Corkboard 2.0

Since you’re entertaining the notion of timelines, fishbones and all other manner of extra hoopdedoodle for Scrivener, allow me to return your attention to your most excellent Corkboard.

Long ago, you mentioned your interest in creating something akin to Final Draft’s old program Three By Five, aka Corkboard. At the time, you said it would be a separate app.

I think many of us would like to see Corkboard 2.0 integrated into a future build of Scrivener. Nothing super exotic like CoreAnimation, or anything, but a few useful improvements like:

-Drag the cards anywhere you like on the corkboard
-Folders on the Corkboard with drag and drop
-Zoom
-Collapse Cards to Headline and first line only
-Colored Cards
-Label Cards
-Image Cards
-Export Corkboard as PDF

There’s more to this than the obvious benefit of writing and revising your work from a more fluid and powerful corkboard.

Many of us conceive and pitch our work using card-based formats, like Terry Rossio’s BIG BOARD and Blake Snyder’s PITCHBOARD. It would be very helpful to be able to create a corkboard that we could send to our suited overlords, showing how things are going to change in the next draft.

Although this is clearly a metric crapload of work to implement, I think you’ll agree that it’s closely related to Scivener’s core function.

Please give it some thought. Thanks!

Pretty sure coloured cards are already available. Can’t remember the menu item without my mac, but I know all my cards are different colours at the moment.

Sorry I wasn’t more clear. In the old Three By Five, there was much more control and customization in coloring cards. I figured KB would understand the reference.

For the record, I’m not considering fishbone charts or timelines or anything of the like. I don’t think such things belong as part of Scrivener.

As for the corkboard - I think a lot of people miss the point that the corkboard is still just another representation of the files in your folder. An app such as 3 x 5 has only one corkboard; its file format handles saving their positions and relationships etc. On Scrivener, you have any number of “corkboards” (actually, you have none - you just have a corkboard view on your outline contents). Saving the individual positions of all index cards on all corkboards would be a massive business. Moreover, how would the position of the cards relate to the outline? If you could randomly place the index cards, their sequence would be unclear.

Colours are there to link to labels. If you could label them any colour you wanted, this would potentially be confusing.

I don’t really understand what you mean about folders on the corkboard. If you mean a hierarchy, search the forums, as the technical problems have been discussed before.

Image cards are already there - image documents get displayed as polaroids.

So, I don’t really see there being any changes to the corkboard (just as I don’t see there being a fishbone chart or timeline in Scrivener). I think the corkboard is already a very powerful tool. I could see an argument for zoom over the current number of cards setting, but that’s about all…

All the best,
Keith

I would be perfectly happy if there were a Corkboard view that had no relationship to the outline, except in which cards are displayed. Reordering the outline wouldn’t change the cards, and reordering the cards wouldn’t change the outline. That solves some of the thornier engineering problems.

The part that makes this all worth mentioning is the process. Working with index cards that we can move around, pile up and move around again is creatively helpful and satisfying.

If you were to get ambitious about it, you could have a refresh button that would reorder the outline based on the approximate positions of the cards.

Have you looked at ThreeByFive lately? Boy that would be cool in Scrivener.

(I’m just sayin’)

I think, if something like this were implemented, it would have to be another view entirely, as it would be a circumvention of the basic underlying philosophy in Scrivener whereby your identical data is viewed in different display ethics. Binder/Corkboard/Outliner. Each have their individual uses and techniques, but all reference the same data. Making one of these views operate independently from the data (strict outline order), would break that philosophy.

Tinderbox does exactly what you are proposing. You can view an outline as a map, which displays each node as a variable shaped entity on a surface. But the positioning of the entities on the map are wholly divorced from the positioning of the nodes in the outline. This is entirely by design, and allows you to view your data in different ordering mechanics. If all you want is a visual map of your outline, there is another view mode for that which is much more strict—like Corkboard.


