Bugs, and Improvements needed

The following are known bugs in the line-mode browser , and improvements which we have in mind. See also the list of features added.

Known Bugs

Spacing is not very intelligent around anchors.

Telnet problem: If one visits a telnet node and then revisits it, an empty page is displayed.

When saving a file with ">", should ask confirmation if the file already exists.

Improvements for the near future

Paragraph numbering option (Gene Oleynik, Oleynik@fndaut.fnal.gov) for long documents or serialisations.

Style sheet load from disk.

A command line option to print out the version of the software. Currently one has to start it and type "help". (--JP Matheys)

While connecting, if timeout is long, how can we make it less painful for the user -- if necessary in a non-portable way? Variation of "Connect" whih displays a message? Allow user to quit or keep trying? Change the underlying timeout?

Should we always put a CR/LF after the prompt, to allow a long list of keywords (Peter Dobberstein and DESY colleagues: yes)? Advantage: one can always type in many keywords. Disadvantage: one less line of text on the screen. The NEWLINE_PROMPT compile switch lets you choose.

Better error reporting. Difficult when many possible paths have been tried. Save log of attempts? Portability of error message generation?

Command: Append to a given file a hypertext reference to the document.

In UNIX a document address given as a command line argument is parsed relative to the current directory. A similar thing needs to be applied for VMS and MVS environments.

Keep all anchor information, in case user returns to a previous node, then the information is automatically available.

Try to use ^z key and predefined keys like F10 to exit from the program under VMS.

Ask user about strange formats. Unable to deal with anything other than HTML and plaintext files (now just displays it as plaintext). Offer to display it as plaintext, store the file somewhere, or print out on a default printer.

Create a new tag

<OUTLINE> and </OUTLINE>. These are placed around a paragraph and effects any headings contained within them, removing all blank lines above and below, and not allowing capitalization. Also, maybe use this tag to indicate that the position of the anchors should be at the start of the line, in front of the sensitive text.

Compare LineMode Parser and the NeXT Parser, and produce with a common module that can be used by both browsers, and maybe for the Mac version aswell. Also will provide access to the Internet News.

Other Improvements

Pick up the size of a file before trying to store in a buffer. If too large only read in part of the file, and then only call up the file again if the user requires more data. For example in the case of 'http://crnvmc/FIND/DESY?NNEWS8' and then reference number [3].

If the user needs to print out documents when following links, instead of inserting anchor numbers, insert page numbers of the destination nodes, as they would appear in the printed document. Do this by first following the links with no output on the screen, reading all the files into the buffer and calculating the page numbers. Then go through the path again, with output directed to the printer, inserting the correspondng page numbers rather than the anchor numbers.

Apply glossary first line indent code to produce ordered lists.

Deal with lists within lists.

At the end of a document, produce the last page if the user presses return.

Put some form of paging into reference and recall lists.

Offer a no blank line spacing option. User defined style sheet?

Use cursor functions (termcap or curses).

Change code to look like a 'more' or 'less' program. Public copies of this program may be available from Antonio Pastore or Roberto Divia.

Offer some kind of editing of the style sheet to the user.

Users Comments

Highlight headings.

Maybe move anchor numbers to the left hand side, rather than after the sensitive text. (Not really a good idea with VMNEWS or YELLOW PAGES because the anchors will be next to other numbers and may look confusing). If numbers are going to be left justified and the anchor text is in a heading, maybe rewrite the HTML as follows to indicate the change in the position of the anchor numbers. Where we use now

<H2><A HREF=.....>......</A></H2> we could use <H2 HREF=.......>.....</H2>. In YELLOW PAGES, when looking to find out more details of a number of a person by selecting the anchor, the number does not go through with it. Maybe invent a new tag which tells the parser to take the sensitive text through with it to the top of the next document or maybe Bernd should change the files.

Be careful of keyword searches inside FIND as they can be confusing as to whether the search is the whole of FIND or just a sub-section of it.