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ConnectedText v5

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Posted by Graham Rhind
Sep 25, 2011 at 06:14 PM


Very understandable issue, Daly.

I’ve been dismissive of ConnectedText in the past, though I decided to give the new version a proper try.  The reason I have so disliked older versions if that I just cannot understand why any program like this would not have a WYSIWYG interface.  Version 5 has not changed much for me in that respect.  Some commands can be achieved with a button press, but many cannot - one needs to learn a whole markup syntax.  To do something I can do with three mouse clicks in Word, for example, requires at least 36 key strokes in CT.  Word processors are WYSIWYG, as are many HTML editors, and I haven’t had to do any markup since the 1990s, so I don’t understand why CT won’t move in that direction (though without removing the editor window as that is good for power users).

That said, having delved into the program, I can see its use and its power.  I remain very hesitant though.  If it’s going to take me two days to mark up each few pages of text, given that one of my books is 1500 pages, I would have to be very sure to start on such a road.

As for learning it:  the whole problem with wikis are a lack of a procedural structure.  The links just click you away from what you’re working on and you lose track of what you’re learning.  Great for reference, a pain for a novice.  In the end I decided to read the first steps and other training chapters as though they had not links, so that I could actually get a proper overview, and that certainly helped.  I also think that if the settings on installation were better thought through (e.g. that the editor pane colouring was set to on instead of off, so that you see text with structure rather than just a mass of plain text and mysterious tags) it could be much more learnable.

I do detect a slight whiff of software snobbery from the CT users in that respect - just like with Zoot - if you can learn to use it, you’re part of the gang.  Otherwise - begone!



Posted by Graham Rhind
Sep 25, 2011 at 06:18 PM


Oh, by the way, I forgot to mention: it’s the same issue with Wikipedia.  If you want to contribute, you have to know how to mark up your contribution.  So Wikipedia is open to all ... provided they can master wiki markup!


Posted by JBfrom
Sep 25, 2011 at 06:22 PM


I’ve been hearing a lot about connectedtext and even trialed it on Ubuntu, where it didn’t impress me, although perhaps that was partly due to Wine and the giant “trial” text splashed across everything.

It’s just a wiki with some additional metadata and search features, right? Am I missing something?

One thing I didn’t like is it requires learning a markup, which interferes with exporting your formatting. Tiddlywiki lets me edit in html and transfer between wordpress (requires a plugin).


Posted by Eduardo Mauro
Sep 25, 2011 at 10:20 PM


Daly and Graham,

I never meant or said that CT is solution to everyone. And is quite understandable that not everyone likes its approach (we say: what would be of the blue if everyone liked the red). As I said in a previous post, it is not a swiss knife. For instance, if you think it as a text editor with formatting capabilities, and surely it isn’t, there are many other programs that offer a much superior set of features. But, if you like wiki and wants to add thousands of notes, creates links between them, and search them using a boolean query operators with a rich set of predicates, I can say that CT is an excellent solution and offers many unique features like auto tagging or automatic detection of texts similar to the one being read.

Before creating CT I tried to use PersonalBrain. I was amazed with its user interface. But then, when I started to create links, I felt somewhat limited. I know many people who loves PersonalBrain and make a good use of it. For me, the best software is the one which provides what I need no matter what others think about it. So no matter you like CT or not, I read your posts with vivid interest since they can lead to new ideas.

>I do detect a slight whiff of
>software snobbery from the CT users in that respect - just like with Zoot - if you can

I don’t see such software snobbery. Perhaps, I am wrong. But if you read the posts in our forum you see that CT users are quite helpful. I am always amazed with the contributions I receive from them, specially when they correct my use of English. So, if you have any question about CT I will most happy to answer them. I invite to try it. If it doesn’t suit your needs, no problem. Just let me know what do you think about it. We will continue working hard on it, as we did in the last 7 years.

I apologize for my little digression.

Best regards,


Posted by Graham Rhind
Sep 26, 2011 at 07:06 AM



No digression as far as I’m concerned!

I do agree with you about Personal Brain’s connections limitations.  On the other hand, I can cut from Word (RTF) and paste into PB (HTML) and not have to do any reformatting.  Import RTF or HTML into CT and you have a huge markup job to do to restore anything other than the basic formatting.  As CT translates all the time from wiki markup to HTML it’s a shame that the translation the other way doesn’t work as well. So a user has to be sure that CT is going to be a tool of choice for them before going down that road.

On the other hand, one of my weaknesses is that I don’t tag anything, so finding my stuff in, for example, OneNote, is a thorough nuisance.  A tool like CT would more or less force me to spend a lot of time thinking about how the data/information needs structuring and adding links, so it enforces better habits.

At least, that’s my hope! ;-)



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