Typepad has just introduced a new Rich Text Editor interface, which enhances the post editing phase of blog publishing. There are many nice new features here like Compose Post which allows you to both display your formatted post AND to add text to it at the same time. Before, the Preview mode did not allow you to type text into the post edit box. Another major new feature is spell check (though see my critique below). There are also features allowing you to change font color within a post and change font sizes.
Some Typepad users have rushed jubilantly to embrace the new system. Not so fast, I say to my fellow TPers. Yes, it has some good new features and is an improvement over what preceded…with a few glaring exceptions. Whenever TP introduces new, improved features they seem to lose things that were good about the previous versions.
In our new rich text editor, the edit post screen defaults to "small" size. I hate the small size. But you can’t set your box to default to "bigger." No, that would be too easy. You’ve got to manually hit that bigger button every time you open the post box. Ugh! And even if you do manually set the display to "bigger," each and every time you save or preview or leave that post edit box, it will default back to "small." That means that in writing a single post you might have to manually change sizes four or five Times.
I don’t understand what was gained in switching from Blockquote to the Increase Indent/Decrease Indent feature in the new system. I’m having trouble figuring out how it works (Blockquote was so simple) even after talking with TP Help about it quite a bit. Though I am just starting to get the hang of it, I think.
Spell check is a great feature (though Ecto has had it for ages). But why can’t you set spell check to automatically check for spelling each time before you publish? There should be a default option allowing you to do this (as ecto does) so that you don’t have to manually click on spell check each time before you publish.
The new Compose option is great as it allows you to type and format text in the same box displaying your formatted post. Typepad Help tells me Compose should also enable you to paste text into your post which you’ve copied from another location. But it doesn’t work with Firefox 1.0 Preview Release. Instead, you have to use Edit/Paste from the toolbar, an awkward substitute for those used to using the mouse right-click menu for that function. I think they’ve got a kink to work out on this one.
Here’s a set of new problems I’ve noticed with the Compose mode. If I add a hyperlink to existing text within the Compose window, the hyperlink will display correctly. But after saving the post in Draft mode, the hyperlink will disappear.
If I manually add alignment tags to an image in HTML mode & then switch to Compose, the alignment tags disappear. When I go back into html mode to view the image tag, the alignment data is gone. Very mysterious.
If I type text into the compose box and save it (again in Draft), often the text will disappear. The only way to be sure it will "take" is by entering the text in HTML mode & then saving it.
I’m sure this again has to do with the fact that the Compose window was apparently not created with Firefox in mind (I don’t really understand why). In fact, I wonder whether Firefox’s new version 1.0 may be causing further dissonance between the Rich Text Editor and the browser.
Along with having no right click Paste feature in Compose mode, I think this makes a serious set of issues which degrades the functionality of what is otherwise a wonderful feature.