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mac/ipad outliner links

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Posted by jimspoon
Mar 29, 2012 at 12:12 PM


I’m a PC/Windows/Android guy, not an Apple guy, but thought these links might be of interest to some here ...

5 Outliner Apps for Mac Compared | Mac.AppStorm

MobileTechReview Forum and News: iPad App Review: OmniOutliner

CarbonFin Outliner ? Macdrifter


Posted by Alexander Deliyannis
Mar 29, 2012 at 12:43 PM


I’m also a PC/Windows(+Linux)/Android guy and I must say that I am rather jealous of the pricing policies in the Mac terrain…


Posted by MadaboutDana
Mar 30, 2012 at 04:45 PM


As a kind of hybrid user - i.e. one who has quite deliberately decided not to go the whole Mac hog, but does use Apple devices - I have discovered some interesting ways of exchanging outlines and other data efficiently between my spanking new HP ProBook (very nice, very fast machine, less than half the price of the equivalent MacBook) and my less than spanking new iPad2 (no, I have no intention of acquiring an iPad3. Well, not yet, anyway…).

Interestingly, three of the outliners featured in that first review are also available for the iPad: OmniOutliner, Circus Ponies Notebook, and Taskpaper.

OmniOutliner is fairly powerful - not as powerful as the desktop version, but still very nice (and it’s got a good search function, which as those who know me will appreciate, I am pleased by!). The output options are relatively limited, though. The multi-column approach remains unique (although you can achieve similar effects/utility in Apple’s own Numbers for iPad).

Circus Ponies Notebook is almost as powerful as the Mac version - in many respects a very, very powerful tool indeed - but flawed, unfortunately, by ongoing stability issues. Its ability to show two pages side by side make it unusually practical for an iPad app (which generally only have a single editing screen).

Taskpaper is rather nice, rather sweet, but much less practical than the dozens of other high-class task management apps on the iPad. There are some real game-changers in that space! My current favourite is Todo by Appigo (which has the added advantage of being able to exchange files with Notebook by Appigo).

Recent and interesting on the iPad is OneNote - the Microsoft app, that is - which is free, and synchronises rather well with OneNote files stored on SkyDrive. It’s become my preferred method for getting bits of information quickly from one platform to the other. The iPad app is limited (doesn’t show rich text, for example, or the full layout of OneNote’s whiteboard-like pages), but it’s quick and - aha! - it’s got a very good search function. Also the SkyDrive sync thing is just the bees’ knees. Also I LOVE OneNote 2010 (I’ve recently upgraded from 2007).

But my recent favourite is not exactly an outliner, more a very general-purpose notebook called Tapos?, created by a team of ex-Microsofties. It’s like a more relaxed version of Circus Ponies Notebook (without the rather cool Microdex) - capable of displaying pages side by side, and displaying other things (web browser, maps, contacts, images etc., or other “journals”, as it calls its notebooks) in a second pane, too. It’s still a bit rough round the edges (only version 1.0), but a very impressive app already. With - guess what? - a nice search function, too!

As for shunting (textual) information very quickly between platforms, I tend to use a variety of text-based outliners (including e.g. WriteUp and Notebook) on the iPad, synchronising over Dropbox. The text files can then be edited very easily on the excellent NotePad2 (which is not an outliner as such, but can be very easily set up as a substitute for Notepad in Windows, and has a very nice “Favorites” function that allows you to default to certain folders - in my case all my favourite Dropbox folders). To edit Markdown files (produced by e.g. WriteUp), I generally use the rather good (and also free) MarkdownPad for Windows.

Oh, and one of my very favourite apps on the iPad is tiddlyNotes, which is a very clever iPad adaptation of the excellent TiddlyWiki (cross-platform personal wiki). This will also sync over Dropbox, so you can incorporate tiddlyNotes updates into an existing TiddlyWiki automatically. Beautifully designed piece of software. Especially since the TiddlyWiki markup language is a good deal more powerful than Markdown (supports tables and all sorts of other goodies).

I’m still waiting for the German team behind the excellent Notebooks app to produce their Windows version - it’s expected “any day now”. That should be a bit of a game-changer, too.

Sorry, just felt like splurging there, for other hybrid users like me!



Posted by Stephen Zeoli
Mar 30, 2012 at 10:28 PM


The two programs Julia (the reviewer) left out that are significant outliners for Mac are Tinderbox (and its little brother Twig) and Neo. In my view Tinderbox is generally the best outliner for Mac, though Neo is the most powerful (though—and I write this with a straight face—I think Tinderbox is easier to use).



Steve Z.


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