Tinderbox 6.1

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Tinderbox 6.1


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Every facet of Tinderbox has been re-imagined and re-implemented for Tinderbox Six. See the Tinderbox Six page for the details.

Tinderbox 6.1.3 adds a detailed Getting Started walkthrough to help you learn about Tinderbox. There’s also a new Badge Picker, more than a hundred new badges, and lots of additional improvements.

What’s New?

A new item in the TinderboxSix menu displays highlights of this version.

The What’s New window will also be displayed at startup for registered users the first time they install a new version.

Getting Started With Tinderbox

A tutorial walkthrough for beginning users, found in the Help menu.


The badge picker has been completely rewritten to support larger badge families.

New attribute $BadgeMonochrome. In maps, if $BadgeMonochrome is true and if $Color is dark, the badge will be drawn in sourceOut mode instead of sourceOver. This is useful when using black badges on a dark map background. (1226)

$BadgeSize is a numeric attribute which sets the size of the badge in map view. If zero (the default), the default badge size is used. The Badge Picker automatically sets $BadgeSize to 32 when selecting badges from the Avatar family; an even-larger badge may sometimes be desirable.

The Badge Picker’s pane selector adapts somewhat more reasonably if there are numerous user families of badges (1268)


Highlighting selected text always used yellow, even if the red or blue highlighter was selected. (1216)

Dog ears sometimes appeared in notes and containers which had formerly held text, but from which all the text had been deleted.

Changing dates in the key attribute table would often set the selection to the first row, not the next row, because the need to update the value cell forced the table to be rebuilt, losing the selection. (1218)

Paste styled text into an empty note, then delete the text. The typing style correctly adopts the style of the pasted text. However, in past versions, Format ▸ Style ▸ Standard Font did not correctly reset the typing style to the standard font if the note was empty. It does, now. (1205)

Documents can be Saved and Closed from the File menu when the current window is a text window. (1232)

Text windows may now be opened from Attribute Browser. (1282)


Timeline links are drawn once again. (1173,1206)

The minimum width of timeline items has been reduced, improving the appearance of short-duration events with short display names.


Text windows are now saved with the document and reopened when the document is reopened. (1212)

A new designator construction, child[n], allows you to designate the nth child of a note. Adornments are ignored in choosing the available children. The eldest child is designated as child[0] or, as before, simply child. If a note has no children or if the nth child does not exist, the result is noSuchNote and the value returned will be the default value or be undefined. (1227)

The label for case-sensitivity in the agent inspector now reflects the actual functionality. (1207)

Thanks to a glitch in the constructor for HTMLExportTemplate, Tinderbox might think that a link context (set up by link-listing constructs such as ) existed when none does, resulting in a crash. (1223)

Addressed a crash when scrolling the results table in a torn-off Find window.

Fixed a crash in Attribute Browser, which could in some circumstances be forced to sort simultaneously in two different threads.(1222)

Smart adornments always issues multiple change messages, even if they did not, in fact, make changes.

Stamp inspector: "+" should save pending changes (1221)

When adding a built-in template to a document which has no default template, the newly-added page template becomes the document’s default template. (1213)

Fixed a crash when closing text windows. (1230)

Automatically draw icons from the Icons and Symbols family in light gray against a dark map color, and dark gray against a light map element.

Rewrote the Badge Picker because (a) the old picker used the newly-deprecated NSMatrix, and (b) the old picker couldn’t accommodate the large repertoire of the new Symbols family. The change also permits us to update the badge immediately, rather than when the popover is dismissed, and permits arrow key navigation in the Badge Picker. (6, 991)

Document Settings: the Simplenote account and password fields could appear not to be saved if new information was typed and then the window was closed without selecting a different text field or pressing return. (1235)

Typically, HTMLExportExtension is either empty or begins with a period (for example, “.html”). If the period is omitted, Tinderbox will now supply it.(1231)

Sequential attributes now auto-increment correctly. (1219)

Attribute Browser: if multiple tabs held an attribute browser, changing the attribute category in one tab also changed the category in other tabs. Attribute browser tabs are now fully independent. (1200)

Link Types Inspector: corrected handling of the color well.

