Mac OS X’s Mail’s text editing issues also affect Safari

Posted by Pierre Igot in: Macintosh, Mail
February 27th, 2008 • 9:48 am

Somewhat unsurprisingly, text editing issues such as the one I described two days ago also appear to affect other text editing environments in Mac OS X.

For example, if you load a web form in Safari that includes a “text area” field where you can enter several paragraphs of text (such as the one for posting a comment below this post, for logged-in users), then when you type a single paragraph of text in that field and, with the insertion point somewhere in that paragraph of text, you press option-shift-Up, instead of doing the expected, which is to extend the selection from the insertion point back to the beginning of the paragraph, Safari does… absolutely nothing.

This problem does not affect subsequent paragraphs, only the very first paragraph in the text field.

In fact, if you try to use the option-shift-Up shortcut in subsequent paragraphs, you’ll notice that Safari does the exact same thing as Mail, i.e. when extending the selection to the beginning of the paragraph, it actually also includes the empty line above it (assuming that you’ve used double returns as separators between paragraphs). Presumably, it is because there is no empty line above the very first paragraph that the option-shift-Up shortcut fails altogether.

This is further evidence that both Safari and Mail use the exact same basic text editing tool—and that, unfortunately, because of this, they share the exact same flaws. Including the empty line above a paragraph when the user uses option-shift-Up is wrong. It means that, if you want to use option-shift-Up to select the current paragraph and then the Delete key to delete it and start a new one, you first have to insert a new empty line before starting your new paragraph.

There is nothing that justifies this behaviour. It serves no purpose, and it’s inconsistent with text editing behaviours everywhere else in Mac OS X. The persistence of such obvious flaws seems to indicate that no one at Apple uses keyboard navigation and selection shortcuts as part of their regular workflow, and that they definitely do not get out of their way to test these shortcuts and make sure that they work as expected and consistently across all Mac OS X text editing environments.

One Response to “Mac OS X’s Mail’s text editing issues also affect Safari”

  1. Arden says:

    Sounds like a bug in NSTextArea. I’m sure Apple will find and fix it eventually, so keep up the bug reports.

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