« Oatmeal

  • I’m looking for an outliner!
    • Why I’m looking
      • I’ve been creating outlines since high school. I started with pen and paper, then moved to text editors—first Word, then Google Docs, and finally, plaintext files. I’ve been creating plaintext outlines for about 5 years. I typically save my outlines as Markdown and export them using Pandoc if they need to be shared with other folks. I use outlines to take notes, plan projects, create documentation, and as todo lists. I’m a plaintext junky. Whenever and wherever I can, I use plaintext. I edit plaintext with either Neovim, VimR, or nvALT depending on whether I’m in the command line or not. The major hiccup in my plaintext-outline-life is when it comes to editing and creating plaintext outlines on the go. Typically, I use Coda on iOS…which is very much like bringing a siege weapon and a concrete mixer to a Pokémon card tournament. Coda is a spectacular piece of software, but very much not meant for maintaining plaintext outlines, notes and todos. I need a new tool. I want to supercharge my outlining workflow. I’m on the hunt! I’m looking for more than an iOS plaintext editor, I’m looking for a full(ish) featured outliner.
    • What I’m looking for
      • Cross platform, both macOS and iOS (or web-based)
      • Document syncing (Dropbox or SFTP preferable)
      • Ability to reorder items in a list
      • Preferably scriptable (e.g. I’d like to be able to setup reminders triggered off of certain markup so that I can use outlines as task lists…but this may be asking a lot)
    • Contenders
      • OmniOutliner
        • Platform
          • iOS
          • macOS
        • Pros
          • Seems to be the tried and true tool for this kind of thing
          • OmniGroup seems to be leaning into the whole scriptability thing lately
        • Cons
          • A wee bit expensive since I’d need to buy both the desktop and basic iOS clients
          • Not 100% certain how interoperable their file formate is
      • Workflowy
        • Platform
          • Web
          • “Desktop,” e.g. electron app
          • iOS
        • Pros
          • I already have an account
          • 250 free notes a month
        • Cons
          • Weird to say, but it is just really ugly, aesthetically
      • TaskPaper
        • Platform
          • macOS
        • Pros
          • Plaintext 😁
          • I love how minimal this app is. It brings almost all of the functionality I’m looking for to what is ostensibly just plaintext!
        • Cons
          • Plaintext 😐
          • The biggest downside I’m seeing here is that there is no native first-party iOS client. Because the taskpaper file format is simply a set of rules around how to mark up a plaintext file, though, I could use something like Drafts or iA Writer for my mobile needs
    • Other Thoughts
      • @jthingelstad recommend that I also check out mind mapping applications. I’ve been doing a big of research there, too, but don’t think they fill the role with what I’m looking to do, mostly because they don’t mesh wicked well with my way of thinking. I like to think things together, nested parentheticals
      • In writing this post, I’ve come to wonder if the real solution would be to separate concerns a bit?
        • Find an app other than Coda for editing and creating plaintext on iOS (Drafts, perhaps?)
        • Start to use a more feature-rich todo manager other than SwiftoDo
      • At this moment I’m leaning towards OmniOutliner or Taskpaper…but I’m incredibly indecisive when it comes to this sort of thing, so who knows.
      • Input always welcome!

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