Renamed tab contextual menu item New Window to reflect what it actually does. (1098,1186)

In the action inspector’s query pane, we now provide prompt feedback for the number of notes the agent has retrieved. (1167)

Fixed a crash when pressing when the cursor focus is on a string or set-valued key attribute, but the attribute’s text field is not active. (The pulldown menu was returning an unexpected null value because no choice was made). (1237)

If HTPath was called for a synthetic note or one that doesn’t exist, it could crash because it used an obsolete test (node==nil) and was not prepared for a null object (NotANode*). (1264)

Updated the OPML and Scrivener templates to normalize handling of $HTMLExportExtension.

Help for Get Info and Inspector.

In a specific document, creating a new agent by right-clicking the background and selecting Create Agent… intermittently did nothing or created an agent in the wrong container. The problem arose because the parent note was taken from the current selection; if that selection was an agent alias, then no agent could be created. The parent note is not chosen appropriately. (1269)

Similarly, creating notes by pasting text into map view could create in an unexpected place if the selected note was not in the map view.

Removed a half-dozen additional Law of Demeter violations that involve node->GetHypertext()->; these can run into trouble if called on a NotANode.

Corrected the (Node*) constructors of some classes like AttributeInfo which inherit both from HypertextFacade and NodeFacade. (1270)

Additional help, especially for export.

In maps, some note sizes could sometimes incorrectly truncate the title because the height needed to display the title was computed using an inaccurate estimate of the wrapping rectangle. (1290)

At small scales, beveled borders display false colors.

Aliases placed in the Favorites folder are now opened as untitled files, as are Tinderbox files placed in the Favorites folder. (1284)

The submenu for File ▸ Open Favorites is now rebuilt whenever the application is activated. Leaving Tinderbox to change the Favorites in the Finder and then returning to Tinderbox will now refresh the submenu. (1285)

Switching among tabs causes the column header to animate in. However, the notes in the view overshot their final position and scrolled back up after the animation was complete. This should no longer occur. (1273)

Tinderbox 6.1.1

Tinderbox 6.1.1 polishes and refines the advances of Tinderbox Six. Many of the key improvements came from backstage discussions – and if you like, you’re invited to join us there.

Actions and Rules

Action values have not been thread safe; if one thread changes an action while another thread is using the same action, Tinderbox might crash. To avoid this, we add a recycling pool for actions and only delete actions in the agent thread. This should now avoid risk of the agent thread using invalidated, deleted actions. (1114)

A document with many inherited rules could crash on update, because the new, thread-safe approach to attribute fetching failed to handle cached actions correctly. To avoid this, we no longer cache compiled rules; this wastes some work, but the since rules are no longer evaluated on the main thread the performance hit may be tolerable. (1141)

Fixed a crash in a rule when applying nsort to a list of items that are not, in fact, numeric.(1180)

nsort() sorted incorrectly if the list contained floating point numbers. (1188)

Modified format() and .format() so the localized formats “l” and “L” respect local handling for separators. For example, in the US the result of 10500.format(“l”) will be “10,500”


Turning an agent on or off in the Action Inspector now updates the agent’s outline icon immediately to reflect whether it is running or not. Previously, the icon might not be redrawn until the selection changed. (1127)

Attribute Browser

Attribute Browser: category labels are formatted more legibly. For example: “801-890” rather than “8.1e+2-8.9e+2” (1168)

Fixed a crash when switching to attribute browser from other views, if the browser attempted to set up categories before the browser attribute control had been initialized. (1172)

Removed animation when switching between attribute browser and another view, as the crossfade was unsightly with outlines and had terrible performance. (1199)


Days of week: the date parser now recognizes the day of the week in the current locale, not only in English. Recognized forms include the full day (Sunday), the short day (Sun), and the very short day (S). Note that the very short day is ambiguous in many languages, including English.

