I have decided to change tack with how I discuss ConnectedText (CT) on this blog. First I thought I’d proceed in a linear manner by introducing interested new users to CT through a series of step-by-step tutorials. Unfortunately the writing of full-blown illustrated tutorials is very time-consuming and obviously I’m pretty busy with writing the PhD itself at the moment. So while I’ll carry on working on the longer but less frequent tutorial posts in the background, I will also start posting occasional short musings on CT as and when they occur to me.
So you may wonder, what compels someone to spend time writing blog posts about a piece of software? The short answer to that is that I simply love CT. If it were a woman, I would want to marry it. Is this a short term infatuation or a long-term relationship? Well, I’ve been attracted to the idea of CT for many years: I’ve been circling around it like a moth around a street lamp. However, we’ve been now in a serious relationship for 7 months and things are going really well…
Why do I love CT so much? I think it comes down to flexibility. It allows me to do things that other mainstream software just won’t. For example, let’s take the interface [check out the screenshots on CT’s homepage]. It’s totally modular and flexible. Let’s say I don’t like the Table of Contents pane (Outliner pane, Navigator pane, etc., etc.) docked on the left? Well, I can dock it on the right, or have it as a third docked pane on the right, or drag it out altogether and have it as an independent window on a separate monitor.
Okay, there might be other software that can also do that to some extent (Ultra Recall comes to mind). However, CT’s flexibility also extends to its conceptual use, the way you use it to organise and analyse existing ideas or develop new ones. The reason I talk about it as a CAQDAS software on this blog is because even though it hasn’t been designed as such, it allows me to model thought processes and work flows that usually only dedicated CAQDAS can do. That’s what I call flexibility (which leads to versatility). And it’s just amazing to hear the wildly different uses that people adapt CT for. Just the other day I heard of someone who uses CT 90% of the time for numerical work. So it’s not just ConnectedText but ConnectedNumbers as well!
Finally, there is the flexibility and responsiveness of the developer, Eduardo Mauro. He uses the CT Forum actively to elicit ideas from his users on how to improve the software, tests ideas on them and implements suggestions and requests with amazing speed. CT is an evolving creature that not only is developing in front of your eyes but you can actively take part in shaping it. Now try doing that with [substitute your favourite big name global software company]!