Add a Link. Scroll Down. Add a Link. Scroll Down. Repeat Ad Infinitum. February 10, 2011 8:28 AM   Subscribe

Extremely minor pony request: After I use the "link" button in data entry boxes on "Create a New Post" pages, the view shifts to the very beginning of the text in the box. (The scroll bar goes all the way back to the top.) I tend to create posts which have a lot of links in them that fill up those boxes quickly. To find my place after creating a link, I then need to scroll down within the box. Would it possible to not have that happen? Can the cursor and view be left at the end of the link that has just been added instead?

I realize this is won't affect most users and if it's not important enough to for y'all to fuss over, that's perfectly okay with me! But when I create larger posts like say, this one it can be kind of annoying to have to scroll up and down after every single link is added to the text.
posted by zarq to Feature Requests at 8:28 AM (28 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

Any javascript whiz kids have any idea how to do this with the focus?
posted by mathowie (staff) at 8:35 AM on February 10, 2011


I can't answer the actual question, but as a sideways response I'd take this moment to suggest the wonder that is composing large posts outside of the actual posting form and just pasting once everything's read for a final review. The ability to have a nice big canvas, save drafts, undo errors, and have a backup in the case of catastrophic browser or site failure: big niceties when undertaking something that has a lot of links or otherwise requires significant composition time.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:35 AM on February 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


But make sure you clean up your curly quotes and line breaks!

I too could sometimes benefit from improved focus.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:38 AM on February 10, 2011 [3 favorites]


cortex: "I can't answer the actual question, but as a sideways response I'd take this moment to suggest the wonder that is composing large posts outside of the actual posting form and just pasting once everything's read for a final review.

You know, I used to do that with a program designed to create LiveJournal posts. Very convenient, in that it would autocode links and basic html like bold and italics. But it isn't cross platform compatible, (I use linux, windows and mac machines at work and at home) and frankly, the stupid thing never saved drafts the way it was supposed to on my Mac. Firefox is better at recovery.

These days, I use google docs to create FPPs, but the darn system don't let you work in plaintext and it changes quotation marks to "smart" quotes that totally break html functionality. Highly annoying. So I usually create docs that look something like this:
Briggs had spent the previous eight years hosting "Joe Bob Brigg's Drive-In Theater," http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5kz183ymKG4
...and add in the html code on Mefi.

The ability to have a nice big canvas, save drafts, undo errors, and have a backup in the case of catastrophic browser or site failure: big niceties when undertaking something that has a lot of links or otherwise requires significant composition time."

If anyone can suggest viable alternatives I'd be thrilled!
posted by zarq at 8:43 AM on February 10, 2011


But make sure you clean up your curly quotes and line breaks!

Oh my yes. Use a plaintext editor of some sort. No composing in Word or whatever, that's madness.

If anyone can suggest viable alternatives I'd be thrilled!

My only personal suggestion is hand-crank that shit like a boss, in Notepad or TextEdit or vi or whatever plain-jane text editor you have sitting around on your OS. Which may not be an appealing answer if you find coding links by hand annoying, but it has the advantage of being unsurpassably portable.

Once you type out <a href=""></a> a few thousand times it gets to be second nature. Paste url between the quotes and the text between the tags and blam.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:50 AM on February 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


zarq, do it in the text editor of your choice on whichever platform you're on at the time, and sync between the machines with Dropbox?
posted by deezil at 9:01 AM on February 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


I use an old copy of Taco HTML edit from back when it was free. It will make links and do a few other things and has some tag coloring which is useful for spotting malformed HTML.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:02 AM on February 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


cortex: " My only personal suggestion is hand-crank that shit like a boss, in Notepad or TextEdit or vi or whatever plain-jane text editor you have sitting around on your OS. Which may not be an appealing answer if you find coding links by hand annoying, but it has the advantage of being unsurpassably portable.

True. I mostly like the autocode feature because it helps correct for user errors. The Monstervision post had over 70 links in it and the chance that I'd screw at least a few of 'em up coding by hand would have been pretty high. But I'm already coding all of the text formatting by hand so I guess when we get down to it there's really not much difference.

Once you type out <a href=""></a> a few thousand times it gets to be second nature. Paste url between the quotes and the text between the tags and blam."

Heh. I'm getting better at it, but still make mistakes. Practice, practice, practice. :)

deezil: "zarq, do it in the text editor of your choice on whichever platform you're on at the time, and sync between the machines with Dropbox?"

Until this moment, I don't think I'd ever heard of Dropbox. Fantastic. Thanks for mentioning it!

jessamyn: " I use an old copy of Taco HTML edit from back when it was free. It will make links and do a few other things and has some tag coloring which is useful for spotting malformed HTML."