Month names: the date parser’s super-lenient formulation, which recognizes partial dates like “Jan 15, ”now deals with month names and month abbreviations in the current locale.

The super-lenient date parser now recognizes dates like “Jun 2014” as well as “Jun 5”

Unparseable dates are now treated as “never”. (1137)


File>Export Note asks for export folder, defaulting to the current export folder. (1110)

Export Selected Note is now enabled when the text pane has the focus; it was previously available only when the view pane had the focus. (1175)


Attempting to make a link from the text link parking space by clicking and typing the name of the destination crashed .(1143)

Revised link parking space help messages, and hide link parking space help controls when they are inapplicable. (1144)


When pasting notes in maps, if the map background has been clicked, the pasted note is placed at the location of the most recent click.

When pasting a group of notes into a map, the relative geometry of the pasted notes is preserved. (983,1076)

Added “Paste” to map background contextual menu. (796,1077)

Menu command for Paste is no longer enabled when nothing can be pasted.

Images on the clipboard may now be pasted into maps as image adornments. Image files may also be dragged. Images on the clipboard may also be pasted into outlines or charts; in this case, a new note named “pasted image” is created and the image is placed in its text.

Double-click on the note name no longer hoists the view in maps, outlines, or charts. Instead, the title is opened for editing. Triple-click opens the title for editing and selects the entire title. Double-clicking the interior continues to hoist the view in maps, and double-clicking the icon hoists the view in outlines. (1148)

Summary tables no longer coerce integers to show two decimal points. This old behavior might be desirable for currency, but decimal points can still be forced using .format(2).

Adornments inside agents could not be pasted or duplicated. (1197)

Text excerpts in maps now respect $MapBodyTextSize. (1190)

Summary tables incorrectly handled tables in which an interior cell is empty or contains only white space. For example, if a line was

Lincoln | | 1865

then “1865” would be drawn in the second column, not the third. (1198)


The item contextual menu now provides an opportunity to open a Text Window. (1132)

The Find results table now has a contextual menu, and offers an opportunity to open a Text Window (1132) in both popover and freestanding window implementations. This is particularly tricky because the menu is owned by the table, not the cell view, and so must be prepared through the NSMenuDelegate protocol.


Outlines: link widgets are larger (1140).

Selected notes are no longer expanded when switching tabs.(1162)


Roadmap: Improved layout of torn-off roadmap, so title remains centered and lists expand to fill the available space. (1158)

Roadmap no longer lists links to notes deleted in this session. These links are retained internally while the deletion might be undone, but should not be displayed. (1170)

After scrolling a long list of link sources or link destinations in roadmap, some notes which have no badge were listed with another note’s badge. (1195)


Simplenote syncing had been inadvertently disabled. It’s back now. (1171)

Text and Key Attributes

Key attribute tables and Get Info>Attributes now accept Format>Text>InsertDate and Format>Text>Insert Date and Time with equivalent effects. (1142)

File attributes in key attribute table: if no value is specified, clicking on the folder icon lets you choose a file. Previously, the folder icon was disabled. (1129)

Format>Style>Standard Font now adjusts the typing attributes. This accommodates the scenario where the user pastes unwanted text in a new style, deletes the text, and then applies the standard font: because there is now selection, previously this failed to reset the typing style which the unwanted paste had altered. (1125)

If you try to add a key attribute that is not defined as an attribute, a popover allows you to create a new attribute on the fly.

Key Attributes: the popover for unknown key attributes now deletes attributes that don’t exist if those attributes are not created (1151).

Key attributes: the unknown attribute popover now includes "file" and "boolean" types (1152).

Key attributes: autocomplete interference with names that such as DestState, which have prefixes that are shared by only one existing attribute, should no longer prose difficulties (1154)

Text windows: when a text window is activated, its cursor position remains where it was when the window was deactivated. If the text has been shortened in another view, so that the cursor position no longer exists, the cursor is placed at the start of the text. Formerly, the cursor was always placed at the start of the text. (1133)

Read-only attributes no longer enable “Use Inherited Value” in the key attribute table. (1177)

Selecting a new note and clicking in the text pane could sometimes cause the text to scroll to an arbitrary position. (1201)

The “unknown attributes” popover now supports creating URL attributes. (1202)


The positioning of the “+” control in the tab bar has been corrected.

