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Tinderbox Users >> Off The Wall: Feature Ideas >> A File URL for Individual Notes

Message started by Ted Goranson on Jan 21st, 2012, 2:20am

Title: A File URL for Individual Notes
Post by Ted Goranson on Jan 21st, 2012, 2:20am

I’d like to have a file:/// URL that when called by any application would open the note window of a given note, launching Tinderbox and the given file if necessary.

By clever drag and drop these could be used for links between two Tinderbox files.

Title: Re: A File URL for Individual Notes
Post by Paul Walters on Jan 21st, 2012, 4:32am

This would be very useful.  Many applications support custom URIs (omnifocus:///, or x-devonthink-item://, or together://)  Since Tinderbox notes have unique identifiers in their native xml it might not be too difficult (says I, who doesn't have to program this feature  ;) ).  A custom URI for Tinderbox notes would also imply a "Copy Item Link" menu item to put the note's URI on the clipboard.

Title: Re: A File URL for Individual Notes
Post by Mark Anderson on Jan 21st, 2012, 5:30am

Well, this works for me (only from within TB though).  Add a TBX link, e.g. file:///Users/mwra/Desktop/TB-releases.tbx to the sidebar (i.e. $URL) and /or display $URL. Now either clicking the sidebar or display button opens the other TBX.

I suspect the above should work with any process that can pass a file:/// URI direct to Finder. Using Safari as the opener isn't an option as it just displays the XML source.  Hm, I think it should be possible to make an "open in Tinderbox service" until/unless a baked-in link-to-TBX feature comes along.

I should add that user-added URL-type attributes also have a 'click-to-open' button like $URL when they are shown as key attributes.

Title: Re: A File URL for Individual Notes
Post by Mark Bernstein on Jan 21st, 2012, 11:59am

As I understand things, I think what's requested here is a URL scheme like this

     tinderbox://...file path.../archives/2011/May/15?outline

This would open an outline view for the May 16 note in the archives of the designated file.

Is that the idea?

Title: Re: A File URL for Individual Notes
Post by Mark Anderson on Jan 21st, 2012, 1:31pm

To unpick this to more a literal state that understand, my earlier file:/// URL up-thread, and assuming the internal note notes you mention would be rendered as:


This would open file TB-releases.tbx on my desktop in Tinderbox (noting the calling app may not be TB) presenting the note "16' from TBX's internal document path /archives/2011/May/. Also, when TB is installed it will seed Finder/OS X's internals so that TB or any other app using local URIs can make a working link of that type.

If so, I think that's very interesting and definitely something I've seen people looking for (even if sometimes described a different way).

Title: Re: A File URL for Individual Notes
Post by steve harf on Jan 25th, 2012, 1:35pm

Please add my support for this feature. One way that I might use it is to link iCal and Tinderbox. An iCal event can have a URL associated with it. If I am planning a call or meeting I can enter my preparatory notes in Tinderbox and place the associated URL in the iCal event. When the time for the meeting or call is approaching I can simply open the event in iCal and click on the URL. Tinderbox will automatically open my notes for the event.

I also note that in Scrivener each "document" that makes up the Scrivener file can have several document references and each document reference can have a URL associated with it. (Double-clicking the reference entry opens the URL.) I can foresee linking back to the Tinderbox file and a specific note where early brainstorming/note taking was documented.

If this feature were implemented, consider what would happen if the Tinderbox file exists, but the particular note specified in the URL did not exist. I would suggest that Tinderbox should create a new note. (This is consistent with how $Container attribute works. If you specify a path that doesn't exist, Tinderbox creates the notes as specified by the path.) In this way if I am in iCal or Scrivener, I can enter the URL (or more likely paste in a URL and edit it slightly). When I execute the URL, Tinderbox will open the new named note, ready for me to enter a fleeting thought or important task.

Title: Re: A File URL for Individual Notes
Post by steve harf on Feb 4th, 2012, 8:32am

For flexibility in use there might be a few variations on the URL form:

• Explicit path

• ID number

With ID number, if a note is moved to a different part of the hierarchy it still will be accessible.

Once starting in this direction, the idea of opening more of the information in a Tinderbox file to external applications via URL is a natural direction. I can imagining getting or setting an attribute value of a specific note or conducting a search in Tinderbox and returning a list of IDs that match the criteria. Some steps along this path might answer some of the calls for adding AppleScript with a cross-platform inter-application alternative.

Title: Re: A File URL for Individual Notes
Post by Paul Walters on Feb 5th, 2012, 7:54am

I'd suggest that using a file path in a Tinderbox URL


is fragile (change a letter, the link is broken); failures would be difficult to diagnose

Something along these lines might be more robust:


Where the first string is a UUID that always points to that Tinderbox file, regardless of location in the filesystem, and the second is the internal ID for that item in that file's XML structure

Title: Re: A File URL for Individual Notes
Post by steve harf on Feb 7th, 2012, 2:08pm

Paul's point is well taken about the fragility of explicit file paths. An alternative to UUIDs would be for Tinderbox to maintain a default path (or a set of default paths that can be searched sequentially) that is user configurable. (In a similar way Tinderbox uses files in its Application Support folder for templates, badges, etc. to add features to the built-in ones.) This doesn't completely eliminate the issue of fragility but provides broader latitude for users to move files and not "break" all the carefully crafted links. With this scheme you might get a URL that looks something like this:


where projects.tbx is a file in one of the default paths. If I move to a new computer with my Tinderbox files and iCal, Scrivener and other files that have references to notes in the Tinderbox files, as long as the relevant Tinderbox files are in the default paths every reference *should* work. (I use ID because it is a existing attribute visible to users that uniquely identifies a note in a Tinderbox file.) I continue to believe there is a use-case (see my earlier reply) for also identifying a note by its path within a Tinderbox document. I want to be able to have the option to "hand craft" a path to the desired note. So the following URL might also be supported:



Title: Re: A File URL for Individual Notes
Post by Paul Walters on Feb 7th, 2012, 4:40pm

Good proposal, Steve.  If Tinderbox could resolve aliases (no reason it shouldn't ... just saying) then moving documents around wouldn't be a problem.  I usually keep a folder structure of related documents on projects, including my Tinderbox files, which I frequently rearrange.  With Steve's proposal and alias resolution, I wouldn't anticipate a problem.

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