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(Archived) A very annoyed user


bryanschmiedeler

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I have been an Endnote user for over a year now. I am even a paying customer. I am very very upset and need to vent.

I had yet another problem with text handling in Endnote. A note started randomly underlying text after I put in a hyperlink, and even after I deleted it, text will get underlined. Clicking the underline toggle does nothing.

I checked and I posted about the problems with the text rendering engine before (on June 11 2008). I understood from a reply that the text engine in the Mac version had problems and this was a high priority for engineering and it would be fixed in a future release. The engineer gave me a workaround for one problem - always use Ariel medium - and this helped.

But for me, the future is, if not NOW, then very very soon.

Frankly I am ready to abandon a product I really like and look for an alternative. Let's be frank, the text engine in the Mac version is broken. It does not work. I know that is harsh criticism, but when I find myself, EVERYDAY, and I man EVERYDAY, modifying how I enter TEXT into an application to work around bugs, then it is broken. Full stop. It is not acceptable to make users think more about how they will get text into the tool than thinking about the text they are getting into the tool. Maybe this is the wrong product for me. I don't want it to OCR text I put in front of my iSight camera, I want to be able to capture notes and pictures and URLs. And when I write that, I mean I want it to do it without having to remember to use Ariel medium because I use the web version, to not mix URLs and text, etc etc etc.

OK you get my point. And I understand the engineering challenges to write a cross-platform and web based client are non-trivial. But the foundation of the product (at least on the mac side) is BROKEN. It does not work. I do not care about adding attachments when I cannot get text into my client.

Please, when is this going to be addressed. If I see one more release of Evernote on the Mac that adds any feature without fixing this, the product is gone from my Mac (and my girlfirend's).

There is SO much promise in this product, but I believe this is going to eventually kill your reputation on the Mac (and while I am at it, how about you stop sending out emails asking us to vote to make Evernote Product of the year or win this award or whatever)....

I am a paying customer, albeit 5 bucks isn't much I realize.

Bryan

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Yes, that was a slip. I think I wrote the original note very early in the morning, but I was an Endnote user a long long time ago - heck I used it with Word 5.1a, a great word processor.

Again this morning I tried to use tabs or something in Evernote and it just didn't work. As far as I am concerned the table feature should be yanked, as it is useless. I create a table, but cannot determine how (or if) it is possible to add and delete rows and columns. Now maybe it is possible; if it is not, then who decided to add that feature? If it is, then how could I have discovered how to do it for myself. As a developer, I think of what the user is going to try to do that is not obvious and make sure *figuring* out how to do it is as obvious as possible. So here I am, Mr. User, and I create a table. I need a new row. I right click on a row, which is one standard way to do it, but no go. I look at the toolbar, nothing there, I see if I can add something, nothing there, I look at the menus, but can't find anything. I go to help and it takes me to a page on the Internet (that's fine to do that) that is really half marketing and half help, with a slant to marketing. I would respectfully ask Mr. Engberg (who by the way is very patient and has something like 3300 posts on these forums) to try out the help system on a normal user - you know the old Mom test.

But back to the main thread about the text engine - I feel your pain. The dilemma I think the product faces is that the company has decided it should be cross platform so they have adopted a lowest common denominator approach to certain things, one of which is text editing. The result is that the product has some incredible "high-end" features yet completely fails, and I am not being unduly harsh in the slightest here, in very very very basic functionality - text editing. It's neat and all that I can use my iSight to take a picture of something and it can store it, and even most of the time OCR the text, but if I try to edit it - well sometimes things go bold, I can't use certain fonts etc. You are in essence building a Concorde that can't taxi down a runway. And by my estimation I have edited hundreds and hundreds of lines of text in EverNote everyday for 400, 500 days - and never ONCE scanned anything. Perhaps you should rethink some of your priorities.

