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Representation of Adornments  in Outline View (Read 11235 times)
Joshua Brown
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Representation of Adornments  in Outline View
Feb 10th, 2009, 11:51am
 
Mark,

I really like adornments, but to be truly useful I need to be able to see them in outline mode as well as map mode. For me, I use outline mode for data entry, and map mode to define relationships.  As a result, if I can't see representations of the data i've entered in map mode in an outline view things can get confusing.   In addition, I like adornments better than containers because they let me see the links between notes -- instead of obscuring them.  

In my use adornments almost always represent a grouping, just like containers might. However, unlike containers they are not discrete topics. Furthermore they are often more connected to the notes around them.  As a result, its important to be able to see how they are linked to notes visually.

While this representation is important, its is also important to see the adornments as parent notes in an outline view because they often represent groupings of notes.

I think the best way to represent this is by representing adornments as separators in outline views.  For notes that are partially on 2 adornments, you could have them alias under to separators in the outline view.  This aliasing should happen automatically, but could be turned off if needed.

Please let me know if this makes sense and your thoughts.  I may have to edit this post for clarity, so I apologize if I'm not making much sense.

Thanks!

Josh
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Mark Bernstein
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Re: Representation of Adornments  in Outline View
Reply #1 - Feb 10th, 2009, 12:51pm
 
How would you represent overlapping adornments?  Notes that span two different adornments?
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Joshua Brown
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Re: Representation of Adornments  in Outline View
Reply #2 - Feb 10th, 2009, 1:09pm
 
I would just alias the note as a child under the second adornment/separator in an outline view.  You might want to indicate it with some sort of symbol, or something.  But that's that.... would that work in your mind?

Josh
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Re: Representation of Adornments  in Outline View
Reply #3 - Feb 10th, 2009, 2:00pm
 
No -- an alias won't work here.

The same note (or alias!) might be on top of several different adornments -- one on its left side, perhaps, and another on its right.  Or, it might be entirely inside adornment A and partially inside adornment B -- which itself is partly inside adornment A and partially outside.


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Joshua Brown
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Re: Representation of Adornments  in Outline View
Reply #4 - Feb 10th, 2009, 2:10pm
 
I'm still not understanding why a "linked copy" or alias of a note might not work as a representationin the outline view.  

If a note is partilly on two adorments, then the note can be represented under both parent separators in an outline.  

On the other hand, if the note is on top of an adorment, which is within another adornment, you would just represent it once within the outline -- underneath the "child" adornment. However, that note would be "contained" in both adornments logically (within the descended from information).

The key is to make sure that a note is represented in both places. This way the logical structure is intact. The map is just a visual representation of the logical structure you've defined in the outline.

I guess in my mind, it comes down to this:

1. Containers are for different distinct topics, that need their own world.

2. Adornments, and separators are collection buckets within logical topics.

Currently, I don't think tinderbox works well this this natural model, or I haven't been able to make it do so.  Let me know what you think.
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Mark Anderson
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Re: Representation of Adornments  in Outline View
Reply #5 - Feb 10th, 2009, 2:11pm
 
One slightly roundabout way - avoiding the alias trap might be to have a set attribute that listed all the adornments(s) over which a note site sits. In most cases that's probably one value (or none!) but a note could actually intersect 2 or more so a set is needed.

OK, so when a note is moved onto an adornment (even only overlapping) that adornment name is added. Move it off, the name is removed. Although this data can't be shown directly in Outline, an agent could find notes whose (name?) attribute held a certain adornment value. The search parameter used would need to allow for paths as the user might use the same adornment name in different maps.

I'm doubtless overlooking something - for instance I don't know how much extra overhead this puts into the background housekeeping whilst the user's dragging notes around in map view.
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Re: Representation of Adornments  in Outline View
Reply #6 - Apr 17th, 2009, 2:13pm
 
Mark, could you give me an example of what this set attribute would look like.

Thanks
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Re: Representation of Adornments  in Outline View
Reply #7 - Apr 17th, 2009, 3:54pm
 
Hmm, the challenge is we're missing a few bits. We have an 'add' event but no 'remove' event. IOW, you can trigger OnAdd but to undo the effect you must trigger an OnAdd for a different note/container/adornment. We also lack an 'adornment' designator.

