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Outline vs. Map Interface


Newer users often get confused trying to compare Outlines with Maps. This is not entirely surprising as Tinderbox always starts a new document with a blank Outline. Users wanting maps then make a new Map view. Now they've an Outline and a Map that sort of look the same (especially if there's no nesting of notes) but aren't. This article attempts to answer some of the functional side of the similarities/differences of the two view types. Note: words in this article with a $ before them indicate reference to a TB attribute, e.g. $Name is the title of a note. Now, consider the outline and map views above, of the same TBX content.

So, "What's the point?" you may ask. If you set up a simple TBX like this you can see the effect of:

How the TBX illustrated above was created

On the left is the outline view, on the right the map view. The notes all have a short two-l or three-letter $Name like 'bb', 'ag' or 'rrr' and the rest of the title you see is a $DisplayExpression enabling you to see the $OutlineOrder on screen. Names where the two letters are the same are notes/containers (including separators); two different letters denote an agent; three similar letters denotes an adornment. In addition, in the map, the $Xpos and $Ypos X/Y location co-ordinates are shown; in notes/containers this is by displaying body text ($Text) and for adornments - which have no (visible) $Text - the $DisplayExpression has been further amended.

How was the mark-up done? Prototype note '*Display' (in /Prototypes) has the following Rule:

$Text = "Xpos: " + $Xpos + " / Ypos: " + $Ypos 

…and DisplayExpression:

$Name + " / OutlineOrder: " + $OutlineOrder 

As we can't display text in adornments, prototype adornment '*Adornment' (seen on the map of /Prototypes) uses a different $DisplayExpression - which has to be set via the adornment's Info view (General panel). Thus $DisplayExpression:

$Name + " / OutlineOrder: " + $OutlineOrder + " / Xpos: " + $Xpos + " / Ypos: " + $Ypos

You'll notice you'll need to set icons a bit wider than the default and on notes/containers drag the title section down a bit to see all the captioning. Notice too that a map view container icon's viewport map shows $DisplayExpression but note text isn't drawn as in a normal icon - see the icon for container note 'ii' inside the viewport of container note 'jj' at left of the map.


Possible relevant notes (via "Similar Notes" feature):

A Tinderbox Reference File : Misc. User Interface Aspects : Outline vs. Map Interface