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BBEdit, then apply Markdown to HTMLize.

Dan Phiffer

Picking nits: Konquerer is the rendering part of Safari, not the UI part. Unless you meant Konquerer /and/ Safari. But whatever.

A potential conflict I could see with some of your proposals is in taking control away from page authors (e.g. who so far assume text areas won't be resized into other parts of the layout) and the browser makers. I'm not saying this conflict is best solved through status quo, but I believe it's not just a case of of lazy/content programmers.

I think tools like Greasemonkey and Pithhelmet could make up the difference, at least as a workaround before someone goes and implements a Web 2.0-friendly browser. I think all three of your ideas could be addressed through a JavaScript file that gets appended to each page request (and some cookie action for state info).

Dan Phiffer

I'm looking at this:

"taking control away from page authors ... and the browser makers"

And thinking I meant to say this:

"taking control away from page authors ... and giving it to the browser makers"

But more importantly:

"taking control away from page authors ... and giving it to the end-user"

This might be related to all the fuss about Google's toolbar. I'd say the conflict is just a side effect of moving from a somewhat print-like web (pages are "documents") to a more interesting and useful one (pages are a "context").

Sorry to blather like this in your comments.


Mozex ( lets you edit the contents of a textarea in your favorite editor.

Dan Connolly

There's no doubt about it... IntegrityIsJobOne when it comes to recording my knowledge. I thought OS X mail sucked until Mozilla Thunderbird threw away one of my drafts when my laptop battery died or something. The mailer in my sidekick knows better than that. I'm back to Mail on OS X. (I use evolution on linux).

The difference between a browser and an authoring tool is a big one. I don't know if I ever expect my browser to be a reliable authoring tool.

About that proxy that saves posts, I want that too... KeepPostRecords.

Ed Burns

Good points, but I've always just used Xemacs along side the browser, and then cut and paste into the text field. I agree that the browser based authoring experience sucks when I'm unable to do this, and, of course, why should I have to.


David Schontzler

Let me re-size or tear off the form field itself, and give me undo in it as well.

I wrote a GreaseMonkey script to do just that. Grab it here.


Holy box Batman ! LOL


Autosave has been done for the gmail specific case with the Humane Gmail userscript.

But... You could most of this with an extension for the general case. In fact, it's so obvious I wonder why it hasn't been done.

Upgrade textareas so that:

* They automatically periodically save themselves to some local backup.

* They can be torn off into their own windows to be resized at will.

* They can be spellchecked



Seconded the mozex extension -- very useful. It hasn't been updated for a while, so with current versions of Firefox the options dialog doesn't come up at Tools->Extensions. However, once installed you can navigate to the config screen directly via the following chrome url:


Once configured, you can right click on any text area, choose 'Mozex -> Edit Textarea' and it will launch your preferred editor with the text inside. Save the file and click on the textarea to copy the edited text back in.

You can even quit your web browser, restart and navigate back to the original page you're editing and it will know to update the right textarea field. It's a bit hacky but it works.

This post was edited using Vim.


The SpellBound extension will give you your spell-checking.


Picking nits: Konquerer is the rendering part of Safari, not the UI part. Unless you meant Konquerer /and/ Safari. But whatever.

Actually it is KHTML which is the rendering engine of both Konqueror and Safari. Those two are but interfaces for the rendering engine.

And although I know I must sound like an Opera fan here (which I am in a way), but Opera pretty much does the same as Konqueror/Safari, although you have to install ASpell to do the spellcheck thing.

Ned Baldessin

Omniweb lets you edit the content of all textareas in an external editor, with additional features. It also autosaves the currently opened tabs, but that can be done in Safari with SafariStand. For those interested, more Safari add-ons at Pimp My Safari.

(And now, as usual : Cmd-A, Cmd-C, Submit).


UndoCloseTab saves the contents of forms after you close and then reopen them. It saves up to 3 tabs by default, but that's configurable. There's also a Resizeable Textarea extension if you don't use greasemonkey.

Carl-Christian Salvesen

In literally 5 minutes I wrote Save-textarea-to-cookie. Only tested in firefox, but I guess it sould be x-browser. It's a hack, not a solution. There are limits too, i.e. max 4k (AFAIK). It could be done better with Ajax, I guess.


Opera already has undo, redo, find and spell check. So only we need it save and replace text functions.


When you move forward and back in opera, it saves the textarea content (and all other inputs).

Daniel Morrison

I read this post a while ago, and I must say that I didn't really care about it.

Then today, I lost a whole bunch of writing twice within 5 minutes!

I'm a believer. Safari, please give me undo (but thanks for the spell check)!


Not ASCII, UTF-8 at least...


2. Tabbin extention:

3. Resizeable Textarea:

Anything else? (except 1.)

c. s.

Opera 7+ has save. It isn't pretty, but you can select whatever text you want and "copy to note". You could, alternately, work directly within the notes window (which autosaves) and whenever you're ready, right click in your form and "insert note". Notes have other uses as well, but none of them address the author's textarea woes.

Opera can also open any previously closed "tab" within the current session with full forwards and backwards history. Hitting ctrl+z will open the last closed page.

Adam Messinger

I have to second those earlier recommendations for SpellBound. I don't know what I'd do without it. My spelling has actually improved since I started using it to double-check my textareas.

Also, Jed Brown has made some Firefox extensions that you may find useful. QuickNote provides features similar to the note-taking functions described by c.s.

BBCode is another one of his extensions that I use a lot. It provides right-click access to several BBCode and XHTML/HTML formatting options (you have to turn XHTML on via the settings). One of the handiest features is the ability to pull an URL from the clipboard and turn selected text into a hyperlink.


How does a Greasemonkey user script that auto-saves text as you type and gives you the option to restore it later sound? Can be used for drafting, restoring text after a lost session, restoring text after a PC crash, and so on.

(terrible self-promotion, I know, but this article was one of the two that started me writing the script).

Ryo Chijiiwa

Hm... it wouldn't be difficult to implement some sort of timed backup mechanism in a web-app. You can have a bit of DHTML code that waits until you've stopped typing for some amount of time, and automatically posts what you have to a temporary data store via XMLHttpRequest. Maybe I'll add something like that to ilohamail if I find the time...

Henri Bergius

While this won't help with editing comments on other peoples' blogs, it could improve your blogging experience:

Instead of blogging via web browser, use a dedicated tool. Apps like MarsEdit and Ecto include all those features you were craving for, and are supported by most different blog systems.

I've posted some of my experiences here:

The comments to this entry are closed.



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