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Do you need to use/export footnote info? (Read 12411 times)
Mark Anderson
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Do you need to use/export footnote info?
Oct 5th, 2011, 8:15am
 
The problem of foonotes & exporting them got kicked around a while back but the issue got left as we ran into a number of 'gaps' in action/export code functionality. I see I tried solving this in late 2009 and again a year later but at last I think we've got all the pieces needed. The links that follow are pages exported from Tinderbox.†The source TBX is too messy to share right now, which is why I'm posting output. Also, I want to see if there are any thinks I've missed that others may spot. N.B. for real-world use CSS styles would be applied to the exports but I've left that out for now - it's easy to add later and otherwise just bloats the code.

HTML. This web page has in-page links from source to footnotes. Each footnote has a back-link to return to the calling text. Hover over the links for a text description. Bear in mind that the footnote will only scroll to the top of the visible page if there's > 1 window height of content below it (make your browser window very small and you'll see the difference - i.e. it's not a code error, just how browsers work).

HTML without in-page links. Suppose we want styled HTML that we'll open/paste into Word or other word processor? Likely the in-page links won't travel, so let's dump those (using new macros). Example.

Just Text. I did try Nakakoji view, but hit problems with the macros in the $Text - see here. However, using HTML export but yet another set of templates & macros, I think we get a reasonable solution - here. †Indeed, you might trim the templates further so as to just export the footnote data.

Anyway, is this useful? †Are there any must have aspects I've overlooked? The footnotes don't do so here but could be pulling citation info from attributes in the footnote note. †Pretty powerful for someone assembling their academic paper.

I suspect doing an export such that such that the footnotes turn up as such in Word is probably not possible - mainly due to limitations on the Microsoft side of the transfer. But still, I think this approach might be a time saver.

I'll share the 'how' in due course but I want to check for any more unforeseen needs before tidying up. This isn't novice stuff so the tidying & explanation will as usual take far longer than figuring out the code so I don't want to do that more than once!

What do people think of this approach?

Edited:
Note that the technique used above can only assess footnotes for a single source note per output page. I doubt it can be made to work for a single output page made up from several source notes, e.g where ^children^ or ^descendants^ is used to create the main page content


Edited:
One more gotcha, as links() is being used to retrieve note->footnote links the resulting list is de-duped so re-use of a footnote from within a note will result in the wrong notes being connected. this is because the on-screen numbering works on the order within the links()-derived list. I can see people might want to link the same footnote from multiple points in the same $Text. In such circumstances there's a workaround (for export purposes). Make an alias of the target footnote and manually make a 'note' type link to it from the main note. The footnote in question is listed twice but you only need to update the footnote's source $Text/attributes once.
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« Last Edit: Oct 05th, 2011, 1:34pm by Mark Anderson »  

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Re: Do you need to use/export footnote info?
Reply #1 - Oct 8th, 2011, 1:09pm
 
I can imagine this would be a useful part of someone's workflow, but, to be honest, I wonder whether it's going to be too fiddly for most?

Might the Markdown/MultiMarkdown footnoting styles/markup be a way of getting round some of these problems? I know people have done work with Markdown/MultiMarkdown in Tinderbox. And with tools like Marked (an app) this might make it part of a useful workflow?

From my own work, I have struggled with the use of Tinderbox as a reference manager. For one large recent research project, I started off hoping to do it all in Tinderbox, but soon gave up and switched into a many-tools-coming-together workflow.

For me, footnoting needs to include:

-- somewhere to store the original file
-- somewhere to store quotes in neat and easily search and access them.
-- an easy way to 'cite' or reference footnotes while writing
-- ability to absorb different citation styles when exporting/outputting...
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Re: Do you need to use/export footnote info?
Reply #2 - Oct 9th, 2011, 2:50pm
 
For me, being able to export as in 'Just Text...a reasonable solution' would be a boon.

Given what appears on that page, I assume that this method works with Text Links. If so, I would find the ability to export from Tinderbox in this way a great help: the output shown can easily be turned into real rtf footnotes by Nisus, for example.

MMD footnote formatting is awkward, to say the least, when footnotes of some length are involved. Tinderbox has the tools to keep footnote text out of the way and, since it's precisely the exporting that is so hard, Mark's experiments seem just what the doctor ordered. Thank you, Mark. I look forward to seeing how this develops.
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Mark Anderson
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Re: Do you need to use/export footnote info?
Reply #3 - Oct 9th, 2011, 6:27pm
 
I can't find a thread called 'Just Text...a reasonable solution' - is this a reference or a suggestion that TB 'just' export footnotes' 'correctly'. †I think 'correctly' is actually not one-size-fits-all but I do think some things are possible.

My thought is that what is really needed are new features that:
  • Let the user control the export of links at link type level. IOW, export everything except type 'note+', or only export types 'agree' or 'explanation', etc.
  • Allow the user to supply per-type export transforms (perhaps as a macro?) instead of TB default link export.
Anything else is always going to end up with a degree of spaghetti code. I think the solution creating my exports above is about as simple as can be managed.

Not having any daily use for formal citations, I've been able to look at that aspect with some detachment. From an encoding perpsective it's something of a pot-mess as there are a number of competing methods with different formatting/layout rules. My hunch is it would be easier to make footnotes with citation info both in attributes (if needed for internal referencing) and correctly formatted in the footnote's $Text rather than try an write a template to correctly assemble a citation footnote just from attribute values. I looked at a few citation schema and in each case you've quite a messy set of conditionals depending on the number/type of author, what publication/media type is being cited, etc. However, for a single citation schema and if citations are broadly of the same type of reference then assembling citations on the fly from attributes is certainly possible - just not a one-size-fit-all approach as in TB †'just' exporting citations.

