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Storyspace Tools

MATT: Creating links is easy, but charting and rearranging them is not so easy. Links are shown graphically only in storyspace view, and even there they are readily understandable only if just one link emanates from a space and both ends of the link are at the same level of the hierarchy. An option to print a list of links from within Storyspace was not working properly in the version I was sent, and there is no documented way to export link information to a text file. This means that if you want to do something to just one link out of many which stem from a particular writing space – say, delete it, or reroute it – you have quite a difficult task ahead of you.

The problem is alleviated, but not entirely solved, by special authoring tools that allow you to examine and follow the links coming into and out of any writing space. One of these, called the Roadmap, shows you, in a dialog box, the names of the spaces at the other end of the links coming into and going out of any given writing space. It also shows you the name of each link. But it doesn’t show you what particular text within the writing space each link emanates from; the only way to find that out is to open the writing space and see what happens when you navigate. Another tool, called the Pathmap, shows the names of all named links (paths) coming into or emanating from a given space, and, on request, tells you the names of all spaces on that path. But it tells nothing about just how those spaces are linked. A third tool, called Change Path, allows you to rename or delete a path – that is to say, it lets you rename or delete all links that have a particular name. But this does not let you delete just one link along that path; you can only delete all links with that name, and furthermore there is no way to Undo or Cancel such a powerful deletion, which seems to me sheer insanity. (You can choose Undo from the Edit menu afterwards, but this restores the links without their name; a bug, I suspect.)

A fourth tool is called Change Guards (we explain below what a guard is). It shows you the links emanating from a selected writing space, and lets you change the name or guard of a link, or the destination of the link. This turns out to be the key to how you delete a particular link when it is difficult to directly select the one you want. You find the right link in the Change Guards dialog box; change its name to something unique, like "ZZZ"; then you close that dialog, open the Change Path dialog, and delete path "ZZZ"! Pretty roundabout if you ask me. Moreover, if you choose to change the destination of the link, what happens is not that the link now points to a different space; rather, the space at the end of the link is renamed! So you can see that while I appreciate these tools, I think each of them could use some more work.

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