This is the result of a conversation with another Novelang user, coming with ideas for a better integration with the desktop environment.

First, as strange as it seems, Novelang is a desktop application. While it embeds a Web server it’s not meant to serve content to remote clients. The support of a Web client is just the fastest approach to give quick preview of files edited in a desktop-integrated text editor. (For serving Novelang documents on the World Wide Web, it’s much faster to generate them as static files first.)

By now the desktop integration relies on a java -jar Novelang-...jar typed in a command-line console. That’s a bit harsh.

The yet-to-develop Novelang-desktop project would be fancier. Novelang-desktop is a graphical application where user sets content roots and associated TCP ports. With this, editing or viewing Novelang documents from multiple content directories doesn’t require to start several JVMs anymore.

Here is a skeletal view of the main window of Novelang-desktop:

|  __________________________               |
| | C:\projects\docs  | 8081 |  [ Add...  ] |
| | I:\shared\foo     | 8082 |  [ Edit... ] |
| |___________________|______|  [ Remove  ] |
|                                           |
| [?]                      [ Configure... ] |

Double-clicking on a table line opens a Web browser with the directory listing of the content root.

The directory listing comes with great improvements. It shows every files, and each Novelang source file has several associated links:

  • Open in current Web browser (one link per rendition MIME type, like PDF, HTML, FO, XML).
  • Open in default editor.
  • Batch generation.

For the last two there is a trick: the link loops back to a special service of Novelang-desktop, which has all the powers to execute arbitrary code and scan local filesystem.

  • For editor opening it executes a pre-configured command with the file path as an argument.
  • For batch generation first it opens a dialog requesting target directory.

Novelang-desktop’s configuration goes in user’s home directory by default.

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