Creating a publishable page with OmniOutliner

I have published a blog post listing all the services I pay for.

I initially drafted this in OmniOutliner, because it’s not really a ‘blog post’ rather an evergreen piece of information.

But I wanted to put it online. Publishing out of OmniOutliner is terrible. I resorted to using a ‘save as markdown’ extension, that didn’t actually work - it only gave me a plain text file.

Then I used iA Writer to reconstruct the post into a markdown format so I could put it on my Blot site.

If there’s one thing that OmniOutliner needs to prioritise, it’s making OmniOutliner a better citizen for web-publishing. I would have loved this post to remain as an outline - sort of how Dave Winer’s Little Outliner can create pages. Instead, I had to revert it to Markdown.

It’s an opportunity going begging, in my opinion.

It’s interesting what role an outliner plays:

  1. For some people they start with an outline - in eg OmniOutliner - and export into a writing tool and stick to the structure of the outline.
  2. For me, and some others, the outline is just to get started. And the finished text deviates wildly from the outline.

If you’re in Category 1 I guess you could go from outline to complete text in one tool. If you’re in Category 2 I somewhat doubt it.

But what I’m learning - from you - is that OmniOutliner isn’t quite up to the “one tool” task.

(I have OmniOutliner but, frankly, don’t really use it. I’m intrigued, though, as to where you think it falls short. So, a little more detail, please.)

I’m probably a little of column A, a little of column B, but I have a desire for a third column C.

My Column C would mean I could write the outline in OO from beginning to end. The outlining process will help me think and structure the writing, but ideally it would enable me to get to a finished product.

What generally happens is I outline, but then I need to share it with somebody, somehow. That might be as PDF, or online. PDFs are okay from OO but they’re locked down as a finished product.

Getting onto the web is a disaster. Any export either loses the outline, or adds cruft in the form of tabs, bullet characters, etc. that end of being more hassle than they are worth.

Basically, OO is a Hotel California. You’re data isn’t going to be checking out again with any ease.

You may be overstating the case that OO is like Hotel California.😀

Before even considering plugins or scripts, I count 15 different built-in ways to export. That’s pretty generous!

Two of these built-in ways are to Microsoft Word, a commonly used format that is easy to convert for use on the web (just export from Word or one of its clones.)

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I get Splinky´s frustration. OO is really nice to outline, so a few weeks ago I was trying to make a Power Point structure out of my beautiful outline, where I have written so many important things. I couldn’t at all do that, inspite of some workarounds and non-reliable tricks I tried.
And this kind of frustration raises an important question: Why should I keep on my disk old OO files, if I dont’t need them anymore? If they where “just” a pretext to start something and now that something is somethingelse in a more fashioned word processor/powerpoint (or whatever), why should I care about it?
Still…I love this tool, although it’s very inneficient for a serious workflow.

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