May I say that bobcalco’s suggestion is SUPER! Absolutely SUPER!!!
There are a range of users with varied backgrounds writing with Scrivener. Some have little computer experience, some are computer professionals themselves. We run the gamut, certainly.
With that as preface, I’d say that the existing Compile/Formatting UI might be a little daunting for those users with less experience. But since the concept of document metadata already exists (for example, “do I want a page break?”, “do I want to compile as is?”), using that concept in the Compile/Formatting UI instead of hierarchy level (a) would be more flexible (each user can define their own labels), and (b) would be more easily understood by users.
The compiler would then use the user’s concepts–perhaps story, scene, paragraph or novel, chapter, scene, etc…–to choose what to compile. And while the Binder hierarchy would still exist, it wouldn’t control what was compiled as directly as it does today. The actual tagged documents would. I think it would make explaining and using the compiler more user-friendly and easier to understand. And I’ll be a little biased and say significantly so. But perhaps I feel constrained by the necessity of hierarchical rigor more than some others might.
But there would still be a hierarchy. All of us compartmentalize our work into big -> smaller -> even smaller bits just so we can keep a handle on what we’re doing. And if Compile used label metadata instead of the hierarchy, how could I compile all the “chapter” bits? How would Compile know what to use?
It’s straightforward, I think. Just don’t completely throw away the hierarchy when Compile looks for chunks to include. If the label “Chapter” has been selected, then the folders containing the label “Chapter” and their children are compiled. Walking the hierarchy multiple times, once for each label, would still work, and would simply mark documents that were already included by a parent. That’s fine. And perhaps this is a checkbox “Include sub-folders.”
And (this is important) the user would no longer have to think “Level 1 means Chapter to me,” “Level 2 means Scene to me,” “Level 3 means Sub-scene to me,” etc. The mental gymnastics users currently go through (at least this user) to map their particular hierarchy which is organized in their terms into numbered hierarchy levels would be gone. And the necessity to be rigorous and regular constructing that hierarchy would be eliminated. If a user wanted to be rigorous, fine. If they wanted a little flexibility, fine. Just label the bits what they are. And I think that would be a good thing. And a clean design. easy to explain. And easy to use. And, I think, easier to use than the current design.
(Jim gets off his soapbox and returns to the 739–oops, 746–oops, 751–oops, 760–RSS replies he has yet to read. But that’s an improvement. He started a few days ago with 1700, 99.9+% from L&L. We are a talkative bunch.)