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Author Topic: CHS - Program Goals  (Read 6354 times)

kfitting

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CHS - Program Goals
« on: October 24, 2005, 09:05:37 AM »
In another thread, mouser mentioned that discussion needed to happen regarding CHS' interface.  As I was thinking about this, I realized that the interface would be highly contingent on "what" CHS is supposed to do.  Therefore, before discussion on interface can begin, the overall function of CHS should be defined.

As far as I'm aware (correct me if I'm wrong, mouser) CHS is going to be branching out into more of a shell program containing different plugins.  Each plugin will use a database to perform a specific job.  Currently, CHS supports a clipboard plugin, where every bit of text from the clipboard is kept in a database.  Another idea for a plugin would be a "notes manager" or "miscillaneous information organizer" (ahhhh spelling!).  The reason for the plugin system is so users could determine how in-dpeth they wanted to get: if they just need a clipboard tool, they can have it.  If they want a notes manager they can have it.  If they think of something entirely new, they can have it (maybe). 

In thinking about this concept, there are things that any program supporting these two functions should have:

1. Filtered database  - for fast searching/organization (sort of like what is currently implemented for CHS).  I imagine a database backend where all data is stored.  Treeviews, table views, and text views would be a way to organize that data.  Further I think it would be cool (though difficult) to allow limited mind mapping type support.  Basically, CHS stores data in a file and allows users to organize it the way they want!
2. Format support - plain text for those who want it, RTF for those who what formatting, and HTML and XML would be nice.  This would also allow people to store information in table form, hyperlinks, etc.  (Keynote was going to use TRichView (www.trichview.com) as it's richedit component... just to give an idea of what is implied here).
3. Import/Export - This is a huge deal to me... data is no good if the program you are using cannot get it out to be used by other programs!  Once again, plain text, RTF, HTML, XML, XLS, LOL, BRB, ETC would be nice.
4. Scripting support - allows people to automate routine tasks!


These are things I think are important.  I have no idea how easy they are to implement and there are probably some things I have overlooked.  This topic is for the discussion of general ideas for CHS.  Suggestions should be applicable to multiple plugin ideas (particularly to the Clipboard and notes ones mentioned above), or can be other plugin ideas.  Basically, what should CHS do and what big pieces are required to get the job done.  Once this has been discussed, interface design can be discussed. 

Finally, since mouser is the one doing the coding, any feature suggested by anyone else is not guaranteed!  I will try to keep this post updated with new requests so you dont have to scroll down to see new ones all the time (this also is not gauranteed!!).  So let's discuss!

Kevin

Carol Haynes

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Re: CHS - Program Goals
« Reply #1 on: October 24, 2005, 09:41:25 AM »
Quote
(ahhhh spelling!)

Hint ... look to the right of the Post button  :Thmbsup:

Some good ideas, but my fear is that it is going to get away from it's original purpose (Clipboard Help, not so bothered about the spell personally).

One thing that is really needed is support for lots of formats being imported from the clipboard: HTML, RTF, possibly MS Word and Excel) and especially graphics formats so that it ceases to be a pure text utility.

What you can do with the clips is important too. We discussed a few ideas ages ago in other threads but:

    Organise output (perhaps like document profiling) - ordering clips, grouping them together and outputting a single document in a choice of formats.

    Shell clipboard history menus (^V gives you a menu of recent clips to chose from for pasting, the number of clips displayed user defined in options), ideally, if at all possible, this should be context sensitive so you are only offered appropriate clips in the context (text only in Notepad etc). If it can't be automatic, then how about making it user configurable for user defined applications?

mouser

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Re: CHS - Program Goals
« Reply #2 on: October 24, 2005, 10:22:58 AM »
great to see this thread posted.

what i could use the most help with also is getting a list together of what is most important first, to get ourselves a great tool.

as kfitting said, i do intend to make this a general purpose tool as he has described perfectly.

but we also need to make it do 1 job great first, and i suggest that be clipboard stuff.

so as carol said, i'm thinking the first priority should be:
1) speed up and clean up efficient handling of large clipboard collections
2) support for multiple format clip+paste (personally i use plaintext but i know others need more)
3) good support for quick pasting into apps
4) customization/exclusion of clipboard capture

anything else?

to recap:
we need a long-term goal+feature set and a short-term goal and feature set, let's discuss both, and i'll try to get the short-term feature set implemented in the next month or so.

kfitting

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Re: CHS - Program Goals
« Reply #3 on: October 24, 2005, 10:46:51 AM »
Agreed mouser.  The only reason I was going long term first was because I figured it would be easier to get the backbone in place, then work on the clipboard stuff (or at least work on the clipboard stuff in conjunction with the new backbone).  Basically, I'm assuming that the current program is not written for the generic concept so it might be a good idea to get the generic concept working with one plugin (clipboard) then expanding.... but, that's mainly philosophical!

I think you've covered most of the short range stuff mouser.  Those goals would make CHS a viable clipboard program.  Do you think it would be beneficial to start talking interface?  Are you going to have each plugin define it's interface?  I can see things working well for a clipboard organizer that could be implemented differently in a notes plugin.  As far as interfaces and inter-plugin operability are concerned, would the clipboard plugin be able to be used with the notes plugin?

Carol: spellcheck??  Come on, that's cheating! (especially when it's right in front of you)

Kevin

AbteriX

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Re: CHS - Program Goals
« Reply #4 on: October 24, 2005, 11:29:54 AM »
great to see this thread posted.

Yes, nice to see we going on with this now.

Quote
4) customization/exclusion of clipboard capture

Did this include a little nifty non-nonsens popup window
for to quick insert(paste) our template clips (pic1)
and recent clips (pic2 here with link to template clips as well) ?

BTW:
i reduce the format of the PNG-pics with IrfanView to 50% of the resolution
but the size of the PNG file increase two times. (i post here the not reduced version)
Next time i will try XnView for that issue.

mouser

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Re: CHS - Program Goals
« Reply #5 on: October 24, 2005, 11:33:35 AM »
Quote
I figured it would be easier to get the backbone in place, then work on the clipboard stuff

this is generally true kfitting, but in this case i think its most important to get these features in asap even if it means a little more work later to move the clipboard stuff to a more independent module.


stefan - yes exactly, an easy paste screen is on the short list.

mouser

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Re: CHS - Program Goals
« Reply #6 on: October 24, 2005, 11:34:33 AM »
stefan - cool new sc watermark :)

try this great png optimizer for irfan view:
http://advsys.net/ken/utils.htm

kfitting

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Re: CHS - Program Goals
« Reply #7 on: October 24, 2005, 12:06:52 PM »
Quote
this is generally true kfitting, but in this case i think its most important to get these features in asap even if it means a little more work later to move the clipboard stuff to a more independent module.

Not a problem, just making sure!

Kevin

mouser

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Re: CHS - Program Goals
« Reply #8 on: October 24, 2005, 12:55:19 PM »
i should say though that i find it does help me to keep talking about longterm goals and interface and organization, because it shapes design decisions earlier on.

kfitting

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Re: CHS - Program Goals
« Reply #9 on: October 24, 2005, 01:26:50 PM »
Well, in the area of interface design, I've been thinking about the whole Tree hierarchy.  Right now, most organizers revolve around the tree.  Could that be switched so that the program revolves around the data?  With a database I think it can.  In other words, you could have multiple tree structures for the same database file.  One area I use notes programs for is keeping a list of quotes.  Some quotes fit into more than one catogory.  Now, with the filtered nodes you could use the current tree structure: any piece of data that fit a certain node would be displayed.  The problem is that sometimes, we want the structure to organize the data not the other way around.  This comes into play more with a database meant to organize all different types of data.  With multiple tree structures you could manually organize data one way, then organize it another way to see different aspects.  Personally I think this becomes really powerful when you think about it in regards to totally different visual forms (diagrams, trees, tables, etc).  Each format displays data differently, but the pool of data is the same for each format.  A start would be to allow different trees for the same data. 

Now that I've utterly confused things.... I go.

Kevin

Carol Haynes

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Re: CHS - Program Goals
« Reply #10 on: October 24, 2005, 03:00:33 PM »
Quote
Now that I've utterly confused things.... I go.

Good one, and we all know how much Mouser LOVES DB design ....  :D