Composition Find and Replace: Implement "Whole words" checkbox and functionality (as in inline find bar)

NEW
Unassigned

Status

--
enhancement
a year ago
a year ago

People

(Reporter: bugzilla2007, Unassigned)

Tracking

({ux-consistency, ux-efficiency, ux-error-prevention})

Trunk
ux-consistency, ux-efficiency, ux-error-prevention

Firefox Tracking Flags

(Not tracked)

Details

(Whiteboard: [parity: Outlook/Word])

+++ This bug was initially created as a clone of Bug #998801 +++

Now that "Whole words" search has landed in composition's inline find bar some time ago, we need to port that feature to the Find and Replace dialogue, where it's even more important to have esp. wrt "Replace all" feature, to avoid random false positives.

STR

1 Compose msg, e.g. having this sample text:
air airbrush air airy air airbus air

2 Edit > Find and Replace (Ctrl+H)
- Find text: "air"
- Replace with: "wind" 

3 Try to find or find and replace
  some or all occurences
  of a *whole word* like "air", but not partial matches from composites like airbrush, airy, airbus etc.

(Note that such scenarios are much more likely in some other languages like German where composite words are much more frequent than in English.)

Actual result

- There's no way to *find* "whole word" matches only, so you'll also find all the partial matches on the way (false positives)
- There's no easy way to *replace* "whole word" matches only, so your choice is between "Replace all" and messing up your whole text when partial matches are wrongly replaced, or replace one-by-one to skip false positives manually.

Expected

Provide easy way of "whole words" matching for Find and Replace to allow easy exclusion of false positives of partial matches

Proposed implementation/UI

- UI: Simply add a "Whole word" checkbox after the "Match exact case" checkbox
- Backend: Do we already have "whole words" option in search backend of "Find and Replace" dialogue? (For inline find bar, it was implemented by toolkit).

*****

Reasons in favour of this RFE:

1) ux-efficiency: if you're just after "whole word" matches but not partial matches, having to check each occurrence manually to avoid false positives is annoying and very inefficient. With the "whole word only" option proposed here, all those false positives from partial matches could be easily skipped programmatically if the user so choses.

2) ux-error prevention: not offering "whole word" option can lead to errors when users just use "Replace all" anyway (unintendedly replacing false positives), and manual verification (alternating between replacing desired "whole word" matches and skipping false positives) is also error-prone

3) external ux-consistency: all other word processing applications have "Whole word only" checkbox option in Find and Replace dialog, and editor certainly acts as a word processor here as we compose written documents (there's no substantial difference between e.g. composing a letter in Word or a message in TB).
Some well-known word processing apps that have "Whole word only" option (for screenshots, pls follow the links below):
- M$ Word [1]
- Open Office Writer [2]
- WordPad (even simple word processor already has this!) [3]

[1] http://img.tekgazet.com/dir1/word_replace_format01.png
[2] https://wiki.openoffice.org/w/images/2/2e/FR-box.png
[3] http://the-edmeister.home.comcast.net/~the-edmeister/images/cloning/chrome-rdf_wordpad-replace_dialog_box.png
(Reporter)

Updated

a year ago
Depends on: 998801
Keywords: ux-error-prevention
I imagine that Search and Replace are more likely to be used in business or academic contexts, and for longer/more complex messages (for short private messages, you'd perhaps just use find and then edit occurrences inline/manually).
Reasons for bulk-replacing of words might include: fulltext spelling correction, style correction (replacing with synonyms), adjusting pasted text, updating circulars and other periodical contents (where the content of last periodical is used as a template).

Our competitors like Outlook (or even Word as an email editor) offer this functionality, so this is also about feature parity. Users depending on these advanced features might not be able to use TB if we can't offer them what they need wrt efficiency/productivity.
Whiteboard: [parity: Outlook/Word]
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