Suggestions

No Responses
… Well, no response to this post? Nothing from @jessie either? It would seem that no one else sees these suggestions as issues to improve with TaskPaper. That is too bad. TaskPaper is such a great organizational tool for writing. Apparently they are not issues for anyone else here. Oh well, too bad, so sad, moving on then. …

Suggestions:
I would like to offer the following suggestions that are related to the way that I use TaskPaper. I can’t say if this idea is as important to those that use TaskPaper for tasks and todo lists because I don’t know that side of TaskPaper very well. In fact, all of my entries in TaskPaper are using levels of headings, and notes. I don’t use Tasks at all.

I use TaskPaper as it was originally designed, as a text based outliner. TaskPaper morphed into a Task list with dates and things that were marked as done and then archived. That is all well and good, but the way I use TaskPaper is for my outlining and organization of my writing. And for this, TaskPaper is a brilliant tool, one that I would not like to be without.

When you have to go through several years of events and you are trying to make a coherent argument out of all the various threads in those events, you want to be able to track who the players were and how the various events and plots intertwined. When you want to track all the events related to a persons activities like Mr Smith, you tag every entry that involves Mr. Smith with @smith. The same thing with Mr. Jones, etc. You can put more than one tag on a paragraph of course. When you want to understand a thread of activity that occurred, you can take each paragraph that is related to that particular activity. By doing this you can click on the tags at any time to review the thread to see if you have the story correctly worked out. When I have it to the level that I want to go further in the writing, is when I copy my arguments into a scrivener document. I am not trying to make Taskpaper into a pure writing environment, rather I am making good use of TaskPapers excellent plain text way of helping me sort through very large amounts of data without destroying the possible other arguments that could be made at the same time.

Tag Menu. The Tag menu is set up currently only for the todo list crowd. It would be very nice if the tag menu could also pull the tags out of the file just as the sidebar tag section does. If the Tag menu had the tags in it that show in the sidebar, the ones I am constantly clicking on for focused searches, I could close my sidebar more often and enjoy more screen real estate (space).

Spacing for search results. When an editor search is triggered, the spacing you had set up in the .less file you are currently using, goes away. This may have been part of the thinking that if you are looking at a list of todo items or dates, you want to see a tight list, but that is only my speculation. When gathering many separate paragraphs and heading lines, it is not very easy to read or review all those different paragraphs when they visually run together without any paragraph spacing applied.

I resolved this for myself using a Keyboard Maestro macro but it remains a curiosity as to why this is happening in the first place. I copied the stylesheet I am most often using, and then added extra paragraph spacing. One macro triggers a change to this stylesheet. The second macro changes back to the first style sheet with normal spacing. It also triggers the View menu command to end the editor search so that I am back out of the search and back to my document.

Page breaks. I have mentioned this before but the problem persists. There is no page break available in Taskpaper. From time to time I will print out a page or pages to edit in hard copy. Taskpaper seems stuck on running the text over the bottom margin of the page leaving the last line only having printed the top of the line. The next page gives only the bottom half of the line and also has no page margin on top. My only solution if printing from a TaskPaper document is to copy what I want to print over to a Nisus or text processing document that respects top and bottom page margins - and also allows page breaks to be inserted if needs be.

1 Like

Sorry for lack of response. I’m just not in a place where I am thinking about these things right now. I’m still in the middle of WriteRoom 4 and that’s where most of my time is spent (you’ll be amazed at how little I’ve done! :frowning: … but I’m working on it)

Generally I’m trying to keep TaskPaper 3 updated and modern, but I’m not working on many new features or design changes except where I see an easy opportunity. No much deep thinking about the app right now.

Tag Menu

Not sure I understand… that menu is mostly just there for discovery of “tags”. For applying tags I suggest using Tag > Tag With (Command-T) which has quick access to all document tags. For filtering by tag I suggest Palette > Go to Anything (Command-P) which has quick access to filter by any tag. Or use sidebar if you want quick visual access.

Spacing for Search results

I’m not sure hear also… when I have this as my stylesheet:

item {
  paragraph-spacing-after: 10;
}

Then I see the same paragraph spacing in my document both when a search is applied and when one isn’t applied.

