From Scrivener’s Mouth to OpenSource Ears?

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I am a Scrivener user. I like Scrivener so much that I maintain a Windows computer to run it on, because, sadly, it does not have a Linux version. There are two things that Scrivener does that I don’t think are widely adopted, and I am writing this post in the hopes that OpenSource software developers will notice and adopt.

Help: Search Menus

The first one is totally unique to Scrivener in my experience. This is an item under “help” that simply searches all the menus for what you are searching for. Never mind counter arguments to deploying this idea, that any help system will produce the same results mixed up with other results, etc. Especially never mind those arguments from OpenSource world, where the help item on the menu is, traditionally, so useless that I for one don’t even bother using it. It is vestigial. One way to resurrect the idea of OpenSource software even having a useful help option is to simply deploy a search for a term among the menu items in the software itself as a routine feature. This is incredibly useful in complex software where there are perhaps a hundred or so items across all the menu choices. This should be easy to implement. The list of menu items is certainly a set of objects in the software, and probably comes with links to information that could be added to the results. Play around with it, people!

File: Favorite Projects

The second item exists in some form or another here and there,. Qgiss might have something like this (I’ve not paid attention). This is the “favorite project” or “favorite file” menu item. For Scrivener, I have something like 30 projects on my computer, but some are old and done(ish), some are false starts or experiments, some are long term and at any given moment not of interest. So, I put the four or five that I’m currently working on in the Favorite Projects menu.

I want that for all my software.

Greg Laden's BlogThere are four of five files that I use in Libre Office often enough to want them handy as shortcuts or favorites, but not often enough that they remain near the top of the “Recent Files” list in LibreOffice. A few years ago I tried to convince the LibreOffice community to make the Recent Files item include (as an option?) only files opened in a particular program. The way it works now, recent files opened in Calc (the spreadsheet) are on the list when you are working in the word processor (Writer). Sometimes, when I’m using Calc for a particular project, I may have 10 or 15 files (imported CSV files, various spreadsheets, etc) open over a work session, almost none of which I ever want to see again, but all of which populate the Recent Files menu list. This makes that list less useful, and if the list was separate for each different program (Cals, Writer, Draw, etc.) at least the problem would be partly contained. I don’t remember the reason they gave that this could not be done, but I didn’t buy it at the time. A technical glitch that seemed very solvable.

A “Favorite File” menu item in that software suit would solve this problem.

Microsoft’s office suit actually does this, I discovered while lamenting this problem. They are “pinned” items you can have in the otherwise very clumsy opening screen on the “Home” ribbon item. That good, but I’m not sure if I count that as a solution, since it involves using Microsoft Office and who wants to do that?

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2 thoughts on “From Scrivener’s Mouth to OpenSource Ears?

  1. since it involves using Microsoft Office and who wants to do that?

    Agree. I can get by doing 99.5% of my teaching-related duties without touching Office products, but the admin requires some things be done with Word. It’s possible one of the cludgiest pieces of software ever written, and certainly one of the most annoying.

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