Just what I need. I'll download and try it now. Thank you! :)
posted by zarq at 9:13 AM on February 10, 2011


Yeah, to echo what cortex and jessamyn are saying, I compose all posts with more than one link in TextMate for the mac, which some keystrokes enabled on it. So I just copy a URL, highlight text in TextMate, then hit command-shift-A to get it to make a link (it also automatically grabs the title of the linked page and puts that into the title tags, which is nice). You can also easily save your in-progress posts this way (I map everything to dropbox so I can access it from several devices if need be).

When I'm done composing I copy/paste it all into MeFi and hit post.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 9:23 AM on February 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


My answer to saving drafts in online space is to use Gmail drafts to collect raw ideas and formatted text, pasting the material into the MetaFilter post forms to see how it looks. Kludgy, but it's worked for me.

But now that I think about it, I'm wondering if there isn't some java applet that could be run from a flashdrive, providing cross-platform and migratory post drafting. I am seriously lacking skills to craft such a thing, but I'm sure there are some fancy web-based apps that could be made portable.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:23 AM on February 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


Unfortunately this is the way Firefox handles returning focus to the textarea. Chrome and Safari return you to the spot in the form that's highlighted, as you'd expect. But for some reason Firefox sends you to the top of the form on return.

Your text will still be highlighted, so you should be able to scroll down and find the highlighted text fairly easily. In fact, you can use an arrow key and return to your place almost instantly. Just try [up arrow] [down arrow] and you should be back to where you started. You could also switch browsers for composing posts if you don't find a desktop app you like.
posted by pb (staff) at 9:55 AM on February 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


You can also use MyTextFile if you don't want to install any software. It's basically an API for Google storage so you have to use a Google account to use it.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:00 AM on February 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


One of the things I love about Safari (Mac of Windows) is that it lets the user resize any text entry box. It is like fresh pancakes.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:13 AM on February 10, 2011


Any javascript whiz kids have any idea how to do this with the focus?

I'm pretty sure you can do this just by adding a couple of lives to pnhTextareaInsert() that save and restore the scrollTop value of the element, like lines 4 and 28 here. (That is the result of running the minified site code through jsbeautifier.org so obviously the variable names and indentation won't match what you have pre-minifying but it should be relatively similar.)
posted by Rhomboid at 10:14 AM on February 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


Awesome, thanks Rhomboid, that did the trick! I just pushed out the new version. It's working great in Firefox now.
posted by pb (staff) at 10:25 AM on February 10, 2011 [3 favorites]


Yay!
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 10:26 AM on February 10, 2011


Awesome! Rhomboid and pb, THANK YOU!!!!!! :D
posted by zarq at 10:31 AM on February 10, 2011


Burhanistan: "You can also use MyTextFile if you don't want to install any software. It's basically an API for Google storage so you have to use a Google account to use it."

That's brilliant. Thanks for mentioning it. I didn't know it existed.
posted by zarq at 10:33 AM on February 10, 2011


Thanks for the fix Rhomboid!
posted by mathowie (staff) at 10:37 AM on February 10, 2011


Yeah, if my Bugzilla-fu is correct, this is bug #231389 which has been open since 2004 and should finally be fixed in the upcoming Firefox 4. Good to know there's a workaround for older versions.
posted by teraflop at 10:56 AM on February 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


mathowie: "I compose all posts with more than one link in TextMate for the mac, which some keystrokes enabled on it. "

Wow, that looks... really complex. :)
posted by zarq at 11:32 AM on February 10, 2011


Thanks Rhomboid! I've had this problem before too, so thanks zarq.
posted by cashman at 12:44 PM on February 10, 2011


Burhanistan, I've been looking for something like that for weeks.
posted by ocherdraco at 1:39 PM on February 10, 2011


pb, you're a God among men. This has bothered me for years, and ka-pow! it's been fixed without me even asking for it. Another example of the miracle that is MetaFilter.
posted by pjern at 3:52 PM on February 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


Brandon Blatcher: "One of the things I love about Safari (Mac of Windows) is that it lets the user resize any text entry box. It is like fresh pancakes."

There is a Greasemonkey script that allows this if you're running Firefox. And I believe it will be an included feature in Firefox 4.
posted by Chrysostom at 6:56 PM on February 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


Late to the game, but my fix to this is to compose threads (or whatever) in Wordpress or Gmail, which saves a draft automatically, has link/bold/italics features, and keeps it in the cloud wherever I go. Same principle as Google Docs, but then I don't ever have to leave my precioussss email.
posted by Phire at 6:49 AM on February 11, 2011


How does that work, Phire? How are you getting the html back to paste it into the metafilter post box? View selection source?
posted by cashman at 7:36 AM on February 11, 2011


Sorry, I misspoke about Gmail -- I occasionally write things in Gmail before I post to Wordpress, but that doesn't apply in this instance. For MeFi posts I tend to work in Wordpress, since sometimes (most of the time) I end up ranting abotu the subject too much and then post it to my blog instead of to Metafilter. In Wordpress there's a "View" option and an "HTML" option, and flipping between the two gives you a nicely marked-up post.
posted by Phire at 8:39 PM on February 12, 2011


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