MATLAB Answers

Jan
11

Strange behavior of the editor in the forum

Asked by Jan
on 7 Jan 2019
Latest activity Commented on by Rik
on 7 Sep 2019
The editor in the forum is still driving me crazy. With the old version I could at least type my messages in an external editor, but now the text field is too smart to allow this.
When I type some code (Ctrl-E to enter the code style, then "for i = 1:10"), the editor is such smart, that it adds an "end" automatically. But I do not want such an "end", because my example is clear already without it. After this line, I press Enter and Ctrl-E again to leave the code style. Now I have to spend some time to get rid of the "end".
Sometimes the text field seems to loose the focus partially. I've tested this in Firefox only: While the typed characters appear in the text field, Firefox interpretes the keystrokes also and scrolls through the page exhaustively, such that I cannot see, what I type anymore. I type some characters blindly and scroll back to check, if it is correct. With the next keystroke the page is scrolled again. This is extremely annoying.
When I leave the code style, there are a certain number of spaces infront of the cursor. Trying to delete them let me exceed the first character frequently, such that I delete the code style before. Therefore I need to use "Pos 1" at first, then "Shift+End" to mark all spaces, "Delete" to remove them and then I can start typing from the first character.
It is hard to insert a link, but even worse to insert a string without formatting. Because I appreciate the correct spelling of names of persons, I copy&paste the names from the display by copy&paste. Unfortunately the editor is such smart, that it inserts a link automatically and I need a bunch of keystrokes to make it a standard text. I should append a move of this, because during the editing some parts of the string disappear intermediately and reappear magically, when a space is added.
This feels very weird. I have not seen such a crazy and unintuitive editor before. Typing answers in the forum increases my stress level, because the interface does not treat keyboard inputs like any other software.
What a pity, that the field for typing is not recognized as text field anymore, such that the auto-spell-correction of the browser does not work. I apologize for all of my typos.
There are many forums with working editors for text, links, code and citations. Markdown, BBCode etc. are established methods. Matlab Answers has problems with the interface for many years now. It is time to fix and simplify this until it works, instead of making it smarter and cooler.
Has this topic been diskussed in (sorry, I'm typing blind again, because of the mentioned effects of scrolling away... darn) forum already? Do others suffer from the same problems? Is the editor more intuitive in other browsers than Firefox? Does somebody use an external editor like XEmacs + macros successfully to create answers with copy&paste including links and images?

  24 Comments

Unfortunately I have to say that the problems in Firefox persist. The screen still does not show what you are typing.
On the mobile phone with Chrome, the problems are fixed - On the computer in Firefox, I have the same problems as before - very disappointing.
Jan
on 6 Sep 2019
This is an orphaned comment. I've created it only to check, if it is really true, that I cannot delete comments anymore. Undie Win10/Firefox clicking on the delete icon the browser window is greyed out and I cannot do anything but pressing ESC to active the window again.
The usability of the forum's interface got worse again.
Rik
on 7 Sep 2019
I think this is proof enough that Firefox is not (a large enough) part of the test suite. Chrome on Android and W10 seem to work fine.

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5 Answers

Answer by David
on 8 Jan 2019

MathWorks community developer here: Thank you Jan for starting this thread, and all of you who've responded, for the feedback and active discussion about the update to the editor. We're actively listening to the community conversations and working on resolving many of the issues you point out ASAP.

  17 Comments

Jan
on 28 Mar 2019
The list posted by Walter (link) shows, that this problem is fixed now: No unexpected blank lines anymore. Thanks, David.
I hope the other problems are fixed also, e.g. the surprising scrolling and unexpected effects when inserting links.
Rik
on 28 Mar 2019
This morning I notice a draft mode on mobile that seems to be much like the old editor. This seems to solve the keyboard issue at the very least.
Jan
on 3 May 2019
It still does not work for me (Firefox, Win7/64 and Win10/64): If an answer exceeds a certain size, it is scrolled out of view automatically. So after 4 month the interface for typing messages is still broken. This is very frustrating, because typing gets as confusing as possible - only an implicit ROT13 would be worse.
@MathWorks: Please fix the interface of the forum.

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Answer by Stephen Cobeldick on 13 Feb 2019

Unfortunately the new editor does not work with Windows high-contrast mode, most of the toolbar buttons end up totally blank:
image.png
For those of us with more restricted sight, this is quite a hinderance.

