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Core distinguishing features of two-pane PIMs

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Posted by Foolness
Dec 8, 2012 at 01:30 AM


Dr Andus wrote:
So my question is: what are the main categories (on the basis of core
>distinguishing features) of two-pane PIMs?

MDI vs. Pane (example split text vs. static sidebar)

Bookmarks and tagging features

Online sync


Pane resize feature




Those are the main features but like most things, they tend to be redundant. Useful only for researchers but outliners are more personal than wikis. It’s the “special exemptions” that separates one from the other. Not the robustness or static purpose.

Example in criteria for MDI alone:

The ability for the pane to not just be a tweakable dock like ConnectedText but to be a mindmap/outliner for a mindmap/inbox messaging system is…safe to say, extremely rare but very important. It’s the backbone of why David Allen chose MindManager but it’s such a highly overlooked feature that many GTDers ignore the specifics of MindManager’s pane for your average Mindmap: http://www.gtdtimes.com/2009/10/27/how-david-allen-uses-mindmaps/ at least based on blog articles only. Another underrated feature is Connected Text’s outlining capability which allowed it to be the most talked about software recently in this forum if only because certain limitations which forces Dr Andus to opt to use something like VUE for presentation purposes is ignored.

There are other more complicated variations. Goalscape’s sidebar for example has attachments which are underrated and understated by many users but obviously allows it to have certain file manager properties that expand the power of two pane capability. There is Scrivener’s text being able to be transferred into a sticky notes pane view and an exempted from export view that separates it’s outlining capabilities into two views. There is the way Knowsy Notes guarantees that it’s pane only shows .txts so even if the pane disappears, the text is truly out in the Operating System. There is how Compendium collects the icons which separates it’s pane from other Mindmap panes. There is how Evernote’s pane can store downloadable “Trunks”.

Basically the core is wild and no one has managed to collect everything into a fundamental set of attributes that properly “fundamentalizes” every unique feature into a core feature. It’s a different space from wikis which mostly relies on one major innovation of semantic links. Worse, two pane software is a constant regressive audience. Before Evernote became mainstream, it had to reduce it’s features and accept the cloud. Before certain new outlining features had to be introduced, many old advanced outliners had to die away back into it’s niche.