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Tinderbox: book notes (Read 42923 times)
Mark Anderson
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Re: Tinderbox: book notes
Reply #30 - Feb 09th, 2013, 6:12pm
 
I think making every note have a $StartDate would cause a different "too-hard-for-new-user" problem as now every note would go into a timeline … and that's likely not what the user needs (apart from a trivial 'hello world' test).
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Jack Baty
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Re: Tinderbox: book notes
Reply #31 - Feb 10th, 2013, 8:18am
 
> You could always use an OnAdd action in your container

I use that Action so frequently I created a Stamp called "OnAdd to set StartDate" to add the OnAdd action!

$OnAdd="$StartDate|=$Created"

In Tinderbox documents which rely heavily on dates (which most of mine do) I create all sorts of date-based stamps. For example, in my book reading log (to try keeping this thread on topic) I have Stamps such as...

End Now: $EndDate=date(today)
Started Yesterday: $StartDate=date(yesterday) (I frequently update notes the following day)

All of these could be done by typing into a KeyAttribute easily enough, but using Stamps is faster and helps prevent errors.

I use the Timeline view in Tinderbox for many things I never thought I would. Book reading history being just the most recent example.
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Sumner Gerard
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Re: Tinderbox: book notes
Reply #32 - Feb 11th, 2013, 1:23pm
 
These approaches (Rule, Stamp, OnAdd Action, and a Stamp to add a frequently used OnAdd Action) are great ideas that showcase the flexibility of Tinderbox. And they're all super easy, *as long as* one knows:

- Choosing Timeline View won't present anything resembling, well, a useful timeline, *unless* an initially empty attribute somewhere deep down there in the Tinderbox engine room is first populated.

- Sending the information down into the engine room to populate the attribute (assuming one has figured out what an attribute is) is "easy" after first learning specialized Tinderbox vocabulary words and some special signals, e.g. "|=".

Though not "hard," perhaps this asks too much of prospective users in a hurry? I suspect it immediately reinforces the (mistaken) impression that Timeline View is harder to use than competing products (and other Tinderbox Views). Unfortunately, that initial impression gets shared with other folk who are very smart but who have deadlines to meet and don't have time to delve deeper to see the ease and flexibility of Timeline View. And so the undeserved reputation builds.

@Mark A is, of course, correct that many users do not want *every* note on a timeline. And many in the end won't want $StartDate values underlying their timelines to be the same as the values in $Created (though that is a better starting point than nothing). Similar things, however, can be said of Map View too. There the user is not asked to first populate $XPos and $YPos before seeing something immediately resembling a map that can then be developed into something more useful.

Anyway, just a thought. Timeline View and the ideas here are great stuff.  More people should use them!
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« Last Edit: Feb 11th, 2013, 6:35pm by Sumner Gerard »  
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Mark Anderson
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Re: Tinderbox: book notes
Reply #33 - Feb 11th, 2013, 2:22pm
 
Oh dear, now people will get confused. $Created is a built-in auto-populated attribute that you can't remove and which, in truth, most users do need (even if for reasons not related to any a given view - and on which point i'll not digress here).

I think we're getting thread drift. Might I suggest that further discussion (if any) about how to set up for Timeline use start a new thread and leave this one to to return to discussion of book notes…?

I've updated my 'starter' file to show some basic Timeline usage example to help those starting out.
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« Last Edit: Feb 11th, 2013, 4:07pm by Mark Anderson »  

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Sumner Gerard
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Re: Tinderbox: book notes
Reply #34 - Feb 11th, 2013, 7:40pm
 
In response to reply #33 I've edited the wording in my reply #32 above to be more precise.  I did not and do not suggest that $Created should be "removed" or touched in any way!  The issue, I think, is whether when $StartDate is not populated (which, unlike with $XPos and $YPos, is often the case) Timeline View could use a default date value, with the value in $Created seemingly the best candidate, at least for my work habits and for the book notes example upthread.

My two main points are not confusing, I think:

1) Timeline View is much easier than it seems for applications like taking book notes discussed in this thread. One does have to know how to take a couple of crucial initial steps, though. But after that it's truly a piece of cake, and wonderfully flexible to do more complicated things too (say, different timeline bands for different book genres, etc.). Plus it looks good. The competition can't touch it.  It's a pity it's perceived as complicated when it isn't, really.

2) Having seen "it's too complicated" comments about Timeline View elsewhere, I think those less familiar with Tinderbox (including those considering whether to "kick the tires" to see if they want to buy it) would think it much easier if the Timeline View default behavior roughly paralleled other major Tinderbox views in the sense that something instantly recognizable and often useful emerges by default that can then be explored, without the user first having to rummage around in Help, aTbRef, starter files, the Cookbook, and/or forum threads like this just to figure out how best to just get the thing to start showing something that looks like a timeline. Just a thought.

Regarding perceived "thread drift": I happen to learn better from concrete usage examples I can "relate to" (such as arranging book notes in a timeline) than from generic separate discussions about the mechanics of such and such Tinderbox "feature" that I can follow but can't quite manage to see how to apply in a practical way to "real life." Maybe some others reading this are like me. So I do hope the replies (and the replies they elicited) dealing with the specifics of how to get Timeline View to produce the really nice book notes results @Jack Baty offered upthread remain an integral part of this thread.

The enhanced starter file, despite its necessary level of abstraction, is very helpful as well.  Many thanks!
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