[size=75]How would this be interpreted as outline order?[/size]

The problem with attempting to programmatically interpret outline ordering from free-form mapping is that it is either going to make a huge mess of what the user meant, or it will artificially restrict the user into conforming to semi-invisible ordering rules. Some users will think in columns instead of rows, how can the application know this? What if I have five major scenes in a chapter, broken up and arranged in circles on the map? I either would have to forsake programmatic re-ordering entirely, or dispense with my idea of showing events in circles around a central concept. Tinderbox opts to not attempt interpretation for this very reason: It affords the user much greater latitude in their own personal interpretations.

So then, dispensing with the notion of “refreshing” order, you would still want the application to very clearly state that this is not a Corkboard view, which is 100% tied to underlying structure.

I guess the main question then is: Does a free-form concept/mind-map fit in with Scrivener’s philosophy. A free-form map that is devoid of underlying order makes all kinds of sense in a program like Tinderbox, where indeed in some scenarios the outline order matters not at all, where individual nodes are idea “chunks” and not parts of a book—but does it make sense for an application where each node is very much a part of a linear assembly? I suppose that could be debated either way, but it would require a lot of careful reasoning, I think.

I would be inclined to think that what we want to represent non-linearly is the “idea” of the data and not the data itself. In Scrivener, the visual elements are markers for the data itself. If the reason for the desire is to have areas of Scrivener which are idea-oriented and not book content oriented, the immediate question is why should Scrivener support that? There are plenty of applications out there doing this particular task—quite well—and in ways that can eventually get imported into Scrivener fairly simply. If the reason for desiring the feature is to view a section of the book/script/whatever in a free-form manner that has little or nothing to do with the actual linear manuscript (and indeed I would certainly have use for that myself): How can Scrivener clearly make that known to the user? Given how much freedom we currently have in setting the visual display of Corkboard, Scrivener would either have to restrict freedom and enforce a more rigid Corkboard display ethic—or adopt something radically different from the current range of display latitude—which would go outside of the bounds of most mind-mapping display ethics as they stand.

Even though I think free-form would be useful, I’m actually a bit more on the side of keeping things 1:1 linear. Adding free-form would significantly muddy the philosophy of Scrivener. Besides, I already have an extremely capable concept-mapping application, and I have no problem moving data between the applications. OmniGraffle, Tinderbox, Xmind, Freemind, C-Map… there are a lot of robust alternatives with dedicated developers who spend all of their time wrestling with issues of visual-to-linear implications and so on. It’s a very big topic with a lot of deep issues.

I think that would be fine, if that’s what it takes to get KB to do it. It doesn’t have to be a deep and complex problem. Just do it like ThreeByFive’s “Free Form” mode:

-cards added are listed chronologically in the binder;
-reordering them in the binder doesn’t affect the Cards;
-reordering the Cards doesn’t affect the Binder;
-Drag/Dropping card(s) onto another card makes them Children, and disappear from current corkboard. (Demotion to Child would be reflected in binder)
-allow cards to be displayed as Labels, with big type and no lines

It would be even cooler if there were rudimentary drawing tools (filled rectangles, lines, Type, etc) to make it easy to separate Acts, Sequences, Chapters, etc. These would be simple elements for customizing the board layout, not for changing the cards.

I think Corkboard 2.0 would enhance Scrivener without straying from its core functionality. Writers of all kinds would benefit from it. Novelists certainly use cards and graphic layouts to plan their books, as do students for papers and dissertations. I’m sure you can also see the benefits for comic books, video games, movies and TV shows.

Perhaps KB will consider it a bit more. Thanks as always for your well-considered post.

Ha, ha. I’ll “just do it” before I put the tea on then. :slight_smile:

No, no and no. Sorry, but it’s not gonna happen. Not this side of 2015, anyway. Please do bear in mind the About page when it comes to asking for features like this - take Scrivener for what it is. Outlandish additions like this make my head ache with the sheer prospect of the amount of code and bug-fixing involved. Also, please do bear in mind that I wrote Scrivener to use myself. The additions for 1.2 - including Final Draft import/export and a pages view, for flummin’ 'eck’s sake, which you have been begging for! - alone are taking a lot more work than I would have liked, so that I have barely written a word of my own since Christmas.

So: no. And no again. Did I say “no”? I meant to say “no”.

All the best (and all of the above intended in the best possible good humour as negative as it may be),
Keith

I get the “no” part. That’s a shame.

FWIW, I wasn’t suggesting it would be easy. I was saying that Amber was making it way too complicated as a concept. I was trying to remove layers of complexity.

Please don’t cast me as ungrateful. I appreciate all your hard work on Scrivener. I simply saw you considering many features which were off-mission for Scrivener, so I thought I’d remind you of a core improvement request.

I hope when you review your long-term plans for the program, you put Corkboard 2.0 at the top of the list.

Many thanks.

I’m a tad curious as to why folk are so keen to have all this built into Scrivener.

There seem to be a number of good apps out there that can do the same thing, so I fail to see why this really needs adding to Scriv.

Having another app do the same thing is not the same as having a fluid index card system that’s part of Scrivener. Being able to make a card, move it around on screen, then change views and write a screenplay scene, or a piece of a novel is very useful. Having to move from a card program to Scrivener interrupts the creative flow.

It’s moot anyway, since KB has refused.

No, KB has very kindly taken the time (again) to explain why such a feature doesn’t fit into Scrivener, and then felt forced into reminding everyone, with the best possible humour, about what to expect from updates. :slight_smile:

Trips to the lavatory also interrupt the creative flow, and yet I’ve never thought of having one fitted next to my desk.

I don’t think that moving to an application on the same computer would interrupt the flow, any more than an application that is cluttered and weighed down with too many bugs and widgets …

I was thinking that linking and embedding might be a good compromise. The diagram could live as a PDF or something which is viewable in Scrivener, but when you click on it, the parent application opens so that you can edit the original. I don’t know if MacOSX supports that though … :confused:

No, I don’t think that is possible, Rayz. But dragging the source file into Scrivener as a reference works perfect for me. I keep the source Tinderbox file referenced to a parent document for that Tb project, and in the text area of the document in Scrivener, an updated version of the Tb export.

I would imagine something similar could be done for applications where PDF or image format was the preferred export. Just attach the source file as a reference to the resource. It would just be more trouble to update it. You’d have to delete the old one, drag in the new one, and re-link. Given that, it would probably be easier to update the Scrivener reference only periodically, and rely on the source document and its hosting application for active work. This is rarely a bother for me.

Since KB has said that the above is not a refusal, apparently there is still room for hope. :laughing:

Spaces and Expose can be very useful.

I would rather have a Niche program do it well (SCRIVENER) than a bloat program try to do it all miserably (Microsoft Word, Corel).

Quality over quantity. Specialized instead of Standardized.

Tolerate what’s a very ignorant question: Doesn’t some process called “link back” allow one to import a file from one program to another, make changes to the file in the second program, and have the change automatically made in the original file? As I said, I’m ignorant about programming so forgive me if this is a stupid question.

LinkBack has been discussed before. The main problem is that it requires both the hosting program and the client program to support it. A program like Scrivener could support embedded formats, but this would only work with the applications that support hosting their file format. So it has a critical mass problem right now in that there is not enough support for it; and thus taking the time and energy to support it has a very minimal level of return. Also, I think the framework that allows it has been in languish for a number of years now. Basically, it is a good idea that never really took off. Hopefully that changes in the future, but right now it wouldn’t really give us, as users, much benefit.

I agree with Popcornflix. It seems that there should be a separate option to have the Corkboard free of everything else. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t work well connected to the binder. But in that case you really are working a corkboard without index cards but by a list in the binder. You just get to view it in corkboard. I understand what Popcornflix is saying. It would be great to rearrange and figure out you plot with Index cards free of all else if you so choose. Corkboards/Index cards are such an integral part to most writing that Keith, I think it is really worth considering. We just need an OPTION to go to a free corkboard.

Thanks.

MAK

I agree with Popcornflix. It seems that there should be a separate option to have the Corkboard free of everything else. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t work well connected to the binder. But in that case you really are working a corkboard without index cards but by a list in the binder. You just get to view it in corkboard. I understand what Popcornflix is saying. It would be great to rearrange and figure out you plot with Index cards free of all else if you so choose. Corkboards/Index cards are such an integral part to most writing that Keith, I think it is really worth considering. We just need an OPTION to go to a free corkboard.

Thanks.

MAK