I know this blog’s been silent recently. So here is the first news: The development version of WritingOutliner supports All recent Windows 8 and 10 now, but it’s not ready to be released.
Below shows some work-in-progress enhancements to the WritingOutliner.
Enhanced project file list view of the Welcome pane – if you are an existing user you can see the difference – it’s more clean, modern but conveys more info 🙂
Dear WritingOutliner users,
I know some of they are not satisfied with the WritingOutliner development in recent years, for reasons such as WritingOutliner not working with the latest Word, etc.
All your questions will be answered.
I wish you keep your faith on WritingOutliner, I do and always do. 🙂
After upgraded the WritingOutliner to use the latest version of my development tool, this outliner software now works with 64bit version of Word 2010/2013, and should be much more Unicode-compatible, but for some unknown reasons it is noticeable slower than the old version, and now I’m trying to hunt down the culprit and will fix it.
Finally , the first beta test release of the rewritten WordOutliner is available for download!
WordOutliner features, new 64bit Office support, new file-system-as-storage, much better performance and stability, and full Unicode support (means any character/string displaying problem for non-English languages should be gone)!
Head over to the new WordOutliner homepage (all news and updates will happen there from now on).
Or visit the release notes blog post.
It’s really quite a long time since the rewrite plan has announced.
But you know, rewriting a software is not ease!
Although a lot of features exist in the old Writing Outliner have NOT been implemented in the new WordOutliner yet , this beta 1 release can really be seen as a milestone of the development.
You’ll see more frequent updates, as I’ll follow a ‘release early, release more’ paradigm.
If you are an existing user of Writing Outliner, you’ll get a new license key for the first stable release of WordOutliner become available.
Again: if don’t own a Writing Outliner license yet, buy Writing Outliner today and you ALSO get the new WordOutliner license when it’s out of beta.
Update 1 (Jan 29, 2014): a little delay of the beta version release, need to get the new website up first.
Update 2 (March, 2014): I’ve done the new website (that was a lot of work), But regarding the new software there is one thing I did not expect originally – Microsoft has removed the ‘Single Word Window mode’ in Word 2013 (means there is no more ‘show all windows in the taskbar’), but I took for granted this can’t happen… So I need to change the new WordOutliner to adapt for it and it’s taking a little more time… Thanks for your patience, my friends!
Some updates about the ‘rewritten Writing Outliner’ (will be called WordOutliner, in case you didn’t know yet, WordOutliner will be much well-designed, and it’ll use the more open file system instead of SQLite databases as the document storage) .
Note: all existing and new customers will GET the new WordOutliner for free!
The new name
The name of the ‘rewritten Writing Outliner’ will be WordOutliner – outliner software for (MS) Word .
The new website
The website will be moved to getoutliner.com (not very soon). And, well, considering the new name above, I’m suggesting you’ll find XXXOutliner(s) on that new website in the future 😉 but I can’t reveal any details yet.
The ETA of the first beta of WordOutliner
The beta test version of WordOutliner should be able to be available for download by the end of this month (means before the lunar new year in my country), I’m currently working on the ability of importing *.woproj files (the Writing Outliner project files) into WordOutliner.
But please note that, the corkboard and full text search functions (of Writing Outliner) will NOT be available the first beta release of WordOutliner, these features will be added soon after.
It’s been quite sometime since I announced the plan of rewriting Writing Outliner, aside from rewriting a software project itself is quite difficult, I had to (I’ll explain later) working on another new product (a project that real take a lot of time!) in the past years, and it might be of interesting to some of you, I’ll announce it during the announcement of the first beta release of WordOutliner.
I’m writing ProjectFolders – the succeed product of Writing Outliner, due to reasons I stated in this blog (new data storage, improve stability and performance, etc).
I know many of your have been waiting for news about ProjectFolders, and I’m behind my schedule, and I apology, but today I finally have something to show:
This video demo shows what I have right now.
ProjectFolders differs from Writing Outliner in the following manners:
- All data are open – your files are stored as they are in your hard disk.
- Your document are safe, because ProjectFolders will not alter your documents at all – except renaming, copying and moving them across your project folders.
- ProjectFolders is much faster, because of the new design.
- ProjectFolders will open your existing Writing Outliner projects.
- Other differences? You figure them out in the video, I don’t want to let this list grow too much, or you won’t read, will you? 😉
Questions and comments? Why not? That’s why I’m posting the news here in the blog.
And here is a screenshot, but I encourage you to watch the video demo.
It’s a quite a long time since I announced the plan to revamp Writing Outliner, I finally got some news for you:
- The software is being completely rewritten, and the name will be changed to ProjectFolders, to reflect its ‘project-based writing’.