The user who suggested looking at the cocoa controls is absolutely on the right track, but Mr. Engberg's response reveals the problem. As a programmer who has dabbled in Cocoa, the text editor is unbelievable - it is just *there* - plunk it into your program and you get the equivalent of TextEdit for free - and TextEdit is nothing to sneeze about. Apple is trying to extend this to the web with SpoutCore (http://www.appleinsider.com/articles/08 ... e_web.html) and others are trying to do the same as well. One or more of these will mature into a fantastic cross-platform tool, if there isn't one already. If I were an Evernote engineer I would be all over that. Do you all use WebKit for the windows product? I don't *think* so because for awhile I tried to use both my Mac client at home, Windows at work, and the results were not pretty, and I remember that the Mac quirks were not in the Windows client. Since you are going to be cross platform, find a cross platform tool kit and use it cross platform, and I mean, Windows and Mac, and browser-wise. There are several great Ajax kits out there that I have seen and worked with some that seem to have * great* text editors that work on a variety of browsers. Find the best one for your needs and use that.

I hope this does not come off sounding too bossy, and I of course could be completely wrong, but I *think* looking in from the outside that you have an engineering issue that you desperately need to address, not by tinkering, but by a structured survey of the available toolkits. Then pick one and go. I say this as a paying user who LOVED the product and is now actively trying to abandon it by looking for a replacement, who has went from an evangelizer to a critic. I think a year is plenty of time to wait to be able to do basic text editing. I was and am very patient, especially when I posted questions and got feedback that the company was working on the problem. But as I saw release after release go by with no improvement, just more features, and ESPECIALLY as I read items in the RSS Feed where you were congratulating yourselves on what an incredible product you had when I couldn't PROCESS TEXT - well one can eventually get kind of miffed.

In fairness, what Mr. Engberg said in one reply to this thread was absolutely correct - the product is a place for all your stuff, in free form fashion. It is not a pure text editor.

"But my understanding is that the mixed nature of our notes makes it hard to use anything less than a full HTML editor like WebKit. E.g. a single note could have multiple images, audio clips, PDF documents, and file attachments ... all placed inline in a specific location in the note (possibly in tables, etc.). We currently accomplish all of this by describing the note structure via HTML and then displaying an appropriate embedded control for the various types of media that can be contained in our notes."

But this can be done today. Take a look at Lotus Notes. Some people hate it, but I can do everything you describe above in a vanilla document in LN, and it will work on a Mac and Windows and Ubuntu and even on the web. So it is not impossible.

Anyway, thanks for listening.

Bryan

My technical opinion is that since the decision

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I share these frustrations. As I have written elsewhere:

o Text is a note will sometimes become bold and/or change colors while I am not even touching the keyboard

o I still cannot enter a horizontal rule in a note on one computer and have it show up in that note on another computer.

o The same is true of carriage returns.

o Selecting All in a note often changes it all to the same color and bold-faced. This can happen while dragging to select or using CMD-A

o And all of the above happen SOMETIMES but not always, making it impossible to avoid problem behaviors.

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If I see one more release of Evernote on the Mac that adds any feature without fixing this, the product is gone from my Mac

While I'm not exactly to the point of ultimatums, Bryan's on target here. Why is it that I see update after update coming to the iPhone/iPod Touch version of Evernote, but this basic and crucial problem on the OS X version seems to get no fixes? Not all of your customers use Evernote as a repository for just pictures and files. I use it to organize a ton of text, and I'm starting to look for other options, just like Bryan.

Please, fix the text editing engine. Get the basics down before you worry about frills.

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Here's a makeshift solution

With the time, the EN editor has become a little bit better. (i repeat: little)

Your solution i a good idea, but most of the time, it does not work.

I copied text from everywhere to everywhere (almost all applications on my mac/windows pc which can handle text in any way) just to have the simplest text editor formatting conserved. speaking with EN words: it's so simple. it simply does not work. ;->

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Here's a makeshift solution for the disappearing carriage returns, when transferring text from EverNote to another program, such as Word.

1. Select and copy the text.

2. Open a new email message and paste the EN text into the body of the email.

3. Select and copy the text in the email message.

4. Paste it wherever you like.

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We're doing a lot of work on text editing for the next release. That said, a full hypertext editor is never going to be 100% free of every quirk and odd side effect. MS Word has been around for decades, and each version still has minor editing bugs and quirks. So we'll keep plugging away at the problems we find, but bryan's requirement for 100% bug free software on every single release is a bit ambitious.

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Mr. Engberg,

Your last post disappointed and angered me.

