Thinker documents are not always meant to be read linearly. While this manual was
created using Thinker, many uses of Thinker take more advantage of the Hypertext
and Hierarchical text features. A skilled Thinker user creates documents with
a definite flavor. These documents do not always read well when flattened and printed
on paper and are meant to be read online.
of Thinker documents
If a Thinker document is viewed with a clipping
level of 1, only the first level statements (often these statements are topic names or
section headers) will be shown. It is rare but not impossible to have blocks of text
at this level. An executive summary is presented with the clipping level set at 2. As
the clipping level is increased, more and more details are revealed. If Thinker
is used to design a program one would expect to find code fragments or pseudo code at
the deepest levels of the document.
Information is only presented once. A reader should be able
to start reading a Thinker document at the topic of most interest. All references
to terms that require a definition in the context of the document should always have a
link to the section of the document where the term is defined. The fact the Thinker
will treat any word as a link means that a Glossary section could define all terms and
contain links to the sections that provide further clarification.
Planning a book
When a new term is encountered, the reader double clicks on the word to open a window over
the Glossary section defining that term. If there is more information available then
the Glossary entry will contain a link to the section of the document where the term is
introduced and described in detail. Double clicking on the link can move the Glossary
window to the detailed information.
These links make Thinker ideal for online help where the reader
can go directly to the section of interest and still be able to locate quickly all the
See Through Links make it possible to automatically extract information
from one document into another without double clicking on the link. A new Thinker
document might summarize the information in many other documents by using See Through
Links. When the information in the original documents is updated, the new summary document
will display the changes.
One possible use of Thinker involves coordinating all
the details of a novel. One technique that might be of value is to have several major
sections of a Thinker document for various aspects of the planning process. One
section would have a labeled branch for each character in the book. Other sections would
describe historical events of interests and descriptions of each location. Each of these
sections would have labeled statements for each detail.
The section of the document that describes
the story line (plot) of the book would contain links to the sections containing detailed
information. The plot can be reviewed without having to wade through details that might
confuse the issues. As needed, each reference in the plot to details about characters,
scenes, events, etc. could be checked by jumping to the section of the document where
this information is found. Multiple windows help organize the thought process.
(Anastasia) - The heroine
Lots of stuff about Anastasia
(Scrully) - The hero
Lots of stuff about Scrully
(San Francisco) - Home of Anastasia
Lots of stuff about SF
(San Jose) - Home of Scrully
Lots of stuff about SJ
(New York) - Place of story
Lots of stuff about New York
Anastasia meets Scrully in <New York>
They marry and raise a family
Thinker documents as databases
in Thinker documents are much like indexed records in a database. There is a great
deal of flexibility above the typical database, however. Records are not a fixed format.
Records can contain a variable number of pointers to other records. Records can be part
of a document meant to be read.
Using Thinker to write is like writing inside a database as references can be checked
with the click of a mouse button. Thinker is like a completely free form database.
A Small Example:
(American Software) - Address
(Winner's Circle) - Address
(HT Electronics) - Address
(Nymous-A) - Address
(Huxtable-P) - Address
Screen real estate
Thinker is designed to view and manipulate large documents on a small screen.
Careful use of clipping levels and the statement lines makes it possible to "see" large
portions of a document on a small screen. Selective expansion of individual branches
and the use of multiple windows maximizes the use of the limited size screen.