inessential by Brent Simmons

Software ideas

Here are a couple software ideas, things I want but I don’t have time to create:

1. Help book creator and editor.

Creating help books for apps is a pain. I’m using BBEdit, which is cool, but what I’d really like is a tool that integrates with BBEdit somehow. The tool would handle page rendering, make it easy to place graphics, give me an outline of the contents, and run Apple’s help indexer on command.

BBEdit would be used as the text editor, but one wouldn’t have to type much HTML—the tool would handle generating the pages.

2. A Service or contextual menu plugin (or both) for viewing source in BBEdit.

I sometimes get email where people send me the URLs of RSS feeds and ask why they don’t work in NetNewsWire. I want to view the source at that URL, I don’t want to open it in my web browser or in NetNewsWire.

So this software would allow me to select a URL, choose View Source in BBEdit, then the source would be downloaded and opened in a new window in BBEdit.

I could imagine this would also be useful for any web designer or programmer, the kind of people who frequently need to look at and debug HTML.