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Posted by Derek Cornish
Oct 9, 2006 at 04:49 AM


> Once I’d downloaded it I realised that I had trialled it about 2-3 years ago.

Whoops! Should have mentioned the name - Ovation Outliner.


Posted by Cassius
Oct 11, 2006 at 05:51 AM


Here’s another, free, 2-pane PIM that appears to have a tree-type outliner in the right pane.  Also produces flow charts.

TeeTree at   http://www.steema.com/products/teetree/office/features.html .


Posted by Derek Cornish
Oct 11, 2006 at 02:23 PM


Thanks Cassius. I’ve been looking for a simple flowcharter for a project I’m doing. I’ll check it out.



Posted by Derek Cornish
Oct 11, 2006 at 02:38 PM


So, this thread seems to point to some action after all as regards outlines of outlines, which is encouraging; but few with powerful enough editing pane outlining. Still it’s good to see that the concept is being actively developed. It may be that the development of outlining and “lists of lists” tools for Palms and PPCs, which is leading to a corresponding growth of more powerful outlining tools on the desktop, will continue to spur this tendency. Alternatively, OneNote 2007 may kill it all off….

Even though their current outlining features need developing further, both Liquid Story Binder (for fiction) and IdeaMason (for non-fiction) show the importance of trying to integrate outlining, aka plotting or argument-development, within comprehensive writing environments.

Tighter integration between programs is becoming another option, as the discussion of Ultra Recall and Word showed (and, elsewhere on the forum, that of Whizfolders with information-management programs).

It’s only a personal preference, but since I think of outlining as idea manipulation (hardly an original observation :-)), I’d still like to see it as an integral part of an information-management program rather than “tacked on” so to speak. 



Posted by Stephen R. Diamond
Oct 14, 2006 at 04:53 AM


Chris Thompson wrote:
>Stephen R. Diamond wrote:
> >However, your conclusion about Circus Ponies NoteBook not
>having anything beyond what OneNote offers, feature-wise, is not correct.  The two
>products use entirely different metaphors.  NoteBook is a pure outlining app,
>whereas OneNote is an “arrange boxes on the page” app, where some of the boxes may
>contain outlines. 

The way I look at it, the ability to have various containers on the page is a feature. If NoteBook lacks this feature, it remains true that NoteBook offers nothing _beyond_ what OneNote offers. OneNote does not require you to arrange boxes on the page; it simply provides that capability. The user is free to limit his pages to a single big box, or a single small box, for that matter. NoteBokk doesn’t get to claim more features by calling the absence of a feature a feature.

The former product is highly structured, the latter is more
>loosely structured, and they would appeal to different users.  This sounds like a
>minor distinction, but it isn’t.  OneNote isn’t really suitable for the type of
>collapse/expand outlining most of us outliner fanatics do (unless one restricts
>oneself to a single box), because as you expand and collapse outline items, you may
>need more or less space further on down the page, causing other boxes to shift around,
>or requiring you to use the “add space” tool.

You seem to be making the case that multiple boxes imposes limitations on structuring. Even though the user is bound to use them, I think this point could conceivably have been valid - in the past. Where OneNote’s format imposed limitations on structuring, it could be argued that its willingness to countenance these limits portends a development trajectory limiting its outlining power.

So what would you say if I told you that OneNote 2007 has eliminated the need to use “add extra space,” and the ability to expand and contract headings works with complete smoothness? That expand and contract has even been added to the outliner toolbar available within MS OneNote? Because this happens to be the case.

I may not have explained this clearly, but
>the distinctions between OneNote and traditional outliners are pretty obvious
>after using OneNote for a while.  Circus Ponies Notebook (and its sister product,
>Aquaminds NoteTaker) is also a more mature product, feature-wise, having been
>actively developed for a lot longer (since the NeXT days).

I’m not sure if you are using “sister product” in an idiosyncratic sense or you are unaware of the history. The two products emerged from a rift in a former partnership. Enmity runs deep, if one reviews the CircusPonies boards, although the former partners may deny it. What this tangled history means for the products’ developmental maturity—which hopefully runs higher than some of the developers’ personal maturity—is something else. From what I know of the products, I would tentatively disagree about their comparative maturity, which shouldn’t be measured in years, unless maybe man-years applied, adjusted for competence. From what I’ve seen, I would not even compare the competence of CircusPonies with the Microsoft programmers who developed OneNote.
> >I don’t even consider the
>two products to be aimed at the same target market, really.  The closest OneNote
>competitor on the Mac is a product called ZenGobi Curio, which uses a similar “boxes on
>the page” freeform notetaking concept. 

Well, you are taking one feature, which seems particularly important or salient to you for reasons I don’t completely understand, and making it the final measured of similarity, for no good reason that I can discern.  If you want to know where the product is directed, one should probably look at who the marketing is directed toward. Both OneNote and the NoteBook/NoteTaker twins seem to be marketed toward mobile professionals. OneNote more so, with an emphasis on the tablet PC. The Mac products try to be more all-encompassing, with their talk of “digital lifestyle,” but the main distinct group targeted (particularly AquaMinds NoteTaker) is the “knowledge worker” that OneNote tries to appeal to.

From what I’ve seen of OneNote users, they are not generally inclined to do much moving of note containers around on the page. They do like the ability to write anywhere one the page, to combine drawing with writing, and to move freely between outlining, paragraphs, and tables. Curio makes much more of moving notes around than OneNote, and it has a very distinct marketing and feature focus on project management. It would probably be in a better position to compete on Windows, because of its distinct program management niche, as a simpler program than Microsoft Project. NoteBook and NoteTaker would slam right into OneNote and lose, not because of MS’s marketing muscle but because they aren’t nearly as good. Just my opinion…



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