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June 27, 2004

Upgrade to a "Buy."

Posted by Mike on June 27, 2004 12:00 AM

VoodooPad gets upgraded to a "buy" in under 24 hours. It took a little time, because I was so engaged by the premise I wanted to make sure I wasn't overlooking anything too obvious. I wrestled with the idea of just resurrecting a personal wiki I'd set up a while ago, but as much as I love wikis for online collaborative stuff or as an easily updatable online scratchpad for "howto X," anything that involves a web interface is going to feel uncomfortable. I also considered the EmacsWikiMode, but for as much as I like Emacs, I usually end up hating any mode besides html-helper-mode, and I've lost a lot of enthusiasm for that since markdown came along.

So back to VoodooPad:

The biggest appeal is the way it scrunches the distance between the document I'm working on and the filesystem at large to nothing. No darting out with the mouse to dig down through the Finder to get at an author folder or past edit plan: I just drag the link in once and it's there on the author or project page along with my notes.

The second cool thing is its hat-tip to the Mac's Unixicity. Shell scripts can be employed to fill pages with their output in a manner reminiscent of BBEdit's squeal-inducing worksheets.

Third up is probably the capacity it has to share a pad over XML-RPC. I'll probably be keeping my brain pad on a local network share for use from either the iBook or the eMac, but it's cool to know I can pop open a port and get at it from the iBook away from home. It can also export to plain old HTML to provide a static and remotely accessible copy for use from machines without VoodooPad installed.

If I could change anything about it, it'd probably be to include some sort of outline or list functionality. There are a few people on FlyingMeat's feature request board asking for the same thing. Maybe I ought to go over there and "me too!" one of them.


i hardly ever do this, but i played w/ voodoopad last night on the strength of your prior recommendation, and i have to say it matches my personal workflow really well. i'm the kind of person who keeps little collections of notes and wishes she could interlink them & add stuff from the finder. but html is too clunky to bother with that on a frequently updated basis.

i like its export options, too, though the only one i really get is the static html one (you may have to show me how to use the xml-rpc one). and though i probably don't have a use for its scriptability, i can totally appreicate that it has it. ee!

(only two bugs so far: folders w/ duplicate names, regardless of their paths, can't be just dragged into a document; i had to create a new urls and manually add the second path; and i hate that it keeps old page info even after you've deleted the original reference. when i get lots of links going, i can see how duplicates will be a problem.)

but would i buy it? all signs point to yes, like i bought windowshade, the first non-os x thing i installed on eliot because i missed it so much from tori.

Posted by: gl. at June 27, 2004 10:32 AM

Re: the duplicate filenames being not permitted: that is an issue, isn't it?

Re: never being able to get rid of old pages: You can get rid of them.

You have to open the "Links" window (Window -> Links), click the old page you want gone, and click the "delete" button. Pop. It also appears you can get at old pages through the blue "i-for-info" button.

I tried the first solution out and watched the link connecting to the page I'd just deleted go dead on the page it was pointing from. So namespace clutter won't be too much of a problem if you're careful to periodically prune the unlinked files.

It'd be kind of cool if there were a counter in each page's characteristics so a quick AppleScript could run through a given pad and look for all pages where incoming_links=0. Or maybe there is and I'm not reading its script dictionary correctly (which wouldn't be hard for me to do).

And chalk AppleScript up as something I wish I could find a good a-b-c, 1-2-3 reference/guide for.

Posted by: mph at June 27, 2004 11:06 AM