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Friday, January 18, 2013

KJots is a free and simple outliner text editor for the KDE Software Compilation environment.

kjots logoKJots is a free and simple outliner text editor for the KDE Software Compilation environment. It is part of the Kontact group of software. It uses a basic tree structure to organize information: it refers to nodes as ‘books’ and leaves as ‘pages’. It includes a book view, which shows a table of contents, and a view mode for all entries. 

Similar wiki-style programs are Zim (based on GTK+ and Python), Wixi (based on Python and GTK+), KeepNote (based on Python and GTK+), Notecase (based on GTK+), BasKet (based on Qt), Gnudiary (also based on Qt), Tomboy (GTK+, based on Mono), Gnote (Tomboy port to C++) and Tiddlywiki (self-modifying, single-HTML contained personal wiki, written in JavaScript and expandable with plugins). Also Treeline, an advanced outliner written in Python and personal database available for Linux and Microsoft Windows, has similar functions. 

Kjots is not the most powerful of applications. To tell you the truth, there isn’t much that you can do on Kjots apart for simple note-taking. In contrast, Tomboy notes lets you link between notes, synchronize them via SSH or WebDAV, and even use plugins. Kjots, on the contrary lacks some very basic features like spell-check, but this lack is actually a feature. Kjots is simply the best application if you want to take notes or write texts that you’re not intending to print.

Taking notes on a computer is so much better than taking them on paper. First of all, they’re all in one place, and they stay the way they are. I don’t know about you, but my notebooks tend to wander around my room and find shelter in improbable places. If you place paper in the econs folder in your “Lectures” drawer, chances are that it will not be there when you want to read your econs notes before a test.

The best way to counter the annoying ability of notebooks to move around is to take them on a computer. Computers tend to stay where you put them last – hopefully – and they don’t move your documents around (well, vista does). However, for a disorganized person this system still has its limits. Should I organize my econs in two folders –one for lectures and one for seminars– or just in one? Where should I save a new econs course?

KJots’ system resolves all these problems at once. In KJots, notes are organized in “books” and “Pages.” You start by creating a new book which will itself have one page to start with. 

To keep the same example, I would Entitle this first book “Economics” and the first Page “Introductory Course.” 

As the lecturer progresses into a second course, I would create a second page entitled “Investment on Education” and so on and so forth. 

But KJots is not only an efficient way of keeping notes, but it is also very usefull for writing blog posts and articles that you’d publish later. 

I use it to write all my TechHaze articles, each new one in a new page in the TechHaze book. Whether you write poetry, a novel or a dissertation, KJots will probably be the best tool to quickly access, edit and organize your notes.

All your writings are autosaved. This may seem like a relatively unimportant point, but the way it’s implemented makes it a gamechanger. 

Autosave is so integral to the KJots experience that there isn’t even a save button in the default interface.
Basically, you just write what you have to write and quit the program when you’re done. 

This not only saves you the little time the application uses to save your documents (the autosaving feature works seamlessly) but also spares you the “Are you sure” dialog box. 

After using KJots for several months, it was the save button on regular word processors that seemed out-of-place.

When you write a blog post or dissertation, your main goal is not to read it yourself but rather to publish it for others to read.


For ths task, any word processor is adapted. When you’ve finished writing, you do a final spell-check and then copy the text and paste it into the blog dashboard.
There is no need for an alternate method of reading your work. However, 

If you’re writing a book, or taking notes in class, re-reading your work in an optimized interface can save you more time than you would think. 

What you need is a complete linear view of all your courses that you can read just by sliding down the page with a table of contents that links you to each particular course. Simply selecting a book in KJots provides you with just that. 

Not only does it provide you with a complete worry free way of accessing and reading your notes but you’re still one click away from editing them. 

If you’re using KJots to write a book, you might appreciate the easy way of revising your text and skipping to the chapters that you want while having access to the editor when you see a badly phrased sentence.

To create a new book, use Ctrl+Shift+N or the menu entry File → New Book, and you will get a new book named New Book with an empty page named New Page.

The name of the new book should now appear in the left part of the window. If you want the book to be in your “Bookmarks”, use Ctrl+B or the menu entry Bookmarks → Add Bookmark. You can even organize your bookmarks in separate folders just as you probably do in Konqueror.
If you want to have your books in a different order, you can simply drag and drop the book to the place where you want it to be.
Maybe you have noticed that there is no “Save” anywhere. This is not an error, KJots saves your books and pages automatically, so you will never lose that small note you write when you are on the phone and need to write down something in a hurry.

You can also export an entire book as a text, html file or as a book file, using the items in File → Export . You will be then prompted to enter a location for the file to be saved. The text format of an example saved book in text format is shown below:
kjots
############
# First page
############
Remember to go to the shops!

#############
# Useful code
#############
10 PRINT "HELLO WORLD"
20 GOTO 10

################
# The third page
################
This is the third page and is an example for KJots.


Remember that the dialog where you are prompted for a filename is a standard KDE dialog. That means it is just as easy to store the file on your local hard disk as it is to save it on a web server, ftp server or USB memory stick. So you can export as html and save it on a webserver; this way you always have your notes available to you.

kjots_kde4


Using Pages.

Pages are where you actually write whatever you are going to write. Once you have created a book, you can type text in the main text box.

To create additional pages, you can use Ctrl+N or the menu entry File → New Page, which will create a new page. Similarly, the current page can be removed using File → Delete Page.
If you need to insert the current date and time while you are writing a note, you can use Ctrl+Shift+I .


So that you can get to the page you want to see, pages can (and should) be given a name. This can be done in the way you are used to: double click the page you want to rename. You are then able to rename the page. Of course there is also a keyboard shortcut you can use at any time while writing a note. The shortcut is: Ctrl+M.

Another way of renaming the page is by selecting a part of your note and then press Ctrl+T. The selected text will instantly become the title of the page.

Writing or editing your notes you can use the actions from Format menu or from the toolbar to format your text.


kjots1


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