Issue of other ways of working

Here is an example of older work (Doug Engelbart’s work except for the column ‘Document Process to Augment’ and the use of Knowledge Product and the categories of Knowledge Product, Intelligence and Dialog Records are used differently.

Using a Liquid View on top of a document could streamline the presentation by reducing redundancies and linking aspects together better.

Liquid View Presentations Tests

I have been using Scapple to map out how Doug Engelbart’s process fits the academic document process, which turned out to be quite useful to see where there was a mismatch (Doug was not concerned with the career of the academic, only the work, at least in his formal models). The process was also useful exercise in testing out how a real-world project would use a Liquid View, in that I could not simply freeform layout everything and anything, it needed to have a means through which it would be done in a Liquid View.

This is the full size screenshot:

I took the screenshot and annotated it in Keynote:

Jacob has cleanly separated the word processing view and the TOC outline view in Author so I can’t wait for Author to ship so we can start to experiment with these views…

Another exercise from today highlights the need to allow the user to add borders:

Comment from Mark Bernstein (email 6 August 2017):

“Perhaps it does, but the illustration doesn’t make the argument, at least not to me, at first glance. The right-hand slide, which I suppose is a Engelbart creation from relatively late (1990s?), is not a distinguished slide.
The left-hand slide, which I think is yours, is significantly clearer.  It’s got two borders. The lozenge around “external environment” does not appear to have a purpose at all, and is also oddly placed; why not center the text? Why, for that matter, is the environment, which by definition encompasses everything, enclosed?  The second border is better, but it prevents a confusion which would not in fact occur; there is already sufficient white space to distinguish this list from other lists in the view.”
My thought in reply to this is that he is right but we may need to figure out a way to add labels to arrows, which is only a related issue.

Some of the issues

Some of the issues with the Liquid View come up when I use Scapple to simulate some of the aspects, for the work on my PhD.

Here I have created a column for the lifecycle or process to augment, which is linked vertically top down with arrows to indicate the general flow. To the right of this is a brief description of the point/goal of each process and there is then a divider/quit a bit of space before I get onto the invention/innovation/idea/development columns, the first one which is a list of specifically desired functionality which should be useful in make one or more processes reach the potential of the goal. This is followed by a column of what needs to be implemented for such functionality to be realised:

Issues which arise from this is that it’s clear that it would be useful for the nodes to be interactable to jump to specific sections of the main document, or external documents, but this is clearly not all the headings of a document, this is a subset of a document which means that it can be thought of as an inserted graph.

How this could be handled is if it is its own document and then embedded into the main document but this could become confusing, especially when the author want to link to a section in the main document from this view, which is not in this view…

This leads me to think the we should be stricture with hierarchy, not simply allowing the user to do everything arbitrarily. Maybe we make level 1 headings a special thing, which can only be viewed in a specific way? My friend Tom is an author and he showed me how he writes a chapter per word processing document and then collates them all at the end. This is a perspective to consider.

Having a look at this specific example above, let’s say that the four bold headings are level 1 headings and that what is shown below them are then level two and that’s all we have in this view, where the level 2 headings are ‘stuck’ under the level 1 headings in columns and the user connects any headings arbitrarily and can move them around. How would the user designate only these four level 1 headings for a Liquid View?

I must think of some way to allow the author to create multiple Liquid Views with different sets of headings – maybe there is a default one for the whole document and then a ‘process’ for creating a sub-set like this, with maybe a slightly different background colour and appearance in the main document?

A Solution?

A solution to this could be to have two completely different kinds of Liquid Views, maybe with two completely different designs and names:

  • Document Liquid View
  • Embedded Liquid View

The document Liquid View would work as previously discussed but the embedded Liquid View would be embedded in the same way as you might add a picture but the Liquid View created through embedding will only exist inside the host document, so it’s not so much embedded as created, but the term seems right.

Embedded / Liquid Diagram

There will be no headings in this Embedded Liquid View on creation but the user can ctrl-click on the screen to choose ‘Insert’ and a hierarchy of all the headings in the host document will appear, allowing the user to insert one heading as a node or a series, if there are any below the level chosen. This lets the headings be linked from the Liquid View into the main document. The user can also create headings from scratch and ctrl-click on them to link them to headings in the document.

The embedded Liquid View is not a Liquid ‘View’ then, it becomes a Liquid Diagram, since the user can click on a heading/node to jump to it in the document if it’s connected, but cannot ‘expand’ the view back into a word processing view since there is no such underlying structure. I will change the name of this in the future but for now I’ll leave it as it is here since this was the flow of thought as I went through it, writing this text.

This means that we can design different types of Embedded diagrams and visualisations.

Note also that the embedded is live, not an image.

Note to Jacob: We should probably develop a plugin architecture for the Embeds so that they can be developed and tested while integrated into he main document through links but built by different people for time saving.

Other documents can also be called into a link from an embedded diagram through relative or name addressing.