Suggestions to use the program like a word processor

Suggestions to use the program like a word processor

Postby pilominco » Sat Mar 08, 2014 12:16 pm

I have been posting several different suggestions about how to make Freeplane more friendly as a word processor. Here I try to centralize all of those in a single set. They all aply to the situation where a node is being edited “in line” (not with SimplyHTML). If any one has other suggestions in the same direction, I would appreciate them volunteering thmn here.

1) Control-Z: Should behave the way it does in word processors: Sequentially rolling backwards the editing.

2) Control-ArrowTop or ArrowBottom: The cursor should move to the previous or next paragraph, if there is one in the node. If there is only one paragraph in the node being edited, then these key combinations should move the cursor to the beginning or the end of the node. Nowadays the behavior that corresponds to pressing these keys is closing the node and moving around the node tree: totally unexpected by the user.

3) We need a shortcut to open the contextual menu. In the present situation you need to use the right button of the mouse to activate it.

4) We need a shortcut to add a word to the current spell checker dictionary.

5) We could also use a keyboard shortcut to save the file without closing the node or loosing the cursor position inside the node being edited. For example Control-S. When I am working in a work processor I have the habit to periodically press that sequence, so I know I won't loose my work if the computer hangs or there is an electric power failure, etc. That way I don't have to wait for the automatic periodic auto-save feature. I acknowledge those things don't happen often, bit Control-S is no effort at all, and it makes you feel more secure when you are fighting hard to write something.

I can't think of any other word-processor-like suggestions, but I feel there has to be many others.
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Re: Suggestions to use the program like a word processor

Postby leostaley » Sat Mar 08, 2014 3:57 pm

1) I think in the other thread, Dimitry expressed interest in fixing exactly that problem. It doesn't sound like too complicated of a fix. I myself would love it.

2) I've actually encountered that problem too. I'm not sure that it ought to be "fixed" though. It IS a mindmapping sofware, NOT a word processor, and the shortcuts are geared toward navigating and manipulating the mindmap first. This one wasn't that hard to get over, especially when I remembered that It wasn't built for what I was asking of it.

3) If you're on a windows machine,You have a button on your keyboard designed to pull up the context menu for wherever the cursor is. It's the button just to the right of Alt-Right. usually ctrl is on the other side of it. there's a picture of a mouse and a menu. It's always worked for me in Freeplane. If you're on a Mac, ... uh... I got nothing. Haven't used a Mac in years. Maybe google it?

4) Huh. I've never found myself wanting one of those. That's mighty specific. I've always just added words to the dictionary through the context menu. Out of curiosity, What sort of writing are you doing that requires such frequent use of non-dictionary recognized words, that you want a dedicated shortcut for it?

5) Ah Yes, saving without having to leave your editing. That's actually a problem with another great program I've been getting a lot of value from, Tiddlywiki. On the other hand, Freeplane has a very good autosaving feature, so you shouldn't have to worry so much about editing as we used to before frequent autosave.

Now, Personally, I think it would be great to be able to type some text using Markdown while editing inline, and once i finish editing, it will automatically show up formatted according to the Markdown syntax I applied. If you prefer getting away from using the mouse, and doing all your stuff with the keyboard, Markdown formatting is simply unbeatable.
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Re: Suggestions to use the program like a word processor

Postby pilominco » Sun Mar 09, 2014 9:36 am

Thanks for your reply.

About 1), not quite. Dimitry was offering to change Control-Z to no action. I have already done that by assigning that shortcut to a script does nothing but move the caret one character. That is easy to do, sure. But it would be better to roll back the editing, like in other word processors. And that doesn't seem to be Dimitry's idea. Y guess he is more focused in the tree, not in making the editing of a single node more standard and powerful. That is precisely my point. Freeplane is very good for writing. Believe me, the really easy navigation, plus unlimited levels in the tree is nothing less than a revolution when writing long and complex pieces. I feel this program is so big that it is a shame that the editing inside a node is clearly lagging behind. It should not be such a big effort to improve and the impact would be very significant.

About 2), most of what I just said applies. But for one thing: You said “It IS a mindmapping sofware, NOT a word processor ”. Well, I'am not sure that one thing doesn't imply the other. You need words to make the mindmap, so you could as well make the words writing easy, standard and powerful. And what I am trying to say is that if the developers are interested in promoting their work, they should consider the possibility of making it more mainstream for people that write. See, every written thing has structure. And this program is amazing with structure. You start with a skeleton, then you add layers, and finally details. Just great for writing if only some minor issues could make the process less fragile.

3) I know that button, sure. But it does nothing when a node is open for editing. At least in my case. That is precisely my point. That button should do what it is supposed to do. I guess that is a bug.

4) Ah... my sort of writing. Well, I am from Spain, I use Spanish, I never write in English. This forum is an exception. I was studying for a little while in California but that was a long time a go. I mention this because languages are very different. In Spanish making up words is less flexible than in English, because the structure of the language itself. Now, I am the sort of person that tends to shake the structure and make up words, neologisms, little jokes, that sort of thing. I believe language should not be adhered to in an obedient way. For me it is more like a general framework. And then, I write about economics, sociology and philosophy. And there are a lot of schools with their own weird names in these fields. Not to mention obscure authors. Then, I also tend to give names to my own little discoveries... I would like those things to be in the dictionary and not to display their little red curly underlying all around my work.

5) You are kind of right about this point. It is not hugely important. But you see, when I use LibreOffice, and I get to a new point after a good deal of effort, the “Control-S” thing relaxes me a lot. It is like saying: Well done, save that, never loose it, and keep going. In Freeplane I have to press “Enter”, “Control-S”, “Control-Enter” and navigate to the position where I was before doing the saving (assuming it was not at the end of the node content). Makes it way more cumbersome. I even suspect that the autosave in Freeplane keeps the version of the node you had before opening it for editing. If your computer crashes while editing you would be reverted to that old version of the node. If this is not a big issue it is because Windows seems more stable nowadays, and Freeplane has never crashed on me. So it is more like an old inherited mania of mine. But still, that is how mainstream text programs work. I feel that Freeplane should go along the mainstream for this sort of apparently minor things. The developers typically don't detect this kinds of difficulties until users point them out. This is why I am trying to get their attention: Hey! This program DOES work with text all the time. This is not a spreadsheet. Nor is it an image manipulation software. Why don't we make it stronger and up to date in an area that is so important in real live, and at the same time so central for the program? I very honestly think it would make the program stronger.

In fact, to be honest: Don't you feel that the text editing is still a bit particular, delicate, even a tiny unpredictable in Freeplane? I would even go as far as to say it is the only weakness of the program. And I thought that my commitment as a member of this community was all about fighting for this kind of things.
But again, leostaley, thanks for your time.
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Re: Suggestions to use the program like a word processor

Postby pilominco » Sun Mar 09, 2014 9:42 am

And... Maybe this program is a bit for geeks. Is it too complicated for the literary kind of person? Probably. But, then, there are more literary people than technical people. Consequently I feel we should try to approximate the software to that bigger market. ;)
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