When I first used ConnectedText (CT) I was a little put off by the aesthetics of the program. I am a visual person and how a program looks is almost as important to me as how it functions. In particular the rendition of tables was not good, I use tables a lot and the default rendering of tables in CT was such that the text was crammed together and the borders of the cells were too close to the text. The whole thing looked very claustrophobic and to me this is oppressive.
I have been using the program now for several years without realising that how much those aesthetics could be changed. I have known for some time that the page rendering was controlled by a CSS file but all the CSS files which are included in the installation package had the same shortcomings to a greater or lesser degree.
Now I must admit that my harsh judgement of the aesthetics of CT was unjustified and it was my own fault that I did not realise this.
The developer of CT, Eduardo Mauro, made a comment on the forum that he had fully implemented the CSS1 standard and partially implemented CSS2. So I started investigating and found out that it was true.
I have written a new CSS file which uses as many of the facilities as I could get to work and I have commented it thoroughly (well actually I wrote five but they are identical apart from the colour schemes).
It turns out that tables can be beautifully rendered in CT. Amongst other things you can set the distance from the text to the cell border on all four sides independently. You can set the thickness of the borders, the colour of the borders both inside and outside, you can set the background colours of the tables and you can define new types of table which can be given a name and used within CT.
If all this is possible then why are the default CSS files which come with CT so dull and unimaginative. The look of the program is the first thing a new user sees and for those people who are visual thinkers like myself (thinking in visual patterns instead of words, wierd, go figure) the appearance of the rendered page will have a huge impact.
But it gets even better in that you can set which CSS file a page uses by a simple command on that page and also you can write a simple python program which sets which sets the CSS file depending on an attribute or property of a page, the possibilities are endless.
When I first tried CT I didn’t konw how much power lay behind the facade. I have found out that there is enormous power behind the facade. But now I have discovered that the facade itself may be re-moddeled.
This is wonderful!