Friday, May 31, 2013

Fargo: An Online Outliner That Saves to Dropbox

An outliner is a text editor that allows text to be organized into discrete sections in a tree structure or hierarchy, allowing users to control the level of detail that is displayed. Text may be collapsed into a node to get a quick overview, or expanded to full detail. Outliners are a great way to collect and organize ideas, take notes, brainstorm and even make presentations.

Fargo is an outliner program based on HTML5 that runs in the cloud inside a browser. While there are many web-based outliner applications, Fargo is only the second one in existence that uses cloud-based storage (the other is The Outliner of Giants that uses Google Drive to store files). Many online outliners use local storage, often the browser’s cache to store files, which is the worst possible place to store anything. The browser’s cache is temporary and can be accidentally deleted by the browser, as a part of scheduled cleaning or by any third-party file cleaning software. Being tied to the browser also means that you are tied to a particular machine, essentially defeating the whole purpose of an online outliner program.

fargo

Fargo files are stored in Dropbox, and the user's data is always fully available to them in an open format, OPML, at all times, in their Dropbox folder. Since most outliner program can read and write OPML files, your data is entirely portable. Anytime you want to leave Fargo, you can pack and go.

Files are stored in a folder called Fargo, named after the app. The preferences are stored in a sub-folder named #prefs. Every time you change a pref or open or close a tab, Fargo saves the status in the #prefs folder. Any other instances of Fargo that you have running observe the changes in this folder and automatically make the appropriate changes. All your Dropbox files remain private, until you choose to make them public, which you can do by creating a public link. Then whoever you give that link to has read-only access to the file.

Fargo is currently free to use, and hopefully will remain so in future. The company does have plans to introduce paid services to Fargo users sometime later.

2 comments:

  1. Thanks for the review but the idea that you're tied to one machine is not correct.

    You can access your outlines anywhere, from any browser, as long as you can log into your Dropbox account.

    That ability is one of the product's biggest strengths.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I was referring to other outliners with local storage.

    I guess the new paragraph for that sentence lead to the confusion.

    ReplyDelete

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