Stefan Hayden

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Bespin 0.8

Bespin updated and they seem pretty excited with the project. I was excited with Bespin when I first heard about it but it has yet to really solve the problem I was hoping they would tackle. I really wanted a TinyMCE or FCKeditor replacement where I can just drop some JS files in my webroot and then plug Bespin in to textareas on forms. There has been a ticket to do that for a while and it seems like they have written it but didn’t seem to make it out this build.

Bespin is still young and has a lot of growing to do. Right now their focus is on developer tools and making Bespin very customizable. I’m sure this will give Bespin a solid foundation to move forward with.

I hope that they shift their focus from education developers how to customize to educating people who make webpages how to easily get Bespin up and running and why they would want to. Some easy things to do would be to offer a download of just the needed scripts to run and not a tar ball with python generators. Or even have a big download button instead of a small link that leads to a server generated index of files.

I always think jQuery is a great place to look. They put a lot of focus educating people how easy it is to use but also build what seems like a strong community of developers. Bespin is awesome and I think I just needs to better focus it’s marketing message.

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Hi,

Thanks for writing about Bespin!

Actually, it’s funny that you should write what you’ve written here, because I actually just spotted this article while I was working on a new “What is Bespin?” page. It’s a known deficiency in the Mozilla Labs website that we don’t have good, straightforward marketing pages for our projects there (and one that we’re actually addressing right now!)

Bespin presently comes in two packages: “Drop In” and “Customizable”. The Drop In package is exactly what you describe: just the scripts and files needed to drop Bespin into your application — no building required.

A lot of Bespin’s power is in its customizability, though. So, to simplify things and make the transition to building custom Bespins easier, I’m planning to do just one package in the future which will include both the pre-built scripts and the necessary bits to build your own.

About textarea replacement: the ticket you mentioned *did* make it into Bespin 0.8. With Bespin 0.8, you can replace a textarea with Bespin and have things work well from there. There will be a really cool (and useful!) demo of this soon.

We are excited about Bespin 0.8 because, as you mention, we’ve got a solid foundation to work with. Between now and 1.0, Bespin will become way more useful and usable by a much broader audience.

Feel free to ping us on the bespin mailing list or #bespin on irc.mozilla.org if you need any help getting started.

Thanks for the feedback!
Kevin

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