Thanx for the feedback on SQLNotes.
I'm wondering... is there a quick start guide somewhere?
You should find most of what you'll need to start in SQLNotes website's help section
. The "Getting started" page can found there
One thing I found difficult right away was the inability to adjust font sizes.
Font size can be adjusted manually in the HTML pane, and for each grid in the "view" menu --> Grid--> yellow square icon with two lines under it. That will open the "manage grids" window. There you can set the fonts for each grid, . But if you want to set the defaults for all grids
, use the "tools" menu --> options, then, in the window, General --> view.
The thing with Info select that's so powerful for me is the ability to set up smart folders that will take any search strings, and I just add tag words to text items, and it filter them into a folder. This is the same basic functionality that Evernote has. It will also allow automatically filtering based on keywords that you set using boolean operators.
Well, I'd say that SQLNotes is all about that, and much much more. EverNote is very basic in comparison. Info Select is probably much closer in terms of filtering goodness -- but not as powerful as SQLNotes. The thing with SQLNotes grids and fields/column system is that it uses filters for everything that has to do with displaying data. The Grids (where you see your data) and the data are clearly differentiated : Grids are just like smart folders : they show what meets the defined source (the grid's main filter) and the different secondary filters (keywords or any text you want, numbers, YES/NO values, dates, etc.).
Basically, you can create as many grids (views, or "folders" if you will) as you want, to be able to display your data in multiple ways. Or you can even use only a few grids and filter the data these grids on the fly, using the filter text box and other UI tools (Currently, advanced filter use is not that user friendly as it uses SQL queries, but the UI does offer some functionalities for date filtering and basic text filtering; you can also learn how to use the filter textboxes for SQL queries by using the quick search and advanced find tools : look at what these tools write in the filter textbox (when the results appear in the search grid), and you'll start to understand how to directly write your own filters on the fly).
The great thing in SQLNotes is that an item can be anything you want, and be in several grids at once. It can be cloned, put under several parents, etc.
So, I can just dump a big word research note document into Infoselect and break it up into card sized chunks of info by tagging it with two dashes, and then filter however I wish using keywords. If I could get SQLNotes up and running with this sort of simple filtering I'd love to have a look at it. Is this difficult to do?
Can you breakup text items easily or join them easily?
It depends what you mean esactly SQLNotes was not primarily made to compose novels etc. But I know that Pierre is working on a feature to provide a "unified view" of several items in an Outline and allow people to write long document more easily. (Currently, you can achieve a unified view of several items easily by exporting selected items with the HTML export. Nice.)
Now, if by "breaking items" I believe you mean to split a previously whole item (like a whole document) into 2 different items, yes you can... But you'd have to do that manually. Ahah.
Of course, most other applications (except info select, it seems) like Evernote or Word, won't automatically split "items" in different parts. But you can of course copy parts of a document into a grid and split them into as many pieces/subitems as you want (that’s what I do…) I don’t think it’s much
slower than putting “----“ in a text… But I can see the use and it would be an interesting feature to add to SQLNotes (probably not that hard...). "Automatic" splitting/joining : if you can describe exactly what you'd want, I wouldn't be surprised if Pierre includes it in SQLNotes.
(also : if by "breaking items" you also mean to split a previously whole document but consisting of several items and sub-items, well... nothing could be easier. Because SQLNotes is a great outliner and the same items can be used in multiple grids (wheter by copying it or duplicating it -- by duplicating I mean that it is actually the very same item that you find in different places, and modifying one will modify all others ; by copying I mean creating 2 identical but independent items). Also, the filters (as in EverNote) allows you to work and see only the items you want to work with, and only those, hiding all others.)
The other thing I noticed was the inability to just import a .doc file. I gather this will be added soon.
Well, I can't really answer that one... But right now you can certainly link any documents or file to SQLNotes (drag and drop inside a grid), or import html documents (just save your document in html format). You can also load any external HTML documents into the HTML pane.
