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.

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