Amaya design

I think that for some uses Amaya is the best HTML document editor. The
advantage as HTML editor is that you can organize your documents in a
non hierarchical way, navigate across them or share it with other people
in the Web. That is better than editing single documents with
OpenOffice. But it have some problems related with its architecture.

The first problem is that in the Web we don't see documents as the
building blocks for content. Even in content oriented CMS as Plone you
see the emphasis in portlets and viewlets. That means that building
blocks for sites are sub-documents that are combined and showed along
the site. Also pages have more functionalities. You can filter documents
by tags, select date ranges or find documents. That features are
completely necessary for web sites today.

I have wrote some sites using Amaya and running some scripts to
reorganize documents, generate site structure and other thinks. Also I
mix the static pages with content generated dynamically for some
specific views. But it was to much work, and now I'm migrating sites to
Plone. Now that I'm writing some documents in Plone I note that I really
hate editing content in the Plone text editor and in any other web CMS.
To edit documents Amaya is the best.

Another interesting application to manage documents is Zim wiki. It is a
desktop wiki that you can use to edit notes (as with Tom Boy) or to edit
collaborative documentation using Bazar to manage versions and merge
branches. I think that there are a lot of features of Zim that can be
ported to Amaya. Some of them are:

1. Creating documents from links (as in a wiki).
2. Renaming or moving nodes updates all incoming references.
3. Attaching files also store that files.
4. Having several plugins.
5. Synchronization with versioning systems (now it only supports bzr).
6. Integrating several nodes in a same documentation project.

I think that the most important difference between Amaya and other tools
to develop content is the point 6. Amaya is a page editor. Zim and Plone
are tools to develop sites. Today you need today a tool to develop
sites, that means to edit several documents as a whole.

I haven't see the code, but maybe the second problem is its monolithic
architecture. It is necessary to get rid of the SVG editor for the core.
We don't need to edit SVG in Amaya, we can do it in Inkscape, or other
featured SVG editor. Maybe that kind of features must be implemented as

I was experimenting with the Amaya template system, XTiger, and I have
proposed an alternative template system in my engineering thesis. But
now I think that we need tools to manage microformats in another Way.
With XTiger microformats you have each document related with one
template. Now that you needs is to write objects inside documents and
that objects could be managed with several templates. This is the point
where templates compete with JavaScript. In the current Web lot of
content edition is made with JavaScript and server side processing. The
question is: Where to implement that features? in a editor as Amaya or
in JavaScript? You can implement several features of Amaya in JavaScript
delegating the problem of rendering the HTML to common browsers, but in
that case you lost the power to edit any document as you like, because
the editor will be set in documents. For me the question is open.

Daniel Hernández

Received on Wednesday, 28 December 2011 17:52:34 UTC