Tinderbox Forum

Edit in... Tinderbox

Tinderbox has excellent editing tools and features, but I often find myself wanting to write and edit longer texts in a text editor. Think it would be interesting for more people?

I think Tinderbox is, or can be, useful to many more folk than use it at present. However, its a tool(box) for notes. There are plenty of long form writing tools. Many here use the excellent scrivener for that purpose (and there are other such tools). Tinderbox has powerful export features so once you’ve organised your thoughts you can export the data. It’s not that you can’t write in Tinderbox - some people do, but writing long texts is not—I believe—one of its primary design aims.

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I understand the sentiment, but my guess (similar to what @mwra said) is that this would put unsustainable strain on the Eastgate development resources, to come up with something for which there are already superb alternatives – and would divert time and resources from continuing to refine the aspects of Tinderbox that are genuinely distinctive.

(Eg, Tinderbox could never be as powerful for large-scale writing as Scrivener, nor keep up feature-for-feature with mainstream normal word processors like Pages or Word; and for normal text edit, you can just copy-and-paste from BBEdit or TextWrangler or whatever.)

So in a world of constrained resources, I would vote for Tinderbox concentrating on what is unique about it.

PS But in sync with your original suggestion, and slightly in contradiction to my larger argument, I am glad that TB’s editor supports some basic and useful rich-text functions like different fonts; bold and itals; list-making; and so on. My view is: these are good to have, and good enough for such composition as I actually do within TB. When I want more advanced features, I personally switch to a “real” word-processing program. FWIW.


When I read the question, I thought it was a suggestion to be able to send the text content of a note out to an external text editor, like BBEdit where there were more powerful tools and on editing completion, have it reserved in the TBX note. This is what lots of photo database programs do, where you “edit in …” Photoshop and then have the edited image saved back in the content management system. I think the difficulty would be the RTF format of TBX notes and the plain text nature of most text editors. You might lose formatting this way.

I think I’d add to this that Tinderbox, works best with small notes. If you’ve notes that are each a whole book chapter of highly formatted RTF, I think that’s the wrong tool for such a task.

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I think, actually, you could do a lot in Tinderbox with a book chapter. I’d start by chunking the notes into smaller, more focused notes.

I agree. But I think a typewriter mode would be good in the editor.


You could do a lot more in Tinderbox for any “long-form” type of text (from papers to whole websites). And, yes, it has a capable editing interface, and it could be so much more useful for those of us who often want to write longer notes / sections / posts in an external text editor.

I understand that would mean using plain text and/or some variant of markdown, and would also need some way to pass the note text (which is delimited in TB XML) to the editor of choice, and then go save it back within the tree. For personal websites it would probably be amazing if combined with a flat file CMS like: https://getgrav.org/features

Anyway, I understand these are probably edge cases. Thanks (-: