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Zavala - An open source outliner for Macs, iPads, and iPhones

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Posted by Maurice Parker
Jan 9, 2021 at 02:00 AM

 

I’ve just started a project to make a simple, clean outliner for Apple platforms.  It is called Zavala and is in the very early stages of development.

I’m looking for users to provide feedback on what they would like to see in an outliner.  If you’ve ever wished that you had a direct line to the developer of an outliner before it got released, this is your chance.  I’m very interested in how people are using outliners and what features they need in the real world on a daily basis.

If you have macOS Big Sur, there is a developer release available to kick around.  You wouldn’t want to trust any important data to it, because it is under active development and might scramble your stuff completely.  You can take a look and provide feedback as to what works and doesn’t work for you.  Even if you can’t run the developer release, there is a forum for the project there.  I’d still like to hear what you think makes a good outliner.

The project is open source and Zavala will always be free.  I hope some of you join me in making an outliner that is a joy to use.

https://github.com/vincode-io/Zavala

 


Posted by MadaboutDana
Jan 12, 2021 at 02:35 PM

 

Well, I must say that’s a very nice start on macOS – I’ve just had a quick play.

The most obvious missing function at the moment is search, but the layout is elegant, the approach is valid. I like the automatic strikethrough of tasks, and I very much like the notes.

I’ll take another look when I’ve got a little more time and make some suggestions. Search, for me, is one of the key functions, however (and search that looks inside folded paragraphs! There are a couple of outliners out there which don’t find text if it’s inside a folded section (notably Numbers, which has a rather good folding function); this is a disastrous shortcoming!

Good job! Keep it up.

Cheers,
Bill

 


Posted by Maurice Parker
Jan 12, 2021 at 05:21 PM

 

Thanks for the kind words.  I’m working on Search right now, so that should be in the next developer release.

How would you like to see search within collapsed rows working?  Should it auto expand those rows when found?

 


Posted by MadaboutDana
Jan 12, 2021 at 05:49 PM

 

Mm, good question.

For simplicity’s sake, I think automatic expansion would be best.

But there is another model, whereby the parent row would be highlighted (or “flashed”, or whatever one calls it in programming terms), so the user can drill down to the highlighted search term under the parent row.

Or there’s a third model, which is the filtering model, whereby all rows with the search term(s) in them would be isolated (i.e. all other rows would disappear), so you could click the one you’re looking for, whereupon the whole outline would reappear centred on the row you’ve focused on. Outlinely uses this model rather well, leaving the parent rows above the “hit” row in place, so you can see it in context.

Of these three options, I think option 3 is probably the best one, although it may be the trickiest to program (or not; IANAP!).

Highlighting is also, IMHO, a sine qua non: ideally, multiple search terms should each have a different highlight colour (assuming Boolean search is possible).

Them’s my views, anyway!

Very interesting project – keep up the good work.

 


Posted by Darren McDonald
Jan 14, 2021 at 04:28 AM

 

I would like to see in an outliner what Brett Terpstra states in his blog when he wrote about the Tree app;

“An outliner is an outliner, but Tree adds one thing that makes it infinitely more useful to me and my non-linear thought process: a horizontal view of the outline. It’s basically a right-aligned mind map. Seeing each level of the hierarchy in line with other siblings across different branches suddenly brings the whole brainstorming thing together for me.”

https://brettterpstra.com/2012/04/02/app-review-tree-an-outliner-i-can-love/

There was a further discussion about this in these forums:

https://www.outlinersoftware.com/topics/viewt/9131

Maurice Parker wrote:
I’ve just started a project to make a simple, clean outliner for Apple
>platforms.  It is called Zavala and is in the very early stages of
>development.
> >I’m looking for users to provide feedback on what they would like to see
>in an outliner.  If you’ve ever wished that you had a direct line to the
>developer of an outliner before it got released, this is your chance.
>I’m very interested in how people are using outliners and what features
>they need in the real world on a daily basis.
> >If you have macOS Big Sur, there is a developer release available to
>kick around.  You wouldn’t want to trust any important data to it,
>because it is under active development and might scramble your stuff
>completely.  You can take a look and provide feedback as to what works
>and doesn’t work for you.  Even if you can’t run the developer release,
>there is a forum for the project there.  I’d still like to hear what you
>think makes a good outliner.
> >The project is open source and Zavala will always be free.  I hope some
>of you join me in making an outliner that is a joy to use.
> >https://github.com/vincode-io/Zavala

 


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