Here’s the basic problem: you’re writing a text editor. Stop doing that. It’s 2007. ... Writing a great text editor is insanely difficult. There is a certain class of software that sounds easy but is actually insanely difficult. I call it “garden path software.” If I ever start a software company, I’ll name it “Garden Path Software,” but until then, just stop.

Reading the change logs of these programs is like traveling back in time. Way back. Latest changes in JDarkRoom 8: Undo / Redo. Seriously. Version 8, and they now support undo. No offense, but what the fuck?

So, there's one reason for me not to find much enthusiasm for doing a whole lot more with XoxoOutliner lately. Because, um, you know that bit he says about supporting undo up there? That sounds oddly familiar.

Oh yeah. That's right. I implemented undo in XoxoOutliner back in November - and not very well, at that. And, though I've got thoughts on how to implement it better - command pattern and all that - the fact remains that there are other apps that do most of what I've been playing with for this thing.

It's been some cool recreational programming, but I do have to admit this:

I started XoxoOutliner as a sort of yak shaving effort to provide me with a more nifty tool for idea management and writing - while at the same time giving me an excuse to not yet actually get down to the work of writing.

Maybe I should just shell out for a Tinderbox upgrade and get down to writing again. If I put any more work into XoxoOutliner, I should do it while being fully clear about why I'm doing it.

Archived Comments

  • If you could maybe put some brief notes in Trac on how to install and play with this a bit, I for one would appreciate it.

  • I really want XoXoOutliner to hook into HyperScope.... I'm tired of the number of hoops it takes me to write outlines and then bring them into HyperScope, and I'd love that to be just one step. XoXoOutliner doesn't have to be "just another editor"; it could be the basis for all sorts of cool stuff, like an open hyperdocument system where I can crack my screen in half and display two XoXo outlines at the same time, copy stuff between them, do transclusions, etc.

    Best, Brad

  • You're a wonderful writer AND coder. Thank you for excellent work in BOTH areas. I'm still working through "Hacking" right now, and I'm still learning from your adventures. So, I'm looking forward to playing with you XOXO editor in the near future. My best advice: Life should be fun! Otherwise, don't worry about it.

    Have you been to Alum Rock Park yet? It looks like a fun place on TV. I may have to take Amtrak just to see it myself.

  • 'Recreational Coding'? Isn't that an oxymoron? Oh sure... Maybe in the start it's 'recreational' but once you get past the first rev and you start to thin about the code structure and whether or not the object classes have the right inheritance hierarchy it breaches into the world of obsession/work... {sigh} I wish I could find time to do that again... Other than quickie scripts and re-hashing old TikiWiki plug-ins there's just not enough time in the day... Kudos on the perseverance though!