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Psssst... its an outline!
By Adam Curry on Friday, December 09, 2011 at 2:56 AM.
An important feature was added yesterday to the World Outline, which is the system I use to manage all my online data with, in a single document . permalink
This single document is an outline.(image) permalink
Upon hearing the term 'outline', I find many people cringe in a pavlovian response to the notion of creating outlines for schoool work.  permalink
These same people usually fail to recognize how many outlines they use every single day. permalink
If you use a todo list, you're using a form of an outline. If you file and retrieve documents on a computer, you are using a very sophisticated outliner that knows you to keep track of files, allowing you to move them from one node to another, or even creating aliases. permalink
Outlines and the programs that you manage them with (outliners) are incredibly useful for managing data. permalink
The power of displaying an outline is that the reader of the information can instantly understand the context of how you've arranged and sorted it. permalink
Twice a week for my podcast I create shownotes that have links to all the stories and topics discussed, as well as clips used on the show and a very important list of 'credits'. The credits are to thank financial supporters of each episode. permalink
You can see how it is important that this information be displayed in an intuitive manner. permalink
On this page you see the shownotes for a recent episode. permalink
At the top level you see Credits, The actual Shownotes and the Clips. permalink
Clicking on any of the blue triangles lets you drill down into each section, which usually will go one more level deeper under each subcategory. permalink
You are seeing a web version of my desktop docment. Here's a view of them side by side in a partially exanded state. permalink
If I make a change and save the document, seconds later that is reflected on the webpage. permalink
So far the response to the new display of the show's data has been very positive. Its a fast way to navigate through a relatively large amount of data, without clicking through to other pages. It's mobile friendly since it works on all the modern smartphone browsers without the need for lots of scrolling or waiting for a new page to load. permalink
Links open up in a new tab/window so you don't lose your place in the outline. permalink
The biggest request so far has been to enable a way to share a link that will take you right to a node in the outline, that is in the works for sure, as Dave Winer, creator of this system has been developing, releasing and supporting outline software for 3 decades. Yeah, he's the mac daddy of outlines. permalink
I use his free outline editor, which is available for windows and mac. Outlines are no different from an other file you would create in an application. Where Office lets you create .doc or .xls files, the OPML Ediotr creates .opml files.  permalink
Now, the cool part is that we are only beginning to scratch the surface of what can be done collaboratively with outlines on the web. permalink
Dave is already thinking and working on ways to make connecting outlines easy for anyone to participate in. permalink
If you have thoughts about this and ways to use the World Outline for my shownotes or any other use, please post in the comments below. permalink
postscript By popular request, here's a screenshot of my work environment when I'm producing the show, with a number of frequently used outlines. permalink

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