In my previous posts, I've answered the question "What Is An
Outline?" from the point of view of Iron Lute. The resulting data
structures are somewhat complicated. These data structures are at the
heart of Iron Lute; if they fail, the entire program can come crashing
down. Moreover, if nobody is capable of correctly using the data
structures, they are still useless. It's worth discussing
One significant advantage a more conventional outline has over the
outline structure I've built up here is that it is much easier to
store the traditional outline in a file. Using XML, traditional
outlines are almost trivial to store:
<node text="A"> <node text="B" /> <node text="C" attribute="D" /> </node>
I just had pretty much the worst week ever at work, which accounts for
my not posting anything this week. How bad? I just finally noticed
today that I didn't post my Monday Iron Lute post.
I can only hope this week is better. Unfortunately, it doesn't show
any particular signs of improving, so posts may be slowed up this week
This week instead of continuing on with my outline series of posts,
I think I may jump ahead and discuss the file format for my outline
model, which is what I'm working on right now. Designing a file format
to hold the data hasn't been too hard, but it's been a bit of a brain
bender trying to figure out the best way to implement it. There
are a few interesting things you can do with an outline structure you
can't do with a conventional flat file, and I want to make sure that
those things are possible. What day this will get posted, I don't
know, since I still have to write it.
In my last post, I dissociated the concept of "outlineness" from a
graph, and showed at least the skeleton of a data structure that allows
the power of graphs while preserving the nature of an outline.
In this post, we will fix a flaw in the model built up to that
point, which is that there is no way to obtain a list of parents,
given a node, only a list of children. For various reasons, this is
necessary to building an outliner, so this flaw must be fixed.
Rand Anderson blogs
about Iron Lute and his preferred outliner Leo:
Seems he's aware of Leo (my
outliner of choice) but wants an outliner that allows the use of the
outline structure for all content (as opposed to having a body for
free text associated with each tree node, as Leo does).
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