Page breaks

I agree they would be nice, but I just haven’t implemented them. I think to do them well I need to implement some visual representation, need to make sure they make it through read/save, and need to make changes to print system. All possible, but will take time and I don’t see as essential vrs other work I’m trying to do.

To mylevelbest:

I haven’t digested your post yet, but wanted to join you in saying that Taskpaper can stand in a key place in an app ecology. In my case, it’s the editor I can invoke with a hotkey from nvALT, where I have over 1000 notes and lists. In this setting, the invaluable feature for me is that I can move things up or down in the list effortlessly with command-option-arrow, rather than copy & paste in nvALT or iOS. (the nvALT folder also syncs to Simplenote.) I wouldn’t want to live without that. There used to be an iOS app called Listary which integrated with Simplenote and had the ability to drag list elements, but it got abandoned.

Anyway, three cheers for Taskpaper!

1 Like

FYI you can do the same in Byword or Ulysses - it’s a great feature that will hopefully become more widespread

How about using the Form feed as a page-breaking ASCII control character (ASCII code 12) when serializing/deserializing TaskPaper files?

@Jessie, I have this idea in my head that you live in Maine? If true I figured that, this time of year you would be pretty busy making ready for the winter, enjoying the turning leaves, gathering firewood, making maple syrup, etc. If true, I can understand why you have had little time to make progress on your apps. :wink:

I think the basic reason you are having trouble understanding my suggestions is that I use TaskPaper in a completely different way then you use TaskPaper. I read that you started TaskPaper as a visual outliner similar to (another app whose name I can’t remember) and at a certain point, you morphed TaskPaper into what it is today. Today for most people TaskPaper is for tasks, and the ability to follow a task or todo list.

I use TaskPaper completely differently than you use TaskPaper. I use TaskPaper more as a text base outliner. In fact, that’s all I use TaskPaper for. I don’t keep lists in TaskPaper, at all. I use TaskPaper for its outlining capabilities - which are awesome.

The only other way I have ever been able to do what I am doing in TaskPaper was to build a database and that is far too much brainwork for me to want to get into as before long I am more focused on trying to get the database working than just, writing.

I use tags a lot in TaskPaper. I use tags for two main reasons, 1. to identify a thread in a complicated narrative or series of entries or, 2. to add a color or character attribute to a paragraph such as bolded or colored red or italicized.

When I am doing this, I am writing in TaskPaper using Tags to identify a thread by every place a comment is made about a subject, and who was making the comment, I am going through years of data with multiple entries on multiple dates by multiple sources. As TaskPaper lets me put more than one tag on a paragraph, I can easily build more than one way of pulling together threads out of my document.

The point of pulling together all these entries over several years is not to read them together as a single narrative, but to be able to research and review what was said, and what was not said, what was said falsely, and what was overlooked, by who, about what, and on what date.

When using TaskPaper in this way, you are going to the tags in the sidebar often, clicking on the tag for a person to find what they said to accurately quote them. You are doing the same thing for following the ideas you have tagged in a thread.

My suggestion about the tags menu was that it would be very nice if you added a separator beneath the current simple tag menu that is currently only used to add or remove tags, today, done, archive. Below the separator you would add all of the tags in the tag section from the sidebar to the tag menu.

I write on a MacBook Pro. On my desktop, I plug into a 24” vertical monitor so I have good screen space. When I take the MacBook outside and I use its small screen, I have more limited screen space. My suggestion about using the tags menu was that it would be very nice if, instead of keeping the sidebar open all the time as I do now so that I can get to all the tags that I keep looking for, I could save some screen space by closing the Sidebar more often because the Tag menu would also have the tags in it to select.

My suggestion about the spacing is a little more complicated - but not too complicated if you are willing to test this by the following example.

  1. Take any three posts off of this forum. And, by this I do not mean take three posts off the same thread. I mean take three completely different posts, each one with multiple paragraphs.

  2. Paste the three test posts into a test TaskPaper document. Make each post be at the same level in TaskPapers outline. Make sure each post is in Taskpaper’s notes format, not preceded by a dash, and not ending with a colon.

  3. If you copied the posts directly from the web browser, then you copied the paragraphs with a hard return (space) between each paragraph. Do not change this. I use paragraph returns as my TaskPaper output goes to a text processor so I tend to depend on hard returns instead of adjusting paragraph spacing in the less file. Repeating, leave the hard returns as you copied them in the web browser in this example.

