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DevonThink 3 versus Tinderbox versus VooDooPad

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Posted by Jeffery Smith
Nov 23, 2019 at 11:23 PM


The feature that made me favor Tinderbox is the ability to have boxes on the left, but organized text at the right. DevonThink just seemed too “small” to me.

I have been trying to like Curio for years. The project would be aptly called “to create a set of how-to notes for my own use”. Paul, I’ll take your advice and work on Curio in the morning. I do have v13. And being able to past some screen shots of those form screens would be essential.

Thank you!


Paul Korm wrote:
So, your project is to create a set of how-to notes for your own use?
> >I wouldn’t use DEVONthink—it’s hard to use for cases where you want
>to work with an array visual information (like screens) side-by-side. 
>I wouldn’t use VooDooPad because the owner appears to have abandoned it
>the most part.
> >I would prefer Curio over Tinderbox for creating documentation.  Mainly
>because Curio works better with screen shots and graphics.  The latest
>version of Curio (13) also includes a “references” feature that helps
>link together related elements in the workspace—as you would probably
>do by making notes that explain forms and elements on a screen shot.
>(I’m guessing.)  Curio scales a lot better than Tinderbox if you need
>to work with a lot of images.  Images imported into Tinderbox can
>easily bring it to its knees.
> >Or maybe consider Notion.
> >Jeffrey Smith wrote
>>My challenge is that I have to get familiar with myriad forms (screens)
>and their elements,
>>and how those element interact with elements on other screens.


Posted by Jeffery Smith
Nov 23, 2019 at 11:36 PM


I realize that my challenge is sort of an odd one.

What I need to learn (and then teach others) is part of a much larger Human Resource system (named Banner) that is essentially a huge relational database with modules for Human Resources, Student Records, and Class Offerings, It is like PeopleSoft, but better implemented for higher education.

What I have are dozens of screens, some of which are HR screens, some of which are Student Record (enrollment) screens, and some of which are rules for how faculty will be paid based on which classes are linked to each instructor. So, I’m working within a pre-defined database to which I have to link records using multiple tables. What I need is some sort of visual system (or WikiLink system) until I get straight in my head which tables link to which tables, and which fields are absolutely essential. So, I’m teaching myself because the vendor of the software would prefer that I spend a week in another state learning en masse with others. That’s not an option because I’m serving as a consultant on this for the next 6 months. I actually had the system prepared and ready to implement when someone at the college pulled the plug on it at the last minute. That was in 2016, so I’m re-acquainting myself with the very complicated system 3 years later.

It is a difficult system to get set up and implemented because it doesn’t necessarily match up with the way things have been done in the past.

J J Weimer wrote:
I am a bit confused about which parts YOU do versus which parts the
>software app is to do.
> >* Do YOU manually assign the faculty to the classes, or should the
>software do this (through some optimization routines)?
> >* Do YOU manually set up the payment rules for the classes in advance,
>or is the software supposed to do this somehow?
> >* What is meant by “runs a routine merging faculty with classes” ...?
> >I have to think that what you want is this ...
> >(Database of Faculty)
>(Database of Classes)
>(Database of Payment Rules for Classes)
>(Database of Faculty Assignments for Semester)
>—> payments required per faculty
> >I have to imagine that a spreadsheet app could do the job using internal
>cell functions and reference calls.
> >Alternatively, I have to think that the datatool package in LaTeX might
>do what you need (and give you a nicely-formatted PDF report to submit
>with no greater effort).
> >The FileMaker Pro app should be able to tear this up with no problem.
> >Little that I know about it, someone is bound to say that you should use
>an SQL variant database tool.
> >Is this where you are going with what you need?


Posted by Jeffery Smith
Nov 23, 2019 at 11:43 PM


Actually, this IS pretty much the database structure. And Filemaker Pro would allow pasting of screen shots in the database. I’ve used Filemaker Pro since it was known as Leading Edge Nutshell (I’m sure the average age of this forum will be advanced enough for you all to recognize Nutshell).

What we use for contracts now is a Filemaker Pro database that I have been modifying since 1998. We have to download Excel files, import them into my database, and then use calculated fields to determine the workload and pay. The end result is a paper contract that we print and sign. This is Louisiana, and we are finally going to leap headfirst into an entirely online system of contracts (with paper as a backup until we are sure it works!)
J J Weimer wrote:
(Database of Faculty)
(Database of Classes)
(Database of Payment Rules for Classes)
(Database of Faculty Assignments for Semester)
—> payments required per faculty


Posted by nirans@gmail.com
Nov 24, 2019 at 01:25 PM


I think you have at least three problems.

1) a series of linked Data whose structure is not entirely known - defining emergent structure - Tinderbox (if the structure is complex enough).Understand how values and tables are linked. if you choose Tinderbox, you now have 4 problems. I am joking a little bit, but I think Beck’s Tinderbox videos are the most approachable. The map view in Tinderbox is great for trying to relate bits of data together until a structure emerges. Curio can do this as well with arrows and boxes, but Tinderbox seems to fit my brain better.
2) understanding the flow of your current software - screen shot/movie documentation - Curio for annotation, perhaps Snagit for for capture of screen shots and gifts.
3) Database of linked values - FileMaker,Excell,Airtable


Posted by washere
Nov 24, 2019 at 02:24 PM


Systems Analyst job. First 2 paragraphs contradict, bad news is need new database + good news is already big college database by IT Dept done.

Terminology & SA clearing needed: need new views or gui interface or form based app maker on Mac to tap into the big database. In other words:

A MySQL Client for Mac, linking into the college db.

Not big database makers, starting from scratch.

Can try Querious 2 or DbSchema, both cheap.
Or play with top free ones, unstable though, Sequel Pro or Vfront.
However maybe too big a job for you & big waste of time to play with SQL query programming.

I suggest to get a list of contenders based on features & screenshots you like from various: Mac Database GUI interface client options and take them to the person(s) in charge of the college big database that has to be tapped and get them to suggest easy one that works well.

They probably already have tried a few and use some. What apps you suggest will probably be dismissed, so just take a few names and say these any good for this system? Can just take the names I suggested and not waste time.

Then get them to fix any problems while you set it up. Sneaky way as it will be their suggestion in the first place. In the long run, it will be less work for them anyway this way. And much less pain for you.

Judging from the 3 inappropriate suggestions, playing around would be a waste of time anyway.


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