Sunday, 6 August 2017

CherryTree ....

Having suggested that you could use something like cherry tree as an alternative to OneNote or Evernote in a barebones documentation solution running on linux, I thought I’d better try it out on my Xubuntu netbook.

And it’s not bad.

It’s essentially a node based note taker where one starts from the beginning and build a set of tree structured notes, which is fine for me, as it’s how I tend to work, and it’s fairly easy to move nodes and restructure things.

As a practical exercise I built myself a set of notes about the murder of Mary Dobie, which occurred in November 1880 in Taranaki in New Zealand against a backdrop of settler/indigenous conflict. (If you are interested in reading further, there's an excellent book available from the University of Auckland press)

Basically, I did what I always do, build myself a root node, add some subnodes containing the results of querypic search to confirm that there was a spike of interest and a couple of relevant newspaper articles from the period, garnered from Trove or PapersPast.

This was a little more fiddly than you might think - nodes can be richtext, plaintext or markdown (yay!), but you can only attach object to rich text nodes.

Display of the objects is dependent on external viewers, which is a little clumsy, but it does work, and it of course means that you need to put some descriptive text in the node otherwise you end up wondering quite what verylongname.png really is.

Cherry tree doesn’t really do document sharing, but you can share an individual database between members of a research group (or multiple machines)  say, via dropbox, or any other filesharing platform, and that’s probably good enough for most purposes.

The application comes with an impressive set of options to import from other note managers, but unfortunately none of the mainstream ones, and exporting again avoids the mainstream but it does allow pdf and html export, which again covers most options, including creating either a set of html pages or a single unified document.

So, not perfect, but perfectly usable for a lightweight alternative to one of big boys ...

[update 07 August 2017]

Just for fun I added cherrytree to my old Eee PC701 linux netbook and imported my test database, and everything worked well, the only downside being that the slightly newer version I installed no longer supports markdown ...

No comments: