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Old 06-09-2012, 04:20 PM
schferk schferk is online now
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Join Date: 11-02-2010
Posts: 151
UR 5's out, congratulations. It's a major release, wow.

ActionOutline is a quite inferior outliner, does not do a lot of things, a**h*** factor is 100 p.c. - no response to customers' questions (be them mine or third party ones') - didn't check if they are Russians in GB or just Russians in Russia, with a GB p.o. box... and it's overpriced, yep.

Thing is, it's leightweight, it's neat (as soon as you hide every one of the multiple toolbars), and it's got some fine ideas; doing 200 or more headings / subheadings (= items) with ActionOutline for a rather short paper will be a matter of (ok, 3-digit) minutes.

I said it, each item is ONE KEY ONLY if you want it that way (plus the chars forming the title itself), i.e. you do NOT press "enter" for "new sibling" (cf. UR - outrageaous), then type the title, then press "enter" again to close the title, then press "enter" anew, to enter the next title, and so on, but you press "enter" just for the very first title in a row, then, between any more items (of the same indentation), you just press DownArrow.

OK, "Dn" isn't handy for a key when you type lots of text, but then, as said, I do heavy scripting, so when in the tree, my # key = between my abc keys and the "enter" key, does "Dn"; when in the text (= editor pane), the same key does... no, not "#", but a $ sign - in fact, I'm writing on, physically, German keyboard layout, with Swiss-French key sw layout.

Commercially available macro tools normally do not offer such "deep scope", but with script tools, you can delve into control identification, not being stopped at window identification, hence my use of a lot of different assignments for the same keys, not only in different programs, but depending on the very pane that has focus at any given moment.

UR users could do the same, for spectacular benefit, and also, they could take full advantage of version 5's 200 favorites (= which would give you, at your request, 200 separate trees within your very big tree (=big db) - just script an additional menu to access any one of them by 2 to 3 key pressings (key 1 = open menu, key 2 = either open an important subtree = "simili-file", or open a sub-menu, key 3 in this case, open a file within that sub-menu).

Many of my "macros" don't do anything but cover up the multiple voids in ActionOutline's functionality, but e.g., as soon as you'll be willing to accept a conglomerate of different bits on your screen, instead of (missing) in-built functions of your main prog, it's easy to have multiple menus on-the-fly, additional panes for history (script tools can "read" the current file name from captions, write them into arrays...), etc.

Thus, my very special ActionOutline version is a dream for text editing, items being "sorted" half-automatically (i.e. the current item is selected of course, 1 key will bring an input dialog, in this I will enter 1 or 2 (or even 3) characters, after 2 sec, the input dialog will close (= which will save me pressing the "enter" key, so for most moves, I just have to press 2 keys only), and then that (very tiny) script will put the selected item under the heading identified by my 1-2-3 characters I've just entered... and will collapse the corresponding subtree, before reverting focus to the item under the one I've just moved.

For "clearing" your daily input, such a half-automatic processing is absolutely necessary since how would you find the time to process 100, 200 or more new items coming into your system each day? So my system is "processing items into cascading inboxes", whilst in a big db system like UR (= different from my 500-plus different files system), you could even try to build up a system that shuffles your input directly into the "final" inboxes, i.e. into the respective ones of 200 inboxes, each of your 200 sub-trees having its own.

And back to editing: Similar macros do half-automatic processing of bits of texts, into other items, with or without automatic add-on of "signatures" - just imagine big, external (= third-party) texts from which you'll have to cite, or that serve your purpose of plundering them, for building up your own texts, let's say "secured" pdf's.

You de-secure them (there are web-services for that), you put them into one big item, and then, you select passages, press a key, get a dialog, enter some 1-2-3 characters there, and have those passages moved (or just copied, with or without an automatic process note there, for your helping in remembering that you stole that passage already, when you next pillage that text)... to (the end of the text of) any of some 2 or 3 dozen of "receptive items" / "recipients" (as said, with or without credentials for their common source).

And so on ad infinitum, whatever you like, whatever will make you avoid heavy arrow key use (which would also imply moving focus from text to tree first, then arrow keys, then reverting to text there for doing the insert, then going back to tree, the arrow keys again, and going back to text pane and to where you had been there, finally), let alone mouse strain (in fact, I could script the same for drag'n'drop, but I avoid mouse use whenever possible: I'm a WordStar man).

Thus, you must understand that I'd never pretend ActionOutline were a "good" outliner in itself, it's just the (neat) text processing shell, in which the real "work" is done by various scripts of various length (including, e.g., the use of various text expander libraries, the same abbreviations triggering different words within different contexts (languages and there, subject) - again, it's scope, but in macro and micro variety, as above).

Any other "primitive" outliner would do for me, as ActionOutline does for the moment, and it's important that it doesn't come into my way, that it doesn't hinder my scripts in any way. Cf. UR: That waiting, about 2 to 4 seconds (and much longer, for really big items), after leaving a UR item after having changed just a bloody comma within it, would outrageously slow down my "distribution" macro (= seconds' wait after cutting in item 1, then again wait on leaving item 2, after having copied / inserted there, before focus could revert to item 1), as it has slowed down my manual editing work with UR last year, whilst in ActionOutline, or in any other "editor" allowing for just leaving an item, a file, a chapter, whatever, then for re-entering it, or entering any other, having done some editing or not, you are able to do slick editing work indeed (be it by macros or by hand).

Of course, my "scripting overlay on rudimentary sw" presents the disadvantage of lesser looks: I'd have much preferred to have in-built functionality in any such outliner, instead of looking on a "heavily working screen", and that's why I tried - in vain - to educate (yes, sorry, that's what it was) the people behind askSam, then MyInfo, then UltraRecall, in (real, not only graphic-wise) GUI optimization, and I shared some ideas with some outliner software customers in their dedicated forum.

Since most programmers do their thing, though - a paramount example is MS who with multi-billions of dollars don't do anything good; please have a look into the article AND the comments at

I'll never have anything worthwile if I continue to beg and to explain, for better - but unfruitful - begging, hence my renewed interest in ActionOutline, not for its (missing) "strengths", but for it total unintrusiveness with what I'm going to do.
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