Please point out where I said that every release should be 100% bug free. I did not say or imply that. I am a programmer, I know that software is never bug free (in fact there are proofs that show that you can never know for certain that you have written bug free software). And I strongly agree with the previous poster:

"While I'm not exactly to the point of ultimatums, Bryan's on target here. Why is it that I see update after update coming to the iPhone/iPod Touch version of Evernote, but this basic and crucial problem on the OS X version seems to get no fixes? Not all of your customers use Evernote as a repository for just pictures and files. I use it to organize a ton of text, and I'm starting to look for other options, just like Bryan."

The text editing on the Mac is still broken. And there have been many many releases that trumphet web features or mobile phone features. Please can you tell me what text editing enhancements to the Mac have occurred since this thread began?

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The Mac team is working from a three-page list of text editing requirements for this upcoming release to make the client feel like a solid text editor as you copy and paste, type, etc. Regular podcast listeners (victims?) will note that text editing was my top personal gripe on the current podcast, and it's our top priority for the current Mac release.

Evernote will continue to do interesting things across multiple platforms, and this is unrelated to work done on the Mac. The people working on the Palm Pre release programming in HTML+Javascript+CSS on WebOS are completely different people with different skillsets than our Mac Objective-C + Cocoa ninjas.

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The latest update of EverNote has worked wonders for me.

My main problem is that I want to import formatted text and graphics created in other programs, and previously EN has (often but not always) converted the text portion of those files to all black (or brown) and unformatted.

Now the color-formatting of text is faithfully maintained and I can see only two defects.

1. All text is bold-faced.

2. Some of the Carriage Returns are dropped, so that my double-spacing becomes single-spacing.

Hoping for further improvements eventually, I can live with this.

Thank you, EverNinjas.

Earl

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I know you don't come to my work and tell me how to do my thing, but I was idly wondering if the desktop Evernote Mac app could use a Cocoa text view instead of Webkit. So many Mac apps use this, and many users want its built in abilities as default behavior, even if they don't know they are using it.

I'm no expert, but I did this tutorial at http://cocoadevcentral.com/d/learn_cocoa/, and the text view certainly seems powerful enough. I'm sure your product is made the way it is for many good reasons.

Apologies for backseat driving!

Best regards,

Randy

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Randy -

Thanks for the suggestion. I haven't programmed on a Mac in 16 years, but my understanding is that the mixed nature of our notes makes it hard to use anything less than a full HTML editor like WebKit. E.g. a single note could have multiple images, audio clips, PDF documents, and file attachments ... all placed inline in a specific location in the note (possibly in tables, etc.). We currently accomplish all of this by describing the note structure via HTML and then displaying an appropriate embedded control for the various types of media that can be contained in our notes.

However, I'll definitely pass this along to our Mac developers. Your tutorial looks very useful.

Thanks

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Dave - hang in there, mate ;) You're doing a great job of fielding the comments and complaints on these forums, so first let me say how much your interaction is appreciated on here.

That is much more direct support than we get from many companies!

I guess the first step towards progress is acknowledging that there is a problem, and you have done that. Kudos to you for that.

The text editing quirks are minor, IMHO, and more of an occasional annoyance in my experience, rather than a life-shattering fault. But I agree that work needs to be done - and so do you. I use the Windows, the Mac, and the iPhone versions of EN, and they are all different, each with their own foibles. Once you have finished working on the Windows client, to make it much more similar to the Mac client, then working on making BOTH clients more robust in the text-editing dept would be a high-priority goal, methinks.

The original poster, Bryan, makes some excellent points, and it is good to see that the thread stops short of degenerating into a slanging match. Nobody wins that way.

And the attitude of Dave and the Evernote team should see them through the evolutionary stages to the point where EN is a truly cross-platform indispensable app.

Keep up the good work :)

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I wanted to agree that text formatting on the Mac is a big priority with me. While I love the audio notes and the ability to save graphics, 90% of what I do is typing notes, and basic formatting that is reliable is really helpful.

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Thanks for the feedback. Last week's bug fix release didn't actually include most of the text handling changes that we're working on. So a lot of what you're looking for is still on track for the next non-bugfix release.

Thanks

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First time to this thread, I have two little nibbles:

1. This is the first that I have heard the "Use Arial Medium and some of the problems will fade" suggestion. Thank you for sharing this tip.

