Religious Orders

In Love

Posted: Friday July 10 2009 @ 8:00pm

Religious Order: Technology

I'm in love! With my wife, sure. But I'm talking about a piece of software.

A year ago, I was pondering a note-taking application I wanted to write. You can go read the whole post, but the gist was:

  1. Hyperlinked, wiki-ish note taking application.
  2. Keyboard navigation with overloading of the link creation and link following key bindings.
  3. Multi-word links. (No WikiWord requirements.)
  4. Loads of export options.
  5. Page stack display.
  6. Glossaries, where you could easily group things like people, organizations, projects, and the like.
  7. Aliases, so a page can have more than one phrase that creates a link. (Needed so that you could type either Tom Carlson or Carlson, Tom and still have either lead to the same page.)

I hadn't actually written a lick of code for it yet. But I was starting to consider Adobe AIR as a platform.

And then I saw VoodooPad! I had actually tried the program out a while ago, but hadn't really understood its power. (Or maybe that version didn't have as much power?) But, in any case, it covers pretty much everything above. By the numbers:

  1. That's exactly what it is.
  2. CMD-L creates or follows links. I added bindings so that Option-CMD-L selects a word at a time, making it really easy to highlight multiple words at a time and then quickly make a page for them. Has dedicated keys for transversing the stack, which works fine. Never have to touch the mouse!
  3. It does these. And smoothly now, too, due to the new key bindings.
  4. Exports as XML, HTML, RTF, Word, and plain text. It also can copy the files to your iPhone and display them there with a dedicated app. And the Pro version, which I bought, has an embedded web server. So you can share documents directly with others during a meeting as a web site, complete with searching. Super sweet!
  5. No stack display. I can live without that.
  6. It let's you assign keywords to pages. You can then create scripts that dynamically generate pages listing pages with certain keywords. And, in the Pro version, you can tie that generation to events. So, when I close out a document, the pages are generated and are ready for me the next time I load it up. I can kick off the generation manually as well. Making the keywords requires some pointing and clicking, though.
  7. It handles aliases exactly as I wanted, except that you do have to engage in pointing and clicking.

In addition to meeting nearly all of my requirements, it also provides functionality about which I didn't really think.

It has extensive scripting ability. I do wish there was more in the way of scripting documentation. There are plenty of sample scripts, but I've not found a real reference yet. It would be possible to create additional export options this way, as well as dynamically generate stuff. Loads of potential here.

While I really wanted just a textual note taker, VoodooPad provides plenty of formatting options. But, if you don't need 'em, ya don't gotta use 'em. It also let's you toss graphics in there. You can even quickly sketch a diagram.

It provides lists of recently viewed pages and of backlinks to the current page. And you can apply metadata to pages as name/value pairs. So you could assign priorities to different pages and then organize them via the scripting.

All in all, I'm really impressed.

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