PerServ - Getting Started with Outline


Following link


Fig. 1 Outline menu and pull-down
You need to be given or discover a link to a PerServ installation. When you click it in your computer (Windows and Mac) or mobile phone (iPhone and Android), you will see a screen something like Fig. 1. What you see varies considerable from link to link. What is constant to follow this getting started is that there must an Outline menu. Hover over it or click it to reveal a pull-down menu. Click "outline".

Controls initially disabled


Fig. 2 Get started with save_file
If the link has never been used before, you will see a screen with most controls disabled. The text is default and is read only. Ignoring the bottom Local Files panel, the only reasonable next step is save the read only text in a file.

Let's take as a task that we want to create a to-do (todo) list. So, we enter "todo.txt" as a file name and click save_file.

Full interface enabled


Fig. 3 Outline main 4 panel interface
We have now created a read-write file named todo.txt. The contents are the Active Scratchpad at the time of save. Now that Outline is working on a read-write file, the formerly disabled controls are now enabled.

We will skip the Active Scratchpad panel now because it will be coved in more detail below.

There are now two lines of controls. In line 1, you can save, open, or delete the todo.txt you just created. In line 2, you can name and save another file. Even if all you want is a single todo list, the ability to save the Active Scratchpad allows making backup.

When you are finished with a session, we urge you to save it. Oftentimes, it will remain in memory without saving. The Active Scratchpad is lost whenever the server reboots, something you can expect 1-2X per month minimum and maybe much more often on some servers.

Note that delete_file, does only that: it deletes the file but does not erase the Active Scratchpad. This is a safety measure. If you delete the file by mistake, you can save the Scratchpad as long as it is not overwritten to a new file. If you do mean to delete the file, the file is deleted without an extra confirmation step.

Editing in textbox


Fig. 4 Editing in textbox
In Fig. 3, click the edit button as shown to arrive at Fig. 4. We type our list over the content of the text box and click ok to save. The list has no particular organization.

Result of edit


Fig. 5 Result of edit in Active Scratchpad
We back in the main view having edited the Active Scratchpad. This is an opportunity to save our work in the Server files panel (Fig. 3).

Move block to right


Fig. 6 Result of moving block to right
We select a block of 4 lines by checking a beginning line in radio button column 1 and ending from column 2. The software will flip the sense of columns 1 and 2, if you check in reverse order.

We click the highlighted button to move right. Fig. 6 shows the result of this move right operation. Lines 3-6 are indented 4 spaces with respect to lines 1-2. Each click moves another 4 spaces.

The move left button next door on the left undoes the effect of move right and acts similarly.

Move block up 2 lines


Fig. 7 Result of moving block up
We move apples and milk up 2 spaces by selecting them, selecting 2 for the number of spaces to move, and clicking up.

The number of spaces to move at any click is one of 20, 10, 5, 2, or 1. Numbers not in this list are reached by combining moves. For example, if we want to move 4 up, we can do this as 2-up-up for 3 taps. We can also do 5-up-1-dn for 4 taps.

If a move will exceed the number of lines available, the selected block will move as far as it can.

Compress (compactify) block


Fig. 8 Compressing a block of text
In a large list, we may want to hide some nested information. Let's say that we are going to Safeway today and Ace several days from now. We are interested in having all the detail for Ace, but not just now. So, we want to collapse any thing under Ace while still having the Ace material available.

Select the range to collapse with the main heading as the first line. Then click the compress link. The result is as shown. The Ace Harware line is underlined to show there is additional material underneath.

The expand button does the reverse. You select what is expanded by using the two columns of radio buttons. In this case, select the two radio buttons on the same line as and just to the left of Ace Hardware.

Successive compress


Fig. 9 Post-compress detail
Note that the next candidate for compress is automatically selected. What this means is that we can quickly compress an entire document efficiently by working through the top level categories going through the file backwards.