Re: Idea For Semantic Text-Based GTD Application

I'm not sure. Obviously, we'll see how it works out in practice, but research has shown that even "basic" structured text languages are hard for end-users and consumers to grasp. To most people, the flexibility in text is its lack of structure, which allow people to be creative and express themselves.

org-mode doesn't enforce any structure beyond some basic syntactic elements to mark free-flowing text as items (bullet points), and while it comes with a stock set of keywords (TODO, DONE), these aren't hardcoded at all and most complex org-mode flows add their own keywords or things like that.

The actual words, and the order of them, doesn't matter. So I feel that a structured text-based approach would simply fail because it doesn't allow for such flexibility.

New research is always welcome, and if you manage to get random end-users to fluently understand your language system through concentrated user testing, I'll gladly welcome it.

On Wed, May 29, 2013 at 11:02 AM, אנטולי קרסנר <tombackton gmail com> wrote:
Hello everyone,

I'm an individual not working on any Gnome module. I'll try not to get
into much detail (likely to fail on this one), but here's the idea I

After reading about existing GTD software tools I made the following

* There are GUI tools
* There are plain-text solutions
* There are pen-and-paper solutions
* There are text-based applications

GUI tools have lots of features and visual widgets, but they somehow
fail to satisfy most people. At the same time, plain text seems to
become more and more popular. After reading I made these conclusions:

* Each person has her own way of thinking, her own way of how the brain
works. Therefore, each person should have a personally tailored solution

* GUI tools, and GTD tools in general, tend to make the false assumption
of "everyone is like me" and "one size fits all", which is why most
tools fail to become widely popular.

* Emacs Org-Mode is quite successful as a GTD tool, thanks to its
flexibility and extensibility, but lacks an intuitive interface, which
limits its adoption despite the success of Org-Mode

* A next-generation tool should have the extensibility of a plain-text
system, and the convenience, ease-of-use and efficiency of a visual tool

Therefore, I decided to create a language for definition of properties
and classes, intended for be used for describing tasks, timelines,
projects, etc. This language is easy enough for non-programmers to use,
and yet is expressive enough for practical use. It borrows concepts from
RDF, OWL and scripting languages.

On top of this language there will be a set of text-based tools allowing
easy manipulation of the text. It means users can edit the files in
plain text, but also have convenient tools and utilities for easier
processing and visualization, similar to Org-Mode.

On top of that there may be task/project-related definitions, a
specialized text editor and/or Gedit plugins, and a flexible GUI app
which replaces the "one for all" concept with a "personally tailored to
a user's mental model" concept, which seems to work very successfully
with plain text and Emacs Org-Mode.

Existing free software I found:

- Gedit (Gnome's plain text editor, extensible with plugins)
- Emacs Org-Mode

That's all. All other tools, including all GTD and To-do apps for
Gnome/GNU, are either scripts intended for power users, or have a
limited scope which is not flexible enough to customize.

An existing GUI app for GTD called Getting Things Gnome (GTG) has great
potential, but I'd like to back it up using a flexible text-based
approach which is then used to describe semantic entities and attach
them to program objects. This would supply both the flexibility of text,
the convenience of GUI and automatic translation to RDF, which means
instant Semantic Desktop integration (using Tracker and Zeitgeist).

*** The Question ***

My question is, what do you think? Does this idea sound useful? To me
personally, it seems to fill the gap between plain text (which has no
visualization and productivity utilities) and convenient GUI (which
current is mostly not flexible enough).

NOTE: Non-free software already exists, which uses plain text as a
backend, such as Taskpaper:


desktop-devel-list mailing list
desktop-devel-list gnome org


[Date Prev][Date Next]   [Thread Prev][Thread Next]   [Thread Index] [Date Index] [Author Index]