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Author's profile photo Nigel James

New toys for the bloggers

When I was at university I had the honour of being taught by one of the very best teachers on the campus. He had the ability to make the most mundane and minutae of computer science topics enjoyable. He didn’t just teach you about assembler he actually engendered some interest in the subject. Alas I had some teachers who I could not lavish such praise on.

I had friend who on learning HTML seemed to take this to a new level of pain and would write his websites in plain HTML. His reason is that he would learn more about HTML. I can take his point but at some stage you have to say we are in the technology industry and this pain should taken away from us and made into a a nice goooey interface.

Anyway… where am I going with this? SDN, BPX, the collective…  ah sorry … The SAP Community Network, (you will be assimilated) have gone and released an update to the blogging system. (OK it is on trial but isn’t the internet permanent beta?) This is excellent news for people like me who like to write but don’t really want to wrestle with the finer points of HTML if I can get away with it.

Most of my blogs start as a couple of sentence fragments and languish is draft stage for months until I get enough courage to come and fight with the SDN blogging system to actually publish them.

Those day are over. Now, the sun is out (and believe me we need all the sun we can get in Great Britain right now) the clouds have gone and there is a implementation of Tiny MCE in the SDN Blog editor just waiting for you to come and transcribe your finest thoughts.

Lets take this new toy for a spin. It’s Tiny MCE so you may well be familiar with it as it is a very popular tool for making a ‘wysiwyg’ish interface for web entry forms.

The command bar looks like this:
Command Bar

This is about as ‘wordish’ as it comes. All the buttons that you would ever want to make a nice post without having to worry to much about all that href= malarky.

I found on testing it, as I write this post, that the popups for the image and links were a bit slow. I am going to lay the blame for that on the network I was on at the time thought. Things like bold and italic worked as expected and I can even make a nice set of bullet points like this:


  1. Fast

  3. Easy

  5. Enjoyable

… which is how I am going to sum up the new experience.

Are there things that could be improved? One of the things I found is that the link editor won’t let you specify the target of the link top the level that we need on SDN. There is two options, open the link on this page or on a new page. Be sure to specify ‘new page’ or go and edit the html and set ‘target=_top’ so that you link does not open in the current frame.

There are one or two other small things too but like I said in this permanent whitewater / beta world we live in nothing will be perfect out of the block.

What we do need, whatever your SDN: The Good Old Days, is for you to get blogging and Watch it Unfold: Shel Israel’s Research on Global Social Media Trends.

This is now a lot less painful and for that I am glad.

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      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member
      Hi Nigel:

      Nice blog -:) Thanks for point out the new blogging editor...Anyway, I'm more a plain HTML lover...All my HTML and PHP is done using plain HTML...But I'm sure that this new Editor is going to be helpfull for a lot of folks out there -;)

      To me is a matter of choice...And yeah...My design really sux -:'( But I like to keep things as simple as possible -:P



      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member
      I'll need to dust off all those half posts too...
      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member

      Thanks, Nigel, for noticing and writing about this.  I (and others) are glad that you - and others - are happy with this step forward.  It's been a great help to me, already, as I don't like the href://

      Author's profile photo Dennis Howlett
      Dennis Howlett
      The inclusion of stuff like a WYSIWYG editor doesn't just make life easier as Mark Yolton points out but helps media like this spread to the non-geek community. In other words, it acts as a way of including those who might not otherwise participate.

      One tool I'm having to use right now on a project is so end-user unfriendly I get the site admin to write up my blog posts. How bad is that? It's exclusive.

      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member
      Dennis H. is exactly right when he says that slapping a WYSIWYG editor on top of the basic blog editing interface "helps media like this (blogs) spread to the non-geek community. In other words, it acts as a way of including those who might not otherwise participate."  In fact, we accelerated the WYSIWYG implementation in recognition that the BPXs of the world (who are, on average, less technically adept than the average SDNer) were being discouraged by the clumsy pure-HTML interface.  We expect this is just a hint at what's to come for the BPXs... that many tools will evolve to be less technically burdensome, by being "smarter" on behalf of their users so the users can focus on their core activity (standardizing and solidifying certain business processes while innovating others) rather than on mastering the toolset itself.  Tearing-down the barriers to entry, and helping people accelerate past the "suck threshold" (I suck at this; this sucks...) and up the "kick-a** curve" (I kick-a** at this; this is fun)... 

      Mark Y. 

      Props to Kathy Sierra at