February 28, 2008
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Tinderbox 4.2

Tinderbox 4.2

Tinderbox 4.2 is out. Some actions and rules should be a little faster. Lots of nice little improvements.

The big one is that you can now write your export templates inside Tinderbox. This makes it much easier to create new export formats. That's usually the province of Web export — the page you're reading, for example, was assembled from a bunch of Tinderbox notes.

But it's also handy in the workaday world. For example, I've been inviting people to the WikiSym program committee. Naturally, the conference chair wants an updated list of who's on the committee; that's easy to export. But he'd also like a list he can plug right into the wiki: it is a Wiki conference, after all! That export template is easy, too. The wiki wants each name on its own line, like this:

* Mark Bernstein, Eastgate (USA)

So. I made a note, told Tinderbox that it was to be a template, and wrote out the template:

* ^value($Name), ^value($Organization) (^value($Country))

A few days later, we realized we'll need to be able to email the committee:

"^value($Name)" <^value($Email)>

Now, this could be cleaner if we knew you'd want to do this. But I didn't know I'd need to export to a wiki until my conference boss said, "It would save a lot of time if only...". Setting it up took about a minute.

I just got email this morning from a user who had moved one project to a dedicated product that specializes in that one task. That was lovely for a while. But, when something came up and she needed a new feature or format, she was stuck; in Tinderbox, she can just sit down and get it done.