As a side note, the suggested new features would make a whole host of other HTML export link-related issues a lot easier, too.

Edited:
Feature request now re-stated in correct forum: here
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« Last Edit: Oct 10th, 2011, 4:42am by Mark Anderson »  

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Re: Do you need to use/export footnote info?
Reply #4 - Oct 10th, 2011, 7:51am
 
Sorry. I was quoting your post above, trying to point to the page linked there: http://www.acrobatfaq.com/tbdemos/TB-text-footnote-test.txt. What catches my eye there is the fact that the numbering of the footnotes appears to be automated and they seem to derive from Text Links. If so, I'd find this very helpful


Footnotes and íformal citationsí are in principle two different things. I think most people would probably continue to use a dedicated software program to manage citations and bibliography formatting, since it's such a specialized and complex task. I know I would.
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« Last Edit: Oct 10th, 2011, 7:55am by JB »  
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Re: Do you need to use/export footnote info?
Reply #5 - Oct 10th, 2011, 10:41am
 
Ah, I see. At the time I wrote the export tests, I wasn't sure about the 'auto-numbering' as it appeared to be simply the happy by-product of me asking TB for a list of all footnote links in a note and exporting them in the order delivered.  In other words, item 2 of a list of links of link type "note" will be the second footnote in sequence linked to from within $Text. At present, it seems the ordering is by luck rather than deliberate design, but MarK B's since confirmed that it makes that such an ordering be deliberately applied in forthcoming versions.

Citations. I quite agree that people use specific citation/reference management tools (one of a number out there) to manage sources in bulk. Mentioning them in the context of footnotes, I was thinking of the problem of the point at which such specialist data had been imported in to TB so as to be matched up to the new text being written and then being able to export the result in a fashion not requiring massive rework in the final layout tool (Word, Pages, whatever). Such re-editing is a time waster we all hate and which occurs more often than one would hope when moving complex bits of info between different apps.

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Re: Do you need to use/export footnote info?
Reply #6 - Oct 10th, 2011, 10:57am
 
Luckily, most of these citation programmes usually have some sort of short-cut reference. There is almost always some sort of post-processing done by the programme.

With Sente, for example:

-- I'll be editing something in Pages/Scrivener etc, and when I make a footnote, I'll press CMD-Y. This will load Sente
-- I'll choose the relevant citation, press CMD-Y again and the following will be copied into my pages file footnote: "{Scothi1999}" (or something along those lines)

When I'm finished working on the text, I tell Sente to 'process' the document using a particular citation format/style. It then converts all these placeholder references into actual citations. I think, therefore, that this suits our purposes.
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Re: Do you need to use/export footnote info?
Reply #7 - Oct 10th, 2011, 11:28am
 
Alex, that's helpful. sounds like citation export is a non-issue. I'll post a demo later in the week showing how the original HTML above was created.

[edit: typo]
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« Last Edit: Mar 13th, 2012, 6:19pm by Mark Anderson »  

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Re: Do you need to use/export footnote info?
Reply #8 - Oct 10th, 2011, 11:57am
 
Let me migrate this a bit.

I have an html export project that is addressing more fundamental functionality at the moment, but I will have to deal with the reference issue at some point.

Iím less tied to the print model, and want take advantage of new tools. So my ideal would look a bit different.

Iíve invested in Bookends, which is basically a database. It can function as a web server in its own right, providing citation information plus either the digitized reference or a link to one.

I think in my case, Iíd like to ask Bookends to insert a link into a TB document using a format I determine, [Barwise 1998] for now, and on export have that be a simple link, opening a new browser window with the citation, including my notes or summary, and a link to the actual document.

When working on the desktop, that link if followed, would open Bookends in a read-write mode.

I do not believe this will be straightforward; a macro may be required to in part sort out the difference between the desktop Bookends database and its exported server version.

But this behavior seems elegant and desirable.

It allows TB to do what it does best, and allows Bookends to do its singular job superbly.
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Re: Do you need to use/export footnote info?
Reply #9 - Oct 18th, 2011, 4:58pm
 
It seems this topic was less of a need than a few years back, but anyway, here's a demo. If you're interested in export generally it's also worth a look for some of the techniques - it explores what's possible in v5.9.3.

The demo shows how the original exports (up-thread) were created and includes specimen output. Get the demo: tb-footnotes.zip.

I'd be interested in comments!
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« Last Edit: Oct 18th, 2011, 4:58pm by Mark Anderson »  

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Re: Do you need to use/export footnote info?
Reply #10 - Oct 19th, 2011, 12:52pm
 
From the start of my struggling with Tinderbox I've thought something like this must be possible, but I now see why I was never going to figure it out.

I want to thank you, Mark, for your devotion and hard work, even if †I can't make use of it, since I'm still using 5.8.x.

In my case, upgrade pricing is not conducive to being up-to-date.
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« Last Edit: Oct 19th, 2011, 12:53pm by JB »  
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Re: Do you need to use/export footnote info?
Reply #11 - Apr 9th, 2012, 12:50pm
 
Tidying up old files I note the above demo needs v5.9.0+ and ideally v5.10.0+:

Quote:
...The technique requires v5.9.2+ as it leverages the extended ^include^ functionality that allows groups of notes to be included on export. Note that pre v5.10.0 it is not possible to be certain of the order of the list returned by links(); from v5.10.0 the list is in outline order of the cited (linked) note.
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