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fatkatie

news report input; many reporters; interface and std formatting

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I am upgrading a news site which has grown from one news reporter to many.  The present design has the reporter using uSnotepad and fleshing out tag delimited areas in a new .php file.  We all know it's a hack.  And while the presentation on the site is standard looking it's only because there is one reporter and he understands the workings of this template.  When the template isn't adequate, he knows too how to modify, and he knows how to fix it when he breaks it.

 

Well we can't do that anymore.  We do have an administrative editor that can tweak things but we want the story input process to be as helpful and as foolproof as it can be for the unaccomplished html authors; with their plain text copy and a picture or two.  It sounds so simple doesn't it?

 

We use a client side javascript app called tinymce which, while it has it's problems, works well for html formatting of text input.  Our advertisers use it for copy.  They know what they want and are accomplished enough to use it.  Our news reporters are community guys and, as described above, would wind up just playing around. Lord knows what would come out.  Blinking text! (can you do that anymore?)

 

So, now that I've droned on and on...  would someone suggest a process or interface that allows remote, html ignorant news reporters to submit news reports in a standard format.  We would expect them to create a proper headline, edit paragraphs, and to insert images where appropriate (with subtitles).  Perhaps a link.

 

We expect the need to offer some instruction.

 

The authors are trusted, so we don't need to monitor - we need the input interface and formatting.  The stories will include images. ANY ideas are welcome.  We, I, really don't know who to proceed with this.  The only "formatting" applications I know of are uSWord and tinymce.  I know uSWord can be motored with OLE and I'd be willing to do that if necessary... but it seems a bit much and our server is Linux.

 

Forget using a text box.  Nobody can really use a text box. After I blew up stackoverflow, I knew this was true. (Except,I have to admit, I've been unable to blow this site's input with the standard trickery.)

 

We'd even consider a 3rd party service to process input.

 

HELP!  And thanks.

 

 

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I am upgrading a news site which has grown from one news reporter to many.  The present design has the reporter using uSnotepad and fleshing out tag delimited areas in a new .php file.  We all know it's a hack.  And while the presentation on the site is standard looking it's only because there is one reporter and he understands the workings of this template.  When the template isn't adequate, he knows too how to modify, and he knows how to fix it when he breaks it.

That sounds exactly like the situation at a company I used to work for a few years ago.

 

TinyMCE is pretty good - I was going to suggest something like it. CKEditor is the other big name, and is what this forum uses. They give buttons for actions, even supporting some keyboard shortcuts, and work as WYSIWYG editors. Disable stuff like font sizes and colors and the other sorts of actions you wouldn't want writers to fiddle with - you say you trust them, which is good because if not you would have to pair the editor with some backend validation to test for and/or remove the disallowed markup.

 

The other main alternative to Javascript-based editors is wiki-style markup. Easy to learn (especially if you only care about stuff like basic formatting and links) and is easy to write.

 

 

And yes, blinking text is possible, but it's not as easy as it was to simply use .

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I know a friend of mine who works for a company that uses TinyMCE and said it's pretty hard to work with and he doesn't really recommend it.

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