An outliner's "profound and brilliant insight"

Just came across a fascinating 2007 article from the British newspaper “The Guardian” about the late, great, Ecco Pro. In it, columnist Andrew Brown writes that after Ecco’s demise: "the profound and brilliant insight that spreadsheet grids combined with outlining offers the best way to understand complex information has never been followed up."

It seems to me that OmniOutliner - with its use of columns - is almost there. It’s so close. And it wouldn’t take a lot of work to get it the rest of the way. Simply letting us filter an outline based on columnar data would do it.

Link to Guardian article


Thanks for that. I’d still be using Ecco Pro if I hadn’t switched to Mac. For all its limitations by comparison to modern alternatives, it still works very very well indeed.

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I am still using Ecco Pro through Parallels on my Mac with Windows 10. The filtering capabilities of Ecco are unsurpassed. It is amazing that a program that has not had a new release since the late 90s has capabilities that other outlining programs like Omni Outliner can only dream about.

i just purchased Omni OUtliner for my I phone and will give it a try but the people at Omni would do well to look at what Ecco was doing back in 1997.

A day doesn’t go by when I don’t wish OmniOutliner had filtering capabilities.

I’m struggling with a research project right now, using mostly DevonThink and a little OO, because OO can’t filter. It’s so frustrating, since OmniFocus has the ability: they call it Perspectives. All they need to do is give OO the same capability as Perspectives, and OO would offer something no other application can.

Agreed - the lack of filtering is a major drawback to my use of OO. I’m looking for a replacement for Circus Ponies Notebook which had a handful of critical features that OO lacks:

  • Filtering and serious power searching
  • Clipping
  • Tremendous flexibility in adding attachments, drawings, annotations and all sorts

I don’t expect OO ever to support the last of these - I think one of Omni’s great strengths is avoiding feature bloat - but the first two seem essential to me.

Ecco Pro was a product way ahead of its time - it’s a minor tragedy that it died so young