Tinderbox Forum

Previewing links to Google Drive docs (or other web pages)

Is there any way to display the content of a web page – that is, some form of preview – within Tinderbox, without importing the content?

Specifically, I work with a lot of Google Drive Docs. I can add a link to any of them easily by dragging the URL into Tinderbox. But to display the content of a Drive Doc, I have to copy and paste it, which is awkward and doesn’t reflect future changes to the original.

I don’t need to be able to edit the web page text in Tinderbox. Just view it easily from within Tinderbox (map view, ideally) without copying and pasting.

If you store a $URL for a note and make URL a displayed attribute, you can instantly launch the browser, web app, or other viewer by clicking the globe icon.

Yes, I know how to do that. What I’m looking for is a way to preview the web page contents from within Tinderbox, without having to follow the link to the web page. For example, by means of a script or something that keeps the text in the note in sync with the text in the Google Doc.

I have a feeling this isn’t possible. The obvious solution is to give up Google Docs as my repository and keep everything inside Tinderbox, at least until it gets to a certain stage. That means giving the simplicity (and easy edit access from the web, e.g. from my phone) of Google Docs for the complexity of Tinderbox. I’ll give that a try, maybe in the early stages I can make it work, and use Google Docs for final stages.

If you’d like to copy the text from a URL into a note, you could use AutoFetch.

Or, you could have an edict that uses runCommand to get the text you want. This would likely involve using curl to grab the resources you need from Google Docs, perhaps processing them to extract just what you want, and then returning the text.

Or, if you need styled text, you could use the same approach to build a temporary local file with the extracted styled text, and move that file into a watched folder.

Finally, if you have a web resource you want to view in the Preview pane, I suppose

What do you actually want to manage inside TB ? TB is great at managing metadata and small amounts of relevant texts. I do not think it works as well as a document repository. Are certain aspects of the texts that could be encapsulated with metadata rather than just the raw files ?

Thank you Mark and Niran for the quick replies!

Mark, it’ s good to know about those things for future reference. I’m not sure what you mean by your last sentence about the preview pane. In any case, for now it seems I don’t really I need the preview capability I was asking for.

To answer Niran’s question: I am trying to use TB for short scraps of text copied from handwritten notebooks. Not a complete transcription; only certain passages that feed into work in progress. Until now I’ve used Drive documents for these. But that has become cumbersome.

This is how I’m planning to proceed: Each new note (typically quite short) will have just two pieces of metadata (as well as a two- or three-word summary as title):

  • A custom date string in the form (day of week, month, and year, e.g. Monday, April 26, 2021), which is the date of the original entry in the notebook where the scrap comes from,

  • The name of the notebook and the page number of the entry (e.g. Blue Leuchtturm p. 6).

That’s all I need to find the original entry, which is sometimes helpful for more context. I’ve created a prototype with these attributes.

Each note ends up in a named category (i.e. a higher-level note) or, if no category seems appropriate yet, an “inbox” note. Some notes may belong in more than one category. I recall that Tinderbox can create an alias for this purpose.

I’m hoping that lightweight notes from different notebooks, loosely organized and easily navigable, will be an improvement on Drive for this kind of correlation. Based on what I’ve seen of TB so far, I need to start using it in a practical way and investigate more advanced options later as needed.

When related scraps are ready to start shaping into a poem or story, I’ll continue to use Drive, which is also my “document repository” for all sorts of stuff that doesn’t need to be in TB.

Hope this makes sense! Just an experiment at this point. My programming skills are limited. I really need to keep things simple. I have a lot of material to deal and this feels like it could help.