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The ultimate outliner

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Posted by shatteredmindofbob
Jan 16, 2013 at 01:29 AM


Oh, and OPML support, so I can pass the outline around other apps.


Posted by Garland Coulson
Jan 16, 2013 at 06:07 AM


For me, a key element is how well it exports or copies and pastes into Microsoft Word. If I have to clean it up after pulling it into Word, it isn’t saving me time. Of the ones I tested, Noteliner seemed to handle this best so far.


Posted by jimspoon
Jan 16, 2013 at 07:27 AM


- text editor with integrated tree structure (commonly called “single-pane outliner”) and columnar grid.
- items in tree can be of any length
- items can be freely split into multiple items or joined into one item
- user-defined fields

So far I’ve seen the foregoing only in Ecco and Infoqube, among Windows outliners.

- relational database capabilities, including the ability to create tables of related fields, and the ability to join tables, ability to deal with one-to-many etc. relationships.  Haven’t seen this yet.

- syncing with replica databases residing on multiple computers, as in Ecco - changes on a database on any one computer propagate to the replica databases on the other computers
- syncing with cloud (Google, Evernote)
- mobile apps

- “context free mode” - ability to view, group, sort items outside of the tree-structure as well as within

This would just be the start of my wish list, I’ve got many more.


Posted by Alexander Deliyannis
Jan 16, 2013 at 12:00 PM


shatteredmindofbob wrote:
> Oh, and OPML support, so I can pass the outline around other apps.

Brainstorm is able to export OPML, though I haven’t tested its compliance. Personally, I find the Tab Indented Text format as the most useful for moving information around outliners, including mindmappers. The downside is that Tab Indented Text does not differentiate between outline titles and inline text.

A good tool for transcribing files is Notecase which supports the largest number of formats I am aware of. I believe that the free version supports such conversions.

Re the original thread question, after so many years working with different tools, I am less interested in seeing more operational features being added, than in the interoperability of different applications. This is becoming more essential for me as more of my products need to be published online. As an example, in the past I found The Journal’s ability to publish directly to CMSs like WordPress and Blogger a very clever addition; unfortunately, the program overall was not what I needed.

That said, an editable outline view in Brainstorm would be nice.


Posted by Dr Andus
Jan 16, 2013 at 01:00 PM


Alexander Deliyannis wrote:
>Re the original thread question, after so many years working with
>different tools, I am less interested in seeing more operational
>features being added, than in the interoperability of different

Sure, but isn’t that the effect of there not being an “ultimate outliner” or something reasonably close to it? I don’t mean to engage in utopian yearning, I realise things move on and there never will be an “ultimate outliner” per se. But we could still have a common set up features that are considered to be the gold standard and which developers aspire to.

Also, I wasn’t implying that the “ultimate outliner” would need to have a huge number of features. It’s about having the right kind of features, and simplicity can be one of the criteria (e.g. to have a distraction-free mode, such as Scrivener).

Plus, to achieve general interoperability, one would need some sort of a community consensus between outliner developers, which I just can’t see arising anytime soon (especially as development gets abandoned).

E.g. one thing that frustrates me is that I don’t seem to be able to export and import outline items with notes from outliner to outliner without the notes being lost. Is there a way e.g. to export a Bonsai (or any other single-pane) outline with notes and import them into Freeplane (with notes preserved)? I haven’t been able to do so with OPML or anything else that I tried. I can export them into RTF, but that seems to be it.


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