At every level of scale (minutes to months) there’s a continual alternation between two thinking and writing modes:
- fluid and unconstrained generation
- rigorous and structured organisation
( people vary a bit in which they tend to start with, but we’re all moving back and forth between them all the time )
in the collection/generation/splurge phases of these alternating waves, we really want no technical distraction whatsoever – and your various widget-free text interfaces, from TP onwards, have been exceptionally good for this, and had a kind of magic. Wow … just typing here … but look ! it seems to get my structure …
Meanwhile in the structuring/editing/shaping phases of these waves, we appreciate power and some help with structuring. At this point, things like restructuring a fluidly generated nesting of hashes and bullet points can feel a bit of a mess. More outlining power makes it all simpler and quicker, and easier to understand. (No more fiddly counting of hashes, adjusting their number, and finding that we’ve got it wrong).
So perhaps one way of thinking about a goal might be to:
- aim towards completely non-modal (purely text UI) entry for the generation phases of our bursts of thought (leading # to flag a header, leading hyphen to flag a bullet @key(value) to grab a date or tag,
> to start a quote etc etc)
- and keep the special outlining selections, and all their wonderfully powerful drag-drop, hoisting and folding, and querying power in reserve for when they will most be appreciated - in the structuring, editing, reshaping and searching phases.
It’s a curious thing … the modal route to (for example) setting a paragraph type or tag often involves fewer keystrokes, but it turns out that the simpler model (and smaller burden on memory) of a text interface feels much more fluid and friction-free.
On the other hand, after all that fluid generation, the nesting and counting of hashes and indented bullets, and changing our mind about heading levels can feel like a bit of a mess in pure MD. Its at that point that one wants to have some power-tools on the workbench … Automatic heading levels by indentation, drag and drop restructuring, hoisting and filtering and and reshaping and getting an overview.
in short it would be good to be able to:
- stay entirely in text UI as long as one wanted to, with no need to reach for a mode switch at all for typing and entering meta-data, and then
- step back and reach for all the modal power-tools when one needs them for overview, focus-shift, and reshaping.