Minor problems with a few concepts in the Reference Gude

First let me say that I think that Reference Guide is excellent. The only reason I’m writing this post is that I hope to clear som minor confusions I had when reading it.

In the View section of the Reference Manual we can read
“The editor pane (or rather panes, as two will be visible when there is a split) takes on a very different appearance depending on the type of document that is being displayed, and whether or not it is in corkboard or outliner mode.”

I’m slightly allergic to the word “mode”, because normally it means trouble, and when I saw that word I scratched behind my right ear.

  • In the Preferences/Navigation the word “mode” is again used
    “When in editor mode, open folders /Using default document view mode/As outline/As corkboard.”
    What does “editor mode” refer to here. Does it refer to the Editor pane or what?

  • When hovering over the Corkboard button in the toolbar a pop-up text informs me that this button is used to “Toggle between corkboard and editor”.

The word “editor” is to general. I think it’s better to use the more specific term “default document view” which was used in Preferences/Navigation. ( Or even better use the term “content view” as I suggest below").

In Reference Manual we can read
“In Scrivener, every document you create is a document AND an index card AND a corkboard AND an outline. This can be a little confusing at first, as in the real world, an index card clearly cannot also be a corkboard.”

It is confusing I agree. I think it would be less confusing if we talk about views. We can say:

“Every document and folder has four attributes: Title, Synopsis, Content and Meta data (which consist of a lot of little pieces of information about the document). There are different views that allow you to see some attributes while hiding others. There are five views: Binder, Content, Corkboard, Outliner and Inspector. For instance The Corkboard view let’s you see the titles and synopses of all the documents and subfolders within a chosen folder. The Content view lets you see the title and the content of a selected document.”

Explaining it in terms of views is less confusing. We don’t need to say that “every document is a document AND an index card AND a corkboard AND an outline”, instead we just say that every document can be looked at from different views. This is probably also more true with respect to implementation. Scrivener is probably implemented as some kind of database which extracts (filters) different attributes from the database when presenting a view (like Corkboard).

Stop talking about modes and use the term views instead.

When a simple document is selected, turning to corkboard view shows an empty corkboard. Maybe it would be more useful to show the corkboard view of the folder where the selected document resides, but with the selected document in keyboard focus. The same applies to the outline view.

I’m not sure about this, but have you considered using Tabs (like in Firefox) to flip between corkboard, outline and content views, insted of having the Outline and Corkboard buttons in the toolbar.

But this doesn’t explain what Scrivener does, or how it appears on screen, properly. It implies that the Binder and Inspector are just additional types of view in the Editor/Outline/Corkboard style, which they clearly aren’t.

Honestly, I think we do. This very line was exactly what made Scrivener finally ‘click’ for me, and helped me realise how it worked, and why it was such a good idea. From a using writer’s point of view, it encapsulates Scrivener’s most unique feature perfectly, and in a way most writers will easily understand.

Perhaps you’re coming at this from too much of a manual-writer’s perspective. Consistency in application of terms (such as not mixing up ‘mode’ and ‘view’) is important, of course. But in a tutorial/help file, being easily understood at the expense of grammar is more valuable than being grammatically accurate at the expense of clarity.

Hey, I take offence at any jibe against my grammar. :slight_smile: Users may quibble about terminology, but the grammar in that document is pretty darn good.

I was, of course, speaking generally :wink:

(And technically speaking, my own grammar can be awful anyway. But only sometimes.)

(See what I did there? :wink:)