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  • 6 The question is not whether to pursue such a product, but rather what to do with it (53)
    Now, my issue does not revolve around academic debates as to whether online outlining is useful enough to pursue, or to how to accomplish it. But rather, what to do with such technology.

    You see, I've already developed a useable system.

    • 4 Timeline (21) How I got to the current product.
      • 6 1997 (2)
        • Software evaulation   Researched whether I could improve project communication by using existing tools. Came up dissatisfied.
        • Schema design   Starting drafting database schemas for online discussion systems.
      • 1998-2000   Discussed the topic with friends and collegues, trying to see whether my ideas had any merit.
      • Finally got decent buy-in from someone who likes to organize information and runs complex projects where efficient communication is essential. Was encouraged enough to begin work on a prototype.

      • March 2001   Made significant headway in my R&D effort.
      • 4 August 2001 (10) Completed a functional web-based prototype.
        • 6 Feature set (5)
          • Lists of lists  
          • Edit one list at a time  
          • Drag and drop  
          • Anyone can access it on the web  
          • Just one big, shared outline--no content permissions  
        • 6 Technology (3)
          • IIS on Windows NT 4.0  
          • IE 5.5 for Windows  
          • MDAC client-side database libraries  
      • October 2001-present   Started doing more product research, looking at what features are available in existing products, and what niches are not yet filled.
      • March 2002   Started a complete product rewrite in ASP.NET.
      • November 2002   Deployed an Alpha version of the product; still rounding out functionality today.
      • October 2010   Working on updated version of the outliner for HTML 5. Nearly universal support for editing outlines in the browser, with the widespread adoption of CONTENTEDITABLE.
    • 4 Feature set (14) Notable features in the current product.
      • 6 Browser-based outliner (5) My original prototype allowed users to edit lists of lists, one list at a time. This version is a respectable outliner.
        • Heavy focus on ease-of-use  
        • Edit using IE 5.5 and above  
        • Read using recent-version browsers   Must support current standards for W3C DOM and CSS.
        • Performs well over DSL connections  
        • Quite usable over a dialup  
      • 6 Basic user account registration and maintenance (5) A minimal set of user account features have been created, refined, and tested. Some of these features are currently hidden, but they'll be back live next week.
        • Identity confirmation through e-mail  
        • Register with multiple e-mail addresses  
        • Change password  
        • sn  
        • Lost password  
      • Content permissions   Users may control how their information is shared with others. Still working on user permission UI, but the backend is working.
      • Unicode, through and through   Make no mistake. This outliner handles Kanji and Cyrillic just as well as Latin characters.
    • 4 Technology (4)
      • ASP.NET on the backend  
      • Database is either Access or SQL Server   Access might be useful for client-side installations. The system performs well on Access, so long as the database stays around ~10's of MB rather than 100 or more.
      • To read outlines, use Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, or Opera   Webkit now properly handles Webdings This bug was a sore point for me for years--my expand and contract arrows are Webdings rather than images to allow entire webpages to be saved off for offline access. Now Webkit is fixed. Nice!
      • To edit outlines, use Internet Explorer for Windows   Cross-browser editing is within reach. Just a few DOM bugs to fix, I;m hoping.
    • 4 Productivity increase is noticeable (10) I've been using the product between myself and one other person, with a noticeable increase in productivity. We like it a lot.
      • Personal task lists  
      • 6 Lists of online resources (3)
        • Articles of interest  
        • Reference web sites  
        • Entertainment listings  
      • 6 Shared lists (2)
        • Projects  
        • Planning  
      • 6 Bugs (1)
        • Usability and UI issues on home page