[LON-CAPA-users] New Content/Problem Editor - Input needed NOW

Carl Lira lira at egr.msu.edu
Tue Oct 21 20:16:33 EDT 2014

As a relatively new user, I found the colorful editor essential in learning
to write proper problems. The colors are gaudy, but that really helps your
eye in tracking since some nested boxes can become span several screens.


My main issue as a beginner with the colorful editor was the lack of
contextual help, and understanding which fields are optional and which are
required. The tolerance and sig figures boxes are optional for numerical
integer answers but that is not clear when the template loads with a 5%
tolerance. There is no contextual help for the green Numerical Response box.
I'm glad improved contextual help is coming. 


The flow of help is a concern. To get help on the problem without contextual
help, you must click 'help' in the menu bar which immediately hides your
work, then you browse through the manual to find the section, go a couple
layers into help, where you realize that if you must click the browser back
button to navigate back to the previous help menus, and if you click 'go
back' in the menu bar, you go back to your problem and lose your place in
help. Agh!


So my main recommendations are to make sure that clicking 'help' does not
hide your work in progress, and that contextual help is available to guide
the users on what parts are required and what parts are optional, and that
users can view their work and help at the same time without losing view of


Not really an editor detail, but in terms of the problem template menu, it
would be good if there was a link to xml code in addition to the problem
browser preview. As users get more experienced, copying an existing problem
by xml is faster than creating one in the colorful editor. It is awkward to
create a new problem just so that you can copy a snippet of xml from a


I caution that most response from this listserv will be advanced users who
are comfortable coding xml, not the beginning users. The experienced users
on this listserv will be biased to xml, but the new users need to have a
colorful editor. If you want to get a larger set of users, a better
interactive editor is necessary.


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