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“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! 😉 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.



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?! 😉 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!




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!




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…