(Semi-personal diary note/update, written to a friend)
As you know, my dream is to build a thinking and presentation space which really starts to set the written word from the constraints of the past, free for rich interaction and deep visualisation. I really believe that this has serious potential to augment our ability to interact with knowledge in powerful ways.
I have just spent another $10,000 on Author though, and that is of course not sustainable. Most of this went to support import and export of Word, of which we are only partly done; we can’t export links or headings or images. Ugh, Microsoft has made this very hard…
The Dynamic View
I am looking at adding a major feature to Author, which would also be part of my PhD (yes, I’m hanging in there, barely): We already have the ability to pinch in to collapse the document into an outline and now it will be possible to pinch out to ‘explode’ it into a ‘dynamic’ view.
This is the view we have been thinking about, discussing and testing to an extent tested in collaboration with Chris as the Webleau/Liquid Space: soton.ac.uk/~totl/webleau/ and which I made video demo tests for way back when: youtube.com/watch?v=Z7zBW0ADecM&t=206s and today, to show an early transition from word processing view into the dynamic view. This is live software BTW, not a mockup: youtu.be/eZlJQM1UbLg
I have written a list of basic capabilities here: wordpress.liquid.info/initial-dynamic-view-behaviours
The crucial difference between the initial dynamic view tests and what I am looking at now is that it is not the headings which become the nodes, but terms which the user has defined in their personal glossary, as either a concept, a person, an institution or a document. These terms have been defined using Liquid | Flow which makes it easy to create a structured entry which then have relationships in them. I put up a few screenshots here for you: wordpress.liquid.info/using-flow-to-post-glossary-term/ and I have of course blogged about the process on the same blog in general: wordpress.liquid.info
I am not standing completely still with promoting Author, though I desperately need support:
In order to promote Author I am adding the Rich PDF export, so that a full, original copy of the Author document is embedded into the PDF. This means of course that anyone with only a PDF reader can read it but if opened into Author you get all the interactions of a full Author document. I hope this will make Author documents more ‘viral’ since they will make it clear opening the document into Author gives the reader a better experience.
I also think it would be a great way to send the proposal document to Apple, with a top sentence in the ‘PDF’, saying ‘Please open this document in Author’
I am also sponsoring (only £1,000) a JATS conference 20th of May. JATS is the up and coming academic document format we are working on supporting: https://www.eventsforce.net/wgcconferencecentre/frontend/reg/thome.csp?pageID=5088&eventID=17&CSPCHD=000001000000M08K9Ve1kxFqgAdlrHpviYcGH3Sk$x7oUDJUT4
So what to do now? The goal is to get Apple to consistently feature Author on the App Store, that should generate enough revenue to make it self-sustaining. I need $5,000 for the next few months to add JATS, rich PDF, smaller myriads of issues like making import and export work with all attributes, and most importantly add the Dynamic View feature.
I hope to have something more impressive and real to share with you for the Dynamic Views over the next few days…