Tinderbox Forum

Copy text with Web link from Note, Paste to Note, link lost

Hi. I’m having a sweet honeymoon with Tinderbox … and each evening I watch the light from the fire flicker across the room while I organize my notes and questions. I am a complete neophyte. I have attempted to look up most of them. I will try to keep my questions precise. I ask a lot of questions. I am greatly looking forward to learning how to best apply Tinderbox to my needs, and then doing it. So onward: (I will repeat this a few more times, that’s all)

My question is simple: why does copied and pasted text in Tinderbox not function as well as copied and pasted text in other programs? Why are links lost? I had assumed I was doing something wrong, or had missed a setting or secret maneuver, but according to this Tinderbox forum thread stripping links from copied text is by design. This runs deeply counter to my use of computers. Is there no easy work-around?

I copy and paste links dozens of times a day (I am referring to links to the Web). Having Tinderbox remove links from content I’ve temporarily stored on the clipboard is akin to asking me to walk barefoot through brambles — it’s almost a non-starter. I hope I’m missing or mis-understanding something, but the thread I linked to above has been updated fairly recently.

I can’t replicate what you describe - web links in text pasted from the web into a note then copying that text to the text of another note. When i do that the web link survives.

Tinderbox links are described here. ‘text links’, links created from anchor text in a note’s text (otherwise referred to as its $Text attribute), are not persisted during a paste. The design reason for this is not known. You would need to ask Tech Support - be aware this is a user-to-user forum, so you’re talking with fellow users here (disclaimer: I am a forum admin and not an Eastgate employee).

The reason I can’t replicate the problem in your note title is the rich text engine in the $text area will detect (web) links in pasted material and create functional ‘smart links’ using routines based into the Apple frameworks. These links exist only in the RTF, i.e. are not internal Tinderbox, and will paste between notes.

So although your note title describes the latter, your question actually relates to the former type of link. ‘smart links’ are fairly new and the fact they aren’t adopted as Tinderbox likely boils down to some unseen complexities. Tinderbox isn’t an outlining utility but rather a toolbox for notes. This means it doesn’t—like an outliner—just do outlines. There is generally more than one way to do things, allowing for different styles of work, and no expectation that most users will use more than some of the features on offer.

FWIW, Tinderbox is a hypertext tool and dates back to before pervasive rich text. In keeping with pre Web hypertext thinking it stores Tinderbox-generated links as a separate link table, i.e. not embedded in the $Text. By comparison, smart links, are present only in the RTF stream. There is a feature request to allow the latter to be adopted as actual Tinderbox links but i think it isn’t a 5-minute job to engineer.

Eastgate (via tech support) can clarify but I suspect the non-copied links in pasted $text harks back to Tinderbox’s hypertext editor roots. When pasting the text, should the link be cloned or migrated. In a more general text editing sense I can see that nuance makes less obvious sense.

We disabled automatic link conversion in Tinderbox 7.2 after it caused performance issues for some users.

Paul — Your certainty is unhelpful, and your defensiveness is hurtful. I am not here to prick or gall Tinderbox — I’m here to learn how to best use it to my ends. I am a beginner — I have misconceptions, I will make errors — I am trying to make errors, as error-making is an excellent path towards experience. In short, I am ignorant. If you wish to aid my learning, provide considered answers, and do not poke me for asking questions. Thank you.

Mark Anderson @mwra has, almost certainly, pointed the way to explaining why my experience is not matching what you may have tried. It is because of the way in which I have been making links to Web pages.

I am making links to the Web by selecting text in a Note and using Tinderbox’s command "Note ▹ Make Web Link ... " to attach a Web URL to the selected text.

Please let know if you are not seeing the behavior I describe with links in Notes created this way.

It is non-standard for OS X programs to strip out links when copying and pasting text. That is why I asked: why does copied and pasted text in Tinderbox not function as well as copied and pasted text in other programs?

Thank you for your considerations.

Mark — thank you for your quite helpful response. I have been creating links to Web pages by selecting text in a Note and executing the Tinderbox command "Note ▹ Make Web Link ... ". As you can now see, I am not talking about “web links in text pasted from the web into a note”; I refer to Web links created in Tinderbox which are then copied and pasted into the text of another Note. I am confident, from the behavior I see and from what you describe, that what I’m seeing is the way Tinderbox handles the links to the Web created this way.

I find it completely counter to my expectations for the behavior of copied and pasted text, and, for my use, hobbling. Can you suggest a simple work-around?

I will pursue this here with @eastgate as well as via tech support.

(Added everything below to fit with suggested forum usage.)

Will it be re-enabled? Might it be made available on a per-user or per-document basis?
Can you suggest a work-around?

From my point of view, as a user (very interested in leveraging Tinderbox’s power), the current behavior is a boulder in the well-worn path of my computer use. I have, in no other program I use, stubbed my toe on or tripped over this impediment.

Thank you.

OK, we are on the same page, and I confirm that a Tinderbox-created web link isn’t persisted when text is copied between notes. Currently, as at v7.3.0 the status quo is described here.

Indeed, but please be aware that here you’re just berating fellow users and we can’t do anything to fix things. Such embellishments don’t actually help when trying to figure another users problem. :wink:

PLEASE don’t pick fights with your fellow users.

1 Like

I don’t mean to berate — really. I acknowledge that there is a scolding tone to my statement, but it is also factual and in being factual important. I do find Tinderbox’s behavior here completely counter to my expectations. For projects I’ve worked on (I am not a software developer) I encourage people to simply and unhesitatingly point out things which they find confusing or inexplicable. I am actually trying to be helpful to the developer and to this community of users, while also helping myself.

