← Back to team overview

zim-wiki team mailing list archive

Re: Evernote/Footnote-like UI change?


On 01/08/2012 12:55 PM, Dotan Cohen wrote:
On Sun, Jan 8, 2012 at 13:05, Adam Porter<adam@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>  wrote:
I guess you misunderstood me: my idea is not about single-shot entering of
data into new notes.  My idea is about a completely different view of
existing note subtrees.  e.g. the link in my previous message, or Evernote.

Sorry, I did think that you were referring to data entry and not data

I have noticed that there are different types of data that I store in
Zim, short notes (one- or two- liners), paragraphs, and full pages.
Zim is terrific for storing notes that are full pages, and can be
adapted to storing notes that are one-liners by putting them all on a
page, but there really is no good way to handle the paragraph-sized
notes. The UI that you present looks like it would be terrific for
this use case. Basket from KDE works on a similar idea, that each page
could have different sized notes. However Basket's implementation is
horrible. This forced-medium sized UI looks like a better
implementation for at least the medium-sized notes.

Might these notes be placed on a regular page? If not, then how would
their organization fit in with the current Zim organization?

Yes, I think you understand me now. :) I've also used Basket, but I feel like it hasn't reached its potential, and the project is moving very slowly. I also prefer the filesystem/plain-text storage of Zim to Basket's numbered directories and XML/HTML storage. However, Basket's UI capabilities are impressive. I feel like Zim's data and Zim itself is more future-proof than Basket.

I think you're spot-on about the different lengths of notes stored in Zim. For example, I collect quotations in Evernote, usually a sentence or two long, and I can apply tags like, "life, funny, inspiring" so I can easily look up all the funny or all the inspiring quotes. This just doesn't work in Zim. I could have a subtree with each quote on a separate page, and then I could apply tags to individual quotes, but then I couldn't see all the quotes at once, because I'd have to click on each quote page to see it. If I put all the quotes on one page, then searching for a tag and clicking a result would show the entire page of quotes instead of just the ones the tag applied to.

Another use case is a daily log with tags for relevant contexts or topics. e.g. I could apply tags like, "thesis, school, funny, family, car, computer," etc, and later look up all log entries that mention my car or my family or are funny. Zim handles this fairly well now, but it could still be better, because loading a tag-search result won't zero in on the part of the note the tag applies to.

An alternative way of organizing the same log would be to store individual paragraphs separately, with their own tags, in a "logbook" tree. Then to see all the entries for a day, Zim would display all entries from that tree which were created or modified on a particular day. The quicknote dialog could be used to add a new log entry, with tags, automatically using the right date (which could also be adjusted manually). Then, if I wanted to search through my logbook for entries that mention computer issues, I could search for the "computer" tag in my logbook and see a list of only computer-related entries--rather than an entire day's content, computer-related or not, for each day in which something computer-related was written about.

A UI like Evernote's or the app I linked earlier would make this possible. Basically, here's how I envision it: the right-pane could display either a single page, as it does now, or it could display all the subpages in a tree (or a search result), one after the other, like Evernote or the app I linked does. Perhaps the multi-page display could be the default when clicking on a tree entry that has children, and each page could have a button to click which would, in effect, maximize that note in the right pane; it'd also be handy to be able to open notes in separate windows (which Zim can do now, but as read-only notes). If a tree entry without children was clicked, that page could be displayed in the full-pane view.

All easier said than coded, I know. :) But I think if Zim could do this, it would be basically the ultimate FOSS notes app.

Follow ups