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Old 11-23-2004, 08:26 PM
bkonia bkonia is online now
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Wiki Functionality in Ultra Recall

Allow user to create links in the text editor to items within UR (Wiki style). Automatically update these links when items are moved around. If an item is deleted, then all links to that item should be deleted.

Kevin's Response:

"There are performance issues with the update part of your suggestion. In addition, I am not sure how these "links" would be created or displayed. We have considered Attributes that are actually links to other Info Items (like the Template Item Attribute), but even that mechanism has drawbacks. Obviously, currently the provided linkage mechanism is done via the Data Explorer with the Logical Linking technology we've already discussed.

What scenario might make this alternative linkage more useful than simply linking Info Items via Logical Linking (in the Data Explorer Pane)?"

My response:

Create a link by highlighting the text and then drag/drop the highlighted text onto the item in the Data Explorer that you want to link to.

The whole concept of a Wiki is that any text can be hyperlinked to any other page. The advantage is that the links are created in their true context. Instead of just having a single link that represents the page as a whole, you can have multiple links from specific content within the page. It's kind of the same way that the Web works.

For example, let's say that you're an astrophysicist and you're writing a paper on Gamma Ray Explosions. You want to use UR to keep all your content organized. So you create a text object in the Data Explorer called "Introduction" and you start typing. A couple of paragraphs into the introduction, you mention "Stephen Hawking." Elsewhere in your Data Explorer you have a folder called Stephen Hawking that contains a lot of other information on him. You want to link to that folder so that when you're reviewing the paper later on, you remember to include some more of the information in that folder. Or, perhaps you're publishing the paper electronically using the Ulta Recall Viewer http://www.ultrarecall.com/viewer.html (see how I used that link in context) and you want your readers to be able to learn more about Hawking by clicking on the link.

Basically it creates a whole new dimension for organizing data that overlays on top of the tree structure and allows you to link any text to any object in the tree.

Kevin's response:

"Currently if you select text from an item then drag that text onto an existing Info Item, a new child Info Item will be created, so using that same method to create a wiki style link might be a problem. The whole wiki linking concept is something we'll have to think about for a while, but I do believe the idea has merit."

My response:

"You could do it as a right-click drag/drop and have an option on the drop context menu for "Wiki Link."

In any event, the current drag/drop action for selected text is counter-intuitive. I tried it out and it creates a child item for the entire object, not just the selected text. I can't imagine why anyone would want to do this. If you want to create a child item for the entire object, you should drag/drop the object from the Data Explorer, not the Item Details window. The fact that you're specifically selecting text in Item Details and dragging it should be a clear indication that you want to link the text, not the entire object.

Just some food for thought...another advantage of adding wiki functionality is that once again, you open up UR to a whole new market. Wikis are really hot right now. There are tons of websites and forums devoted to wikis and many people who have grown frustrated with the limitations and forced structures of traditional information management tools are turning to wikis. However, the difficulty in using a wiki is that since there's no pre-defined structure, you're pretty much on your own, in terms of devising your information management scheme. The beauty of UR is that it has a predefined structure in place already, and the wiki functionality would be an enhancement to that structure. Rather than forcing the user to choose one or the other, he could have the best of both worlds. I think UR would become extremely popular for that reason alone."

Kevin's response:

"In your last email you say that if you select some text from an existing Info Item, then drag it to the Data Explorer Pane, a new Info Item is create for the entire item. When I drag selected text in that manner, a new Info Item is created for just the selected text. However if the source Info Item is based on the Document template class and has a valid url, then although only the selected text is stored for the new Info Item, it retains the url of the original Info Item. Is this what you were referring to? Or are you literally getting all the original Info Item displayed in the Item Details Pane?"

My response:

"Yes, I tried it again and you're right. It creates an info item with the first line of the selected text. That line and the rest of the lines then become the content that shows up in the Item Details pane. This behavior is OK, but of course it would be better if you had an option on the right-click context menu to create a wiki link to the targeted item in the Data Explorer.

I think it's important to recognize that Logical Linking isn't "linking" in the sense that most people think of links. When you create a Logical Link you're actually linking the item to another copy of itself, rather than to another item. The wiki link idea that I've proposed would be a true link from one item to another item and would provide an alternative to navigating hierarchically."

Last edited by bkonia; 11-23-2004 at 08:52 PM.
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