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Software Request: Open Source Personal Content Repository

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Posted by Amontillado
Sep 13, 2018 at 01:13 PM


I use a timestamp prefix on file names, particularly in my personal records/bookkeeping DevonThink database, but I’ve gotten on a plain text kick (again) lately, particularly for documentation and creative writing. Of course, I repeat myself. In the marketing department, documentation is creative writing.

DevonThink is a hard-to-break habit. It keeps files as files, so if DT vaporizes the files aren’t lost. Tags and replications, maybe, but not the files themselves, and I’ve made an interesting discovery.

Imagine a novel in a number of separate files in a group, comprising the chapters and scenes in your work.

If you set a group to “unsorted,” you can drag and drop the order of files in the group. Conveniently, the order you set is persistent. You can play with a manual sort, switch to sort by name (or any criteria), and then when you switch back to unsorted you get your manual sort again. Newly added files go at the end of your manual sort.

So, a collection of chapter and scene files can be safely sorted into the correct order. “Compiling,” as Scrivener-speak would have it, works pretty easily with Pandoc or something similar.

Pick a view that shows the folder list and the files within folders and switch to unsorted to get your custom order. Click on a file and use Command-A to select them all. Hit Command-C to copy them.

Now bring up a terminal window. When you hit Command-V at the command line prompt, you get the list of full path names to all your files, with spaces properly backslash-escaped.

To compile a bunch of markdown files in the right order to docx: pandoc -s -o gatsby.docx -f markdown -t docx Command-V

Pretty cool. Those pandoc options are -s (create complete file, not a fragment), -o (output to gatsby.docx), -f (from markdown syntax) -t (to docx format). Command-V pasted the list of source files into the command line. Hitting enter did the rest.

A pure plain text solution would be nice. I kind of like DT’s replicants, though. Like symlinks without worry of which is the file and which is the reference.