Archive of UserLand's first discussion group, started October 5, 1998.

Re: Look at the keyboard. Then think about it.

Author:George Girton
Posted:3/5/1999; 10:27:39 AM
Topic:Frontier and PIM's
Msg #:3653 (In response to 3643)
Prev/Next:3652 / 3654

Wow, is this topic getting a lot of discussion! I guess there's really a lot of pent-up need for state of the art outlining software.

On the topic of keyboard, I think the Frontier keys could use a little improvement -- the outline mode of MS Word is really a lot more intuitive and convenient for promoting, demoting, and moving outlines around than Frontier. The Frontier interface has the clunky feel of an app created by busy people without time for a second or third draft on design.

I hope Frontier 6 is better in this respect, because if it's the same as 5 it sure won't be nirvana. If I just need to make an outline, I don't bother with Frontier, I use Word's outline mode. In fact, that's just about the only mode of MS Word I ever use.

On the history note, it wasn't Lotus Agenda that killed off Thinktank, at least for me. It was Lotus Manuscript, which read all my Thinktank files directly, converted them to Manuscript format, and then never crashed or did weird stuff again. Well, until it was discontinued. Remember Manuscript?

Agenda I never quite got the hang of. It was too slippery, always assigning things automatically to some other category, and then causing them to disappear from before your eyes just as you had finished typing them in. Dang! Where'd that thing go? It was important!!

But Agenda did introduce me to a concept I don't remember from any other program; pattern/action. In theory, Agenda could read large files and separate the information into various categories automatically. Jim Fallows was the only guy I ever knew to get this feature to work -- I think he still uses it! -- but for me, it introduced the wonderfulness of awk, a program which has provided more multiplication of effort than I could ever have imagined.

A final thought: perhaps if the outliner market was larger, it would be possible to succeed with a more reasonably priced item. I seem to remember that a v. small percentage of all users ever employed outliners. I don't really think a low price to the consumer is a barrier to commercial success, especially in a niche market where the cost of materials is so low.

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