[TextShare] - proposal to make a desktop-wide format for text

Liam R E Quin liam at holoweb.net
Mon Jun 16 16:47:56 PDT 2008

If you try and copy/paste text between different
applications on the Free Desktop, you will experience
sadness, frustration and confusion.

Different programs have different ideas about what
level of structure to support in copy and paste, and
in text in general.  To some extent this is to be expected,
as a MathML or SVG editor isn't the same as a text editor.
But if I select a sentence with bold, italic, a superscript
and a right-to-left quotation, and choose Copy, and go to
another program, and do Paste, I'd like
(1) the same thing to reappear, complete with bold and italic
(2) the same text, including the superscript and RTL text, but
    without the formatting

In some environments both of these are made available, e.g.
as "Paste" and "Paste Formatted".

For this to work, we need cross-desktop agreement on a format
for the text.  Since most clipboard mechanisms let applications
give a list of available formats, this format need not be the
only (or even preferred) format for all applications, but it
should be widely supported.

Rather than proposing a specific format, I thought that it
might be better to propose to make a place where people can
discuss this.

I spoke at the Libre Graphics meeting on this -- see
for the slides, and I think there is also a video or
audio stream from www.libregraphicsmeeting.org for
the truly insane :-)

Maybe we could try here, using [TextShare] as a prefix so
people can filter it out easily, and if it's too noisy maybe
we could use a separate list.



Liam Quin - XML Activity Lead, W3C, http://www.w3.org/People/Quin/
Pictures from old books: http://fromoldbooks.org/
Ankh: irc.sorcery.net irc.gnome.org www.advogato.org

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