It only makes sense that there are very good reasons for the current behavior. Until I understand them, it is going to be a questionable weirdness to me.

In the hope that it might be helpful, I’ll add a further comment to the post I made in the other thread here

I understand that one of the goals of TB is to provide a note-keeping facility that’s protected (at least to some degree) so that our notes and their metadata can survive the ebb and flow of format changes. That seems to me to imply some things:

  1. A relatively simple format (XML seems to be that)
  2. Limits to features

I’d expect it to be extremely challenging technically to add some kinds of new (highly desired, possibly) features without breaking the fundamental commitment to longevity of the notes. There are other applications that provide a lot more in the way of functionality (I’m thinking of Zengobi Curio or the late lamented Circus Ponies Notebook), which is great for current use but carries that risk that the data gets lost if the software goes away (I speak from experience as former user and lover of Circus Ponies).

That doesn’t help you with your practical problem, but might help with the mismatch between what you’re expecting and what you’re seeing.

You could try to use Markdown links as a method of preserving links within the note next.

  1. Set the HTMLPreview attribute to where markdown lives on your system. Or use the Markdown prototype.

  1. Ensure that you have enabled the Text Plane Selector in the Window Menu. For editing text, select “Text”. For previewing text select “Preview”

The link is then preserved as plain text in the document and can be copied to another note. For more automation, I have used keyboard maestro to select text and create the markdown link. Also Brett Teprstra’s markdown service tools are excellent.

I use Tinderbox much less than I’d like to precisely because of this behavior. Text links between notes is one of TB’s killer features for me, which is made much less useful when the links get thrown away as part of a copy-and-paste operation. I don’t understand why it’s considered acceptable to throw away user data in a standard text editing procedure.

I think that’s an incorrect characterisation. I suspect the root cause of the problem was the push by some users back in pre-v6 days for a true RTF $Text environment and complications that caused.

Being a hypertext toolbox at heart, links are stored externally to notes text (see http://www.acrobatfaq.com/atbref7/index/SyntaxLibrary/Thev7TBXformat/tinderboxtag/linkstag.html). This is quite different to how people brought up on Web-style HTML understand links. The links use offsets in the plain text rendition ([here]

(http://www.acrobatfaq.com/atbref7/index/SyntaxLibrary/Thev7TBXformat/tinderboxtag/rootitemtag/itemtag/texttag.html)) which is discrete from the RTF stream (here).

TL;DR, links are a bit more complicated than folk are assuming, and there’s no deliberate attempt to ‘throw away’ links.

I suspect fixing this requires some careful engineering from a limited resource pool. People have been shouting more loudly about other stuff of late. The current darling is sync-with-[whatever]. If you genuinely want better support for link retention during text ops, please email in to Eastgate support and make your case plus, everyone interested in this, please don’t opinion shop here—it’s not the correct channel for such input. If you care enough you’ll email and explain otherwise it’s just annoying noise in a user forum.

Excuse me? Make a text link. Copy and paste it somewhere, or cut and paste it somewhere. Where did the link go?

I believe that it’s complicated. I believe there’s no deliberate attempt to throw away links. I also know, for a fact, that a practical implication of the current implementation is that links get thrown away… or disappear… or whatever other euphemism we can agree upon for “they used to exist and now they don’t.” I don’t understand how or why you want to disagree with that.


I did, back in April. We’ll see if anything comes of it.

Defending Tinderbox’s shortcomings at all costs while providing no actionable guidance gets pretty annoying as well.

Please can we keep this civil? I merely explained the background to how things are as they are, that isn’t defending things. I too would like this issue resolved for better re-use of links but no one has a special vote & clearly others have different priorities or this would be higher up the hoist. But, for now inter-app sync seems to be where the weight of users’s interest lies.

I’m sorry your issue isn’t the vendor’s top priority but please don’t miscast that as ill-will. I’m here to help people, as I have in this community for over twelve years; you too have made useful contributions here. I’d prefer to have more time for us both to do that rather than squabble over things this forum can’t fix. Let’s focus on what the can do.

1 Like

Thank you for this tip. It was the best work around for me.

Incidentally, please note that Tinderbox 7.5 addresses the issue of copying and pasting links.

Would you be able to post some documentation as to how one might insert an internal TB link? I have tried to link notes between projects but have not yet found a way to do so.

I am considering a jump into TB, but want to make sure that it suits my needs, a preeminent one being the ability to link notes between projects (if this is the correct jargon, my time with the program has been quite limited thus far).

Thank you!

Um ‘here’ doesn’t give me much to go on, the word turns up a lot in this thread. To what are you actually referring? Happy to help, but I need a bit more of a steer. :slight_smile:

First: this thread concerns an issue that was fixed more than a year back.

But I don’t think that’s the issue in which you’re interested. I think you’re asking, “Can Tinderbox notes link to notes in different Tinderbox documents?”

At present, the answer is “no”: links operate within a document.

(One reason for this is ambiguity: the destination note might initially have been in a document named MyNotes.tbx, but then you made a copy MyNotes copy.tbx, renamed it MyOtherNotes.tbx, and move MyNotes.tbx to your Archives folder. Which document has the link destination now?

This is seldom a big deal; if two notes are likely to need to be linked, perhaps they belong in the same document!

You can also link put the tinderbox:// URL of the destination project into the $URL attribute, giving you instant access to the note of interest.