Monday, February 02, 1998 at 7:26:08 AM Pacific

Scripters & Outliners

I'd like to make an introduction.

Scripters meet the outliners.

Outliners meet the scripters.


In the late 70s and early 80s I did a series of products called outliners that were good for organizing complicated projects and presentations.

The people who gravitated to these products, also called outliners, were usually very well educated, thoughtful and interesting people.

Typically male, successful professionals. Lawyers, professors, doctors, engineers, marketing people.

They might dabble with a scripting language, but they are thinkers and writers, not programmers.

Here's what's new: Frontier 5, in addition to being a powerful web develoment environment is also an easy to use outliner.

Programming environments

After my experience with outliners I got interested in doing a new kind of programming environment, a higher-level system that wouldn't have the limits of earlier environments.

I believed that computers with multiple megabytes of RAM and gigabytes of hard disk space and hundreds of megaherz of CPU speed, could support a higher level approach than earlier computers.

That effort, which resulted in Frontier, is moving along at a pretty good rate now. Lots of newbies, and lots of them have deep experience in other programmable environments such as Director, Hypercard, Visual Basic, Java, or JavaScript in web browsers (also, more and more, a scripting environment).

Now lots of the people who come thru Scripting News are great programmers, making a good living working right at the leading edge, on websites and content flows, supporting people who are writers and designers.

Two worlds meet

These are two very different groups of people, meeting in one environment.

We can learn from each other and become more powerful. I'm always preaching that software companies should work together. Now I'm turning my evangelistic jets on users and individual developers. Here are two groups of people that were made for each other. Let's see if we can have some fun!

Call to action

Every evangelical plea has to have a call to action.

I'd like to invite members of the scripting community to learn about and develop software and utilities for people who use Frontier as an outliner.

I'd like outliners to learn about the scripting and runtime capabilities of Frontier so they know what's possible, know what to ask for, and learn how to ask for it.

It won't take a huge number of people on either side of this fence to make it happen, two or three of each and we'll move quickly.

I'm going to get the ball rolling with some utilities, but I'd like other script developers to know that there's an opportunity to learn and grow and gain new skills and learn to work better with outliners, people who write and think for a living.

I'm willing to share all that I learned serving these people many years ago.

We will also invest in improving Frontier's outliner, so each upgrade will be meaningful to the outliner users as well as scripters.

I predict that the outliner people will be prolific web developers when we show them how to do it, and make it simpler to do.

Why do I think they will be so prolific? Because they're usually very generous people and they have a lot to say.

Let's start digging here!

Discuss on the Outliners mail llist.

Dave Winer

This page was last built on 2/15/98; 4:11:44 PM by Dave Winer. dave@scripting.com