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Re: [Orgmode] Org-mode versus Taskpaper - now for real

From: Rick Moynihan
Subject: Re: [Orgmode] Org-mode versus Taskpaper - now for real
Date: Thu, 03 Apr 2008 16:14:10 +0100
User-agent: Thunderbird (X11/20080227)

Manish wrote:
  On Thu, Apr 3, 2008 at 3:25 PM, Rick Moynihan wrote:
  > Eddward DeVilla wrote:
  > > I guess the best way to address this problem might be to document up
  > > front that org-mode uses a simple, readable, text only format and that
  > > all of the features can be used independently of each other but that
  > > they do interact well together.  (It's been a while since I've scanned
  > > the manual, so maybe that's already in the intro.)  I guess we could
  > > put together a tutorial of using org-mode as just a friendly listing,
  > > outliner without using any of the other features to show org-mode can
  > > scale up to Taskpaper's level of simplicity.  I'd have a hard time not
  > > adding a table though.
  > >
  > >
  >  Hi all,
  >  I'm a big fan of org-mode, yet I think Carsten's motivation to question
  > it's simplicity is a good one.
  >  Yes, org-mode can be as simple as Taskpaper, and I totally buy into the
  > argument that adoption of any planning system requires piecemeal growth.
  > Org-mode allows you to grow in this way, where as Taskpaper will require you
  > to throw it out for another system.
  >  However, though this argument is entirely true, it ignores other issues.
  > If org-mode wishes to tackle the Taskpaper demographic then we need to learn
  > some lessons in presentation and user experience.
  >  Org-mode has *EXCELLENT* documentation, indeed I'd hold it up as being one
  > of the most thoroughly and well documented OSS projects I've ever seen.
  > Congratulations Carsten! :-)
  >  However where Taskpaper wins, is in the presentation.  Just looking at the
  > site, things appear simple.  They've got trendy Web2.0 rounded corners and
  > styling on their page.  They have a Screenshot upfront showing you how
  > simple it is.  They have a nice little logo, with some text loosely
  > associating it with the GTD movement.  They attempt to answer the question
  > of whether or not Taskpaper is of use to you, and they have a handful of
  > user reviews to convince you it's great.  Oh, and all along they stress
  > Simplicity, Simplicity, Simplicity!
  >  In contrast Org-mode has an incredibly basic website.  It's well laid out,
  > and perfectly usable but it's not pitched towards the same class of user.

  | > If we care to go after the same type of user

I think this is the key question.

Absolutely it is.

  >  Emacs might be Org's greatest ally, but it's also simultaneously Org's
  > biggest problem.  My point here, isn't to bash Emacs, it is what it is, and
  > it's damn good...  But with apologies to RMS, it is the product of a
  > radical, hair-brained, compiler-writing, AI-lab, academic!!  You really
  > couldn't find anyone further away from the mainstream computer user!

I am so glad that that "radical, hair-brained, compiler-writing,
AI-lab, academic" did what he did.

As am I. My point here is only to illustrate the differences between design philosophies. RMS produced a tool for developers. Taskpaper appears to be a tool for people who don't have the time or inclination to do anything in the least bit complicated.

  >  (Emacs has always appealed to me and I've toyed with it for a long time,
  > however in all honesty the only thing I *REALLY* use Emacs for is org-mode!)

I don't know about others but I started using Emacs first because of
Planner, then grew into Org-mode and now I use it for more and more
things (scripting, outlining, accessing databases, ...)  The more I
use it the more I am growing fond of it and the community around it.

I do use Emacs for other things, and have quite extensive customisations. Mostly these days though it's org-mode and distel that I use it for. I hope to use more of it, but prefer to discover it piecemeal. Org is a great introduction to Emacs.

  >  So, what's my suggestion?  Is it possible for Org to target the same type
  > of user as Taskpaper?  Maybe, it depends on how much we want it to.  So
  > what's required?
  >  1. Make the web pages look pretty.
  >  2. Downplay the Emacs mode stuff.
  >  3. Offer some kind of Easy org installation.
  >    - Effectively a distro of Emacs tailored to Org-mode.
  >    - Ship with an installer.
  >    - Give it a catchier product name.
  >  4. Customise this Emacs distro so that it starts up in org-mode, with
  >    some kind of help/tutorial file.  Not an Emacs *scratch* buffer.
  >  5. Take most of the Emacs crap out of the Menu's etc...
  >  6. Obviously still allow people to use org-mode with GNU/Emacs as they
  >    currently do.
  >  7. Offer more native key-bindings, by default - not Emacs key chords.
  >  8. Suitably change the documentation.
  >  Now that's a *LOT* of work, but it's certainly do-able.  Do I expect anyone
  > of us to actually do it?  No.... though it'd be pretty cool if someone did,
  > and it gained traction (unlikely). :-)

Not worth it, IMHO.  Thank $deity, Carsten and others that contribute
to org-mode do not /have to/ do it.  I wish they would spend their
time having fun instead of worrying about increasing market share.

I'm not convinced of it's worth either. But having more org files out in the wild would be nice :-) It's a shame Taskpaper doesn't just use a subset of org-mode's syntax really.


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