Keeping up - with 'Link' / mindmap / cross-referencing

Post here those questions, bug reports and suggestions for SoftMaker Office 2021 for Mac that do not fit in any of the application-specific subforums.
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Joined: Wed Jan 26, 2022 2:40 am

Keeping up - with 'Link' / mindmap / cross-referencing

Post by vandu »

This is directed to those smart guys that wrote this set of programs so fast, doing a service for a bunch of folks that cannot afford MS.

To me, as a long time mac user, beta tester of SoftMaker, former PC software product manager, law student & attorney writing appeals (lots of citations), patent holder in the associative searching area, and now PhD student in CmpSci, I look at the current issues and the future. For your product line there are ways to extend your software that will make very little sense to implement, and some that will vastly alter the perception of your products.

There is an interesting sea change coming. The main point of it is that 3 different sides of a software package such as a PDF tool (but also a 'Word', 'Excel', or other 'Office' tool). The basic functions in the mind of a user of such a tool are: 'creator' / 'editor' / 'annotator' / 'reader' / 'note holder' / 'idea linker' are all coming together in a hurry. It is happening faster than the traditional 'pdf generation' products are likely to survive without acceptance. MS Word is predominantly a 'creator' / 'editor' / 'reader' tool, but allows 'annotator' / 'note holder' for reviewers, and 'idea linker' with hyperlinks and object inclusion. Excel and Powerpoint are not as good as a reviewing or linking tool as Word. One-Note is a linker for the package. One-Note attempts its linking with an approach like the clipboard in Word for Mac - it provides a custom clipboard that has never worked well because of the failure to utilize the standards on the mac. Originally the Word Clipboard was considered to be better than the Mac Clipboard, and thus a competitive advantage for Microsoft against other products having approximately the same function. That didn't last as an advantage. Consider the Immersive Reader that One-note is adding to Windows 11. Yay - there is a reader that works for linked files pointed to by One-Note. Wait - there is ONE reader? Does that work with AutoCad? and Oracle data files? and Matlab? and Mathematica? Is it interactive for Mathematica?
Very quickly that concept gives way. Sadly, the immersive reader is the only feature that makes any 'big step' (not close to a jump or a leap) for One-Note.

The reason it does is fails is the same reason why students, open source hobbyists, and researchers are quickly making it obvious that there is an alternative way to think. That is to consider what happens after a document is distributed in a packaged form. Then, linking portions of the published (distributed) version to other material and linking other material to a portion of the published version is a requirement for the reader/annotator function. It is also a requirement for the 'creator' / 'editor' function because the original author might be trying to speak about linked docs. This shows that there needs to be an openness similar to the built-in openness of today's internet rather than the internet when there was only simple html and document creator software for non-html files had no idea what an href was.

The linkages that are driving all this are (shallow or deep)-url links, where an application that serves as an 'annotator' / 'note holder' tool for a published (distributed) document (or for a 'creator' / 'editor' / 'reader' tool for the pre-distribution documents) accepts the (shallow or deep)-url from wherever it was used to bring up a document and to jump that document to the context where the (shallow or deep)-url points within the sought document. On the Mac there are two major functions involved (so far) around these links: either Obsidian (open source) or another 'database'; and a link resolver intermediary called Hook. The latter is great because it will find a document and an application that can show/manipulate that document. Note that a file type 'controlled' by one app cannot play well in this (shallow or deep)-url game if it does not either accept shallow links to a document (where the app is invoked, and then the document is opened in the app), or accept deep-urls where the shallow function is provided and then a navigation within the document occurs, including an area / object selection occurs, etc. Obsidian provides a storage area for urls, with the added facilities of 1) retaining a mark-down file for each entry, and 2) providing a mindmap of the stored items based upon relationships between items.

The CEO of one mac type pdf reader that has anticipated that it would be very suitable for taking notes on pdfs, including creating linkages inside of the pdf from one place to another has now been rapidly converted into recognizing that taking notes on one pdf and linking only internally is nothing compared to linking a whole bunch of different types of documents that touch on the sub-topic of the pdf to each other and to the pdf by a link that is a (shallow or deep)-url'. For those few of us (LOL) that have to study opinions and also study documents like contracts, witness statements, transcripts, etc, this sort of environment makes way too much sense to not work toward it. The PDFPen sort of tools that need to compete with the readers and also the Acrobat class of tools will see this quickly and implement the little things needed - making it compatible with Obsidian and Hook and setting up the needed user interface elements.

Other functions are needed. Someday down the road there will be a converter that accepts Bluebook strings and makes them into links for a pdf reader.

In my patent on this area (, a more complete structure is provided for each item in the database: the Mark-down file is generalized as part of an object structure with properties and more; and a set of 'result sets' are attached as properties for the stored items. These result sets and properties provide an additional means for structuring the relationships between stored items because the result sets should have result items in common with other stored items that lead to a hierarchy, and the properties provide for modeling, at least once there is a resolution of the mindmap structure.

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