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Tuesday, 3 August 2004

How Things Should Work

When I hit "save" in my text editor, I want it to save a revision of the document, in the file system, not in the document itself, like MS Word does. Then, if I want to look at an old version, I can back up to an older version. I hate it when I delete something and then miss it. Or change a text file of programming code and then my code stops working.

I want to be able to hit a button "publish" and get to pick what I want to do. this can mean that I save it to a CVS server. Or send it to a printer. This could mean that I publish it via an RSS feed. I would have many hierarchical feeds. For example, I could have an academic feed and below that have a separate feed for each class. Subscribers to my feeds could include my teachers, other people interested in my topics, and perhaps a shared class aggregator. I could also choose to publish it to my blog or to my website or wherever. It would do the right thing.

I would be able to attach tags to the document, like you can with gmail. I want to be able to tag academic papers by the class and by the school and by the semester. If I keep working on some document across multiple semesters, I want to be able to look at the final version for the fall of 2003 and then be able to look again at the spring of 2004. This would tie into the versioning system.

I want to be able to use the same text editor every time I want to edit text. I may enable or disable certain features, depending on context, like emacs loads different modes depending on what kind of file that you're editing. If people want to sell me software, fine sell features, like people now sell VST plugins and photoshop plugins. Give me add-ons for my existing tools, but don't replace them. When I edit pictures, I want to use the same editor every time. When I'm just futzing with my photo library, it's ok if just the iPhoto tools show up for default, but I want to be able to use the GIMP tools too, without having to export the file, quit iPhoto, start GIMP, edit the photo, save it, re-import into iPhoto. I want to be able to use any tool with any data.

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