I’m doing a fair bit of writing these days for various jobs. For one job I’ve designed a template and will need to interview a number of people to create short articles based on the template. For another job my clients have written an extensive book and we need to turn it into a web site. For that task we need to turn the section headings into an outline, rearrange material and then rewrite.
For hand coding web pages I use Tex-Edit Plus and am very happy with that. The “book” has been written in Microsoft Word, but not correctly using either the outlining or heading features. For the interviews I had started off using Circus Ponies Notebook which has some quite endearing features. Unfortunately though CP Notebook gave me two problems. One: whenever I used it in my client’s office then typing slowdowns would occur. There would be some significant delays as I typed and that was very disconcerting. Troubleshooting hasn’t yet solved this. Two: making a template for the interviews isn’t an easy job and involves copying and pasting from one page to another. That’s too much hassle.
For outlining tasks I like to use Omni Outliner, which works beautifully. I also use it for keeping some timesheets. It made the task of rearranging section headings very easy. I could have done this in Word, of course, but Word often just annoys me and OmniOutliner is specifically for outlining.
So yesterday I went hunting to locate further possibilities for text-editors with templates and organisational features. SubEthaEdit is extremely interesting. It’s free and allows collaborative writing (which I don’t need just now). This is very cool and I really like the “Preview in Web Browser” feature for coding web pages. It also colours the coding and offers line numbers. This is saved for later use, but it’s not what I need for these two projects.
Mellel is US$25 and offers a load of features for writing in other languages (which I don’t need). This is a very pleasing application and I suspect I’ll end up buying it. It looks great and the floating palettes are nifty, especially the Statistics palette. You can define text styles and page styles.
DevonThink US$35 has a nice option to keep and show groupings of documents. This would be very useful for my interviews project, but the whole thing seems big and rather complex. I wanted to make headings for the subtopics within each document, but I seem to be restricted to styles such as bold, rather than proper headings.
No firm conclusion yet. If you have comments I’d be glad to hear them via the Comments form.