- Your documents will not be stored in SQLITE database anymore, but in a folder in your computer. This is for data security and avoid vendor-locking.
- For simplicity, all documents will be stored in a centralized folder. This approach has been proven by the famous Dropbox software.
- ProjectFolders add-in will greatly utilize a tagging system for file management, this approach has been proven by Gmail, EverNote, etc.
- The metadata (synopses, notes, tags, etc) will still be stored in a SQLITE database, so that these data will be for search-able.
First screenshot below, any comments are welcomed.
PS, I’d like to take this chance to ask my fellow Writing Outliner users, do you think the full text search and index cards in the current version of Writing Outliner very important and must have?
Update 1: Thanks for all the great feedbacks! Answering questions here:
- ProjectFolders will be able to improve Writing Outliner project files (.woprj).
- ProjectFolders will fully support unicode .
- ProjectFolders will be much more stable and more compatible with other Word addins such as Zetero, etc, all after all, this is one of the major issue of Writing Outliner ProjectFolders wants to address.
- Re. release dates, I’d say beta will be out in less than half of a year, you know, everything is being rebuilt from from ground up. Once the beta is ready, I’ll send email notifications to current users and newsletter subscribers.
- There will be a version for 64bit MS Word.
- Re the naming changing, I want it to be more understandable and shows that it’s not only for writers but also for managing project documents.
A new version of Writing Outliner software is ready for download now. This is a minor update with just one fix for the potential, critical data lost problem.
As announced in the previous blog post, significant modifications are being made to Writing Outliner software, and while Paul Yip (a new development member of the Writing Outliner software project team) was working on those changes, he finally reproduced the problem and he seems to have found the source of the problem and have fixed it, so we decided to release a new version based on the original version, before the significant changes are ready for download.
All Writing Outliner users are highly recommended to upgrade to this new version.
To upgrade, registered users please click the ‘Check for updates‘ link which can be found at the bottom of the left pane in Writing Outliner.
Trial version can be download here.
This decision was hard to make, but I’m going to significantly change the design of Writing Outliner, with the intention to completely fix the problems Writing Outliner currently have.
The current problems
# 1 – Instability and low performance
Writing Outliner hacks MS Word too much – the major problem is that during a session (during the time you open a project file and until closing it) Writing Outliner uses only one actual Word document to do all the editing, that means when “switching” documents it will have to delete the old content in the current document window then load new the content from the new file (I know, this is dangerous, but Word’s API is too limited).
This cases noticeable slow speed, and most importantly, in rare cases, causes data loss (several users lost several hours of work, and they are angry, I’m sorry) .
And this problem is very serious, and I’ve spent a lot of time trying to fix it, however, with the design describe above, there is no reliable way that I could find to fix it with the current implementation, thus the proposal to make a big change which will complete solve the problem (I’ll explain why below).
# 2- The None-human-readable file format.
Currently all files in a project are stored in a single Sqlite database, the Sqlite file format itself is open, however, it’s not human readable.
The big changes to be made
1 – Open each document in separate Word document window, thus switching documents will not require Writing Outliner to delete old document contents (described above).
In other words, no data loss will happen caused by Writing Outliner itself, because Writing Outliner will not modify your original documents except during a text replace operation.
2 – Use folders in your computer as project storages, instead of the .woprj (Sqlite) files. All your data will be stored in your folders and can be edited without Writing Outliner.
The benefits we’ll gain
A – More stable, as explained above. This is the most important thing.
B – Faster document loading – because the documents will be stored in the physical computer folders, no more intermediate layers.
C – Fully open and human-readable data formats – because the documents themselves will be stored in your disk as they are, and the document properties will be stored in plain text (JSON format).
A side effect to note
When Writing Outliner is enabled (it can be disabled on the fly), you’ll work in a single Word window, switching projects and documents will be done via the outline sidebar and tabs (which I believe will be more handy than switching documents using the Windows taskbar).
This is because the “show all windows in the taskbar”” Word option will be disabled.
At this point, you might ask how about the ordinary Word documents that are not part of any Writing Outliner project? They’ll be organized in a virtual project called “Other Documents” (Feel free to suggest a better name).
This will be a big change to Writing Outliner and all questions, comments and suggestions are welcomed.
Blog Update 1: It’s not a complete rewrite, so most of the UI will remain the same.
Blog Update 2: Support for 64 bit version of MS Word 2010 will not be possible yet.
Blog Update 3: I presume the change will allow Writing Outliner work with other Word add-ins that are currently conflict with it.
Blog Update 4: Your existing Writing Outliner projects will be able to migrate to the new format. For now, please do data backup frequently – use the ‘Export all files to folder’ function.