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Outliner for nonfiction book

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Posted by 22111
Nov 22, 2018 at 10:06 PM


(https works fine now, again!)

“Unfortunately, there are a lot of developers of word processers who do not see a need for outlining - Textmaker (part of the German Softmaker Office) is one example.”

That’s a chicken-and-egg question. The implementation of outlining into text processors is so abysmally bad that users play a little bit around with it, then never touch it again, or, if they really, desperately need it, they use it in a minimalistic way and with horror; not even in MS Word, it’s been implemented in a half-way accetable way.

To give just one example, when I last tried it out in “Atlantis”, clicking on some outliner item didn’t display the title line of that item within the first upper line of the window, but in any which line, so the navigational use of the ((sub-)title-driven) “outline” is severely hampered; let alone greying out following parts; perhaps they do it now with them greying out non-pertinent parts (current other thread here, not very informative though).

Thus, users don’t ask for it since they abhor the existing implementations, and thus, developers don’t see much interest in ((further) developing) them. Btw., it’s not evident for a text processor to put the outline into a second pane (or more precisely, first of two panes), so we often see hybrid constructions, somewhere between 1- and 2-pane outlining, for outlining in text processors.

Then, please bear in mind that for most generic “users”, the sheer existence of outliners as we know them, is not even known, except perhaps for some little iPad et al. things, not really suited for serious work: the term “outline” stays a synonym for a 1-page indented (sub)title list next to their text body in their minds: that what they will have learned in school.

Then, “our” outliners often appear overwhelming to prospects, e.g. “I’m also feeling no love for the more complex and complete writing programs such as Scrivener et al. The complexity feels that they will reduce productivity without any compensating advantage.” here: http://www.donationcoder.com/forum/index.php?topic=45540.75 - of course, this is a blatant misconception; you just leave any functionality which you don’t need, aside, and benefit from the additional functionality of which you’re in need (I’ll do a backlink there, too).

Elsewhere, here, a fellow contributor having read mathematical and philosophical oeuvres with 2-digit titling indentation levels, oh well! I would very much like to be given at least one single such title from each mentioned fields, in order to have a look myself, and to ponder if the fellow contributor is right in his conception that such be necessary indeed, or if his examples are just ones of blatant misconstruction.

Another citation from my link above: “Let’s say you are doing a practical non-fiction book that will have planned out chapters, and you have a lot of source material with which to work. (In my case I have the info and many pictures on a special forum as well as urls in Linkman.)  (...) Then I think the de minimis need would be like this: Good RTF and picture capture is nice. Export to book formats would be nice, but not necessary. When the time comes, you can cut-and-paste and tweak.”

It goes without saying that this is the worst approach to it when it’s lots of pages, lots of links, lots of pics / formulas / videos…

Thus, in complement to my 3 consecutive contributions here on pages 4 bottom and 5 top, let me say that, in order to have immediate access to such material, be it just for your own reference or for publication, you’ll do of course links within the outliner tree, as sub-items of different formatting (e.g. in orange for your future reference (i.e. to be dealt with), in red for your past reference (i.e. already dealt with), and in green for publication (pics and formulas, etc. which you also reference in your text body).

Even in some quite crappy 2-pane outliner like AO this is perfectly possible: You use a macro doing alt-ins in your file manager for copying the path, then alt-tab for going back to your work horse, ^k for “insert a link as child”, alt-d for “Disk file”, alt-a for “Address”, ^v for “insert the link”, and “enter” to close the dialog again: This is a lot of ugly visuals, and there’s certainly better ways to do it, but that’s just an example how to do it even in the most basic of outliners; any of your material then is always at hand, without any search time, without de-synch between “material” and “target text” (a large screen or 2 screens, and a simple ^enter (or mouseclick) will suffice), and it’s completely automatable upon export, all (relative or absolute) links will be automatically resolved in no time, and the text body remains neat; a simple filter will discard any “material” item which is not intended for publication, by its title’s formatting. Craftsmen do work preparation; authors of big non-fiction literature should do, too.