Director 11 – there’s life in the old dog yet

This is a surprise: Adobe announced Director 11 – the follow-up release to Director MX 2004. After years of speculation Adobe seems to be committed to develop Director further.

There is a rough comparison chart on the Adobe site which compares Director to Flash. I am not quite convinced the advantages of Director over Flash will set it apart and (re-)create its own market (or re-create its former market). The ubiquity of the Flash plug-in, YouTube & Co, ActionScript 3 and Flex have brought a lot of seriousness to the Flash platform in the past 3-4 years.

Tinderbox 3.6.3

One of the tools I love to use is Tinderbox. The homepage says: “Tinderbox is a personal content assistant that helps you organize, analyze, and share your notes.”

I just downloaded the latest beta version (3.6.3 b17) and found that it has a list of improvements that push it forward again.

If you never heard of Tinderbox try looking at some of the screencasts that are online.

Tinderbox is a tool that has been around for ages now and while the technical progress is slow compared to other tools it remains unmatched for a lot of tasks. The sad part of it is, that it does have some limits and missing features that people expect from a writing tool. But besides of that it’s potential has not yet been fully exploited by its community.

The tricky thing with Tinderbox is, that it does “take off” unless you know how to use the tool wiseley. For a newbie it may feel like just another note-taking tool that misses some core features. But once you discovered some of the core concepts of Tinderbox a whole new set of options.

Findamentally it is a tool that keeps asking you: What do you want to do with your thoughts? How do you create relevance out of randomness? What does order in a chaotic world of fragmented information mean?

Tinderbox somehow forces you to answer these questions and define a concept how you want to process everything you write down. You may start with no such concept and try to develop it while playing around with Tinderbox. But once the level of interdependence of notes, actions, templates and such gets high (which can happen quickly) you need to become smart about how you manage you material.

Tinderbox to database publishing?

Right now I set up this weblog to be rendered on my laptop and upstreamed to the server with normal HTML pages. This somehow put the burden of organizing the site on Tinderbox. But somehow I get interested in the idea to let the server care for the public face of my content and rather use Tinderbox in a “freestyle” way. The server should only get a “content feed” from which it should construct a site.

One rather simple way would be to publish the Tinderbox content directly into a database on the server. The quickest (and dirtiest) way to do that would be to render SQL files and use a script on the server to import these. The HTML rendering would be completely the job of the server (and of course I’d need to set up templates & everything there).

A more sophisticated approach would be to render XML files that are parsed into the database. This would maybe allow to reduce the amount that needs to be uploaded per update.

Unfortunately I don’t think I am going to have the time to check this out. But somehow I hear a distant voice telling me that this would even allow several Tinderbox users to work on one site together (or at least publish into the same space).