VO Junior

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VO Junior

Steve Litt
Hi all,

I need my wife (Sylvia) and kids to use VO. Sylvia just used VO today (of her
own request, after she saw me making a task list with it). She actually used
it right to create subtasks under tasks.

But when she asked how to use it, I just put it in insert mode and told her to
use the arrow keys. Only a person knowing Vim or a very motivated person can
be taught VO.

So I'm going to make VO Junior. It will work with VO native files -- it will
be file compatible with the current VO. It will run on Linux and BSD, and via
Cygwin or MinGW on Windows. At least at first, it will probably be a CLI app
for simplicty, unless I can find a robust, memory-respecting tool like a tk
interface or whatever (or maybe a Java app???).

Hopefully it will have the same ,, commands as its big brother, but will not
be a modal editor. The editor portion will be Nodepad like, using the arrow
keys, pgup and pgdown, home and end, del and backspace. Selection will be
implemented pretty much like it is in Nodepad. The result will be an app
intuitive enough for the average computer user. Therefore my wife and kids
can start computer outlining, which I consider to be a major step forward.

INTERNALS

The whole app will be built around a "get next character" loop, which will
deliver characters, including things like up, down, left, right, pgup, etc as
integers. What's done with those characters will probably be dictated by
callback routines (I'll probably write it in C). Early on, I'll make some
sort of substitute for the "get next character" so everything else can be
tested.  Obviously I'll unit test everything and make sure with Valgrind that
there are no memory leaks, buffer overruns, double frees or usage of
uninitialized variables.

I'll need limited help from some of you:

* Get next character routine capable of reading arrow keys, pageup etc. I
think I've already done that before, but might need some help.

* Help with understanding how to move around the screen

* Help with level coloration

* Help with tools such as C/tk (does it exist?)

* Encouragement

This will probably benefit a lot of us. Many of us have wives, children,
brothers, sisters, parents and grandparents who could benefit from an
outliner, but aren't going to learn Vim keystrokes. VO Junior will allow us
to bring them into our world, and hopefully give them the motivation to learn
the (much faster) Vim keystrokes so as to begin using the real thing.

I'd like all sorts of comments, suggestions, warnings, and everything else
needed to decide how to proceed. I'll probably discuss it for a couple weeks
before coding line 1.

Thanks

SteveT

Steve Litt
Recession Relief Package
http://www.recession-relief.US

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Re: VO Junior

Bill Powell
+++ Steve Litt [07/06/08 13:46 -0400]:

> Hi all,
>
> I need my wife (Sylvia) and kids to use VO. Sylvia just used VO today (of her
> own request, after she saw me making a task list with it). She actually used
> it right to create subtasks under tasks.
>
> But when she asked how to use it, I just put it in insert mode and told her to
> use the arrow keys. Only a person knowing Vim or a very motivated person can
> be taught VO.
>

Hi Steve,

This sounds like a neat project. My immediate thought is:
could you just leverage Vim's insert mode? I've never used
"Cream", but supposedly it's basically Vim in Insert mode:
except that you still have all the power of Vim under the
hood; syntax highlighting, folding, and so on.

Once you have something like Cream that is easy for a newbie
to install and start typing, that _feels_ like Notepad, it
seems like if you can just make it easy to install VO on top
of that, all you _really_ need then are some good imap
remappings you can use in Insert mode. Probably Ctrl chords,
like <C-Space> to fold/unfold a hierachy. And ,, commands
will work in Insert mode, too, unless people are in the
habit of typing double commas. ;)

Sorry if I missed something, but it's a thought, right?

Bill Powell

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Re: VO Junior

Lucas González
In reply to this post by Steve Litt
Hi Steve,

Encouragement == LOTS.  I might even offer to beta-test it at some point, depending on time availability, but yes, willing to.

While you're at it, I don't know if it would be possible to have "2-generations view": the user would move around the outline with 4 arrows, and (say we start seeing levels 3 and 4) right arrow refreshes view with levels 4 and 5, while left arrow puts us at levels 2 and 3.

