Apr 27 2009
Outlining things in a hierarchy is a great way to keep track of ideas, organize data or collect a blogroll. This week we’ll hit one of the oldest outliners, and take you to the bleeding edge of outlining.
Flat data organization, think word processing, makes organization and conceptualization difficult. In an outline you can add a new level of structure to your information. Outlining is a great way to create podcast shownotes, organize documentation and design website structures.
OmniOutliner (not free, unless it came with your PowerBook) is the outlining application. In outlining your ideas, it exports the result to an XML format called OPML. You may recognize the OPML extension if you’ve transferred your RSS feeds/blogroll between feed readers. The OPML standard is designed to hold all kinds of outlined data. Read more about the spec here.
Our first outliner also supports importing and exporting OPML files. Additionally this great free program allows you to create graphic layouts of your outlines.
MyMind is a great way to edit blogrolls and organize projects. Each node can have its own properties and be positioned in a parent/sibling/child relationship. MyMind is donationware, so consider send him some cash if you like his app.
Here’s another excellent outliner. This SourceForge project is a powerful, feature-rich outliner written in Java. It runs well in OS X, though the interface is a little rustic. It does support importing and exporting of multiple formats, including OPML and OML.
Here’s the granddaddy of outliners. This ancient app was orphaned by Symantec long ago, but is available to download free. It will require Classic to run.
If you prefer to do your brainstorming while browsing, there’s a new Firefox/Thunderbird extension to accommodate you.
While still very basic, and with no import/export options, this solution is fast and shows promise.
Ideas are a great thing. They’re even better when they’re organized. So, impress your client, instructor or at least yourself and outline your next project with some of this week’s freeware.
Downloads provided by MacUpdate
A MacMerc Exclusive