Some additional things

  • Chris Copeland

    Chris Copeland - 2007-10-04

    I think the program is off to a great start. I am using the OS X version myself. There are somethings I would like to see.

    On the mac, command-period is universally the "cancel" button in window dialogs. I would also like to see the command-w for closing/canceling a window.

    I was also having trouble finding the MLA/APA format support. Ultimately the greatest tool would be to create (either at citation/pubication entry) the bibliography as well and in the appropriate format.

    On a side note, you could tie this to sql lite or some other lite SQL engine and store the electronic versions of the publications (where available) as a blob in the db. This is what I did when writing my thesis a few years ago, I stored everything in a blob as a PDF, exported the DB in order in a created PDF, with bookmarks, and handed that over to my panel at defense.

    You can take this pretty far. I am impressed with the work so far.

    • logospoietikos

      logospoietikos - 2007-10-04

      Hello. I'm using the Mac OS X Version. I'm happy with the software so far. I think it is pretty good. Congratulations for doing it. I am not an expert about computer programming or anything similar so I can no give you a technical feedback, but I am use to work a lot with citations so I think I can give you some ideas, anyway you will have to forgive me if I ask so much, as I told you I have no idea how hard is the programming: I think it would be a very useful tool if there's something to get more information about the book, you know, something like the edition number, the publisher, etc. Also if we can store more of the autor's information, maybe a little room to paste a small intelectual biography, I know that a citation gets important mainly because the authority of the autor about some specific matter and sometimes when you work with others people thoughts it's useful to remember one or two of their main principles or facts that help you to understand better. Finally I also would like to see an option to create and edit a category without leave the new citation window. When you are typing some citation you realize that none of your current categories fix it, or that you want to be more specific, so you need to leave the menu add a new category and then go back and edit the citation.

      Well! They are just a few ideas, I hope you find them useful.

      • Erik Norvelle

        Erik Norvelle - 2007-10-04

        Howdy and thanks for the feedback,

        As I mentioned to Chris (above) book information is best stored in a dedicated bibliography management program, like EndNote, RefWorks or BibTeX.  TextCite is a *citation* manager, and in order not to go insane, I'm keeping it focused on that purpose.

        That said, the idea to add more fields for the author is a good idea, since as far as I know it's not something that bibliographic managers seem to do, and it's something that researchers need.

        As for adding/editing categories when you're editing a citation, you can do that directly from the "Citation Chooser" window that pops up when you're assigning a category.  Just right-click on the category to modify it, or to add a child category to it.  The category tree manipulation works the same way in this dialog as it does it the main tree view.


    • Erik Norvelle

      Erik Norvelle - 2007-10-04

      Howdy Chris,

      I'm glad you like the software... it was a real lifesaver for me during my last year.  I developed it to "scratch my own itch", as they say, and it appears that a lot of other people have the same itch!

      I've created the program to work hand-in-hand with bibliography management software... there are a lot of tools out there that do that part of the work well, and I don't want to reinvent the wheel (and there's a lot of wheel to reinvent, when it comes to bibliography styles!).  TextCite already eats plenty of my time as it is :) 

      So, I've built in the facility for storing a bibliographic code with the publication record, so that you can use your favorite bibliography manager to handle stuff like storing PDFs of articles or scans, and for bibliography generation, and TextCite handles the individual textual citations.  You just need to make sure to correctly enter the bibliographic code (as understood by the bibliography manager you use) in the TextCite publication record.

      I chose not to use a SQL backend, so that users can share Citebooks.  Also, the "document-centric" model is understood by everybody, whereas lots of non-expert users get confused if their data is stored in a backend somewhere, and not in a file they can move around, rename and send to colleagues. 

      As for MLA/APA support, the best strategy is to use a bibliography manager, and not rely on TextCite to properly format references (the TextCite support for formatting is pretty meager).  For instance, I use BibTeX, so I have TextCite insert BibTeX cite tags, and then when I generate my LaTeX document as PDF, BibTeX reformats everything to correspond with the reference style chosen.  Reference formatting is a *very* complex area, with innumerable subtle variations, so I've tried to avoid getting too involved.

      The suggestions for enhancing Mac compability are good, I'll include that as a feature to be included in an upcoming release.  Fortunately I develop on a Mac, so it's not hard to test...

      Thanks for your feedback,

    • logospoietikos

      logospoietikos - 2007-10-13

      Hi. It's me again. I have been using your great software and as a result of some especific citations I 'd like to suggest to add font options, I mean, bold and italic for some parts of the text. You know that a citation is supposed to be exact and sometimes the original use this kind of fonts to make emphasis or make fun or something similar that is important for the meaning. So if it is possible, that would be a great tool.

      Well if I thing about something else, I will write another post.



      • Erik Norvelle

        Erik Norvelle - 2007-10-17

        Γειά σας, Logospoietikos,

        The idea of using styled text is one I've given a fair amount of thought to.  It's certainly a feature I'd like to add, but it is a very tricky issue.  The coding isn't really that difficult; Java natively supports stylized text in its various text widgets.  The difficulty comes when it's time to export the citations to some other program.  The ability to copy and past text into other programs, while still maintaining formatting, requires doing the copy/paste using RTF (Rich Text) format, which *is* a difficult beast to work with.

        If I decide to store text internally using RTF, it then becomes difficult to generate other kinds of output, such as PDF, without constantly having to retranslate the RTF into other formats.  I'm also not sure how cross-platform RTF is... do Windows, OS X and Linux all have the same way of putting RTF text on the clipboard?  Since I only have a Mac machine, I have no way of testing, and this could produce incompatibilities.

        This doesn't mean that at some point I won't roll up my sleeves and include the feature at some point in the future.  However, in the near future I am dedicated to getting  my doctoral thesis well-advanced, so my updates to TextCite will likely be things that involve less investment of time, for the next months at least.

        One option for including formatting is to do what people do in emails.  Use _underscores_ around your words to indicate underlining, and *put stars around your words* to indicate bold.  It's clumsy, but it at least allows you to maintain formatting where it is important to maintain the author's intention.


        • MEHJG

          MEHJG - 2007-11-20

          I've started using plain-old HTML markup to indicate formatting (as I will do in this post). It's clear and unambiguous, and if Erik decides to add an "export to HTML" option someday, then the formatting would probably look right in the exported file. In fact, I wouldn't object to being able to export a filtered list of citations to HTML (to get the formatting), then opening the HTML file in a browser to copy and paste conserving the formatting.  It would be a bit disproportionate in some cases, but if you have original citations with lots of <i>italics</i> and <b>boldface</b> text, it could be a real help.  I expect that an "export to HTML" function would also be on the back burner, though.
          Erik, I'll pray that you make real progress on your thesis during these months... <i>with total purity of intention, of course...</i>

          • Erik Norvelle

            Erik Norvelle - 2007-11-20

            If you find that HTML formatting is of help to you, go for it.  Remember, however, that TextCite has a number of different output formats, including PDF y RTF.  That means that if you do a PDF export of a set of citations, you'll end up getting the HTML tags showing up in your PDF document, which is not pretty.  If that's not a problem for you, then you're good.

            As I mentioned in an earlier response, the fundamental problem has to do with storing the text internally in such a way as to make it possible to translate into a number of different final output formats (RTF, PDF, HTML, plain text) without producing weird results, while still remaining editable in a standard Java JTextField component.  It's certainly a doable proposition, though it's of sufficient difficulty that this feature will have to wait until the next major feature upgrade (probably sometimes in summer of 2008).


            • MEHJG

              MEHJG - 2007-11-20

              Good news! I just noticed that my HTML codes are processed by the program and show up as real formatting when viewed in the bottom panel of the main window (although they continue to show up as codes if I edit the citation). So, I can click on the citation in the list and see it correctly formatted in the bottom pane. From there, I can select, copy and paste into Pages (as long as I only select the citation text, not the reference), and it keeps most of the formatting (italics and bold, at least - it lost my <blockquote> though).  This works with Pages and TextEdit, but with neither Word 2004 nor NeoOffice 2.2.2 . Fortunately, I'm using Pages for now (3.0.1), so it's a step in the right direction, although I have to do the reference by hand (or copy the citation using the ordinary method, then copy and paste over the text with formatting). I'll have to test it a bit more to see which other formatting codes are conserved and which are lost. I'll keep you posted if I come across anything of interest in this regard.

              • MEHJG

                MEHJG - 2007-11-21

                I just tested this on Windows XP, and the situation is analogous.  HTML codes for bold, italics, blockquote and even ordered lists are rendered nicely in the TextCite bottom viewing pane. When copied and pasted from there into Word 2003, all but the blockquote is conserved. It does not work with OpenOffice 2.2 (I'll try 2.3, but I'm not optimistic) or with WordPerfect 11 (I can't vouch for later versions), or WordPad. However, Word is most people's word processor of choice for Windows, so again, it's a step in the right direction.  It seems that Apple and Microsoft provide HTML cut-and-paste in their own applications on their own operating systems, but third-party developers are a bit left out in the cold.
                Erik, this may be a bad idea (I'm not a programmer), but maybe you could store the text internally as plain text with HTML formatting, since there is already some built-in rendering and copy-and-paste functionality... and HTML might not be too hard to work with for exporting either.  The text edit window might need to be changed to provide a WYSIWYG interface, but there's a lot of code out there for cross-platform basic HTML formatting - I'm thinking of things like the plugins for blog pages like WordPress.
                I know, advice from the ignorant is probably not too helpful, but sometimes good ideas come from unlikely sources...