I had some C code for that, extremely old and clunky, attempting to use ncurses so I would be able to use it in, ahem, MS-DOS after compiling with, shall I remember, djcpp (or something).  I can dig up that code ... My dream is outlined here: http://almacen.gulic.org/01_www/copensar/sole.html hah!  Code and all!

Lucas

2008/6/7 Steve Litt <[hidden email]>:
Hi all,

I need my wife (Sylvia) and kids to use VO. Sylvia just used VO today (of her
own request, after she saw me making a task list with it). She actually used
it right to create subtasks under tasks.

But when she asked how to use it, I just put it in insert mode and told her to
use the arrow keys. Only a person knowing Vim or a very motivated person can
be taught VO.

So I'm going to make VO Junior. It will work with VO native files -- it will
be file compatible with the current VO. It will run on Linux and BSD, and via
Cygwin or MinGW on Windows. At least at first, it will probably be a CLI app
for simplicty, unless I can find a robust, memory-respecting tool like a tk
interface or whatever (or maybe a Java app???).

Hopefully it will have the same ,, commands as its big brother, but will not
be a modal editor. The editor portion will be Nodepad like, using the arrow
keys, pgup and pgdown, home and end, del and backspace. Selection will be
implemented pretty much like it is in Nodepad. The result will be an app
intuitive enough for the average computer user. Therefore my wife and kids
can start computer outlining, which I consider to be a major step forward.

INTERNALS

The whole app will be built around a "get next character" loop, which will
deliver characters, including things like up, down, left, right, pgup, etc as
integers. What's done with those characters will probably be dictated by
callback routines (I'll probably write it in C). Early on, I'll make some
sort of substitute for the "get next character" so everything else can be
tested.  Obviously I'll unit test everything and make sure with Valgrind that
there are no memory leaks, buffer overruns, double frees or usage of
uninitialized variables.

I'll need limited help from some of you:

* Get next character routine capable of reading arrow keys, pageup etc. I
think I've already done that before, but might need some help.

* Help with understanding how to move around the screen

* Help with level coloration

* Help with tools such as C/tk (does it exist?)

* Encouragement

This will probably benefit a lot of us. Many of us have wives, children,
brothers, sisters, parents and grandparents who could benefit from an
outliner, but aren't going to learn Vim keystrokes. VO Junior will allow us
to bring them into our world, and hopefully give them the motivation to learn
the (much faster) Vim keystrokes so as to begin using the real thing.

I'd like all sorts of comments, suggestions, warnings, and everything else
needed to decide how to proceed. I'll probably discuss it for a couple weeks
before coding line 1.

Thanks

SteveT

Steve Litt
Recession Relief Package
http://www.recession-relief.US

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Re: Re: VO Junior

Steve Litt
In reply to this post by Bill Powell
On Saturday 07 June 2008 13:52, Bill Powell wrote:

> +++ Steve Litt [07/06/08 13:46 -0400]:
> > Hi all,
> >
> > I need my wife (Sylvia) and kids to use VO. Sylvia just used VO today (of
> > her own request, after she saw me making a task list with it). She
> > actually used it right to create subtasks under tasks.
> >
> > But when she asked how to use it, I just put it in insert mode and told
> > her to use the arrow keys. Only a person knowing Vim or a very motivated
> > person can be taught VO.
>
> Hi Steve,
>
> This sounds like a neat project. My immediate thought is:
> could you just leverage Vim's insert mode? I've never used
> "Cream", but supposedly it's basically Vim in Insert mode:
> except that you still have all the power of Vim under the
> hood; syntax highlighting, folding, and so on.
>
> Once you have something like Cream that is easy for a newbie
> to install and start typing, that _feels_ like Notepad, it
> seems like if you can just make it easy to install VO on top
> of that, all you _really_ need then are some good imap
> remappings you can use in Insert mode. Probably Ctrl chords,
> like <C-Space> to fold/unfold a hierachy. And ,, commands
> will work in Insert mode, too, unless people are in the
> habit of typing double commas. ;)
>
> Sorry if I missed something, but it's a thought, right?
>
> Bill Powell

Thanks Bill,

I read about Cream, downloaded it, and am trying to install it. Unfortunately
I'm getting a bunch of error messages. Has anyone on this list successfully
installed Cream, and if so, what procedures did you use to install it?

