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Old 05-31-2006, 03:57 AM   #1
m_chanoine
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Default Sharing changes / Proofreading in html?

Dear forum members,
How are you sharing corrections in the text of webpages?

I need to suggest improvement to an existing files containing quite a lot of formatting. For this reason, I cannot work on the “saved as text” document.
I can work on the html file but then how the client will find the changes?
I tried to open the html file with Word but the result is unusable.

Any suggestions are welcome. I only see - at the moment - the possibility to work on paper.

MM
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Old 05-31-2006, 04:50 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by m_chanoine
How are you sharing corrections in the text of webpages?

I need to suggest improvement to an existing files containing quite a lot of formatting. For this reason, I cannot work on the “saved as text” document.
I can work on the html file but then how the client will find the changes?
I tried to open the html file with Word but the result is unusable.

Any suggestions are welcome. I only see - at the moment - the possibility to work on paper.
If you are referring to the content of webpages rather than changes in (major) markup, a simple solution is to use the HTML markup actually designed for that purpose!

There are two elements, <del> and <ins>; usage at its simplest:
HTML Code:
<del>this text was deleted</del><ins>this new text was added</ins>
In practice, each of these should take at least one attribute: a timestamp of when the change was made (datetime attribute); you can also refer to a URL of a page that gives the reason for the change (cite attribute). And <del> and <ins> are flexible, in that they are neither block nor inline elements, and can contain either. So you could end up with something like:
HTML Code:
<del datetime="2006-05-31"><p>this paragraph contains a load of nonsense</p>
<del datetime="2006-05-28"><p>this is just useless text</p></del></del>
<div>we won't touch this section since it's really<ins>, really</ins> important</div>
<ins datetime="2006-05-31"><p>now here we have the real deal, the one important parapgraph
that replaces all the pre-existing nonsense<p></ins>
Note that I've simplified the datetime here somewhat - you can use the full ISO date format (i.e., including time); but in many cases just the date might be sufficient.

Now to the client: add an extra stylesheet, and you could:
  • show deleted text struck through or not at all
  • show inserted text in a separate color
... or whatever is convenient (see the final result by not showing <del> elements at all and showing <ins> elements without any special styling).

DO NOT load or work on such documents in Word - use a text editor, preferably one that can do syntax highlighting for HTML so the code stands out from the textual content. A good HTML editor will actually assist you in adding <del> and <ins> elements.

And when it's all done, throw away all del elements with their content, and then remove all ins tags without removing their content - a good HTML editor can assist with that. But until then, you can keep a complete document history in the document itself (as shown in my example, you can actually nest the <del> and <ins> elements, even withing themselves!).

   
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Old 05-31-2006, 07:47 AM   #3
Michael Rowley
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Marjolein:

DO NOT load or work on such documents in Word - use a text
editor


Is there any objection to someone's using Word as a text editor? (I'm asking genuinely for information.) A Word document can be text, so what is the reason for your recommendation?

   
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Old 05-31-2006, 08:49 AM   #4
ktinkel
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Quote:
Originally Posted by m_chanoine
How are you sharing corrections in the text of webpages?

I need to suggest improvement to an existing files containing quite a lot of formatting.
Are you making the corrections? Or implementing them?

If you are making them, you could show before and after pages that the client could view in a browser (and print out if desired). Or work on hard copy, assuming you could make things clear. I would actually be inclined to separate content from layout, and supply edited text (no formatting) for them to approve. Then replace old text in the layout as a separate step.

If you are implementing client changes, I would ask the client to mark up a hard copy, just as we do in the print world. This provides a good paper trail to proof to (and to remind the client what was asked for, if need be at some later time).

   
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Old 05-31-2006, 09:57 AM   #5
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I would not want to have to deal with any page that has gone through Word's HTML translation. It writes horrid HTML code, and as soon as you open an HTML page in word, and then save it, you have to deal with all that.

Marjolein might have other objections, but this is enough to make me reject Word as an editor of web pages. (Although I use it all the time for general purposes.)
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Old 05-31-2006, 10:09 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Rowley
DO NOT load or work on such documents in Word - use a text
editor


Is there any objection to someone's using Word as a text editor? (I'm asking genuinely for information.) A Word document can be text, so what is the reason for your recommendation?
Simply the wrong tool for the job! How would you enter <ins> and <del> elements, with datestamps, using Word? If the job means you need a text editor, use a text editor, not a word processing program - and preferably use one specifically geared for the job: a text editor that actually "knows" about HTML in this case. Word does not, even if you might force it into behaving more or less like a (bad and inefficient) text editor.

   
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Old 05-31-2006, 10:12 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ktinkel
If you are implementing client changes, I would ask the client to mark up a hard copy, just as we do in the print world. This provides a good paper trail to proof to (and to remind the client what was asked for, if need be at some later time).
Yes, you could have a paper trail - but HTML allows you to have the whole trail right in the document. Since we're actually starting with an HTML document here, why do away with that advantage? Print, and you lose a lot of information that the HTML contains, and would have to re-create it again later. That's just inefficient.

   
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Old 05-31-2006, 10:59 AM   #8
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Default Work with HTML

Quote:
Originally Posted by m_chanoine
Any suggestions are welcome. I only see - at the moment - the possibility to work on paper.
MM
You can create revised pages which only the client sees, and put them on the client's web site. Instead of index.htm, put nuindex.htm, or the like, and ask the client to open that page instead of the default page.

Are you formatting text with CSS, or with older HTML techniques?

What software are you using for development/FTP to the web site?

If you share your original URL here, you will get additional comments.

Last edited by dthomsen8; 05-31-2006 at 11:00 AM. Reason: Additions
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Old 05-31-2006, 11:01 AM   #9
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Marjolein:

a text editor that actually "knows" about HTML in this case

Ah! Then you're talking about a special type of text editor. Sorry, I thought you meant a common or garden text editor of the type that used to be used before HTML was ever thought of.

   
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Old 05-31-2006, 11:40 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Rowley
a text editor that actually "knows" about HTML in this case

Ah! Then you're talking about a special type of text editor. Sorry, I thought you meant a common or garden text editor of the type that used to be used before HTML was ever thought of.
Well, in a case like this, I'd say even lowly notepad would be better suited to the job than word.

   
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