An Attribute has a name, a data type, a value (which may be preset to an optional default value). Some attributes are read-only, meaning they cannot be modified by the user; this is normally because such attributes are calculated on the fly (like the current number of child notes ). If no default value is set the attribute is empty/zero/false/etc., according to data type. There are two primary types of attributes:
- System attributes: information built into all Tinderbox documents, such as the colour of the note, or its width and height. Tinderbox keeps this information about every note, and you may view, use, and change it.
- User attributes: you may add your own attributes that are then available to every note. For instance, you could add a user attribute "Priority" and give every note a priority level from one to five. Or in a bibliography, create the attribute "Type" and tag the note for each source as either "Primary" or "Secondary".
Additionally, system attributes may be:
- Read-only attributes: information such as the date and time the note was created, or the date and time it was last modified, or its position within the overall document outline structure. Tinderbox keeps this information about every note, and you may view and use it, but you cannot change it.
In Tinderbox all attributes are global in the sense that they exist and can be given a value for any note or agent, even if it might not be useful in a particular case. Just ignore attributes when they do not make sense. Put in database terms, Tinderbox implements one big table (flat file style), rather than a set of related tables.
Note that whilst the document itself does not have an (accessible) $Text property, it does have attributes. Thus you can set some document level preferences. For instance, you can set the Map view's background colour through out the document by opening the Document Inspector's System tab and changing the $MapBackgroundColor attribute's default value.
See here for a deeper discussion of the concept of note attributes.