Let's assume the above postulated features exist. Now our adornment could track its 'contents' using a notional user attribute 'MySet'. Thus:

OnAdd action: $MySet(adornment)=$MySet(adornment)+$Name

On Remove action: $MySet(adornment)=$MySet(adornment)-$Name

The other issue is how we visualise adornments in oultine view. My off-the-cuff thought is a preference to 'show adornments as containers'. If 'true' the adornment would appear as a container on the level above the current map with its 'contents' - IOW notes 'on' the adornment as aliases. We'd also need some sort of command to 'crystallise'  the adornment. Doing so would make the adornment an actual container and the original of the aliases 'in' the adornment would move to that container. The function might need a modifier key - either hoist the adornment to a container at the parent level or make it a container in the current map.

Of course that's assuming this is realistically programmable.  I should perhaps add that I don't the the above transform as reversible - though it would be pretty funky if it was - IOW, being able to 'melt' a container into an adornment containing notes.

Note that you can't have adornments simultaneously act as adornments and containers. If the adornment appears in outline view as if it were a container, then notes on the adornment would have the adornment as their parent.  Similarly, if you "melt" a container into an adornment, what happens to the positions of notes inside the container that don't fall on the adornment?  --MarkBernstein

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« Last Edit: Apr 17th, 2009, 6:44pm by Mark Anderson »  

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Re: Representation of Adornments  in Outline View
Reply #8 - Apr 17th, 2009, 4:04pm
 
I would be surprised if the idea of an adornment attribute has not been considered and am curious why it is not implemented.
A work around as I have been thinking on the problem would be to have a 'reset' adornment that would initiate an action to clear the set of a user defined attribute.
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Mark Anderson
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Re: Representation of Adornments  in Outline View
Reply #9 - Apr 17th, 2009, 4:37pm
 
Indeed, within a given map, a 'reset' adornment is well known approach to set/unsetting values. However, the issue of re-presenting the adornment/on-adornment relationship is a little more complex.
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Re: Representation of Adornments  in Outline View
Reply #10 - Apr 17th, 2009, 6:54pm
 
Quote:
Note that you can't have adornments simultaneously act as adornments and containers. If the adornment appears in outline view as if it were a container, then notes on the adornment would have the adornment as their parent.  Similarly, if you "melt" a container into an adornment, what happens to the positions of notes inside the container that don't fall on the adornment?  --MarkBernstein

Ergo my proposeal that 'outline-adornments' would hold aliases rather than the actual note, deliberately addressing the can't-be-two-places-at-once you raise.

My comment was addressing issues raised by preceding posts and was postulating a quite full solution. As a first step, I'd think a lot of power would be offered by being able to select an adornment and be able to do a choice of either:
  • Make the adornment a container holding all the notes over it,. The notes affected would disappear from the map as the new container would be a sibling of the (parent) container of the map.
  • Make the adornment a container on the current map and the notes on it into its children, i.e. pushing that latter off the map and down one level.

Which one the user might choose would depend on the scenario and I suspect implementing only one of the two would be a half complete solution.

If there's any real interest in taking the concept forward I think it's best to look at the last suggestion and the problems arising before trying to go so far as showing adornments in outlines or making the adornment-contain transition two-way, neat as the feature might seem. Experience shows these things invariably have unintended consequences, just in understanding their use even if the actual processes work!
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« Last Edit: Apr 17th, 2009, 6:56pm by Mark Anderson »  

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Paul Walters
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Re: Representation of Adornments  in Outline View
Reply #11 - Apr 18th, 2009, 8:52am
 
A fairly robust work-around can be implemented with Tinderbox as-is.  

1) Create adornments (e.g., "Blue" and "Green")
2) Create an agent for each adornment.  The queries are Inside(Blue), Inside(Green), etc.
3) Create a prototype such as ProtoSeparator with the Separator box checked
4) Assign the ProtoSeparator prototype to each of the actions created in step 2, and they will appear as separators in Outline view.

When a note touches an adornment, an alias appears in the agent assigned to collect that adornment's notes.  If a note touches multiple adornments, then multiple agents display the alias.  If a note is moved away from an adornment, then the alias is removed from the agent for that adornment.

This entails a bit of overhead to create the agents that correspond to adornments, but the procedure seems to work well.  Similar procedures using links, user attributes, and so forth are possible.
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