Tinderbox Forum

How to work with notes in Attribute browser

Dear all,

I have some references (_pReference) with quotes (_pQuote) which are linked. Now I would like to create aliases to the events (_pEvent) where I use the quote to be able to drag and drop it there to visualise the structure of the talks.

The often mentioned attribute browser seems to be the perfect tool to discover the quotes I want to use. But how do I create an alias for the selected note?

Thanks for help

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OK, I read that you’ve 3 sorts of notes (using 3 discrete prototypes). The quote notes link to their source, from which I assume the quotes are not children of their source reference; the letter is an outline approach but less suited to those preferring a flat structure needed for maps.

Here is where I get lost. I think you mean that if an event note ‘uses’ a quote (in its $Text?) you want you place an alias of the event note ‘in’ the source quote (as a child?). Is that correct?

There are three kinds of notes

The Sources of information:

  • References (like a webpage) which have
  • quotes as children.
    in addition the quotes are linked to their parent reference with an $OnAdd. The idea was to be prepared if I have to leave the container setup for every note which I currently have.

For an Event I want to select different quotes and put those notes as aliases in the events container. The idea is to select all the notes which I want to use, have an alias in the corresponding event-container and then being able to push these alias-notes in map view around until I have a nice structure of the talk with the quotes at the right chapter.

So it is the other way around, I would like to place an alias of an _pQuote (child of _pReference and linked to _pReference) as a child into a _pEvent-Container.

Unfortunately, Attribute Browser doesn’t let you create aliases of notes (or even select multiple notes at once!)

If you’re okay with working one note at a time, it’s pretty simple: select a note, open a new tab (cmd+T), and switch to the view you want (outline, map, etc). The note should still be selected and you can create an alias, which you can move anywhere you want.

If you want to work with multiple notes “in bulk,” use Attribute Browser as a quick method of trying out different agent queries and seeing that you get the information you need. When you find the query that returns the notes you want, you can create an agent using the same query to return all the notes you want.

The “limitation” of the attribute browser and your comment brought me on a track which currently feels pretty comfortable:

I included in _pQuotes an attribute “usedInEvent” of type Set. In the attribute browser I can easily scan my quotes and assign “usedinEvent=talk1” to all interesting quotes.

An agent scans for “$usedinEvent.contains(“talk1”)” and with Cleanup disabled I can put the quotes onto some adornments.

What I would like to do: having an adornment which, when the note is put on it, set an attribute "$usedInChapter(original)=$usedInChapter(original)+“chapter1”.

My questions would be:
if “chapter1” in the above command shall be an Attribute of the adornment, how do I distinguish in the Action between the attribute of the notes/alias and the one of the adornment.

if a note is used in more than one event (e.g. “funnyEvent”), it is easy to add that to the set of $usedInEvent. But how to create a $usedInChapter per event when I do not now anything about the number of events, names … in advance?

Use the adornment designator - see link.

There’s an adornment designator so you can do something like:

$usedIn(original) = $usedIn(original) + $identifier(adornment)

Put that in the adornment’s action code. ($usedIn and $identifier are both user attributes I made up)

I don’t quite follow this question, but it seems to me like it would behave the same as events. Sets are particularly useful when you have information and you don’t know all of the potential values ahead of time. So, you can manually add a value to $usedInChapter, or set up an adornment, stamp, container w/ $OnAdd… anywhere you’ve got action code really.

Perhaps if you share a more specific example of what you’re trying to add to $usedInEvent and $usedInChapter, then I can be more helpful. Or maybe someone else has a better understanding of what you’re trying to do.

What metadata—in either item (event or quote)—would allow us to identify that relationship? I don’t see anything described thus far. IOW, if you want to automatically do something to represent the relationship you need some data off which to build an action.

If you go an on-screen route, Cmd+L will make and select an alias of the selected note. This alias can now be dragged (manually) elsewhere.

it’s fun to identify all the different possible ways to solve a problem.

My initial idea was creating the aliases in the attribute browser to sort them into the different events containers and onto the chapter-adornments.

The workflow now is:
setting an attribute “EventToWorkOn” in the attribute Browser
having an agent which looks for $EventToWorkOn==Event ! $usedinevent.contains(event)
it set the containter of the alias to “event” and sets $usedinevent=$usedinevent+“event”

So all my aliases end up nicely in the event container where I can sort the as I like to the different chapters adornments which set the corresponding attributes accordingly. And the work in the attribute browser with a defined stamp is pretty easy.

very nice. Thanks for your inspiration

I’d like to be able in the Attribute Browser View to:

  • select several files at the same time (in the left pane),
  • have those files selected shown concatenated in the right pane,
  • and (as one core-feature in Scrivener) even being able to edit those concatenated files

Is that feasible?

