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TheKBase Desktop Help
What Is TheKBaseTheKBase is a multiple-hierarchical information manager. What? First, TheKBase lets you organize information via a simple Windows Explorer-type interface with a text editor, and saves everything to an XML file (text with tags). Each bit of information or “snippet” may contain other snippets, just like folders in a file system can contain other folders.
Second, the problem TheKBase really solves: many times, a snippet should be contained within more than one snippet. For instance, is a dog a carnivore or a mammal? Is a program a utility or shareware? Is that snippet a calendar item or a task? TheKBase lets you sidestep this problem to allow for multiple classification . Snippets can not only contain multiple snippets (children), but may also be contained by multiple snippets (parents). Then, of course, you can “discover” your information with searches like, “all the change-requests that are urgent and done in version 6 .”
Other features include search, find, export (to HTML by default), merging of KBases , massive snippet creation, custom icons and color support, and a properties pane for rapid snippet classification. TheKBase executable is self-contained and can easily be run without installation (though it requires .NET 2.0). The user may run more than one TheKBase at the same time and copy and paste between them.
The Snippet PaneTo accomplish most tasks, use the context menus (right clicking).
- To create a new root snippet, right click anywhere in the pane.
- To create a new snippet underneath a snippet, right click on the snippet you want to create the snippet under.
Selecting SnippetsTo work with a snippet, you must select it. You can select multiple snippets by using control and shift keys (like most Windows programs).
Under More Than One ParentTo have a snippet reside in two places at once
- Hold down control while you drag a snippet OR
- Use Copy and Paste from the context menu OR
- Use Copy and Paste via keyboard shortcuts CTRL-C, CTRL-V.
Other locations – if visible – are shown in light blue.
To Move A SnippetIf you move a snippet it changes parents. To do this:
- Drag and drop it to the new parent OR
- Use Cut and Paste from the context menu OR
- Use Cut and Paste via keyboard shortcuts CTRL-X, CTRL-V.
Massive Snippet CreationIf you have a lot of Snippets that you want to create, type them as individual lines in a text file (or as snippet text). Copy the text file into the Windows Clipboard and paste it into a snippet (using right click). A new snippet will be created for each line in the text file.
Copying and Pasting Between KBasesYou can copy and paste between KBases using the copy and paste commands from the context menu, or using CTRL-C and CTRL-V.
UndoUndo is not yet supported in the Snippet Pane.
Hotkeys (Snippet Pane)
- To navigate back and forward through your selection history in the Snippet Pane use alt-left and alt-right.
- Items can be moved up and down using shift-alt-up and shift-alt-down.
- Select snippets using shift-up and shift-down.
- The Insert Key inserts a new snippet.
- The Delete Key deletes a snippet or group of snippets.
- F2 will rename a snippet.
Locations and Parents PaneThe Location Pane shows all the locations in which a Snippet appears. Snippets appear in multiple locations because:
- They have been "copied" there using control-drag or copy and paste OR
- A parent has a twin, thereby causing all the children to be copied as well.
In the Location Pane, all other locations are shown and the current location is highlighted.
If you click on one of the other locations, you will be prompted to switch to that location in the Snippet Pane.
This prompting, like many other features of TheKBase, are configurable. Locate the kbase.config file and change the property
The parent pane is another way to view the locations of a Snippet. Here the hierarchy is reversed: parents of the Snippet are shown, and expanding these parents, the parents' parents and so forth. This pane is also clickable to change location.
Text PaneYou can type snippet text in the Text Pane (see the location pane to make sure you're editing the right snippet).
- Ctrl-B to toggle bullets
- Ctrl-T and Ctrl-Shift-T to indent more or less, respectively (or, with selected text, use Tab or Shift-Tab)
- Ctrl-C and Ctrl-V for cut and paste
- Ctrl-Z and Ctrl-Y for undo and redo
- Ctrl-F for find
Text Pane Menu (Right Click on Text Pane)The Text Pane or Right Click menus have various features.
