May 162013

I’ve released OK-Writer 1.4! The latest version of my Mac OS X word processor aimed at children and others who need a simplified user interface for word processing. The new version has new retina-quality icons, improved user interface layout, full-screen mode support, and other improvements.

OK-Writer 1.4 screen shot

One of the things I’m particularly proud of is the unforeseen use of OK-Writer by people with disabilities, especially vision problems. Its speak-as-you-write features have proven useful for the disabled. That’s a great source of personal pride for me.

To get a little more specific about what’s changed in this version other than the retina icons, I’ve spruced up some of the innards a bit to prepare for some future work I’m planning to do, and obviously the background is no longer brushed metal, but is a lovely periwinkle-like blue. I’ve fixed a couple of minor bugs, and the buttons don’t drift around slightly crazily when you resize the window anymore.

Full-screen mode has proven popular with Sophie, too. I may do some experiments with ways to make that experience better and/or more fun in the future. I made sure to make that code conditional so that the program still works on OS X 10.6 upward.

I did drop PowerPC support in this release, and I dropped support for Mac OS X 10.3 through 10.5. But this version is built as a 32/64-bit Universal binary. It was time to cut the cord on some of the older Macs, but the older version of OK-Writer is still available on my web site for people who need it.

 Posted by at 10:29 AM
May 132013

A key step in the documentation process is the review. The Mozilla Developer Network (MDN) developer documentation team aspires to perform two types of review on each article on the wiki:

A technical review involves having someone with technical expertise in the article’s subject area read the article and ensure that it’s factually and technically accurate. This means making sure our explanations of the subject matter are right and make sense to the developers, as well as ensuring that any code samples are implemented correctly.

An editorial review is where someone reads the article and corrects any typos, grammatical mistakes, or stylistic or layout problems they can find.

When writing an article (or editing an existing article), there are checkboxes that let you request each of these types of review on your article; indeed, both of these flags are enabled by default for any newly-created page. Yellow banners are displayed at the top of the page to let readers know that these flags are set, as appropriate.

In the past, the only way to remove the review requests (for example, if you’ve read the article and didn’t see any factual errors) was to click the Edit button, scroll to the checkbox for the editorial review, toggle it off, and save the article.

Now there’s a better way!

Now, on pages with one or both of these review flags set, you’ll see a new “Quick review” box at the bottom of the article. This box looks like this:

Screenshot of the quick review box on MDN

The MDN Quick Review box.

All you have to do if you’ve completed a review is to turn on the appropriate checkbox(es) and click “Confirm Reviews.” The review is recorded and you have our gratitude for your help!

If you’d like to actually hunt down and take care of articles in need of review, there’s an easy way to find them:

I’m hopeful that this streamlined approach to reviews will help encourage subject-matter experts to review content, and will help casual users of MDN get involved by reviewing content as well. We have some improvements planned for future updates to MDN that will make this even better, but this is a great start, and I’m grateful to our development team for putting this together!

 Posted by at 1:42 PM