Thursday, March 29, 2007

New in v1.6: Printing Enhancements

It is now possible to do print, print preview and export of (i) the entire document, (ii) the selected subtree or (iii) the selected node. Have a look:

Print and preview options in the context menu:

Select what to print in the print dialog:

Preview all options:

Export dialog also has the same options:

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

New in v1.6: Improved Status Bar

This is the first of the posts describing the new features in v1.6 (currently in development). Let's start with the status bar.

The old status bar had indicators for caps lock, num lock and scroll lock. Well now, these were there in the first place because of the boilerplate MFC code -- and not because it was useful in any way. Here is how it looks now: (click to enlarge)

There are now two elements on the status bar, one showing line/character counts/position, and the second showing the number of child nodes of the current node. The text shown in the first element varies depending on what exactly you are doing, like so:

When a node is selected: the number of lines and characters of the text in that node, and the number of child nodes are displayed. The focus must be on the node, like when you've just clicked on it.

When you're editing the text: the current location as a line and character offset. The total number of lines are also displayed. Characters start from 1 for each line.

When text is selected: the number of lines and characters of the selected text is displayed.

When there are no children for a node, the child count area shows "(no children)" and when there is no text, the position area shows "(no text)".

Like it? No? Just leave a comment right here!

Friday, March 9, 2007

Hello, World!

Welcome to "Building The Guide". This blog follows the development of the open source software called "The Guide".

What is "The Guide"?

The Guide is a two-pane outliner. What's that you ask? Well, to be honest, I didn't know it myself, even after publishing the first version of The Guide. No, really. The Guide came out of the need to have a lightweight, unbloated tool which could organize information as the nodes of a tree -- that is, in a hierarchical manner.

Organization of information in this manner is actually ubiquitous in daily life. We seem to encounter it everywhere. In books and manuals (chapters, sections, subsections), plays (acts and scenes), computer filesystems (directories and files), libraries (dewey classification), compression of files (shannon-fano encoding), even the menu of the browser in which you're reading this.

An outliner is a software that allows you to create and manipulate a tree, and store textual information in each node of the tree. Mind-mapping software also serves a similar purpose -- they visualize the tree differently, and are more comfortable to use when you're discovering the tree itself (brainstorming) rather than fleshing out its content (drafting).

Disclaimer: these are just my observations and experience, the theory of information organization is a vast subject by itself.

Anyway, back to the topic. The Guide then, is an outliner. It's two-pane -- it has a left pane showing the tree, and a right pane showing the text of the current node. The format of the text it uses is "rich-text", which basically means it supports formatting like bold, italic, font faces, font sizes, bullets, color and the like.

It's open-source and runs on Microsoft Windows (2000, XP, 2003 and Vista). For a closer look, visit it's homepage:

And what's about this blog, then?

It's a means of:

  • letting everyone know the current status of the development of The Guide
  • discussing about the features planned for the next versions
  • and (once in a while) talking about outliner-related topics

The software, and this blog, is written by me -- Mahadevan Ramachandran (although most people just call me "MD"). You're welcome to contact me (mail me at: mdevan @ users . sourceforge . net, or drop off a comment here on this blog) for anything related to The Guide, anytime.

Well, that's it for now. Goodbye, and have a nice day.