At second glance, the Java Outline Editor is a nice outliner.

I used the program to write my latest Java Matters column for Linux Magazine and I've been writing a lot of Radio UserLand Kick Start with Radio's outliner. I'm coming around to the idea that an outliner is a superior writing environment to word-processing software.

I assemble these 2,000- to 2,500-word columns over several days with a lot of jumping between a Web browser, Java editor, command line, and the piece. I'm frequently moving things around within the same basic structure: heading, lead, introduction, implementation, examples, and conclusion.

Being able to expand and collapse portions of the document as I work, drag things around, and take focused views of particular portions saves a considerable amount of time and helps impose some genuine organization on my thoughts.

Though I ended up with a few places that needed to be fixed because I wrote them in staccato cadence like Joe Friday interrogating a suspect, on the whole it was a promising experience. Next I'm going to see how well it handles entire books.

-- Rogers Cadenhead

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