But, it occurs to me to ask: do you have a well-defined idea of what your ideal would look like, if it isn't RightNote?
I wish I had an answer to that! It's something you could write a book on (and collectively, we have probably done that twice over on DC!), but I'd rather just have the right idea and implement it in Delphi :-)
I don't have a good answer to your question, but I have a few loose thoughts. One panel, not two (or three). OK, you'll always want something on the side, such as a place to store attachments, but make it optional. Having only one panel simplifies so many things in the UI! As soon as you have two panels, you must decide what the TAB key does: does it navigate panels, or does it insert a tab? So you've just discovered an unsolvable problem (at least until keyboards get a proper, dedicated navigation key like I postulated
some time ago). And there's plenty more where that came from.
Next, when I wrote KeyNote, my emphasis was clearly on the content of notes. The tree was just there to help organize them. The tree was great for so many things, but it too has limitations - like one item can have only one parent. And while you can overcome that, especially with a database-backed design, it'll always be with you, while a flat, tagged list makes that problem go away just like that.
Further, I've noticed that the tree is becoming more important to me than the notes. I want to do more with the tree - keep more data there, edit it more fluently. I'm influenced by Workflowy
here, although in the end I'm not using it any more, because the in-browser UI is taking its toll. It's good for typing, but when I later needed to edit, heavily rearrange the tree, export and print, I was fighting it every step of the way. But a Workflowy clone on the desktop could do wonders for me. (Another good example of a more powerful tree is MLO
, but I want multi-line items and at least basic in-text formatting.)
I remember when I first saw Evernote I thought it was very innovative, a new way of organizing loose notes. I am sure it's not the end of the road, and someone will come up with an even more ingenious design - but I worry it will be on the web, where all the ingenuity is gagged and hampered by all the inconveniences and all the dangers of living inside a browser and in the cloud.
As for the good old tree, I want it infinitely malleable. The manually imposed hierarchy is fine, but also let me be free from that. Let me show the tree as a filtered flat list. Or let the tree arrange itself automatically according to rules, e.g. group items by date (years at the top level, then months, then maybe days, whatever). Group by tags, by content, by all kinds of properties and metadata.
And little things. I have KeyNote, Evernote, a few others along the way, and I did register Right Note Pro today after all, because I like it more and more. but when I need to jot down just a phone number of just a URL, where do I put it? It's too small to deserve a branch of its own in KeyNote, but if I put it in a note together with other stuff it gets lost in there, and pretty soon I have a single note with years' worth of tiny little bits like that. Soon I have no idea what that URL was for.
I have a big catch-all note like that in KeyNote. Not just numbers and URLs, but some useful command-line switches for TotalCommander, the serial number of my WD drive in case I need it replaced, symbol of the battery model I need for my video camera, an address for a local animal shelter, someone's birthday... and wait, wasn't I suppose to organize
I don't know what to do with bits like that. Evernote, maybe, but a subscription is not for me, and somehow I just can't make that jump. I like what OneNote does, where you can start typing anywhere and your little note gets its own colored frame. It looks great and makes a great impression, but these little frames will get messy too after a while. Oh, and often I want to know exactly when
I added a little scrap like that. Is this the serial number for my new drive or the old one? I could tell if I knew when I entered it. (Yep, Evernote would know.)
I guess it all boils down to how hard it is to organize dis-organized stuff, and we accumulate so much of it it's not even funny! I always know very quickly what annoys me in a piece of software, but in this case I have to leave the solution to someone else. My ideas there extended as far as KeyNote 2.0, now fully realized and much expanded upon in RightNote - but I my imagination can't see any further, I'm afraid.