I went in and selected some of my notes and changed them to Arial Medium... but upon saving and syncing, they switched to Helvetica X-Small. So I'm not sure exactly how to put this tip into effect... but maybe if I take all my text, put it in TextEdit, convert it to Plain Text, and then copied and pasted and selected all and changed it to Arial Medium, THEN it would eliminate all the formatting artifacts that I assume are part of the problem... I'll play with that.

2. Someone above discussed how Evernote has picked the "lowest common denominator" in text editing in order to facilitate multi-platform development.

I would actually really like this approach, were it true. Which it is not. Evernote has no plain-text editing mode. (Yes, I know that "plain text" is often a misnomer, etc., but still!)

Anyway, if Evernote developers find that they can NOT develop a good cross-platform text-editing solution, I would be happy if they'd just give us a plain text editing or code-view editing feature. Make it a tiny, optional button if they want... it would solve every single one of these problems, for me at least.

In other words, if Evernote decides that the tools they need to do a proper text editor just don't exist yet, then please give us a way of stripping out all the widgety fanciful feature stuff. Give us a code-level text editor option. I'd keep all my notes in it, frankly. I'd keep novels and short stories in it. Fancy output formatting is for Word or your other "end-product-publishing" program, not Evernote. The words are what matter, not the font.

All the best to the team and the community,

I still believe that Evernote, and programs like Evernote, are the future of all computer software, everywhere.

Douglas

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as you are working to improve the editor, is there any way I can get access to the underlying HTML so I can fix the formatting? I simply cannot fix the formatting problems in a long note I just completed using the EN editor - in either the Windows or web editor.

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Thanks for the feedback. We agree that the text editing engine in both of the clients needs some work to improve the experience of direct text editing.

The text input area in the client is an embedded "WebKit" control, which is used in Apple's Safari and Mail.app to display rich text content (with images, formatting, etc.). This means that the control is good at handling HTML, but the default behavior of the WebKit engine for plain text editing is quirky since it's trying to balance the requirements of HTML behind the scenes. We need to do special work to try to change its default handling of various text entry behavior to be closer to what someone might expect from (e.g.) a word processor. We've done a lot of this work already to make it as usable as it is now, but we need to do more to deal with issues of text layout from plaintext sources, etc.

Thanks

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I agree that the text editing capabilities in Evernote keep it from becoming part of my workflow. The odd behaviors across the board are just abysmal. I remain hopeful that these issues will be addressed (eventually??) and will put Evernote front and center on my dock when they are.

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Endnote

Endnote? Was that a lapsus?

Anyway, I agree with you that Evernote for editing notes is not the best tool in the OSX ecosystem. Evernote is more an universal inbox... only if it played more nicely with other OSX apps.

Hope they will get this fixed soon.

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NightStalker -

Thanks for the positive words, but I know that even a "minor" problem can be very irritating if it's the one thing standing in the way of getting your job done. I've used foul language several times myself when I've tried to paste a nicely formatted SQL query from a text editor into Evernote and lost it all, so I feel your pain!

Thanks

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Dave!! Foul language? You??? Whatever next :(

Seriously - it's good to hear that you have the same problems, and that they are therefore reproducible, even if they ARE inconsistent and intermittent.

I just pasted a whole article into EN, only to find that it had degenerated into 3 different fonts and sizes - go figure!

A simple Cmd-A to select all, then change the font to my preferred font and size at the top of the editing window fixed it, and it seems to "hold" the settings once that has been done within the EN text editor. At least for me.

So - pasting, or typing text in from scratch MAY result in the spontaneous reformatting of font and size. But once the font and/or size has been set BY the text editor controls, it seems to stick.

Hope that assessment is correct for others as well as me, and that it may help to track down the problem.

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Last week's bug fix release didn't actually include most of the text handling changes that we're working on. So a lot of what you're looking for is still on track for the next non-bugfix release.

hi all,

i wonder, if this release came out the last time? because here, the mentioned "bugs" still keeping me away from using EN as a texteditor for my notes.

cheers,

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My main problem in all this concerns daily journals, which have a lot of color-coding of text and photos.

The photos transfer fine.

Sometimes the whole journal transfers fine.

Most often the text is all black; or, unaccountably, bold-brown.

This morning, I have been experimenting with copying and pasting small chunks at a time and it is working fine. It's laborious but it produces the effect.

Hope this observation may suggest something about the problem (and solution).

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