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Principle: Users shouldn't have to map their thinking process to the computer. A good UI will map the data to intent to allow (as much as possible) refinement in any order.


Beginning and ending tags of manual formatting versus styles are clumsy to edit, and some of the rules can be awkward. This is where trusty ol' Word Perfect had reveal codes. Given that the underlying data is using an xml format, this is not a wild-eyed request. Simply display things linked to a single tag, and allow a tag to be edited per an appropriate style format dialog. An option to view the rules in play and what styles/manual tags caused them would be grand.

Styles have rules in them, some of which are not obvious how to separate, and none are obvious how to simply remove. Once a style has been set to a differing font face from the parent style, for example, it's not obvious how to remove the face change, say, but retain the italics setting. The styles display a nice summary of the contained rules, but deleting things from that list should be easier.

There needs to be a dialog of some sort one can call up that makes removing rules or copying/moving rules to another style straightforward. (Groups like font weight/slant/size should probably be lumped together.)

It would also be nice to get some options on the rule summary that show the underlying rules & their defining styles that are overridden by the rule in question and an option to show all rules defined by the style and its inheritance. When there is no single value possible to display, such as with character styles, a term like "Paragraph Defined" might work.

Conditional Styles are currently bad about this. One may easily define and use a style before realizing that it makes sense to rework some of the logic and redefine a style to be conditional. We need to make a few functions easy in the interface: copy style to new name, copy some rules from style to a new name, and rework normal style into a conditional one. (I assume one can globally search for a style and replace it with another, though I don't know how to do that without a macro, right now.)

   A few dialogs would need to be written:
A dialog for deleting rules, and perhaps another for moving/copying rules to other styles (also deleting them, presumably.)

When editing a style, the conditional style trait should simply be a toggled state. One should just edit the style's conditions, one of which, I guess, would be normal. (It could be in an "advanced" tab hidden from a "simple" view, but I don't like doing that.) The interface can look like this without a needing to change the lower level stuff, either. The selection of conditional could trigger a new temporary style which gains the rules, and becomes the default conditional style of the new style, then replaces the original. Rename and done.

A display for the revealed formatting tags would need to be worked out. (This COULD be some form of insertable mini-icons, (sorta like spaces and tabs with revealed white-space characters) but that seems a smidgen *too* terse.) This interface should allow any proper movement of tags, as well as deletion.

These all sorta interact, so I'm placing them together for comment. (Reveal codes should use the other dialogs, such as the 'copy rule into new or existing style' and 'view style rule sources,' and so on. )

Mostly, this is to spawn ideas on how best to approach this issue. I intend to consider further to cement more details.

-Nate Schultz

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