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Posted by Pierre Paul Landry
Sep 11, 2011 at 03:40 AM


This discussion reminds me of a similar one we had here (and on Google Wave) some 18 months ago… The bottom line was that “outliners” is a generic term, and means a different thing for each of us, depending on our needs.



Posted by jimspoon
Sep 13, 2011 at 05:29 AM


It’s interesting to see the different approaches to a “navigation pane”.

In a file explorer (e.g. Windows Explorer), the folders are “pure containers”.  They aren’t data items in themselves; they only “contain” data items (files).  If you click on a folder in the navigation tree, all the files in that folder are shown in the files pane in a grid view, with metadata being shown in columns (e.g. date/time, size, attributes, etc.)

In some PIMs, the navigation pane contains only items.  Some items may be parent items, but there is no grid pane for viewing all the child items with their fields (if any).

In UltraRecall, the tree contains both data items, but any data item can also be a container - i.e. if you click on an item in the tree, you can see all of its child items with some of its fields in a grid view (the related items or child items pane).

In Ecco - the folders in the folder pane are the data fields.  An item is “in” the folder if it has a value in that data field - and that value can be text, numeric, yes/no, or date.  The folders/fields can be arranged in a hierarchy like a file system tree, but it doesn’t work quite the same way.  When you click on a folder in Windows Explorer, the file pane shows all the files that are in that folder.  When you double-click on a folder in the Ecco folder pane, a Scratch pad opens showing all the items having a value in that field.

I’ve often thought that Ecco could have been improved if more of the functions of a file system tree could have been implemented in the Ecco folder/field tree. For example - if you initiate a search “in” a folder, it would be assumed you were searching for items “in” that folder and its subfolders.  Other concepts might be applied analogously.

I find Infoqube to be similar to Ecco in that the Properties pane contains a list of the fields, which can be arranged hierarchically in a tree of fields.  And, as in Ecco, if you double-click on a field, a Scratch pad opens showing all the items with a value in that field.  The fields are not presented as “folders” though.  The Infoqube properties pane contains much more than a field tree, however - also item properties and forms.


Posted by Dr Andus
Sep 17, 2011 at 10:08 PM


So, what are all the single-pane outliners then that allow inline viewing (but ideally editing as well) of notes (which is what I assume is meant by meta-text in this thread)? [for the PC]

I’ve only just discovered what a nice thing it is to have the ability to see inline text, when I bought CarbonFin outliner on the iPad/iPod. My other outliners can’t do it. Bonsai displays notes at the bottom of the page, while Whizfolders is a two-pane outliner, so it can’t do it. Here is a picture of a CarbonFin outline with the Notes view enabled:

I’m looking at this from a writer’s perspective, so I’d like to be able to see the all the text elements of the outline in a single pane, with everything collapsable (including the notes).


Posted by Dr Andus
Sep 17, 2011 at 10:11 PM


Dr Andus wrote:
> Here is a picture of a CarbonFin
>outline with the Notes view

Sorry, here is a bigger image:


Posted by Stephen Zeoli
Sep 17, 2011 at 11:46 PM


Dr Andus wrote:
>So, what are all the single-pane outliners then that allow inline viewing (but
>ideally editing as well) of notes (which is what I assume is meant by meta-text in this
>thread)? [for the PC]

There’s the rub. There are few outliners for PC that have this ability. Off the top of my head, I can only think of one: Inspiration. Likely I’m forgetting one or two.

Even on a Mac, there are few choices, but at least three: OmniOutliner, Tree and Neo. Of all of these, I think Neo has the best implementation, but none of them match GrandView, I’m afraid.

I’m sure other commenters will add to the list, but it won’t be a long one.

Steve Z.


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