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Quiver

Issue: 14.2 (March/April 2016)
Author: Marc Zeedar
Article Description: No description available.
Article Length (in bytes): 4,347
Starting Page Number: 14
Article Number: 14202
Related Link(s): None

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For years I've used CodeBox as my snippet-keeper of choice (I reviewed it in xDev 9.3), but it hasn't been updated since 2012 and there are some missing features. Now along comes Quiver: The Programmer's Notebook, and I just may have to migrate to it!

While both programs do a good job with handling snippets of code and providing a tagging system to help with finding those code snippets when you later need to reuse them, Quiver is hugely more powerful.

First, Quiver uses the concepts of Notebooks to organize groups of notes. This is good for several reasons: you could create separate Notebooks for different projects or languages, and you can share a whole Notebook for collaboration simply by placing it on a cloud drive (such as Dropbox). You can also use a version control system if you'd like. That's a significant improvement.

Second, Quiver divides each Note into "cells." A cell is a certain type of data. Quiver supports five types: text, Markdown, code, LaText, and Diagram (generate sequence diagrams and flowcharts from text). You can mix and match as many cells as you'd like inside a Note. This makes it easy to mix code (even different languages) and text/comments/instructions, inside the same Note (in Codebox, each snippet must be the same type). You can even import images, PDFs, ZIP archives, and other files!

I love Markdown (xDev is written in Markdown), so I'm stoked to see powerful support for it (including a built-in preview mode).

As for code, Quiver will color syntax 120+ languages: just choose the language of the code cell from a popupmenu. Unfortunately, Xojo isn't listed, but there is a VBScript type which is pretty close. (Perhaps if enough of us lobby for support, Xojo can be added.)

Quiver has lots of advanced features, such as the ability to insert a link from one note to another (every note has its own unique URL the program generates); a "presentation" mode, which turns your Notebook into a slideshow; exporting in HTML, Markdown, or PDF; importing from sources such as Evernote; appearance themes (which you can customize); and even scripts for customizing various aspects of the program. The Quiver data format is JSON, so you could work with it within Xojo if you wanted.

While the program is almost perfect, there are a few glitches. In my testing, some Markdown text disappeared from the preview even though it was visible in the Note. Switching back and forth between data entry and preview windows fixed this, but it was disconcerting.

Also, while the program's insistence on setting each code cell to a particular language is powerful, it does make adding code more complicated, especially if most of your snippets are one particular language. (It would be nice if there was a preference for setting a default language for when you add a new code cell.)

But these are minor quibbles. Overall, Quiver is modern, powerful, and looks to have a bright future.

End of article.