h a l f b a k e r y
Renovating the wheel
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Step 1: Develop a set of tools that can
operate on the text that is in a
clipboard. Things like 'change case', 'sort
lines in to alphabetical order', 'swap
windows/unix/mac line endings'. Little
things that make life easier. Write them
into the operating system so that they
available across all apps. Now I imagine
this is fully baked as a third party add-on
for major operating systems. That's OK...
it's not the idea.
Step 2: In the API spec for the operating
system, include a specification for any
program that deals with text to expose
the text that is
highlighted in a
standard way. This becomes the 'almost
the clipboard' text and can have all the
tools hinted at in step 1 applied to it.
Now *that* is the idea.
All the text fields and edit boxes in the
apps* on your operating
system become capable of all kinds of
processing that they previously couldn't
do and, if you implement this with a
plug-in architechture, can also be
do useful tasks that are specific to you.
*well, those written to take advantage of
this, at least.
Looking at the services menu, it seems
like OSX is already capable of half of this
-- it can take the text that is highlighted
and pass it to another app without your
copying it to the clipboard. As far as I am
aware, there is no return path so
although you could highlight a list and
alphasort it in an external app, you'd still
have to paste it back in manually.
||<irritating paper clip> I'm trying hard to imagine why I'd want to use, say, a disk defrag program as a word-processor (or vice-versa, for that matter). Have I misunderstood? </ipc>
||Possibly. Have amended the idea to
make it a little
clearer. This applies to any app that has
text field. So, the text boxes in your
browser and the edit fields of your
email program and address book would
gain functionality as
would all your text editors and word
processors. If you had any text input
on your defrag program you might be
to use this functionality there. I, like
can't see that as a place where these
features would be useful, though.
||I think it would be immensely useful to be able to spellcheck audio data that I happen to have selected, then sort it according to today's Frozen Orange Juice and Pork Bellies prices before emailing it to my hard drive's filesystem.
||I had a program called View Clipboard on one computer, but I found it better to just open a Notepad window and muck with the text there. How is this idea better than cut-and-paste into a text processor? The only time that fails is in pasting passwords, I think.
||I just like the idea of being able to
list of names I'm entering in a text box
my web browser and do so with a few
keystrokes rather than staring another
and pasting the text back and forth.
||I did think of adding similar
functionality to other data types that
might get highlighted but figured I'd
better take things one step at a time.