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Web-based rich text 2-pane outliner -- too much to ask?

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Posted by dan7000
Mar 2, 2018 at 06:23 PM


I know this has been discussed forever here, but it looks like it has been a while so I thought I’d check again to see if anybody has seen a new product that would fill this niche.

I have basically not had anything I like for notetaking and writing since the demise of ADM. And ADM itself would not work for me now, because I find I just can’t work with something that is not web-based. Scrivener with dropbox sync *almost* does it for me, but I have constant sync problems, and if I don’t remember to shut down Scrivener on one of my machines, then that project is locked forever until I can get back to that machine and shut it down.

As a good crimp-er, I’ve tried everything I can find but nothing fills what I think are my simple requirements. Hopefully somebody here knows of one I haven’t seen yet:

1. Hierarchical outline tree of items. Doesn’t need rich text in the outline items, but nice to have. Must be easy to move items around. Clibu is an example of a program that *almost* works but doesn’t fill this requirement.
2. Click-to-edit outline items. Come on, folks. What is with so many outlines that make me fill out a popout dialog box to change an item title?? That is way too slow. Scrivener is good for this.
3. Outline items should allow long text strings. Workflowy does this nicely. ADM even allowed carriage returns in outline items, which would be ideal. Ginkgo, of course, is the poster child for this. Scrivener is good enough at this.
4. A separate pane for displaying a long note attached to each item. I find this is imperative and just about nobody does it. I research and write by copying paragraph-long bits of information from other places and collecting them , then rearranging them. Scrivener does this, of course.
5. The notes pane must allow rich text and must preserve formatting when pasting from Word, PDF or HTML. Is this so hard? Many writing websites allow this so there has to be a widget for it but it’s shocking how many products cannot do it. Even if they support rich text, they don’t preserve formatting on paste. Workflowy could easily implement this, but they don’t.
6. Please, no markdown. I absolutely hate it. I have spent the past month trying to use Ginkgo, and I previously spent months tryigng to use other markdown products. It is just impossible for me. I can’t paste rich text into it without first using a markdown converter. And editing with complex markdown (for instance multiple levels of indent or formatting) is a mess. If I want to write formatted english text, not computer code.
7. Web-based, with an interface that works decently on a mobile browser (or with a mobile app). I am tired of sync problems and I just want something that works everywhere. i travel a lot and I work on at least 3 machines, one phone and one tablet on a regular basis.

I think that’s it. If anybody has suggestions I’d love to try them. 


Posted by Stephen Zeoli
Mar 2, 2018 at 06:51 PM


Probably not exactly what you’re looking for, but worth noting is Super Note Card, which used to be a native app for Mac and Windows, but is now web-based:


(This isn’t an endorsement. I liked the desktop versions, but have no idea how good or bad the web app is.)

Steve Z.


Posted by Paul Korm
Mar 2, 2018 at 07:05 PM


The Scrivener sync behavior you describe is not normal—have you discussed this on the L&L forum, or written the development team?  They are super helpful.


Posted by dan7000
Mar 3, 2018 at 01:51 AM


Stephen Zeoli wrote:
Probably not exactly what you’re looking for, but worth noting is Super
>Note Card, which used to be a native app for Mac and Windows, but is now
> >https://www.supernotecard.com/tour/
> >(This isn’t an endorsement. I liked the desktop versions, but have no
>idea how good or bad the web app is.)
> >Steve Z.

Nice! That’s some good crimp’n material.


Posted by dan7000
Mar 3, 2018 at 01:55 AM


The dropbox sync appears to lock projects automatically when I leave scrivener open on one machine so I can’t open it on others. That alone is enough for me to abandon it. It’s just not really designed for multi-machine use. I get messages that clearly explain this when I try to open it on my second machine.

And the mobile version requires you to manually sync before and after makiing edits or else you will get sync errors. Each of my projects has at least a dozen sync errors probably from this issue.

But I just remembered the real reason I abandoned it: no android version. I dropped my iphone in the ocean (accidentally but inevitably, since I live on a boat), and switched to an android phone. So my biggest reason for ditching Scrivener has nothing to do with sync - it’s my own fault.


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