The Color Palettes picker now includes a palette that reflects the current Tinderbox palette.

The Registration Window provides a link from the reminder text to the order page (1155)

The initial position of the inspector has been moved, allowing more space in the upper right-hand corner for notifications. (1165)

When a new document is opened, its first window becomes the key window. (1161)

$ID was not correctly populated for newly-created notes. (1174)

Yosemite triggers layout debugging pane in its standard file windows; disable the debugging pane in release builds. (1173)

Popovers again detach correctly under Yosemite. (1178)

Crashes when closing popovers that ought to be capable of being torn off under Yosemite should no longer occur. (1178)

The Stamp Inspector failed to reset its text fields after switching documents if the nth stamp was previously selected and the new document had at least n stamps. (1182)

Switching tabs to a tab using the Preview pane, and then switching back to any map pane, resulted in a host of update problems. If the preview completion block failed to run, then change updates would be permanently locked. Even if the preview completion block did run successfully, the update was not thread safe.

Fixed a typo in Help:Anatomy of a Note

Tinderbox 6.1


This release includes fixes intended to make Tinderbox more reliable, correcting a number of recently-reported issues. Most significantly, Tinderbox now saves the state of all windows that were open when the document was closed.

In addition, this release prepares for the OS X 10.9.5 update and for the forthcoming OS X 10.10 Yosemite.

Tinderbox Help has been expanded substantially.

This release is recommended for all Tinderbox Six users.


Traditionally, Tinderbox draws alias titles with an italic font. This is problematic for note titles written in languages that do not typically use italics. A new document setting (Outline pane) allows you to underline alias titles in order to more clearly identify them. (1062)

Editing an alias now marks the original as modified. (1056)

Attribute Browser

Attribute Browser: crash when switching to User attribute family when there are no user attributes. (1071)

Attribute Browser: addressed an intermittent crash when sorting the attribute browser in the background.

Attribute Browser: the disclosure triangle animation no longer stalls. (1044)

The attribute browser now reflects $NameStrike and the title’s strike-through style.(1104)


The Badge Picker now sets the badge of all selected notes, not only the note whose badge was clicked. (1047)

Built-in Templates and Prototypes

When creating built-in templates, the Templates container’s OnAdd action now sets $IsTemplate=true. (1064)

Built-in Prototypes: added an OnAdd action to the prototype for HTML Template. (1068)

Built-In Prototypes were not created if the document had another note with the intended name, even in a different container. We now create a new prototype as expected in the Prototypes container.


Expand All is enabled in Chart View. (1055)


Renamed File>Export to HTML… to File>Export Document (1101).

Added a new menu item File>Export Selected Note(s) that exports only the selected notes. (1101)

If a note is marked as a template, automatic substitution of dashes and automatic text replacement are disabled. (1031)

Get Info

Get Info>Agents: editing a query or action without pressing return, and then changing the priority, discarded changes to the action or query. (1046)

Get Info: changing colors is now undoable (1086)

Corrected scrolling of long values in value cells of Get Info’s Attribute pane. (1091)

Get Info adjusts the popover width to suit the selected pane, but failed to adapt the width of the initially-selected pane because the pane was selected before the popover had been created. (1096)

The Get Info popover is not transient rather than semi-transient, and is more readily dismissed. (1120)


In the Text Inspector, fields for Display Expression and Hover Expression now offer autocompletion.


