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Merged 1-pane and 2-pane outlining for writers

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Posted by Pierre Paul Landry
Mar 17, 2008 at 03:15 AM

 

In 2-pane outliners, as the focus is moved from item to item, the HTML/RTF pane is updated to show the content specific to each item.

When used as a typical 2-pane outliner, SQLNotes behaves this way too. To view the content of multiple items, you need to do an HTML export.

There was a discussion here a few months back on implementing some of GV features into SQLNotes. As I’m not much of a writer, but I know there are writers here, I’d like to see if the following is interesting:

The idea is to show in the HTML editing pane, the HTML of all items displayed in the grid. Item expand/collapse would expand/collapse the HTML content. As the user would scroll in the HTML pane, the corresponding item in the outliner would be highlighted. HTML backcolor could be made to match the item backcolor to facilitate navigation.

So if the outline is:
+ My First Book
  + Chapter 1
      Introduction
  + Chapter 2
  ...

When all items are shown, then the whole content would be displayed. As you would expand / collapse items, the HTML pane would reflect this and you’d be able to concentrate on specific sections.

SQLNotes can view items separate from the context (what others call Hoisting, but it is implemented in a more general fashion in SQLNotes), you could therefore focus on separate sections easily.

Also, since items can be displayed in multiple pages (grids), with context in one, and without in the other, you can quickly switch between viewing the whole document to viewing a section.

This would give a very dynamic nature to the HTML editor, much more suitable to using it for writing. It would combine the 2 panes (outline and html) into an intelligent outliner.

Any comments / suggestions ?

 


Posted by Pierre Paul Landry
Mar 17, 2008 at 03:19 AM

 

Outlining in the example did not stick, using numbers it would be:

1. My First Book
1.1. Chapter 1
1.1.1 Introduction
1.2 Chapter 2
  ...

 


Posted by Stephen Zeoli
Mar 17, 2008 at 02:47 PM

 

If I am reading this properly, it sounds as if you are asking if it would be useful to be able to select items and then view the content in one continuous window. I think this would be a useful feature for writers. A piece of software that currently allows this is Writer’s Blocks 3… although I think the order the items are viewed is determined by the “outline” (actually, just in the order the blocks are in). There was a piece of software on the market a few years ago that allowed you to select items from the outline and see the content in one long window in the order in which you selected it. Unfortunately, that software is no longer available and I don’t recall the name.

But, to answer your question, Pierre, yes I think this would be a nice feature.

Steve Z.

 


Posted by Pierre Paul Landry
Mar 17, 2008 at 03:36 PM

 

Actually you would not need to select. The HTML pane displays the content of all displayed outline items. Collapse a section, that section is hidden in the HTML pane. Hoist an item, only that section is displayed, etc

When you would select an item in the outline, it would move the focus to that section in the HTML pane area (useful for quick text navigation).

 


Posted by Chris Thompson
Mar 17, 2008 at 06:31 PM

 

Strictly speaking, this feature isn’t necessary in a pure single-pane outliner, because the entire document is always visible unless hoisted.  But yes, I think this is a great feature for dual-pane and quasi-dual-pane outliners.  Scrivener does this and it’s pretty popular for writers.  Grandview also did it.

—Chris

 


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