                • Erik Norvelle

                  Erik Norvelle - 2007-11-21

                  Your suggestion may well turn out to be workable.  Basic HTML is fairly easily parseable and thus could serve as a simple base format, which could then be transformed into markup for other formats, like PDF and RTF.

                  One advantage, as you've discovered, is that the HTML renders nicely in the preview window.  I hadn't thought about the possibility, but since the preview window is just a Java HTML-enabled component, it will honor the HTML you embed.

                  For the time being, the only updates I'm going to put out will be for dealing with issues that cause data loss or other serious bugs.  When I get some breathing room in my doctoral program, I'll look into implementing the text styling capabilities, since it seems to be a popular request.

    • logospoietikos

      logospoietikos - 2007-10-30

      Hi! I've been using text citation quite often. I'm in the middle of my thesis reserch and it has made my life 50% easier. So I've been thinking if it is just me or the average user only work in one file, I mean, if people open different files for diferent quotations or they have everything in just one file? This is because I think it would be a good idea if you can add something (please remember that I have no idea how difficult is to program) for opening the file automaticaly when you start the program. This is a feature that some other software has, for instance, my financial assistant. I think that if you store everything in one place there's no reason to open again and again the same file.


      • Erik Norvelle

        Erik Norvelle - 2007-11-06


        I'm glad to hear that TextCite is helping... it certainly has been beneficial for me!

        This is a good suggestion; I'll add it as a feature request for the upcoming point release, since it should not require much time.


    • logospoietikos

      logospoietikos - 2008-03-05

      Hello there!

      I've just downloaded the new version 1.2.0 for mac. I'm glad to see you add the feature for automatically open a chosen file everytime you start the software. And, in general, the software looks good. I will keep in touch to tell you any idea I could possibly get and to report any bug or problem.Great job! And thanks to do something good and share it with us.


    • Hierlesim

      Hierlesim - 2008-06-18

      I'm a new user of your programme and I wanted, first of all, to thank you for it because it's a real time-saver and a simple-as-can-be software to use, which I do appreciate, being no computer superstar myself!
      I just wanted to suggest something - that might already exist and which I have perhaps not understood - about categories.
      I usually assign three or more categories to each of my citations and what I think would be quite helpful would be the possibility of a cross-research within the categories.
      For example if most of my citations have two or more of the following categories: "school, work, methodology, media, internet, etc.", it could be helpful to be able not only to select citations from the category "school", but to be able to refine the research to citations that match the categories "school + media" or "school + media + internet"
      But once again , I'm no computer genius and have absolutely no idea about the feasibility of such an idea.
      Thanks again for your work.


    • Erik Norvelle

      Erik Norvelle - 2008-06-20

      Howdy Simon,

      Thanks for your input... your idea is a good one, so I will add a feature request in the Tracker section.  Feel free in the future to add feature requests there; look under the Tracker / Feature Requests menu item.

      I'm not sure yet how I would implement this feature in terms of the user interface (in terms of programming it is easy, but figuring out how to make it simple for users to access is another matter).  I'll have to think on it.


    • Hierlesim

      Hierlesim - 2008-06-25

      Hi Erik,

      Sorry for posting here once again but I thought it would be more logical to reply here. I'm glad you liked the idea enough. In terms of user interface, I was thinking about something quite simple actually: given that you already have a "category" column on the left that already allows the user to search for his text by selecting the appropriate category, I was thinking that if we could select several categories by using "cmd + mouse click" (very Mac but oh so efficient...), that would do the trick.
      Let me know if it sounds logical enough to you and thanks again for all your great work


    • ozdazza

      ozdazza - 2008-08-01


      Let me join the chorus in saying TextCite is off to a brilliant start. I am amazed that the "translation" component is included as this recognizes folks like me who are working in different languages.

      I use a Mac (OS 10.5) and TextCite seems to be starting out on a path similar to IdeaMason for the Windows PC. I would LOVE to have a Mac version of IdeaMason and would have no problem with TextCite becoming a paid version if this were possible.

      There is one bug I have come across in trying to use TextCite with Japanese as the source text and translating into English. When I export the Japanese it ends up garbled. Also the export does not include any "Kanji" or Chinese characters. I am not a programmer and wish I could fix this myself. Would it be possible to have this fixed?

      Again, excellent work. I am really looking forward to further progress with TextCite.

      Darren McDonald

    • Erik Norvelle

      Erik Norvelle - 2009-09-11

      This is a rather old thread, but just to make things clear, I've added text styling in the Citation editor dialog (select the text to style, right-click, and choose Italics, Bold, or Underline).  These text styles are honored when the text is exported to PDF or RTF.

      Also, the program now has a Preferences option for setting the CiteBook which should be opened every time TextCite is started.



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