  4. Edit the .less file you are using in this experiment. Comment out any paragraph spacing used in the notes section of the .less file. Save the .less file and return to the Taskpaper example.

  5. You should now see your example with hard returns that will read just as you were reading in the web browser for all three posts.

  6. Now, create a test tag, for example, @test. For purely arbitrary reasons, place the new tag at the end of the first paragraph to identify the first paragraph in the first forum post that you now have in TaskPaper.

  7. Repeat this for the second paragraph in the second forum post, and again for the third paragraph in the third forum post. Now you will have just three uses of the example tag, one on each forum post on a different paragraph.

  8. Now click on the test tag and, et voila, you will see my point. Now you have the first paragraph of the first post immediately followed by the second paragraph of the second post, immediately followed by the third paragraph of the third post. As you selected three completely different posts, the three paragraphs probably do not make much sense when read together. Because there is no longer any space between the paragraphs, reading the search results is not so easy to do.

  9. My suggestion was about a way to have TaskPaper understand that, when an editor search is in progress, TaskPaper would use a different, default less file that is specifically related to an editor search. There is precedent for this as TaskPaper does use a different less file for printing.

  10. Imagine how nice it would be if an editor search could be set up so that your search results could be managed according to your less file - like every other thing you can now do in Taskpaper. As it is now, if you use hard returns to create a normal space between paragraphs like I do, then an editor search is going to drop any spaces after the paragraph and jam together all the found paragraphs without spaces.

Like the printing less file example, you don’t have to change it if you don’t want to. It would be nice if there could be a way to set a less file to the results of an editor search, or perhaps a setting in TaskPaper to declare that, if an editor search is in progress, then use certain parameters only when the editor search is in progress. Then, you would no longer have to deal with jammed together and hard to read results.

I hope my explanations have made better sense now?

Yes, I’m in Bangor Maine… and kinda getting ready for winter, but really just sitting at computer :slight_smile:

My suggestion about the tags menu was that it would be very nice if you added a separator beneath the current simple tag menu that is currently only used to add or remove tags, today, done, archive. Below the separator you would add all of the tags in the tag section from the sidebar to the tag menu.

I think I understand your request this time through. I would still argue that both:

  • TaskPaper > Tag > Tag with…
  • TaskPaper > Palette > Go to Tag…

Can work pretty well for what you want. The intention of both those commands is to show you a list of all your tags without requiring that you have sidebar open.

The drawback with the UI presented by those commands is that the list is clipped… so they will not use full vertical screen space… but the list is pretty easily scrollable I think. And both of those UI’s are much faster to access via keyboard shortcut then a menu would likely be.

Yes, I understand this suggestion much better now, thanks. I don’t know about a separate stylesheet, but possibly I can just add a new attribute for the existing stylesheet to match against. I’ll dig around a bit and see.

Thanks for considering the idea. Since you already have a way to edit or refresh a search parameter in the “Editor Search” panel, I was thinking that the easiest solution might be to add a code line in a less file that would allow text attributes to be applied to whatever results are displayed in an Editor Search i.e., inserting paragraph lines before, lines after, etc. I suppose you could also alter the default color so that you were always aware of having a page of search results.

In this way, someone who uses normal paragraph returns and no added paragraph spacing, could also apply paragraph spacing to any found result in an Editor Search.

If a user has no desire to do this, leaving it as a default setting won’t change anyones use of TaskPaper as it is. But, it would certainly be a great help in the way that I use Taskpaper.

As far as the tags menu, it is only important because I use my MackBook Pro with 12" screen as my main desktop mac these days. At this moment of posting, I am heading outside to continue working. On my small screen, closing the sidebar gives me more room and, in the way that I have described how I am working, I often select tags. Yes, I can hit open and close for the sidebar too. But, my comment was intended to suggest that, there is a tag menu that is not being used and that currently cannot be used in my current work-flow. I am suggesting that this could be set up as a user preference so that people who want to continue with the simple tag menu as it is currently, would not be inconvenienced. But, I am also trying to show that for some of us, TaskPaper is a very nice instrument for organizing your writing and, this would be a great help - even if you limited the menu to the top most often selected tags or some such.

Anyway, I am grateful for the response and, I’m glad that I was able to successfully clarify my position.

Thanks.