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Issue 011 - Sep 28, 2002



Welcome to Ken Clarke.

Just to get things rolling, I'd like to welcome the latest addition to the programming team here at ol' interactivetools.com: Ken Clarke.

Previous to joining our merry band, Ken was both a freelance Perl programmer and a scuba diving instructor; some kind of underwater programming teacher or something. Hmm, I'll have to check my notes on that; he might have done the two activities separately.

Anyway, Ken will be working to improve our existing products and helping out with the development of brand new ones. I'm sure you'll see him shortly on the Forum, but if you want you can send him a welcome at mailto:ken@interactivetools.com.


Article Manager 1.21 Released - Major Update!

As you recall we made some major updates to Article Manager to add archiving and some rebranding. During August we added our WYSIWYG editor, editable admin templates and much more.

ARTICLE MANAGER - version 1.21 (August 23, 2002) (includes 1.2 features as well)
WYSIWYG Editor - writers can now create article content with a WYSIWYG editor to add formatting. Read the next article for a full description of this functionality. Note: WYSIWYG editor requires IE5.5 on windows.

Editable Admin Templates - all of the administration templates for Article Manager are now HTML files that you can edit however you like. There are two major purposes for this: translate them into other languages, and to customize the interface for your client.

Other features:

      • You can now specify exact article filenames.
      • Spare fields increased to 20.
      • New spare field types: text field, textarea, WYSIWYG, pulldown, checkbox.
      • Summary and Content fields may now be disabled, or changed into WYSIWYG fields.
      • Uploaded image max now increased to 25.
      • You can now sort by many different fields, not just by date.

See a full list of changes here.

Updates are always free, so, if you want to receive the latest edition, visit this page.

Fill out the form and we'll email you the latest version of the software.

If you want more information on Article Manager, visit this page.


It's both new and free. Download htmlArea today.

We've decided to release our WYSIWYG editor component for Article Manager as a free tool you can add to your own site - so, let me introduce htmlArea.

htmlArea

htmlArea will let you turn any <textarea> form field into a rich text WYSIWYG editor with just a single line of Javascript. Instead of teaching your software users how to code basic HTML to format their content, they can use htmlArea to:

      • Format text to be bold, italicized, or underlined.
      • Change the face, size and colour.
      • Left, centre, or right-justify paragraphs.
      • Make bulleted or numbered lists.
      • Indent or un-indent paragraphs
      • Insert a horizontal line.
      • Insert hyperlinks and images.
      • View the raw HTML source of what they're editing.

Note: htmlArea does require IE5.5+ on Windows, but, it's completely backwards compatible with older browsers (they still get the plaintext textarea box).

htmlArea is provided by interactivetools.com completely free. You can even modify the source code for your own purposes, all we ask is that you don't remove the 'about this editor' [ ? ] button when you incorporate it into your webpages.

For more information, please take a look on our website.

Because it's free, we can't offer support for the software; however, we're still pretty active on our interactive Forums, so post any comments, questions, or suggestions you have there.

And speaking of our Forum...


Forum topics of interest.

I'm always surfing our Discussion Forum, searching out the most useful discussions to bring to your attention. Here's what I uncovered this month.

expressandstar.com After only a little coaxing, agoldstraw reveals some of the clever tricks employed to build the Express & Star website - a very impressive job of customizing Article Manager.

Database API (for programmers)
If you're a Perl programmer and want to create software that interacts with the Article Manager database, visit this thread to download our developer codebase.

Here's a link to the API for Realty Manager.

Comments Script - what features?
First, Dave Edis gathered your feedback about what kind of comments script you'd like us to create so website visitors can post brief messages onto your news stories.

Then he created a special script that allows visitors to post comments on stories published on your website. The current version lets you connect Article Manager stories to your existing discussion forum (like vBulletin).

Tell a friend mod
Several technical Article Manager users conspired together to create a "Send to a Friend" script. Follow the discussion here.

Also, we re-arranged our forums a little. We've had so much interest in creating add-ons for article manager that we've created a separate forum just for that.


Cool trick to make your screen more readable.

I was exploring the some of the display settings of my Windows XP software when I stumbled across an interesting feature - Cleartype. It's a handy utility that smooths out the fonts on your screen for better readability. Although it's best for LCD screens, I find it easier on the eyes with my CRT screen.

Not only that, but I found it hilarious to install it on everyone else's screens here at the office without telling them. They knew something was different, but they couldn't put their finger on it.

Here's what Microsoft has to say:

"Microsoft ClearType is an unprecedented innovation in font display technology that dramatically improves font display resolution and marks a genuine breakthrough in screen readability."

It's not too often you get a chance to try out an "unprecedented innovation", or even a "genuine breakthrough", so, visit their Cleartype page.

And install it onto your computer.


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