Boilermaker is a recent addition to my GestureLaunch macros library.
My job as a psychiatrist-slash-family doc involves a lot of repetitive writing. I've long coveted a way to store a lot of boilerplate in an easy to access fashion. Several utilities allow you to make menus of boilerplate, but every one I'd seen was limited to a single-level menu. Scrolling through long lists of items was too slow and cumbersome to be useful.
I decided that I needed a utility that would allow me to organize my boilerplate in a hierarchical fashion and select the bit I needed from a multi-level popup menu. Then I had the idea that I could slurp the data up off of a notepad outline, already in hierarchical format. That was fine, but I found that I quickly exceeded the 30,000 character limit for notes in SuperNotePad. I had no idea my appetite for boilerplate would be so voracious!
The last blow to simplicity came when I decided that I really wanted to be able to embed outline information into my boilerplate.
The end result is this rather complex GestureLaunch macro that performs a very simple function. When invoked, it pops up a hierarchical menu. Choosing an item from the menu either pops up the next level submenu or, if there is no submenu, inserts the text of the item at the current insertion point. As a bonus, if the boilerplate contains any backslash characters then the macro simulates holding down the command key while typing the character (eg. "\=" will, if you're inserting into a Notepad outline, create a subtopic at the same level).
The boilerplate itself is created by placing outline notes in a folder named "Boilerplate" in the built-in Notepad. You can have an unlimited number of such notes, so the total size of your boilerplate library is limited only by memory (all the boilerplate has to fit in your heap while the menu is displayed). I have set up GestureLaunch to invoke the macro with a double-tap on the Notepad icon. I can instantly create large, complex documents that need only fine tuning before they're ready for the medical chart.
I am too busy to do extensive testing, so I cannot make any guarantees about how well it will work on your MessagePad. I do know of a few issues:
I run Super Notepad and More Folders from Stand Alone. I have not tested Boilermaker on a MessagePad that does not have these products installed. I may have inadvertently made use of an index or label in the Notepad soup that isn't available with the standard Notepad and filing system. If you find this to be true, please let me know. I will try to fix it.
Boilermaker requires GestureLaunch 3 or (for Dash Board users) the GestureLaunch Engine. I use a couple of features of GestureLaunch that (as far as I know) aren't supported by the other fine macro packages out there. If I had lots of time or thought there was enough demand, I would make it generic. (Hey, whadda want for nothin'?)
An undocumented feature of either the Newton OS or GestureLaunch will cause the Newton to think there is a keyboard connected once you insert any boilerplate that uses embedded command keys. As far as I know, this is only cosmetic (menus will show command key equivalents and default buttons in slips will be highlighted).
There is virtually no error checking, so doing strange things like putting a plain (non-outline) note in the Boilerplate folder will cause an error or possibly even destroy the universe as we know it.
There is no way to have Boilermaker insert the backslash (\) character.
When you choose a submenu, the parent menu disappears. I much prefer this simpler screen display to one that shows all levels of the menu, but this means that you cannot back out of the hierarchy if you choose the wrong submenu. You have to start over from the beginning.
If you use Boilerplate and find it useful, please send me an email. I would love to hear that it was making life better elsewhere on the planet.
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Date created: April 4, 1999
Last modified: August 15, 1999
Copyright © 1999 Ron Risley