  2 Comments

Jan
on 13 Feb 2019
I'm using the high contrast mode in Win 7 and Win 10. To see the editor in Matlab Answers, I use the Firefox extension "Dark Background and Light Text" wit the setting "Invert". Then the files in the FileExchange are displayed in white font on white background until I enable the "Default" behavior of this extension.
Jan
on 6 Sep 2019
Hi Stephen, I gave your answer 2 votes :-)

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Answer by Jan
on 7 Jun 2019
Edited by Jan
on 7 Jun 2019

5 months later:
Since about a week, at about every 5th or 8th time pressing Ctrl-E my Firefox decides to switch to the first tab instead of activating the code style. This slows down the typing severely, because I have many open tabs and have to search the one I edit in.
I cannot edit links in Firefox anymore: If I press the chain-icon, the contents of the window is grayed out completely, but nothing else happens. I can re-enable the window by pressing escape only. There was a similar problem in the FileExchange also.
In the last 8.5 years the interface of this forum become more and more fragile. Sometimes I have a keyboard delay of more than 1 second today. Sometimes it takes more than 10 minutes before other given answers appear in a thread. I struggle massively with inserting the name of a person for addressing a comment by copy&paste - and in my cultural background calling persons with a correct spelling is important.
When I suggest a code for an if condition, the interface is such smart, that it inserts the end automatically and indents the body. But if only the condition matters, I have to delete the empty body and the end again. If I open a new code box afterwards, the automagic indentation is active. Trying to delete the inserted spaces manually let me fail frequently, because I delete more spaces and move to the previous line, which removed the code box also. Then trying to re-create the code box again with Ctrl-E causes troubles with the tabs of the browser - see above. I must spend a lot of time with removing and fixing the automagically inserted code.
I think it is obvious, that I like to solve Matlab problems, but being impeded by the interface frustrates me for many years now. Sometimes I switch to another forum with an intuitively working interface to calm down. It is supported by one single person in his spare-time. If there is a problem, it takes up to 12 hours until it is fixed. The name of a person is ineserted already, if I press a "cite" button. There I can concentrate on my answers, not on finding workarounds for strange decisions and bugs of the interface.
The MathWork's team has my full respect and they are doing a great job. Contacting them has been very productive in every case. But I speculate that perhaps the management decided for a far to complex interface for the forum and the pile of features causes troubles, which do not let my type simple answers in a dull way. It take months or years to fix problems and until now each step forward introduced more problems than it solves. Perhaps I'm only getting old, but for me the interface is too smart to be useful. The usability should rule.
Currently I cancel about 2 to 5 of my answers per day, when I struggle too hard, e.g. if I fix a wrong indentation the 5th time, because the interface overrides my editings automagically when I type a closing parenthesis. Then I delete my partially written answer and search for a question, which hopefully causes less conflicts between what I want to type and what the interface let me.

  0 Comments

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Answer by ryan jenson on 25 Mar 2019
Edited by ryan jenson on 17 Jun 2019

try turn it into a hyperlink like this site by giving appropriate spacing at the end of the link.
this is what i do .
Hope this is helpful.

  2 Comments

Jan
on 17 Jun 2019
@ryan jenson: Which of the problems should be fixed by this? What exactly is "appropriate spacing"?

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Answer by Jan
on 28 Mar 2019

I can confirm, that the paragraphs are shown correctly now without additional blank lines on top of it. The screen does not scroll away regularily, when a message exceed the screen height, but this happens only sometimes and in 90% of the cases it does not scroll the cursor out of view, but to the bottom line of the window. This problem is still not fixed reliably.
Unfortunately I see a new feature now: a weird growing and blinking cursor appears sometimes, see this screen shot (Win7/64, Firefox 66.0.1/64):
example.gif
When I type, the cursor expands to the right. I do not know why it starts after the "The..." here, but te actual writing cursor is behind the "pro" currently.
It disappears, if I save the message and re-open it for editing.
@MathWorks: The GUI of Matlab Answers does not work reliably and intuitively for many years now. I cannot understand, why a company, which is famous for producing reliable software, is willing to present a broken web interface in public. I haven't seen such troubles in any other internet forum yet.

  1 Comment

Jan
on 7 Jun 2019
This effect did not occur for me in the last 4 weeks anymore.

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