Some of the most interesting features include
- You may insert file hyperlinks: they will be relative to your TheKBase file ( e.g., .. /../ myFatSonJohnIII.jpg )
- You may insert hyperlinks to other snippets.
- Redo Formatting – snippets contain only plain text, bullets, and indenting. Sometimes what you see (after pasting from a word processing program, for instance) is not what you'll get the next time you click on the snippet. To be sure, click Redo Formatting , which will show you the text TheKBase will store [this obviously isn't a “feature” and will be rendered unnecessary in future versions).
The Properties PaneThe Properties Pane is useful in cases where snippets can be assigned exclusive categories on some dimension.
Example of Properties Pane
Set up a KBase with 9 Snippets like this:
Then drag the snippet Status from the Snippet Pane to the Properties window (where you see Drag properties here). In the Properties Pane, you'll see a drop-down box that possible Status values for any snippet (*** NONE ***, To Do, or Finished).
To understand this, click on the Take Out The Trash snippet. You'll see that it has *** NONE *** as a value for its Status.
Now change the drop down box to the To Do value. If you look at the children of the To Do snippet, you'll note that Take Out The Trash was added.
A change in the Status drop-down changes whether Take Out The Trash is a child of Finished or To Do. If the Status is changed to *** NONE ***, Take Out The Trash ceases to be a child of a Status snippet.
You can remove a property by double clicking on its name. In the example above, you would double click on Status in the Properties Pane.
Multiple Properties and Multiple Selections
A TheKBase can have multiple properties: just drag them to the Properties Pane.
The property pane works with multiple selections. If your nodes do not all have the same value for a particular property, *** MULTIPLE VALUES *** is shown.
Property SetsProperty Sets are a way to group properties. Look at the following TheKBase:
Now drag Idea Properties and Task Properties to the Properties Pane tab (above where it says Drag Properties Here).
The result will look like this
Now children of Tasks can be assigned Task Properties and/or Idea Properties. Ideas can be assigned Idea Properties and/or Task Properties. You can see and adjust the properties of one or the other by choosing the correct tab. For instance, if you are interested in assigning Idea Properties to an Idea, it would look like this
To remove a PropertySet, double click in the area below the last Property. For instance, in this screen we clicked below Priority.
Searching and FindingFind (from the Text Pane menu) finds text in the Text Pane, but if it's not found, it can continue on to other snippets.
Search (from the Tools menu) does a more complete search with many more options. The results are places under a new snippet called Search Results.
TheKBase File Format and Exporting
XML, The File Format
TheKBase file format is pure XML 1.0. XML is the most universally used data exchange format, meaning that it's it can be imported, displayed and manipulated by a variety of programs. This also means that the functions that are not found in TheKBase – search and replace, for instance – can be accomplished with total security using a decent text editor (like Textpad).
KBases have been tested up to 79 megabytes with 250,000 snippets (5002). Performance was snappy but loading and saving took about 45 seconds each. If you want a copy, please contact me.
XSLT, The Exporting TechnologyThus the natural technology for exporting is XSLT. You can use XSL templates to convert a KBase to whatever you like.
Even if you don't know what XSLT is, you can export to HTML. To export to HTML use Export to HTML from the Tools menu. TheKBase comes with an XSL template which will work quite nicely. If you like, you can personalize it (even if you don't understand it completely).
Some Other StuffTheKBase Desktop requires the .Net framework. If you are not a Windows user, you may still use TheKBase Web, currently in Early Alpha.
The file thekbase.exe, along with its icons, are totally self-contained and can be put anywhere (it needs the .NET Framework, of course). For convenience, you may associate the extension ". kbase " with TheKBase. If you don't know how to do this, please see this article from Microsoft.
ContactIf you have any comments or questions for the authors of TheKBase, please contact us.
©2006, 2007, 2008 Confusionists, Inc.
©2006, 2007, 2008 Confusionists, Inc.
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