Use of 'less than' symbol causes loss of text in a post.

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Use of 'less than' symbol causes loss of text in a post.

Joined: July 29th, 2008, 10:42 pm

January 21st, 2011, 10:12 am #1

I can't completely convince myself that this is a new problem, but I believe that it is. Anyway, it has been reported by someone who lost a chunk of a post because of it so it is worth noting!

In an HTML enabled Forum if you use the 'less than' symbol < by itself and not as the opening of an HTML tag where it has a corresponding closing >, for instance if you use < as part of a mathematical expression, the Network54 software will assume you are opening an HTML tag.

Everything following the < will be treated as an HTML tag until the software encounters an actual HTML tag or one or more line feeds (presses of 'Enter') or a > ('greater than' symbol), or the end of the post. Since what you have typed until one of those contingencies arises is very unlikely to be a real HTML tag the software will simply dump it into cyberspace and it will not appear in your post.

The best defence against mishaps like this is to use the 'Preview' facility before posting, when it should be possible to spot the problem and work out what has caused it. Unchecking 'Enable formatted text (Huh?)' might also be effective, but you wouldn't be able to use HTML and you might not be able to use smilies.

If you really need a < in isolation it is possible to obtain one by using a special HTML character string which I have used to display the < characters in this post. However you need to be exact. You also need to note that in this case previewing your post will mangle the character string and you'll need to correct it before actually posting. The required character string is:
<font size="4"><b><b>&l­t;</b></b></font>
which will produce a < symbol in your text. The character string doesn't need to be typed in large bold characters, that's just to make it a bit clearer.

There's probably no easy answer to this for the Technical Staff, although as noted I'm fairly sure that it used not to happen.
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Joined: April 25th, 2002, 12:58 am

January 22nd, 2011, 7:10 pm #2

Automatic HTML parsing will cause all HTML tags (valid, or not) to be made useable rather than readable. This is a design intention, not a flaw. Unfortunately, the only way to escape parsing is to use ASCII versions of certain characters, as you have found out. The only other way is to shut off parsing completely, not an option.



Ripper


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Joined: July 29th, 2008, 10:42 pm

January 23rd, 2011, 10:30 pm #3

Thanks Ripper, and absolutely correct of course.

I certainly wouldn't want to see Automatic HTML Parsing go - I use a ton of HTML and CSS!

Regards,

Another_Lurker
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Joined: May 17th, 2006, 1:37 pm

January 26th, 2011, 6:20 pm #4

I can't completely convince myself that this is a new problem, but I believe that it is. Anyway, it has been reported by someone who lost a chunk of a post because of it so it is worth noting!

In an HTML enabled Forum if you use the 'less than' symbol < by itself and not as the opening of an HTML tag where it has a corresponding closing >, for instance if you use < as part of a mathematical expression, the Network54 software will assume you are opening an HTML tag.

Everything following the < will be treated as an HTML tag until the software encounters an actual HTML tag or one or more line feeds (presses of 'Enter') or a > ('greater than' symbol), or the end of the post. Since what you have typed until one of those contingencies arises is very unlikely to be a real HTML tag the software will simply dump it into cyberspace and it will not appear in your post.

The best defence against mishaps like this is to use the 'Preview' facility before posting, when it should be possible to spot the problem and work out what has caused it. Unchecking 'Enable formatted text (Huh?)' might also be effective, but you wouldn't be able to use HTML and you might not be able to use smilies.

If you really need a < in isolation it is possible to obtain one by using a special HTML character string which I have used to display the < characters in this post. However you need to be exact. You also need to note that in this case previewing your post will mangle the character string and you'll need to correct it before actually posting. The required character string is:
<font size="4"><b><b>&l­t;</b></b></font>
which will produce a < symbol in your text. The character string doesn't need to be typed in large bold characters, that's just to make it a bit clearer.

There's probably no easy answer to this for the Technical Staff, although as noted I'm fairly sure that it used not to happen.
Our forums address issues related to technology, electronics and computer where you sometimes need to insert mathematical formulas using advanced text resources such as math operators. Examples are the signs "for all ", "micro, " "infinite, " and many others.

It is not possible that everything here is treated under the stigma of security risks. This seems to be teetering on the brink of madness.

Some time ago we were able to post such signs but now it seems many have been blocked by the HTML parser.
Follow this link to see a listing of these signs posted in one of our forums. Most of them are no longer accepted by the N54 parser, however.

Are the N54's guys at their wits' end? Or are we?


<table width="100%"><tr><td><center><table width="180" bgcolor="#5f5f5f"><tr><td bgcolor="#00ddff"></td></tr></table><table width="220" bgcolor="#3f3f3f"><tr><td bgcolor="#ff5500"><center><font face="georgia" color="#FFFF00" size="3"> == Messias-BH. == </font><b></b>
</td></tr></table><table width="180" bgcolor="#5f5f5f"><tr><td bgcolor="#00ddff"></td></tr></table>
<font size="4" face="vivaldi, vladimir script, monotype corsiva">Sinto sua falta mamãe...</font></center></td></tr></table></center>
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Joined: April 25th, 2002, 12:58 am

January 29th, 2011, 6:48 am #5

<p>No, it's not always about security. In some cases, it's about how HTML communicates with the outside world. </p><p>It's not just here. I have website customers who regularly send me content to add to their sites, and this content sometimes includes "other" characters (aside from the usual letters and numbers). If I try to copy and paste the content as-is, directly from Microsoft Word or some other word processor, I get all kinds of added code and garbled text where the web page is supposed to be. I have to strip it clean, either by running it through Notepad frst, or by manually going in and deleting all of the added code (mostly CSS additions, but not always).</p><p>As for your math problems, have you tried shutting off HTML for that forum? I know, it's a pain in the ***, but it might just solve that problem. For people that want to post images or other HTML, you just add a second forum where that is allowed, but math code isn't. I'm not sure if there's another way around it.</p>



Ripper


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