thanks for your input, fletcher

Bowerbird at Bowerbird at
Tue Oct 25 13:11:51 EDT 2011

mandarin said:

> Byword

um, yeah, i just mentioned byword in that post, didn't i?

on the good side, i think it's cheaper than it used to be...
and yes, it's a very good program, and people like it a lot.
heck, i myself am one of the people who like byword a lot.
plus, i _love_ a program that opens up with a white screen,
full-screen, no menu or nothing, the first time you run it...
that takes some huevos, to put a new user in an avalanche.

on the bad side, it requires a command to show a preview.
and that is the very exact thing we are talking about here.
_plus_ it displays the formatted version starting at the top.
so it shares both the flaws that i criticized in "composer".
(i note, ironically, that byword's 3-key preview shortcut is
option-apple-p, so it conflicts with composer's shortcut;
so much for "muscle-memory" if you use both programs.)

on the ugly side, from _my_ perspective anyway, byword
_replaces_ the markdown text with the formatted display,
when it could be showing _both_ of 'em at the same time.

i dunno, perhaps i haven't been clear enough about this,
but the reasons i say on-the-fly display is a killer-feature
is because (1) people crave the wysiwyg functionality, and
(2) a side-by-side display serves a _pedagogical_purpose_.

the first is important because you gotta give people what
they want, but the second is even more important, since
the instructional task is what makes people _understand_
markdown and _appreciate_ the simplicity of its approach.

the tight feedback loop gives users a keen perception of
how simply that markdown gives them _nice_formatting_.

they see how easy editing markdown text can be, and see
that the output is both correct (i.e., as they intend) _and_
that it looks nice as well. they know that its .html inside,
so they know they've accomplished making it web-ready.

or when something _does_ need to be changed, they see
how easy it is to _make_ the change, and make it _right_.

so it's a very nice little package of control and mastery.

it is this straightforward pedagogical pursuit which will
transform ordinary people into markdown enthusiasts.

and the side-by-side on-the-fly display is crucial to this,
in terms of the objective of promulgating light-markup...

but i recommend byword too. especially at its new price.

(like byword, ia-writer has also dropped its price to $10.
there is competition in this segment of the marketplace.)


fletcher said:

> The preview functionality in the current version is

> essentially the same as in the early preview version.

it is. i'd expected it to get smarter before leaving beta.

so i was wrong. it's happened before. it'll happen again.

> Was there something that changed

> that makes it seem like a "head fake"?

my posts have been extremely clear on what _i_ thought.

the "head fake" -- your phrase, not mine -- would be that
you could have told me that my assumption was incorrect.

but hey, once again, no harm, no foul.

> I certainly did not intentionally mislead you

> about the purpose of Composer

no, you didn't. i'll take full responsibility for my error...

and you were under no obligation to "correct" me, either.

since i was beating the drum for a feature that wasn't there,
you might have been smart to make such a correction, but
maybe you weren't reading my posts, or absorbing them, or
maybe you just didn't mind, since i was beating your drum.

whatever the case, i take full responsibility for my error...

> I don't recall ever seeing a post on this list by anyone,

> actually, who requested a change in the preview functionality

> during the 4 months or so between the preview version

> and the final version.

one thing about a killer-feature is users seldom realize that
they needed it -- _until_ they actually experience it in action.

then, after that, they wonder how they ever lived without it...

that's why "marked" was such a big surprise to so many users.

> I never said it was there.

i take full responsibility.

> I can't keep an exhaustive list of

> the features that are *not* in Composer.

"an exhaustive list" would be one thing.

correcting one mistake, being made quite consistently,
is quite another. nonetheless, i take full responsibility.

> But Composer's preview functionality is minimal.

i noticed.

> Marked's is much better.

i noticed that too.

> Therefore I am not reinventing the wheel

no, you're borrowing your neighbor's wheel.

or, more to the point, you're having your users do that.

which is fine. it's just not all that _convenient_, i think.

by the way, your neighbor didn't invent the wheel either.

> That's why the app has a built-in link to Marked.

yes, that's quite neighborly. :+)

it definitely eases the burden of dealing with two apps.

> Since the Composer project was started

> to provide an editor that does what *I* want,

> and then grew a bit beyond that,

> by definition it's not a mistake.

if you think the writing is primary and the preview
is secondary, then i think you're making a mistake.

maybe i'm wrong, but i think _both_ are important.

and in the battle in the marketplace, which you have
now entered, an on-the-fly preview would have made
_your_ text-editor unique compared to all the others.

so, in terms of _that_ battle, you've made a mistake...
in my opinion. but maybe i'm wrong. it has happened.

> I am extremely happy with Composer.

i am a bit perplexed. have you failed to notice that
i have been one of your biggest cheerleaders so far?

> Many others are as well.

still perplexed. did you miss that i said exactly that?

> My goal is not to take over the world.

well, as you put it in a f.a.q. on the composer site:

> I’m trying to balance fairness, market forces,

> the countless hours of my life I’ve devoted to

> creating MultiMarkdown and Composer,

> and making this venture profitable.

so your goals include "making this venture profitable"
in order to recoup the investment of "countless hours".

> My goal is to create something that I find useful,

> and then share it with others that find it useful.

yeah, that too... :+)

especially if we consider the case of "selling"
to fall under the rubric of "sharing"... ;+)

(so we're clear, i think it's fine to sell software.)

> It worked with MMD, and

> I believe it will work with Composer as well.

i'm sure it will. i'm also sure that it could work better.

but there's no reason to dance around that shrub again.

you said it all when you said that you couldn't program
an on-the-fly display that would perform adequately...

i think you probably could, if you applied elbow-grease
and some brain-work, but if you say you can't, you can't.

and if you can't code it, it cannot be your killer-feature.

thus, there's no use in even discussing it any further...

but if you _do_ come to learn that you _can_ program it,
i would heartily recommend that you include it promptly.


i'm still a composer fan, giving it good word-of-mouth.

such a good fan, and so much good word-of-mouth that
i feel that that, plus my $8, gives me the right to tell you
that there's one thing about the app that disappoints me.

and if that one thing outweighs all of my other praise
in the mind of fletcher penney, then so be it. so be it.

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