[tomboy-list] Looking at notebook support in Tomboy...
sanfordarmstrong at gmail.com
Fri Dec 21 06:16:45 PST 2007
On Dec 19, 2007 10:09 AM, Boyd Timothy <btimothy at gmail.com> wrote:
> On Dec 18, 2007 5:21 PM, Boyd Timothy <btimothy at gmail.com> wrote:
> > While I wait for sontek to commit his tasks code, I started looking
> > into adding notebook support into Tomboy.
> > What is notebook support? Conceptually, it's just like a normal
> > physical notebook; a collection of notes. In Tomboy, this could
> > easily be implemented by a group of notes tagged with the same tag.
> > Notebooking has always sounded like a decent idea, but it wasn't until
> > today that it made more sense to me. I went across the hall and asked
> > one of my colleages if I could look at how he uses tomboy (I was
> > hoping to gain information about how to do tagging better). It turns
> > out that he's clearly got certain types of notes. He uses tomboy to
> > write up bugzilla entries before submitting them, keep track of some
> > linux command-line commands, and write down notes about his
> > photography.
> > What came out of our discussion is a combination of notebooks and note
> > templates. As an example, suppose you had a meetings template note
> > where you've filled out an empty meeting agenda. Now you tie that
> > with your "Meetings" notebook. When you create a new note in the
> > meetings notebook, the new note would contain the text you specified
> > in your meetings template note. No more wasting time creating the
> > same types of notes over and over!
> > I'm not exactly sure how to expose it all in the UI, but I've started
> > tinkering with building the needed system built on top of tags.
> > Attached is my progress so far.
> The attached patch now includes the following:
> - New notebooks can be created in the preferences dialog
> - A template note for each new notebook is created when the notebook is created
> - User can optionally delete the template note when they delete the notebook
> As per Sandy & my irc discussion this morning
> (http://live.gnome.org/Tomboy/Notebooks), I'm going to now add in some
> controls for creating new "notebook" notes and also add a control to
> add existing notes into a notebook.
> I'm not entirely sure how the Search All Notes window ought to expose
> notebooks, so if you have an idea, please let me know quick! :)
Okay, so I tried this out a bit. I think this is going to make more
sense for us than exposing a tagging UI.
Here some thoughts I had:
* The new menu entries are all messed up if Tomboy is on the top of the screen.
* There are some weird situations where you delete all notes in a
notebook, and the template note is recreated either instantly or after
you restart Tomboy (presumably if all notebook notes are deleted, the
notebook should be considered deleted?).
* I feel like the new preferences tab hides away notebook
functionality. With notebooks integrated into the search UI, I find
myself wanting to manipulate them directly from there. I'd like to be
able to double-click a notebook in the search UI and have its template
come up, or delete the entire notebook right there, or create a new
one. If I could do that, I know that I would never use the new
preferences tab. Potentially access to editing notebook templates
could be somehow slipped into the template section of the Editing tab?
* Although it would clutter up the menu, I find myself wishing there
was an additional menu entry that said "Create New Note in 'Work'",
where 'Work' is replaced with whatever the "active" notebook is.
"Active" might be defined as the last notebook for which a note was
created, or it could be defined as the notebook of the currently
viewed note? I don't know, I just feel like it's too complicated to
make a bunch of notes in the same notebook rapidly. This is also
something I should be able to do graphically in the search UI (maybe
by double-clicking or accessing a right-click menu on the notebook?).
* I think it's interesting that the default option is "No Notebook" as
opposed to something like "Default Notebook". I'm still pondering
* I'd really like to see some sort of indication about the notebook
containing my note without having to go to the Search UI or the Tools
menu. On IRC I mentioned color, which I think would be super dope.
But also things as simple as adding the notebook name to the window
title would be very helpful.
* I also kind of wish that there was an easy way for me to get from my
note that's in the 'Work' notebook to a view of all 'Work' notes.
This option could exist in the tools menu, or maybe inline as an
uneditable link on the same line as the title ("New note 5 (in
notebook 'Work')"? I'm just tossing out ideas here without really
thinking them through. :-)
* I think a lot of users will be confused when they create a new
notebook and a template note pops up. We shouldn't force them to
think about templates. My guess is a user would see that note and
think it was just a new note in the new notebook and start editing the
hell out of it. But making a new note might not be what the user
wants. I think creating a new notebook outside of the context of
creating/editing notes doesn't make much sense. Here's what I
- Get rid of "New Notebook..." option in notes menu. Replace with
"Create note in new notebook..." option that prompts user for new
- In note window, add option in Tools "Place in notebook -> New
Notebook..." that works similarly.
* The Export to HTML plugin should probably be able to act on a
* Notebooks-specific sync would be cool, but could be crazy for the
same reasons as tag-based sync (discussed in last dev meeting).
So those are my half-baked thoughts on this after playing with the new
feature for not too long. Some simple stuff, some complicated stuff,
but I'm interested in and excited about this feature. I think people
are going to like it a lot. :-D
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