Information, Intelligence, Knowledge

Product Fantasies – Part-1

Once in a while I fantasise about products. I know that it shows a sick mind, but what can I do? I do fantasise about other things too but that is a very different topic for a different blog.

So I have been thinking about this product. It may already exist, but if I knew it is there, I would instantly use it. For lack of a better name, let us call it Composite Document Editor, Multi-edit or BuddyEditor (if you want a more friendly name). It has the following features:

1. It can be used in two modes – personal and shared. In personal mode, it stores all the files in an area where I specify – a local disk, an usb drive or an internet drive. In shared mode, I assume it needs to be out on the Internet somewhere so that others  should have access.

2. The editor should let me edit text, put in pictures, some audio, video, a bit of flash animations, some diagrams and pictures.

3. In addition it should allow me to add my own objects – spreadsheets, tables, concept maps and such.

4. It should be possible to save this in some XML or RDF or XTM format (or a combination).

5. The objects in the document should be semantically inter-related (I can specify the semantics and relationships through properties or tagging or whatever mechanism.

6. The editor should have a knowledge of some of the objects I insert – like contacts (FOAF or vCards), Calendars or others , I make up. I am willing to be disciplined about how I specify and define these objects.

7. I want this thingy to have some Wikiness. This allows everything I type to go into a wiki on my system. So when I take a fragment or two and mail it out, the email package gets a copy.

8. I want a simple version,  a subset of Microsoft Word or something like an html editor with a bit more oomph.

9. I should be able to use it as an independent free floating window on my desktop, staying on top all the time (if I choose to), or as a sidebar in my browser.

10. I should be able to drag/drop stuff into it from other documents, web pages and other apps.

11. It should be programmable. I can use some scripting language like Java-script or Python or Ruby.

12. I should be able to automate certain sequence of things like macros in Vi or other powerful editors.

13. It doesn’t have to be one product, but can be different products, but I need only one editing surface.

14. When I leave it and come back, it should have the ability to remember where I was and go there, even to the cursor point.

15. I should be able to mark portions of the document and dispatch it to different destinations – blog, mail, IM or an app.
16. The most useful feature would be to have this thing as my blog editor, my email client editor or a standalone package.

If I have it, I would use it for writing notes, revising them and storing them for personal use. I may even use it for writing some simple documents.

Today I use the following editors:

  • An HTML editor in WordPress (takes care of most of my minimal editing needs but not very extensible)
  • Moin-moin wiki as my daily log, idea log, note taker, resource db (store links and notes)
  • I use Google Scratch pad (part of Google Desktop) as  floating note taker in meetings and while browsing and cut and paste it to my wiki.
  • My email editor (which is the single most heavily used editing surface)
  • Once in a while, I clip images and text from the web using Snag-It
  • Once in a while, I do spend the time, to draw concept maps using an open source concept mapping tool

I would like to combine all my editing needs into one neat little package, I can use everywhere.

If you find anything like this, please let me know.