I tried converting Word documents into HTML format, and it works. Pierre might add the ability to "import" the doc format when the MS Word will be integrated to SQLNotes as an HTML editor. But I don't know...
(SQLNotes works very well with Excel though.)
So far I think InfoSelect is definitely the most powerful thing I've seen. I think it's true that synching is poor and it's not pretty, but it's bloody powerful. I was going to also thank you for the Evernotes tip.
Info Select is most probably all around "more powerful". BUT... it depends on what you're looking at. I don't think I'd use info select to write a thesis or anything like that, for example. well... it depends... Can Info Select "duplicate" items as SQLNotes can (as I explained before) ? Can an item be anything
at the same time (an event, a task, a project, the first paragraph of a novel, a pivot chart's value, an address, a reference, an item in a formula, a item in a spreadsheet, etc. -- I know an item can be MANY things in Info Select, but I think that SQLNotes' database field/grid system is more flexible) ? Can an item be linked and edited with another Office application (like excell or word) ? Does Info Select support Wiki links between items ? And what about full Rich text in the outline ? I'm not so sure... Does it have gantt charts for project planning and a pretty calendar (ahah, I'm saying that because I remember hating Info Select's calendar) ? Can you have a flat view of all items ? etc.
It's been too long since I've trialed Info Select though... So it could be that it now has all these features. Info Select's got all kinds of templates for writing letters and stuff (but I'd use MS Word anyways), it's got proofing/spelling, image editing capabilities and importation, and an email client. But these are the main differences IMO, and I don't need them. I can get a separate email client, a good image editor and a good picture organizer (like ACDsee or whatever), and word for the main spelling.
Right now Info Select is hopefully more polished and more optimized (quicker) than SQLNotes. It's also got better documentation. Normal : it's been there for a long while! it also costs 250$... SQLNotes is still beta (and will have an introductory price of 50$ for individuals — a tad cheaper than 250$... Granted, it does not have an email client…). But I predict that in a very short time, it will give Info Select and other PIMs a serious challenge...
I do like EN, but somehow it seems too crude for serious research writing. I'd love to hear how you use SQLNotes for research. If the details are too much for the list we can always take it to email or chat. I concur that Endnote is amazing, and I'm using it.
I agree completely. I only used EverNote to gather webclips and jot some notes. SQLNotes, INfoSelect, Ultra Recall or OneNote are much better for research or data analysis. I used to love EverNote -- especially its taging system and speed. But, in the end, I found it to inflexible.
I'd love to hear how you use SQLNotes for research. If the details are too much for the list we can always take it to email or chat. I concur that Endnote is amazing, and I'm using it.
Yes Endnote is pretty usefull…
The basic way I use SQLnotes for research is fairly simple :
- I enter every notes, thoughts, web clips, etc. in it. I usually use the add new item window for it : ctrl+alt+n, like evernote ; Every item is then assigned a specific field corresponding to a specific grid. I also enter info directly in the grid — this is very quick once you know your way around the keyboard shortcuts.
- As I review each item (but this can be done for multiple items at a time) I add different fields (that I created myself, or not : SQLNotes allows you to create as many fields or attributes you want — and any item can have as many fields as you want) : categories-keywords, dates, author…
- I create grids to see data in different ways, and I classify them hierarchically in an outline. I use filters to reorder items and redisplay them at will, according to different filters.
Once you get used to SQLNotes functioning, I find it very quick and powerful. There a 2 little quirks with the display of hierarchies (in only 2 specific cases that you might not encounter anyways — and these little bugs are going to be fixed real soon).
Not everybody likes it though… The learning curve can be steep… But, IMO, it’s more a question of being willing to understand the basic principles and build up from there. The start up guide is a good start. Then create your first grids…
** PS : An simple example of the SQL syntax would be : "textfields alike "*my super grid*" " : that would search all text fields for "my super grid" and show the corresponding items. Another example : "order > 10" : that would show all items for which the "order" fields has a value > 10. So you see, it's not that hard. Just takes a bit of learning.