25 February 2008

More about Clippings 3.0 features

Here are more details on the new features introduced in Clippings 3.0.

Common Clippings Data for Firefox and Thunderbird

This much-requested feature allows your Clippings data to be created, accessed and modified from both Firefox and Thunderbird. That means that a clipping created in Firefox will be visible in Thunderbird; a clipping created in Firefox that is modified in Thunderbird will be updated in Firefox, too; etc.

This feature will be enabled by default for users who have never had Clippings installed in Firefox and Thunderbird. If you are upgrading from a previous version of Clippings, you can choose to keep your Clippings data separate in Firefox and Thunderbird, or you can enable common clippings by running the Common Clippings Wizard (Clippings Manager, Options → Common Clippings) from both Firefox and Thunderbird.

Placeholders In Clippings

You can now define placeholders inside a clipping that you will be prompted to fill in when you paste the clipping. Placeholders are essentially variables that appear in the clipping text in the format $[variable_name]. Valid variable names can contain letters (lowercase or uppercase), digits (0-9) and underscores. Example clipping with placeholders:
Hello, $[YourName], I'm glad you're coming to the club meeting at $[meeting_time]. See you $[2nite]!
When you paste a clipping with placeholders, you will be prompted to fill in the value for each placeholder in the clipping. If you want the placeholders in the clipping pasted exactly as they are, with no prompting and substitution, the clipping name should be prefixed with [NOSUBST].

There are six predefined placeholders you can use in your clippings; these predefined placeholders will be automatically substituted with their expected values when you paste the clipping.
  • $[NAME] - the name of the clipping
  • $[FOLDER] - the name of the folder the clipping belongs to
  • $[DATE] - the current date, expressed in the format defined in your system's locale settings
  • $[TIME] - the current time, expressed in the format defined in your system's locale settings
  • $[HOSTAPP] - the name and version number of the host application you're pasting the clipping in
  • $[UA] - the user agent string of the host application

Default Clippings

System administrators and redistributors can bundle a default Clippings datasource file into a customized Clippings XPI to pre-populate their users' datasources when they install the customized XPI. To create a customized XPI, do the following:
  1. Download the Clippings 3.0 XPI and save it to a location on your system.
  2. Unzip the XPI using a ZIP client such as WinZip. Make sure that the directory structure in the XPI file (actually a ZIP archive with an .xpi file name extension) is intact.
  3. Copy a Clippings datasource file containing the default Clippings data to the defaults directory and rename it clippak.rdf.
  4. Re-zip the XPI archive; the directory structure and all files that were in the XPI must be preserved.
When the user installs the customized XPI, the default Clippings data will be automatically imported when starting the host application (Firefox or Thunderbird) after the installation.

Create and organize the default clippings using Clippings Manager, then export the data to a Clippings file. A new, standalone utility is in the works that will let you view and edit Clippings files without disturbing your personal Clippings data.

Other Things You Should Know About
  • If, before migrating to the common Clippings data source, you have a large number of clippings and folders in the root Clippings folder, migrating from Firefox and Thunderbird may result in a larger number of clippings and folders in the common data source, resulting in a rather lengthy Clippings submenu in the host application's context menu. Consider organizing your clippings (deleting unneeded clippings from the root folder and moving clippings to folders) before running the migration utility.
  • Sometimes, if the common Clippings data source is enabled and you make changes to a clipping from Clippings Manager invoked from one host app and then switch to another instance of Clippings Manager from the other host app, the update from the first host app may not be reflected in Clippings Manager from the second host app. Use Options → Reload to update the display.
  • The Redo (a.k.a. "Undo Undo") function key in Clippings Manager has changed as of milestone release 2.99.3; the function key is now F2.

No comments: