Hiveword Blog

Technology and Writers

Sep

6

“My Types” Menu Improvements

By Mike Fleming (@hiveword) on September 6, 2017 6:39 pm

Things have really been buzzing in the Hive of late. My previous posts described several new features:

In this post I’ll describe some improvements to the “My Types” menu. It’s not terribly exciting like the last two features but I think it is a nice usability change.

Here’s what’s changed:

  • The number of custom types is now in parentheses
  • Types are sorted
  • The list scrolls (as opposed to having one long list)
  • There’s a quick link to manage types
  • Removed the submenus in favor of inline icons

If you have Hiveword Plus (the upgrade to the free Hiveword plan with a two week trial) then you know about Custom Types and Fields. With this capability you can add your own fields to characters, scenes, etc., and you can also add new things (types) to track such as Spells, Spaceships, etc. When you define a custom type you get to add all of the fields you want to describe it.

Once defined, you add an instance of your custom type to the story via the “My Types” menu. Here it is in collapsed view:

You can see that it’s right there with the other type menus such as Scenes. You can also see that there are two types defined.

Upon clicking “My Types” it will open up:

Now we can see the two sorted custom types, Spells and Wands. There are two spells defined in the story but no wands yet. This part hasn’t changed but the other parts of the expanded menu are new.

The “Manage types and fields” menu item takes you to the Custom Types and Fields management page. This saves a click because before you’d have to click on the Dashboard link or Hiveword logo to get to the Dashboard page and from there select the “Types and Fields” menu. Too much work! ūüėČ Now, you can get there easily.

There are now three icons for each type: Add, List, and Sort. Clicking on one will do that function assuming it’s not disabled (grayed out). Before, these functions were accessible via a third-level menu which required too much dexterity. It’s much easier now.

Finally, the entire list will scroll, if necessary, rather than having an extremely long dropdown menu. In this example, no scrolling is necessary because there are only two types.

I hope you find this tweak to be more user-friendly than before. As usual, I’d love to hear your thoughts on this or anything Hiveword-related. Thanks to Darren B. for making many of the suggestions for the changes mentioned in the last several posts.

Sep

5

Custom Field Descriptions

By Mike Fleming (@hiveword) on September 5, 2017 6:47 pm

In my previous post I talked about the icon on the right below and that it toggles the default Hiveword fields off and on if you have custom fields. I also teased the new icon to the left of it. These new icons appear on the edit pages for characters, scenes, etc.

This post is about the icon on the left. This icon toggles the display of custom field descriptions if any are provided.¬†The icon won’t appear if there are no custom fields with descriptions.¬†The show/hide description toggle works like the show/hide custom fields icon next to it: namely, the setting is remembered across sessions.

Here’s a screen of custom fields with descriptions turned off:

By clicking the little document icon you can turn on descriptions. Here’s an example:

Whoa. There’s a lot happening here:

  • Text-only categories
  • A category description
  • A field description
  • A field without a description

Let’s start with the simple field description. The field “Little text” has the clever description “Here’s a description.” This is the most obvious use of field descriptions since it applies directly to a field and explains it in more detail. For example, if the field was called “Range” the description might be “How far (in feet) the character’s psionic abilities are effective.”

The field “Little text” is in a category called “Bunch O’ Fields.” Who names these things?! ūüėČ Categories are logical groupings of related fields. You can see that the category as a whole can have a description that encompasses all of the fields within it.

Finally, the Intro and Outro categories demonstrate that you can arbitrarily place text-only sections. Note that in the screenshot without descriptions the Intro and Outro are not displayed. The reason is that they are pure description (that is, the categories have no fields) so they get hidden.

These text-only categories can be anything you want. For example:

  • Overall description
  • A checklist of things to do
  • Whatever clever thing you conceive

Field descriptions are optional. I recommend keeping your field names short and using the description to explain it in further detail if it warrants explanation.

If you’ve used custom fields before you know that you’ve always had the option to add descriptions where the fields are defined. What’s new here is that the descriptions are used right within the page where the custom fields are being used such as a character page or within your own custom type.

If you haven’t used custom fields before, there’s a Fields Management page that allows you to edit your custom fields. Here’s an example:

This set of custom field definitions matches the screenshots above.

The field description capability discussed here is part of the Custom Types and Fields feature available in Hiveword Plus which is the upgrade to the free Hiveword plan. There’s a 14 day free trial so you can try it with no risk.

I hope you like this new feature. I’d love to here your ideas for how you plan on using it!

 

Sep

4

Show/Hide Factory Fields

By Mike Fleming (@hiveword) on September 4, 2017 6:27 am

In Hiveword Plus you can add custom fields to the “factory” or default types such as scenes, characters, etc. Your custom fields display above the factory fields under the assumption that, since you added them, they must be pretty important.

Here’s an example of some custom fields on the character page:

The “Bunch O’ Fields” section is custom, obviously, and the default fields start with the Basic section.

As I mentioned in my previous post, Hiveword Plus user Darren B. has taken Hiveword’s customizability to stratospheric heights: he’s done a full replacement of Hiveword’s fields. (As an aside, I don’t recommend duplicating fields that Hiveword already has. The reason is that, as a developer, I know what the default fields are for and will likely use them in innovative ways in the future. If they’ve been duplicated as custom fields I don’t know what they are and can’t use them.)

Since Darren’s done a full replacement he doesn’t want to see the Hiveword fields that he’ll never use. So, there’s now a way to hide the factory fields. Each factory type (i.e., characters, scenes, etc.) screen now has some new icons:

The icon that looks like a piece of paper will be the subject of my next post but clicking the factory icon will toggle the factory fields off and on. This setting will be remembered for all types and across sessions so you can set it and forget it. Furthermore, the icon will only appear if there are custom fields.

When the factory fields are hidden, the only thing you’ll see is custom fields like this:

To my knowledge, no other novel organizer offers this level of flexibility. Besides custom types and fields, the Hiveword Plus upgrade offers the ability to add notes and images to everything, a journal, and the ability to search everything. It has a 14 day trial so you can kick the tires. Try it today!

 

Sep

3

More show/hide capabilities

By Mike Fleming (@hiveword) on September 3, 2017 9:05 am

Quiescent. What a fun word. Quiescent is what this blog has been over the summer. But, as everybody knows, winter is coming so I have a flurry of blog posts planned about recent additions to Hiveword.

Today I’m going to talk about the new show/hide details toggle on list views. While this feature won’t save the world it will reduce scrolling for serious Hiveword users.

Previously, only the story, scene, and chapter lists had a summary/details toggle. Those lists try to convey a lot of information at once and the toggle on those pages is for adding data (the summary, actually) to each row. These toggles have not changed.

The remaining list pages are for characters, settings, items, and plotlines. These lists now have a toggle to hide information. Why? Because if you have a lot of these things the list can get very long which requires you to scroll to find the character, setting, or whatever it is that you are looking for. Hiding the details compresses the list.

The following screenshot snippet shows the toggle which appears above the lists:

If you’re a Hiveword Basic (the free plan) user then the problem is most evident on the character list page. You’re likely to have a lot of characters and if you’ve filled in a bunch of fields the details column can make the rows fairly tall which means more scrolling. Hiding the details will compress the rows.

Here’s an example from the sample story with details on:

When the details are hidden the list will get shorter:

If you’re a Hiveword Plus user the problem can be even worse if you’ve added custom fields to the characters, for example. In Hiveword Basic, only a subset of character fields are displayed in the details column. Hiveword Plus users see this data along with any custom fields they’ve added under the assumption that a custom field must be important. Hiveword has no way of knowing. So, with custom fields, the rows can get really tall.

This feature and the forthcoming ones that will be described in my next three posts were requested by Hiveword Plus user Darren B. He has hundreds of custom fields and more than a hundred custom types! Holy cow! While Hiveword Plus was designed for this sort of customization, Darren’s volume has exposed some usability issues that needed tweaking. Stay tuned for what those are…

 

May

30

List View Updates

By Mike Fleming (@hiveword) on May 30, 2017 6:48 am

Hiveword user Matt N. requested that extension fields be included on the various list views. This feature is now live and affects both the basic and Plus versions of Hiveword.

First of all, what do I mean by “extension fields?”

Hiveword Plus has a feature called Custom Fields and Types. A better name might be Custom Templates. To my knowledge, this level of customizability is unique to Hiveword. Anyway, with this feature you can create new classes of things to track such as spells, spaceships, etc. But, you can all extend the factory types such as scenes, characters, etc. For example, you could add “Date” and “Scene Purpose” fields to the scene¬†detail page if you wanted.

Prior to today’s change, you wouldn’t see your two¬†new fields on the scene¬†list view. Now you can!

Scene list

As you can see in the screenshot, the data for Date and Scene Purpose is shown when the fields are filled in. (For scenes, the summary field has been displayed for a while. That was also Matt’s idea. ūüėČ )

The same treatment applies to the other built-in types. Take characters, for example:

Here, the custom field is Role and the character Hismione has an entry for it. You can see how the custom and factory fields are seamlessly displayed together.

While doing this work I revamped some things for consistency. These changes may affect you even if you are not a Hiveword Plus user. For example, the story list page now allows you to optionally display the story summary in the list. Another example is the settings list. It used to have columns for City, State, and Country. Now, there is one column but the data is displayed in a fashion consistent with the other lists. So, if you never supply data for the State field, space will not be taken up with the placeholder for it.

I hope you like these tweaks. I think the changes are nice because it concisely presents relevant information without having to drill down to details all the time. Thanks for the idea, Matt!

What do you think?

 

May

18

Top WKB Websites for 2017

By Mike Fleming (@hiveword) on May 18, 2017 9:00 pm

There are over 4,000 unique websites represented in the WKB. That’s a lot! The ones that have the most articles are something special. So, for fun, I’m running a countdown of the top 10 sites at¬†https://hiveword.com/wkb/topSites. Check it out!

May

18

Mountain Biker Musings

By Mike Fleming (@hiveword) on 11:47 am

The next time you’re in nature:

Be quiet.
Stand up straight and close your eyes.
Listen to the wind in the leaves.
The birds.
The bugs.
And think for a moment that all of that was here before you were.
And all of it will be here when you’re gone.
But right now, you’re the variable.
The wildcard.
The ripple in the pond.
Make a difference.

May

13

Hiveword Newsletter

By Mike Fleming (@hiveword) on May 13, 2017 1:55 pm

TL;DR: The inaugural Hiveword newsletter is coming soon. You should sign up now to learn and maybe win a prize!

As an overall entity, Hiveword currently has two newsletters: one for the Writer’s Knowledge Base¬†(WKB) and one for Knockout Novel. I’m going to phase out these two newsletters and make one all-encompassing Hiveword newsletter. This will give me much more room to explore content which will range from interviews to¬†highlighting new features in all of the Hiveword products.

The first Hiveword newsletter¬†will have an interview with an author who will open your mind to the educational and business aspects of short stories. It could change your life. Or at least how you approach your writing career. If that’s not enough, I’ll also be giving away Knockout Novel and a lifetime Hiveword Plus subscription to folks who are signed up when the first issue is sent.

Finally, don’t forget about¬†the WKB link subscription feature. You can now get daily or weekly emails with the latest links that were added to the WKB. You can even customize your emails by selecting the categories of writing articles that you want to see. This feature is totally unrelated to newsletters. Learn more about WKB link emails here.

Thanks for reading and don’t forget to sign up for the Hiveword newsletter.

May

12

Search Everything!

By Mike Fleming (@hiveword) on May 12, 2017 6:51 am

You can now search everything in Hiveword Plus!

What do I mean by everything? Well, I’ll say it again: Everything. ūüėČ

You can quickly search characters, scenes, settings, items, story summaries, plotlines, chapters, notes, journal entries, custom types/fields, and tags. In other words, everything.

There’s now a¬†little search box at the top of every page:

Upon searching you’ll see the results page:

The search reaches across everything you have in Hiveword. So, you’ll see hits for journal entries and other things that aren’t attached to stories. You’ll also see hits¬†across stories but the sample screenshot only shows one story.

While search seems like a simple thing these days, I am really excited to have it because I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had trouble finding something. Now, that something can’t hide. ūüėČ

I hope you like this new feature as much as I do!

(NOTE: Search is available in Hiveword Plus which is an upgrade from basic Hiveword.)

Apr

7

Get Categorized Writing Articles in your Inbox

By Mike Fleming (@hiveword) on April 7, 2017 11:37 am

Today, I’m over at Elizabeth’s blog talking about how to get daily or weekly emails of fresh links to writing articles using categories you choose. I love getting the email every day. Give it a try and maybe you will, too!