Podcast: Outliners vs MS Word
Wednesday, November 25, 2015 by Dave Winer

A bunch of people were discussing outliners vs MS Word on Facebook the other day, and I was just working on one of my apps, in my outliner of course, and I wanted to offer a real user-point-of-view of why it's so much better to edit structures in an outliner than in a word processor.

Not talking about quick memos, but projects you're going to work on for months or years. Where the quality of the organization and note-taking determines how far you can go, re complexity.

It's one of the reasons I am able to build such complex software structures, but the end result turns out to be something people can use.

So I recorded an 11-minute podcast on the subject of outliners. I talk mostly about how I use an outliner to write and manage code that I work on over many years. 

PS: This was a Facebook post earlier today.

  • I appreciate your work with outliners, which is why I find it interesting that the latest incarnation of your CMS appears to move away from Concord/Fargo and towards a basic input box like a word processor. For some reason I just like writing in an outliner, even though I don't always use functionality it provides.

    • I like writing in an outliner too, but I also write in Facebook and Twitter and they have text boxes at the top of the page. Both approaches are good. And btw, most people don't want to use an outliner for writing on the web. So if I want a chance at being competitive, it has to work roughly the way people expect it to.

  • This is timely for me as I was just showing my daughter how to outline an essay . Because she uses MS Word at school, that's what we tried to use. Made me remember how painful that is. It's as though someone designed an outliner with little idea how to use one. What's frustrating is that given the ubiquity of Word, this may be many people's only experience of using an outliner- enough to put anyone off.