Journler: Blog

Introduction to Journler and AppleScript

April 27th, 2007

With the latest update Journler now includes a default set of AppleScripts. I’m hoping the scripts will serve as useful examples for folks looking to automate Journler or add functionality to the program. Journler’s scripting dictionary is comprehensive, and the community is already taking advantage of it.

Not everyone will know about the scripts though. Auto-updaters and beta testers update using a different process, and even users who do download the 2.5.2 disk image may completely skip the Additional folder that’s included.

AppleScript is an awesome way to customize Journler, and I’d really like to encourage everyone to take an active part in creating their own scripts. To ensure we’re all on the same page I’m uploading the new scripts as an independent download. I’d also like to talk about the scripts for a sec. This has the additional advantage of permitting me to introduce a new category to the blog: AppleScripts.

Download the 2.5.2 default AppleScripts.

Scripting an app ain’t always easy. Even the most hardened scripters will run into problems as they adjust to the peculiarities of each application. It’s no different with Journler. Before you get started make sure you have a basic understanding of AppleScript. Next you’ll want to be familiar with Journler’s AppleScript dictionary and the AppleScript page at journler.com. For additional help drop by the Journler Scripting Forum or the MacScripter webpage. And of course be sure to actually have a look at the scripts with Script Editor.

Add My Contact Info to Journler
This script demonstrates Journler’s ability to interact with Address Book. It’s a simple script that gets your contact info from AB and adds it to a new entry/resource combo in Journler.

Append Tags to Selection
This script extends Journler’s functionality by adding a feature many users have requested. It’s possible to change the tags on a number of entries simultaneously but not without completely replacing the old tags with the new ones. Use this script to append new tags to the selected entries instead.

Highlight in Text
Highlight in text is an example of Journler’s interface support with AppleScript. It’s a super simple script that highlights a word or phrase of your choosing in the selected entry or resource. If an entry is selected every occurrence of the word is highlighted, while the first word of a selected resource is.

Journler Entry to iCal
This is an incredible script by BlueFrog and SkyWombat and an excellent example of how to use AppleScript to extend Journler’s functionality. The script sends an entry to iCal, sets an alarm for the item and links back to the entry from AppleScript. Great works guys!

Save Camino WebArchive to Journler
Here’s a quick one by wyzewoman at the Journler forums that takes advantage of GUI scripting. It grabs the URL from Camino and simulates Journler’s File > New Entry with Clipboard command . Depending on your media preferences you’ll get a new entry with the imported web archive or the url itself.

Send Entry to MarsEdit
Another great script that shows how quickly you can extend Journler’s functionality. Journler does blogging, but not as well as a pro blogger will need, so Jan created a script to send the html version of an entry to MarsEdit.. Works a charm for Journlers who lament the limited support for blogging.

Quicksilver
The two Quicksilver scripts are by wyzewoman and are meant to be used from within Quicksilver. Combine them with Quicksilver’s incredible flexibility to run a quick search in Journler or add a new entry.

That’s it for the examples. I strongly encourage everyone who’s even a little interested in extending or customizing Journler to take a shot at it. The forum is a friendly place and the community may just be able to help you out if you run into problems.

As I find time I’ll post some more scripts to the blog. I also hope to set up an AppleScript repository where users can upload and share their own creations. In the meantime, if you have a great script and you’d like to see it featured send it my way and I’ll see about doing a quick post on it.

Use the Journler service menu from inside Journler

April 23rd, 2007

Literally just stumbled onto this one. I didn’t even think to try it before, and I think it may have been by accident, but I had the url selected for a website I was visiting with the Entry > New Web Browser command and I hit Cmd-shift-J, the shortcut for the Journler service menu.

Well that thing fired right up! Journler dropped the drop box dialog on me and imported the url as a webarchive, then selected it and let me continue browsing! It was one of those, “Huh, I didn’t know I could do that” moments.

This’ll work with any selected text. Select some text in an entry, a url, or a picture — be sure to actually select a range of text that contains a url or contains a picture — and hit Cmd-shift-J. Journler ought to create a new entry for it. I could probably find ways to improve this now that I know about it.

Be sure to have a look at Journler’s Media preferences. Check “Select imported media by default” and “Create web archives when importing urls.”

