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The right way to do it.

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Once upon a time, a long long time ago before the advent of Wikipedia, several sleepy computer science graduates tried to grapple with the eminently simple syntax of HTML and failed. They sought a method to make HTML easier. And they came up with a code system similar to what Wikipedia uses today, but overly complex. They devised codes for ordinary text files that would result in HTML tags when finally parsed.

This sounded fine and great. The only caveat was that the user, instead of just buckling down and learning basic HTML, had to learn another syntax instead. And still wouldn't understand HTML if needed.

Utter fail.

Then there was a computing science teacher who wrote a book. And he tried to show people how they could devise their own text editors ripe with HTML commands. The only snag here was that it was all hard coded into the application itself and therefore totally lacking in flexibility.

Utter fail again.

Then came RxTemplates. RxTemplates are bits of text (of any size) you can put into your text editor (or text field) at the 'caret' - at your insertion point. The system works independently of client code. No application code is touched in any way. It all happens by magic.

A previous brief look at RxTemplates from May 2010 is available here.


The Clients

Currently there are three ACP applications using RxTemplates: Outbox, PlistEdit, and Rixedit. Conceivably almost all ACP applications could use it. All you need is a text view or a text field somewhere. You 'activate' the client app by adding two lines to its Info.plist.


Of course you can deactivate the client app by changing the value to '<false/>' or by removing the lines altogether.

Once you start an activated client app, you'll see a new menu item on the Window menu.

You either select the menu item 'Templates' or use the keyboard shortcut ⌘Y. You'll see a popup appear on the right of your screen. You can move and resize this popup all you want - that setting is particular to the client app you're running.

You then double-click a template in the popup list to put its corresponding text in your text at the insertion point.

The contents of your templates popup is managed by the application TempEdit. Don't forget to save your changes with ⌘S. You can put as much text as you want in the second field of this application's edit sheet.

Try out TempEdit to see how easy this is. Make opening and closing tags for the most common HTML syntax elements such as <html></html>, <body></body>, and so forth. Some of these tags are already given for you.

RxTemplates doesn't replace an easy learning curve with another steeper learning curve. Right there it saves you time. And what it also does is cut down considerably on the typing you need to do, streamlining your work flow.

Remember: RxTemplates works only with ACP applications. But it's universal in that regard. You don't even have to remember where your templates are stored (but you're told anyway). You simply fire up TempEdit, add and modify as you like, then save and exit and start your client app again.

You might need a day or two to get used to it. But once you do, you'll never go back. This one's a winner, folks.

See Also
TempEdit: On Your Mark
ACP Gurus: Lots More Ways to Leave Your Lover

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