Thanks

SteveT

Steve Litt
Recession Relief Package
http://www.recession-relief.US

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Re: VO Junior

Scott Scriven-2
In reply to this post by Steve Litt
* Steve Litt <[hidden email]> wrote:
> Only a person knowing Vim or a very motivated person can be
> taught VO.

Vim definitely focuses more on power than ease of learning.  It's
not hard to learn, but people don't tend to "get it" right away.  
The issue, I think, is that it's different than the mainstream,
and anything different is automatically "hard".

> So I'm going to make VO Junior.

I think Bill's idea is a good one -- make vim run entirely in
insert mode.  This is probably the least amount of effort to get
something usable, and it offers a huge feature set.

As for starting something from scratch, I'd recommend against
using C at first.  Prototype something in a higher-level language
until you have a good design, then rewrite in C if necessary.

Also, if you want to make the learning curve as gentle as
possible, take a look through the GNOME human interface
guidelines.  It has good tips on designing for average users.

  http://developer.gnome.org/projects/gup/hig/

You might even want to consider implementing VO junior as a
plugin for an existing GUI editor such as Gedit.  I don't use it,
but an initial search shows it might at least be possible.  
Someone did a code outliner plugin for it:

  http://live.gnome.org/Gedit/PythonOutlinePlugin

And there are, of course, a variety of Qt-based editors which
might work.

> It will work with VO native files

Good.  VO has a pretty decent format.  :)

> It will run on Linux and BSD, and via Cygwin or MinGW on
> Windows.  At least at first, it will probably be a CLI app

I made a CLI-based outliner / tree editor a few years ago, called
"woody".  It has been dead for a long time, and the code is
embarrassing, but feel free to browse and use anything you find
in it:

  http://toykeeper.net/programs/woody/gfx/interfaces.png
  http://sf.net/projects/woody

That reminds me...  I highly recommend using launchpad.net to
manage your development on new projects like this.  Using
bzr+launchpad makes it much easier to collaborate.

> for simplicty, unless I can find a robust, memory-respecting
> tool like a tk interface or whatever (or maybe a Java app???).

Heh, I doubt Java will provide simplicity, robustness, or memory
efficiency.  :)

> I'll need limited help from some of you:
>
> * Get next character routine capable of reading arrow keys,
> pageup etc.

This really depends on which UI toolkit you use, or which editor
is used for a base.  I like curses and GTK, though Qt is also
pretty popular.

> * Encouragement

Go, Steve, go!  :)

> This will probably benefit a lot of us. Many of us have wives,
> children, brothers, sisters, parents ...

I see two potential user groups:

  - Regular desktop users like those you mentioned.

  - PDA users.  Vim is not very usable on a touchscreen.

Both groups are sorely lacking a good outliner.


-- Scott
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Re: VO Junior

Chris Burkhardt
In reply to this post by Steve Litt
Steve Litt wrote:
 > So I'm going to make VO Junior. It will work with VO native files -- it will
 > be file compatible with the current VO. It will run on Linux and BSD, and via
 > Cygwin or MinGW on Windows. At least at first, it will probably be a CLI app
 > for simplicty, unless I can find a robust, memory-respecting tool like a tk
 > interface or whatever (or maybe a Java app???).

Aren't there already several outliners for linux?* It might be easier to
simply write a script to convert between VO files and the format used by
an existing outliner. (Or to at least improve an existing project, if it
looks like it might do what you want, rather than starting from
scratch.)

* <http://www.psychinnovations.com/psych/node/37> lists a few unix/cross
platform programs.

- Chris Burkhardt

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Re: Re: VO Junior

Scott Scriven-2
* Chris Burkhardt <[hidden email]> wrote:
> * Steve Litt wrote:
> > So I'm going to make VO Junior. ...
>
> improve an existing project, ... rather than starting from
> scratch
> * <http://www.psychinnovations.com/psych/node/37> lists a few
> unix/cross platform programs.