Potentially improve performance when dragging in a map view if an attribute browser is open in another window. (1032)

Maps: the link widget is larger, and its click target is larger yet, to make it more easily discoverable and less finicky to use. (1082)

Maps: after pasting in a map, scroll to the pasted note.(1075)

Maps: shift-option-drag in the background should marquee extend the current selection rather than replacing it. (1079)

Shift-click and cmd-click on the map background no longer deselect the selected notes. Simply clicking the map background clears the selection; the modifier keys suggest that the user wants to do something else — and perhaps simply clicked the background by accident. (1078)

In map view, ⇧-click now extends the selection, exactly like ⌘-click. In outline and chart views, ⇧-click continues to range-select from the current selection to the clicked note. (1080)

When a map or outline has the focus, it displays a subtle shadow along its left edge. Some people dislike the shadow; it is now controlled by the boolean attribute $MapBackgroundShadow. (1081,1084)

Restored the crosshair cursor when pressing the option key for marquee selection. (1083)


In outlines, clicking on the collapse/expand widget of a note no longer selects that note. This makes it easier to manipulate an outline while editing a note’s text. (956)

Expand widget: ⌘-click expands the clicked note and its younger siblings. Formerly, only younger siblings were expanded. (1069)

Expand widget: option-click expands the clicked note and its descendants. (1069)

Revised Create Separator. When no note is selected, the separator is created as the parent’s youngest child. (1085)


Tinderbox Preferences is now available even when no document is open. It is also no longer possible to open two instances of the Tinderbox Preferences window. (1073)

Registration and Updates

The Registration pane now shows both the version you’re using and the latest version, and provides a link for downloading the latest version. (1063)


Format>Style>Standard Size no longer removes bold and italic styles. (946)

Format>Style>Standard Font now sets the font of the current selection to $TextFont and the size throughout the current selection to the default size. Other styles will remain unchanged, provided that they can be rendered in $TextFont. (29, 39, 837)

Text windows now display Key Attributes. (1072)

Key attributes: after editing a value and pressing , the focus moves to the next row. (1074)

From the text pane, ⌘⌥-up-arrow and ⌘⌥-down-arrow move the selection in the view pane up or down, equivalent to up-arrow and down-arrow in the view pane. (1000)

View>Magnify, View>Shrink, and View>Standard Scale are now enabled when the text pane has the focus (1093)

The Text Window command will now open a text window for all selected notes, unless more than nine notes are selected. (1094)

Text acquired a fixed trailing margin, which was frequently undesirable. (1121)


Added “Change Settings…” to the timeline background’s contextual menu. (1053)


Tinderbox now saves the tab state of each window separately, and restores the tab state when loading the window.


Tinderbox no longer asks whether you want to save empty documents.

Abbreviated dates of the form 06/2014 are recognized and interpreted as the first of the month. Note that 6/14 is interpreted as June 14 of the current year, not as June 2014. (1099)

In Get Info attribute browser and in key attribute tables, autocomplete is no longer limited to choosing among the first 99 values. (1102)

Fixed a possible crash when setting a badge.

The bottom of the label “Description” in the Document inspector User Attributes pane was truncated. Correcting this led to a cascade of layout issues in the document inspector.

Revised the XML format to prepare for saving and restoring the state of multiple windows.

Fixed an intermittent crash when opening a text window, especially when the text window was empty, arising from activating a window without properly setting up the saved insertion point. Added insertion-point caching for text windows, so the selection is preserved when the text window is reactivated. (1065)

Fixed a potential crash when restoring the selection of a text window if the text were edited in another window while the text window was deactivated.

The RuleManager now checks $RuleDisabled before running a note’s rule. (1059)

Revised handling of setViewController patching of the responder chain to accommodate both traditional and Yosemite behaviors.

Simplified drawing of tabs.(1024)

Disable assertions in release builds.

Break potential dependency cycles in many popover classes where the class was the popover’s owner and its delegate.

Document inspector: the height of the text field for default values was insufficient.

Fixed a potential crash in the parking space help dialog if you try to make a link when the parking space is empty.

Explode omitted the final character(s) of the final exploded note, if delete delimiter was checked and if the final note did not end with a delimiter. (1087)

Stamps were sometimes disabled when more than one note was selected because the text pane inappropriately disabled the stamp. (1092)

Many menu items were incorrectly disabled in attribute browser.(1095)

Many additions and improvements in Tinderbox Help.

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