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Got to get organised

What with all the hussle and bustle that today’s web developer has to put up with, is it any wonder that from time to time things get… overlooked? I found myself in this kind of situation. After starting Antanova up, I found I had hundreds of things on my mind at once, and unstructured paper notes with no way to search them. For me, something had to give.

So I started asking around my colleagues and friends to see if any of them used any kind of notes or journaling software, to help keep them organised. No joy. So, I started Googling.

It led me to a few choices. Mindraider, Treepad, The Journal, Advanced diary, and Wikipad. Mindraider looks good, but a bit on the complex side for me. Treepad and The Journal look right on the money, but that was the problem: money. Things are tight. Not just that: Wikipad uses straight text files rather than a proprietary file format. So, just having been made open-source (and free) I decided to give it a whirl.

It’s a bit of a weird concept at first (I've never come across outliners before), so I had to read up on their site what’s what. But, as it turns out, it’s great! You get a tree view on the left hand side, and a text window on the right. Just type anything [between square brackets], and it creates a link. Double-click on the link, and it creates a new page, as a child of the first in the tree view. Just add any attributes to the page using more square brackets. For example, [date:20060316] will create a view based on dates and allow you to find that page by date as well as by parent in the tree view. It doesn’t just have to be date, either. Any arbitrary name is supported. So you could use [rating:5 stars] to enable you to find it by rating. If you use both date and rating, you’d be able to find it under either.

So far, so good. I’m able to keep to-dos and project notes in a structured and sensible way with it. I just have to remember to write up my notes after meetings, which is a good exercise in itself. I’ll see how I go with it, and post again in a while.

Jason posted this on Thursday, March 16, 2006 at 1:27 pm. Leave comment.

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