Some of those look pretty nice, or otherwise interesting.  In
particular...

  - TVO ( http://bike-nomad.com/vim/vimoutliner.html ) is another
    vim-based outliner.  It claims to work with "Vim Easy", which
    might be similar to what Steve had in mind for VO Junior.  
    Perhaps these two projects should get together?

  - TuxCards ( http://www.tuxcards.de/ ) and gjots2 (
    http://bhepple.freeshell.org/gjots/ ) appear to be fairly
    nice notebook-style outliners.

  - TreeLine ( http://treeline.bellz.org ) appears to implement
    the "hierarchic database" idea I've talked about before.

Thanks for the link.  I hadn't looked for outliners in a few
years, and didn't know these existed.  :)


-- Scott
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Re: Re: VO Junior

Steve Litt
On Thursday 26 June 2008 10:56, Scott Scriven wrote:

> * Chris Burkhardt <[hidden email]> wrote:
> > * Steve Litt wrote:
> > > So I'm going to make VO Junior. ...
> >
> > improve an existing project, ... rather than starting from
> > scratch
> > * <http://www.psychinnovations.com/psych/node/37> lists a few
> > unix/cross platform programs.
>
> Some of those look pretty nice, or otherwise interesting.  In
> particular...
>
>   - TVO ( http://bike-nomad.com/vim/vimoutliner.html ) is another
>     vim-based outliner.  It claims to work with "Vim Easy", which
>     might be similar to what Steve had in mind for VO Junior.
>     Perhaps these two projects should get together?

Last time I looked, TVO has no license, so it's technically not free software
although I think the intent is to have it free software. Also, AFAIK TVO is
very similar to VO and isn't suitable for a newbie.

>
>   - TuxCards ( http://www.tuxcards.de/ ) and gjots2 (
>     http://bhepple.freeshell.org/gjots/ ) appear to be fairly
>     nice notebook-style outliners.
>
>   - TreeLine ( http://treeline.bellz.org ) appears to implement
>     the "hierarchic database" idea I've talked about before.

If everyone can "phone in" on the outliners they know, I can get together a
shortlist. Here are my priorities:

1) Free software (not shareware, proprietary, or "demo")
2) Both Linux and Windows
3) Native format capable of being converted to tab indented outline (means
text native format)

Extra points -- if it has tab indented outline as its native format, it makes
outline sharing MUCH easier.

SteveT
 
Steve Litt
Recession Relief Package
http://www.recession-relief.US

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Re: Re: VO Junior

Martin DeMello
In reply to this post by Scott Scriven-2
On Thu, Jun 26, 2008 at 7:56 AM, Scott Scriven
<[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> Thanks for the link.  I hadn't looked for outliners in a few
> years, and didn't know these existed.  :)

There's always Leo, an outliner on steroids

http://webpages.charter.net/edreamleo/front.html

martin
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Re: Re: VO Junior

Scott Scriven-2
In reply to this post by Steve Litt
* Steve Litt <[hidden email]> wrote:
> Last time I looked, TVO has no license,

That can probably be fixed with a message or two to the author.

> AFAIK TVO is very similar to VO and isn't suitable for a
> newbie.

It claims to work in Vim's "easy mode", which is modeless to make
it simpler for new users.  I think it also mentioned having menus
and such, to help GUI-clicky users.  I haven't tried it, but it
sure sounds like one of the earlier concept descriptions for VO
Junior.  The biggest difference I see is a slightly different
file format.

> Here are my priorities:
>
> 1) Free software (not shareware, proprietary, or "demo")
> 2) Both Linux and Windows
> 3) Native format capable of being converted to tab indented
> outline (means  text native format)
>
> Extra points -- if it has tab indented outline as its native
> format, it makes outline sharing MUCH easier.

In that priority list for VO Junior, I don't see anything about
"Junior", the user.  What are the user's priorities?


-- Scott
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Re: VO Junior

Chris Burkhardt
In reply to this post by Steve Litt
> If everyone can "phone in" on the outliners they know, I can get together a
> shortlist. Here are my priorities:

I came across this one today:
http://notecase.sourceforge.net/

- Chris

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