30 Minute Tinderbox — Hello, World

Tinderbox is a note taking app — Tinderbox is a programming environment — Tinderbox is the best writing and writing structure program that exists. 

All these statements are true. It’s also easy to learn to program it.

Don’t get me wrong: I love Ulysses, Scrivener, Word, IA Writer, Hemingway, OmniOutliner. And MindNode — oh, how I love MindNode! They’re all great, but they all lack at least two things that I really want:

  • a real programming language that lets me automate tasks 
  • a interface that Ovid would be proud of, because it’s all about metamorphosis from a rectangular note you can draw and link to other notes, to a bag of data, to an outline. 

And you need both. Even if you don’t know you need it, a la Steve Jobs, believe me, Mark Bernstein, the author of Tinderbox, is right: you need it. Why? Because anything you can use to keep the structure in mind as you write will make you a better writer, no matter what structure school you belong in, or what theory you adhere to. Otherwise it’s just you and the cosmos and you’ll spend another ten years at writer’s conferences wondering why you’re not being nominated to the Pulitzer committee. (Ok, that’s music, not prose, and Kendrick didn’t need it, but you do. And besides, you think he doesn’t know musical and hip hop structure? He could probably write a dissertation on it, if DAMN is any indication). 

Besides that, Tinderbox gives me the One True Capability I’ve long been looking for: to add structure to a piece of writing I’m doing, then yank it out so I can see the writing, then pour it back in again, at will.

Here’s an example of how you can do that:

words words words

your first hello world app in Tinderbox. actually make it print ‘hello, world’. keep it in the tradition. 

Now that you’re started, we’ll take a casual walk through the app and the programming. 

I stand on the shoulders of giants, especially Mark Bernstein, the author, and Mwra, the documentarian etc. mention the forum, show them the website. show them where to download. tell them about atbref. tell them about the codenote prototype.