Proposal: reverse indenting outliner

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Proposal: reverse indenting outliner

ImLikeWhoa
I keep a lot of note and project files in the form of outlines.   I now just read them as text files, but would like to fold away sections of my file the way vim's TVO does.  

The present TVO presents outlines in the form like the normal Word outline style, namely

Main heading
        subheading
        another subheading
                subheading of this subheading
                        smaller headings and text.

My outline format is based on the notion that indenting a paragraph marks a division and so more indenting (leading tabs) should mark larger divisions.  so my outlines look like this:

                                        Main heading
                                subheading
                                another subheadding
                        subheading of this subheading
                smaller headings
text

It seems like the TVO vim plugin could be taught to handle this indent-based outline style with a few minor changes in the program.  The scheme would be the same as TVO, except that more tabs indicate a higher level of heading rather than a lower one.  The indent style is readily distinguishable from the normal outline style in the source file, because the first line in the indent style begins with several tab characters, while a normal .otl file does not.

                        So I have two queries for you forum members
                Do you know of anyone who has thought about implementing this indent-based outline scheme using the TVO plugin?
                Would you be interested in implementing this mode within TVO if I paid you?   Since it would fit easily into TVO, others could then use it, too.  
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Re: Proposal: reverse indenting outliner

Steve Litt
On Saturday 10 March 2007 09:25, ImLikeWhoa wrote:

> I keep a lot of note and project files in the form of outlines.   I now
> just read them as text files, but would like to fold away sections of my
> file the way vim's TVO does.
>
> The present TVO presents outlines in the form like the normal Word outline
> style, namely
>
> Main heading
> subheading
> another subheading
> subheading of this subheading
> smaller headings and text.
>
> My outline format is based on the notion that indenting a paragraph marks a
> division and so more indenting (leading tabs) should mark larger divisions.
> so my outlines look like this:
>
> Main heading
> subheading
> another subheadding
> subheading of this subheading
> smaller headings
> text
>
> It seems like the TVO vim plugin could be taught to handle this
> indent-based outline style with a few minor changes in the program.  The
> scheme would be the same as TVO, except that more tabs indicate a higher
> level of heading rather than a lower one.  The indent style is readily
> distinguishable from the normal outline style in the source file, because
> the first line in the indent style begins with several tab characters,
> while a normal .otl file does not.
>
> So I have two queries for you forum members
> Do you know of anyone who has thought about implementing this
> indent-based outline scheme using the TVO plugin?
> Would you be interested in implementing this mode within TVO if I paid
> you?   Since it would fit easily into TVO, others could then use it, too.

There are two different Linux outliners, TVO and VO. We're VO. Is that who you
wanted?

It would be trivial to create a program to take a normal outline and reverse
it. I think a good name for the program would be mirror.rb :-) It would be a
2 pass program -- pass 1 counts the highest indentation in the outline, and
pass 2 recalculates indentation based on (max - this).

As far as using VO to create a "reverse outline", I think you can do that with
VO the way it is, always assuming you can think that way.

SteveT
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Re: Proposal: reverse indenting outliner

Steve Litt
On Saturday 10 March 2007 11:41, Steve Litt wrote:

> On Saturday 10 March 2007 09:25, ImLikeWhoa wrote:
> > I keep a lot of note and project files in the form of outlines.   I now
> > just read them as text files, but would like to fold away sections of my
> > file the way vim's TVO does.
> >
> > The present TVO presents outlines in the form like the normal Word
> > outline style, namely
> >
> > Main heading
> > subheading
> > another subheading
> > subheading of this subheading
> > smaller headings and text.
> >
> > My outline format is based on the notion that indenting a paragraph marks
> > a division and so more indenting (leading tabs) should mark larger
> > divisions. so my outlines look like this:
> >
> > Main heading
> > subheading
> > another subheadding
> > subheading of this subheading
> > smaller headings
> > text
> >
> > It seems like the TVO vim plugin could be taught to handle this
> > indent-based outline style with a few minor changes in the program.  The
> > scheme would be the same as TVO, except that more tabs indicate a higher
> > level of heading rather than a lower one.  The indent style is readily
> > distinguishable from the normal outline style in the source file, because
> > the first line in the indent style begins with several tab characters,
> > while a normal .otl file does not.
> >
> > So I have two queries for you forum members
> > Do you know of anyone who has thought about implementing this
> > indent-based outline scheme using the TVO plugin?
> > Would you be interested in implementing this mode within TVO if I paid
> > you?   Since it would fit easily into TVO, others could then use it, too.
>
> There are two different Linux outliners, TVO and VO. We're VO. Is that who
> you wanted?
>
> It would be trivial to create a program to take a normal outline and
> reverse it. I think a good name for the program would be mirror.rb :-) It
> would be a 2 pass program -- pass 1 counts the highest indentation in the
> outline, and pass 2 recalculates indentation based on (max - this).
>
> As far as using VO to create a "reverse outline", I think you can do that
> with VO the way it is, always assuming you can think that way.
>
> SteveT

ImLikeWhoa,

See if the attached program, vo_mirror.sh, does what you need. By the way, my
casual testing indicates it can also be used to turn your reverse outlines
into normal outlines.

SteveT

Steve Litt
Author: Universal Troubleshooting Process books and courseware
http://www.troubleshooters.com/

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vo_mirror.rb (623 bytes) Download Attachment
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Re: Proposal: reverse indenting outliner

ImLikeWhoa
In reply to this post by Steve Litt

There are two different Linux outliners, TVO and VO. We're VO. Is that who you
wanted?

It would be trivial to create a program to take a normal outline and reverse
it. I think a good name for the program would be mirror.rb :-) It would be a
2 pass program -- pass 1 counts the highest indentation in the outline, and
pass 2 recalculates indentation based on (max - this).

As far as using VO to create a "reverse outline", I think you can do that with
VO the way it is, always assuming you can think that way.

SteveT
Thanks SteveT -- Thanks for pointing out that VO is not the same as TVO.  You propose a conversion program that would let me use the existing style of VO.  But this would oblige me to manage both outline modes at once.  I would get confused.  Since the reverse indent style makes more sense to me and I'm totally habituated to it, I'm hoping to get a program that would adapt to me (and others who like reverse indent style).  It was easy for you to make the conversion program, and I'm grateful.  Maybe it would be almost as easy to augment VO or TVO.  ...
Wistfully, ImLikeWhoa
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Re: Proposal: reverse indenting outliner

Steve Litt
On Saturday 10 March 2007 15:37, ImLikeWhoa wrote:

> Thanks SteveT -- Thanks for pointing out that VO is not the same as TVO.
> You propose a conversion program that would let me use the existing style
> of VO.  But this would oblige me to manage both outline modes at once.  I
> would get confused.  Since the reverse indent style makes more sense to me
> and I'm totally habituated to it, I'm hoping to get a program that would
> adapt to me (and others who like reverse indent style).  It was easy for
> you to make the conversion program, and I'm grateful.  Maybe it would be
> almost as easy to augment VO or TVO.  ...
> Wistfully, ImLikeWhoa

Hi ImLikeWhoa,

The existing program will quite easily create documents the way you envision.
I was one of the early adopters of VO, and back in those days it did little
more than go to the same indentation level you were on, which it would do for
you. Another feature that would work right out of the box is executable
lines. I don't know whether interoutline linking would work with reverse
outlining -- check it out. If not, it shouldn't be hard to get it to work.

There are two things that won't be easy -- checkboxes are one, and then the
big cahuna of difficulties -- expand/collapse. Expand/colapse is done
primarily by Vim, not by VO. To enable expand/collapse, you'd need to write
quite a bit of Vim language code. It wouldn't be at all trivial.

You have me curious. What do you use a reverse outline for? Where did you
learn to think like that? Certainly not in school, they teach forward
outlining exclusively. As a matter of fact, before your email it never
occurred to me to reverse an outline.

What are the advantages you derive out of that method of outlining?

Thanks

SteveT

Steve Litt
Author: Universal Troubleshooting Process books and courseware
http://www.troubleshooters.com/
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VimOutliner mailing list
[hidden email]
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Re: Proposal: reverse indenting outliner

ImLikeWhoa
Steve Litt wrote
On Saturday 10 March 2007 15:37, ImLikeWhoa wrote:
Hi ImLikeWhoa,

The existing program will quite easily create documents the way you envision.
I was one of the early adopters of VO, and back in those days it did little
more than go to the same indentation level you were on, which it would do for
you. Another feature that would work right out of the box is executable
lines. I don't know whether interoutline linking would work with reverse
outlining -- check it out. If not, it shouldn't be hard to get it to work.

There are two things that won't be easy -- checkboxes are one, and then the
big cahuna of difficulties -- expand/collapse. Expand/colapse is done
primarily by Vim, not by VO. To enable expand/collapse, you'd need to write
quite a bit of Vim language code. It wouldn't be at all trivial.

You have me curious. What do you use a reverse outline for? Where did you
learn to think like that? Certainly not in school, they teach forward
outlining exclusively. As a matter of fact, before your email it never
occurred to me to reverse an outline.

What are the advantages you derive out of that method of outlining?

Thanks

SteveT
You ask intriguing questions!  I use outliing when organizing a project with many parts, such as a meeting with many participants, a candidate search or a report with many sections and stages of preparation.    I developed the reverse-indent form after trying to keep a lab notebook in ordinary outline style as a young lab assistant.  the body text was always indented so far that the page was almost all white space.  Also I was typing this with a typewriter, which would not automatically indent each line.  So the reverse-indent style  is a natural one for outlines that have a number of levels and where the bulk of the outline is body text.  I realize that nowadays many text editors will insert initial tabs to preserve the indent level from the previous line.  But I've often used editors on small computers without this refinement, so I didn't want to rely on it.  

Best, wishes, ImLikeWhoa
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TWz: a tiny reverse-indent outliner script

ImLikeWhoa
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In reply to this post by ImLikeWhoa
Dear outline enthusiasts. --- After making a proposal for a reverse-indent outliner in this old post, I implemented it myself in a primitive way, with a 20-line patch to be put in .vimrc . I have found it very useful and routinely write new documents with this outline utility. Its main advantage over other vim outliners is compatibility. The outliner indicates the heading levels in a way that any text editor will preserve, and doesn't degrade readability. The only meta-character is the tab character. The other outliners I know about can only be used with vim, with the proper outliner add-on installed. The tradeoff is that this patch is primitive and currently lacks some desirable features. I think a knowledgeable person could easily add these. For details about reverse-indent outlining and description of this patch see http://jfi.uchicago.edu/~tten/for%20geeks/Vim_editor/