugin writers, or *ANY* plugin writers.  what this means is that it's a lot of work for something that may never get used.

there are of course exceptions to this, like firefox which has broken through and is plugin crazy now.

my point is that it's a lot of work and it's essentially a gamble for most projects.  if you knew people would write plugins in a serious way it would probably be a much more common thing.
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superticker
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« Reply #6 on: November 04, 2006, 10:19:53 PM »

... what i think is wrong with plugins:  There is a fairly high overhead and significant amount of work to write a plug-in API, and then document it fully....

[In addition]... most programs can't support a significant community of plug-in writers, or *ANY* plug-in writers.
I agree 100%.  However, in high-usage applications such as e-mail clients, browsers, clipboard enhancers, CAD tools; there is indeed interest in supporting extensions.  AutoCAD is a good example.  There's a big vertical market for AutoCAD add-ons.  For example, there's one that lets you design a generic dress pattern, then the tool automatically generates different dress patterns to fit different sized women.  There's another tool for optimizing factory layouts such that the assembly steps/distance traveled for producing each product is minimized.  There are several traffic layout tools available in AutoCad.

AutoCAD simply provides a "generic" mechanical design environment, and it's totally customizable to specific mechanical design needs--and there are many.

Just looking at all the possible features and the number of clipboard enhancers out there tells us this is a high-use application and there are many possible features that can be included.  There's certainly interest in adding a variety of features to this type of application, and there's a big enough audience to support the effort.

In addition, I would agree Opera is a better web browser out of the box than Firefox, but I use Firefox because with about ten extensions (plug-ins), I can customize Firefox to be a somewhat better browser than Opera to suite my particular needs.

The hard part about designing any plug-in API is making it extensible so it enjoys a 20-year life expectancy.  This requires some developer experience with that application and some vision.  This is why the first web browser (remember Mosaic) didn't support plug-ins.  Designing and documenting an API for the open-source world is not a trivial task.
« Last Edit: November 04, 2006, 10:23:38 PM by superticker » Logged
rjbull
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« Reply #7 on: November 06, 2006, 06:09:46 AM »

Are you saying you would prefer to have a glossary of established string replacements (equivalents)?

Yes, but Mouser has kindly drawn my attention to the possibility of using external programs to do this.  Thanks, Mouser!  smiley

Quote
I'm wondering where one should draw the line between what AceText does and what a clipboard enhancer (like CHS) does?

I'm wondering too.  I was really thinking of Clippy, which is primarily an e-mail quote fixer.  CHS can do that too, but if it's all you want to do (in a given session), Clippy is lower-drag.  Now I'm thinking that maybe it's better to keep them separate pieces of software, though if you can only have one, CHS does vastly more. 

Or, maybe, arrange that CHS has modes so that it can act like Clippy does?  If you were just using CHS to clean up quotes and reflow paragraphs, it would be nice to have a way of doing that with fewer clicks or menu choices to get to the action.  So I'd like to be able to define a series of the actions that CHS can take, and have that group appear as a single menu item when you click CHS's icon, and have it apply them all in one pass.  Does that make sense?


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mouser
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« Reply #8 on: November 06, 2006, 09:46:07 AM »

it does make sense; i'm going to give it a bit of thought..
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superticker
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« Reply #9 on: November 06, 2006, 11:02:44 AM »

I'm wondering where one should draw the line between what AceText does and what a clipboard enhancer (like CHS) does?
I'm wondering too.
This is where employing plug-ins to customize your own clipboard enhancer to suit your needs thereby avoiding software bloat is a really good thing.  It also empowers third-parties to write code for your application.

However Mouser is absolutely right; there's a lot of work in designing and documenting an extensible API.  Moreover, not every programmer welcomes the celebrity of becoming an open-source name in software design.  ... too many magazine editors calling.  Think how busy our Firefox plug-in API designer is, especially now that he's working for Microsoft.

... I'd like to be able to define a series of the actions that CHS can take, and have that group appear as a single menu item when you click CHS's icon, and have it apply them all in one pass.

If I'm reading this right, you're suggesting a scripting language be developed for CHS?  Like designing an API, that's a really big job too!  I'm trying to think if there's some middle ground here?  For example, develop an easy way to call an external scripting engine from CHS, pass it the problem and let it crunch, then have it pass the solution back to CHS.  I guess that would be some kind of OLE or COM interface to CHS, and although that requires an API of sorts, Microsoft has already established some standard OLE calls CHS could implement for this.  (Understanding OLE is complex, though.)

Gee, a clipboard enhancer that supports OLE to other applications....  Sound like computer madness.  I'm wondering what I could do with such a utility?...  Would the end-user be clever enough to use this feature?
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rjbull
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« Reply #10 on: November 07, 2006, 04:57:26 AM »


... I'd like to be able to define a series of the actions that CHS can take, and have that group appear as a single menu item when you click CHS's icon, and have it apply them all in one pass.

If I'm reading this right, you're suggesting a scripting language be developed for CHS?  Like designing an API, that's a really big job too!... 

No, simpler than that.  I'll try to explain it a bit more clearly this time  Wink CHS and Clippy both offer you numerous actions.  Both treat each action as separate from all others, i.e., stripping quotes, reflowing paragraphs, reinserting quotes, search-and-replace, changing case, are all separate things.  This is necessary, of course.  What Clippy offers (as I understand it) is a way of bundling a user-selected group of these together into a single menu choice, so you can perform several actions in one pass, without needing a series of mouse clicks or menu choices to invoke them individually in sequence.

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