That would be awesome but I think it’s a no to all three.

I’d like to be able to manually order notes in AB like you can in outline view…

I’m not aware of any Tinderbox operation that goes beyond a single file.

Update: Sorry if I misunderstood this to be a request to work with several files, which of course TB doesn’t do, rather than to work with several notes, which is possible in other views and would (I agree) be useful in Attrib Browser.

I assume andreas means multiple notes here. afaik you can only select one note at a time in AB.

  • Multiple selection in attribute browser

This is fairly straightforward, though it might be time-consuming. It’s on the roadmap.

  • Concatenating text for selected notes.

This is now the sensible way to treat multiple selections; it’s what we do in other views. Again, it should be fairly straightforward.

  • Editing text in a multiple selection

This is actually quite intricate. There’s a ton of engineering behind Scrivener. That said, I do know of two approaches that might work.

At l(e)ast, it seems to have eventually made it on the rather upper priority-part of the agenda!?

@eastgate: That really would be THE killer feature … turning water into wine … lovers into worshippers … well … you get the idea. What can I say … back to business :wink:

I’m wondering what issue this solves? Scrivener is great for writing, not so good for understanding the interrelation of data. Tinderbox is reasonable for writing but without peer on freeform the data analysis side. My concern is that effort bled into making a better writing tool takes effort away from the analytical side, to Tinderbox’s loss. Personally, I don’t mind a bit of work extracting info to pass into a writing-centric app )and it’s not hard to help those confused by this) but if it means less effort dev goes into the spatial hypertext/data analysis side Tinderbox will be the poorer for it. IMO, at least. Watching the tool evolve over 15 years, I can see how much the $Text space dev has happened at the expense of other more innovative features. I sense I may be a lone voice in the regards, but I think it worth speaking up for Tinderbox’s main USP.

That is quite a leap, from selecting multiple notes at once to writing a word processor :slight_smile:

So for me, I use AB to see sets of notes. Often times I’ll notice interesting subsets, or sets that I haven’t noticed before. So I want to select a few notes and stamp them.

You can select multiple notes in every other view. So clearly it’s useful. I don’t suppose you’d be thrilled if eastgate removed the ability to select multiple notes in outline / map view.

Yeah, it’s a tradeoff. You spend a bit more time and effort massaging data in other apps and transferring information back and forth. I spend a bit more time effort and writing TB action code and scripts to make TB integrate with other tools I use. Neither approach is right, they’re just right for our individual needs. fwiw I’ve tried every writing application for Mac, and Tinderbox is my favorite application to write in – which is amazing considering it’s not a “writing application!”

Personally, I don’t make a distinction between note-taking and writing. For me, note-taking is writing. Any note can grow and/or be combined into longer forms. Any long form text can be deconstructed into smaller notes. Separating the two activities creates a cognitive dissonance that is unhelpful for me. I fully appreciate that for other people, it’s important to keep those two activities cleanly separated.

So what’s Tinderbox’s USP? I think anyone would be hard-pressed to distill it to a single, clear, universal phrase. It can’t be all things to all people, but it is certainly many things to many people.

If the desire, as stated up-thread, is to be able to select/display multiple notes and edit them - in Scrivener-like fashion - I think it is a quite a jump in function: as Eastgate describes it, “This is actually quite intricate”. Still, I’m just clarifying, not pushing back.

The USP? The maps (spatial hypertext), hypertextual tools, prototyping/inheritance and support for incremental formalisation. Not one thing as such, but something adds up to a wonderful exploratory/analytical space. As time goes by, I use $Text less (unless for source data) and attributes much more. I’m not against people writing, lest readers mistakenly assume that. Going from v5 through to v7.5 the writing space ($Text) has had a lot of love. It’s simply that with a small shop new features are a zero-sum game so I feel it worthwhile to speak up for some other features of the app, lest they appear unloved by users.

For what it’s worth, I think everyone here is making sensible points. As for myself:

  • I value the ability to select multiple notes in other views, specifically outline and map, and would like to be able to do that in attribute browser too. Mainly I do this to apply block operations – stamps, moves, QuickStamps, whatever else – rather than selecting the notes one by one.
  • I view Scrivener as a uniquely powerful tool for writing, and Tinderbox as unique powerful for organizing and connecting data and ideas. Each has a does-the-job version of the other’s specialty – in Scrivener you can do some organization via folders, in Tinderbox you can do some writing and formatting – but I hope each development teach concentrates on each product’s comparative advantage.
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