Edit
Yeah, you want the Cmd-SHIFT-J shortcut. The shit key will be a tough one to find. =)

Tip: The Journler Helpfiles

April 6th, 2007

This post is about Journler’s online help files, which are also included in the Journler application. Choose Journler Help from the Help menu.

Recently an individual emailed me about the website. He said it didn’t offer enough details. Having only heard about the program, he was unable to determine what Journler did or how to use it. What’s it for? What does it do? Why is it better than the system I already have?

At first I was somewhat offended. In my perhaps biased opinion I feel that the website does a fine job of conveying the general Journler idea. Thinking about it a little more, I felt that going into detail about Journler’s features on the main site would be nearly impossible. Journler does so much! I felt the same way about Journler’s uses.

Journler is a flexible application, and I have intentionally designed it to be that way. “Journaling is just the beginning” sounds cool but that’s not all. Journaling is just the beginning. How could I talk about Journler’s uses when folks are coming up with new ways to use the program every day? “Chronicle, organize, find, connect.” Vague, but how else can I convey the general sense of the program? Those four principles become a unique system in the hands of every new user.

Giving it some more thought I finally admitted to myself that maybe the website doesn’t perfectly clarify Journler’s intentions and potential uses. Of anything on the site the feature blurbs offer the most detail about the program, and they don’t offer that much. The bulk of the site is in fact designed more to “market” Journler. Is that inappropriate? I don’t think so. Is there an absence of substance because of it? Absolutely not. But the site won’t provide the kind of in-depth information that prospective users might be looking for. I don’t think it should.

Journler.com is simple, and I very much like it that way. Details risk turning the site into a maze. I can’t stand those corporate sites with swathes of menus and categores and subcategories that must be navigated before you can get to the information you’re looking for. Got something to show me? Put it out there and don’t make it confusing. I have an appointment with three juggling balls in ten minutes. At the same time, those details should be somewhere. The Journler Forums are an excellect resource for people already using the program and a wiki is in the works, but in all honestly potential users don’t have anywhere to turn.

Well, actually they do, I just haven’t publicized the information and you won’t find it linked from the main Journler site. The Journler Help Files (http://helpfiles.journler.com) go into great detail on what the program does and how to make the most out of it. I put some serious effort into the help files and I think that’s reflected. While they don’t cover potential uses, they do cover almost everything Journler is capable of, from basic entry creation to hidden keyboard shortcuts.

I’m going to start linking to the help files from journler.com. They aren’t as refined as the main site, but they aren’t that bad either, and they will provide the kind of information this individual and I’m sure others are looking for. If you’re wanting more information about Journler, really pining for the details so you can decide if Journler is right for you, check out the Journler Help Files. If you’re a longtime user and just upgraded to 2.5, or if you’ve been using the program for a few weeks now and are wondering how to get more out of it, check out those files as well.

Journler: journaling is just the beginning. The help files will show you why.

Tip: fitting the entry table to the available width

April 3rd, 2007

Adding another category to the blog: tips. Now and then I’ll post a tip on a feature that isn’t obvious. First up is quickly sizing the entry table so that it requires only as much space as you have available.

Journler’s user interface follows the well established iLife model. A list of folders lies to the left, while the contents of the folders are presented in a table at the top of the window. Selecting an item there displays it in the main viewing area below. Variations on this layout are at work in Mail, iTunes and iPhoto.

Each program handles that main table a little differently. In Mail the table always fits the available space, but in iTunes the table extends out as far as is needed. A horizontal scroller lets you move back and forth, bringing the hidden table columns into view.

Journler follows the iTunes model. As you resize the main window the entry table keeps its width. Columns that don’t fit fall off the side but may be easily reached with the scrollbar.

Sometimes though you just want to see all of your columns. You could manually resize each one so that the table fits inside the window perfectly, or you could use the “size to fit” button built right in.

At the top right of the window, just under the favorites bar and occupying the small space where the scrollbar and column headers meet is a button. It doesn’t look like a button — it isn’t supposed to — but it is.

Whenever you want to fit the table’s columns so that they are all visible in the available space, click that guy once. The columns are extended or shrunk so that they perfectly fit inside the window. Goodbye scrollbar, hello date due and entry number.

That’s it for the first web tip. There are a ton of hidden features like this in Journler, and I’ll see about hitting them up as I find the time. In the meantime, keep on writing!

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