Potential improvements

A place for users to ask each other questions, make suggestions, and discuss Bookends.
dtoub
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Joined: Sun Aug 26, 2018 1:59 pm

Potential improvements

Post by dtoub »

Migrated here over a year ago from EndNote and very happy I did. That said, even though Bookends rocks, there are a few things that I'd love to have considered for future enhancements:
  • Better window management: Bookends always fails to open in full screen mode, even when quit in full screen mode, unlike every other app I have on my Mac
  • Tabs. It would be great when doing an Online Search to have that search open in a new tab within the same parent window as Bookends, rather than in another window entirely. Alternatively, it would be nice if Bookends remembered the location of that online search window from my last session and, if placed on a second monitor, opened there instead of behind the main Bookends window. A tab might be a good compromise however.
  • When in full screen mode, a PDF attachment fills the entire screen. It would be helpful to be able to drag the top of the screen down a bit to see the reference list and then have it also stick for the next time.
  • When looking at a web page, it would be great for gestures to work (eg, swipe left to go to the previous web page, etc)
  • Clicking on email icons in all journal web sites I've tried using the built-in browser never triggers an email.
  • An icon or contextual menu item to open a web site in Safari/default browser would be helpful

Jon
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Re: Potential improvements

Post by Jon »

Thanks for the suggestions, I'll add them to the feature request list.

One note about PDF full screen. The "focused" view is by design. We suggest you add references you want to switch between to the PDF tab bar (assuming they have PDFs), which works in full screen. If you still want the full screen utility with access to the reference list, click on the green button with the Option key held down. This fills all of the screen except the menu bar at the top, and you have access to all panes as usual.

Also, we have a contextual menu for opening associated web pages in your default browser: right-click on the reference and choose "Go To URL". And there is the menu File -> Go to URL, which will take you to any site you have in the Bookends bookmarks window.

Jon
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MattHedstrom
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Joined: Mon Jun 08, 2020 11:11 am

Re: Potential improvements

Post by MattHedstrom »

Something else along these lines I'd love to see -- really a UI design matter -- and that is, an option to have attachments open in a full height column between the reference list and the righthand information column. This would be great for working on a large monitor, such as a 27" inch iMac.

I am thinking specifically about the various Preview modes in Devonthink, which I and many others use in conjunction with Bookends, and which offers this option. It works beautifully, and is extremely useful. It maximizes utility for the large, wide-screen monitors that are increasingly common.

Jon
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Re: Potential improvements

Post by Jon »

This is on our request list. It's a major undertaking, so we'll see.

Jon
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MattHedstrom
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Re: Potential improvements

Post by MattHedstrom »

Great to hear -- thanks for considering it!

vinpages
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Joined: Mon Jun 15, 2020 11:41 am

Re: Potential improvements

Post by vinpages »

You get my upvote for the fullscreen improvement.
I love using apps in fullscreen so I can just swipe with my trackpad from one fullscreen app to the other.
But I cannot do this with bookends because I have to quit the fullscreen mode each time I want to access my library...

It would be great if the 4 sub-windows of bookends stayed all visible (and resizable) in fullscreen mode, rather than just showing the pdf...

Thanks for the great work.

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Re: Potential improvements

Post by Jon »

No, that's a feature, not a bug. If you want to have all panes available in an expanded view, click on the green button with the Option key held down. The window will expand to full screen but still show the menu bar (and all Bookends window panes).

Jon
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vinpages
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Re: Potential improvements

Post by vinpages »

I would love to have all the panes available, but not in expanded view (where the bookend window is hiding many other windows), but un fullscreen mode. In that case, there menu bar does not show, and I can swipe from one app to the other.

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Re: Potential improvements

Post by Jon »

The current full screen view works as intended, to let you focus on the PDF at hand. This "focused" view is intentional (and actually required a fair amount of work to implement). I offered one workaround for having a near-full screen view. Another is to add references you want to move between to the PDF tab bar, which works in full screen view. They may or may not be a help.

Jon
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vinpages
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Re: Potential improvements

Post by vinpages »

I understand and I am not saying it's a bug. But it would be a great improvement to be able to change and customize the panes view in full screen mode.
Because in the current state, Bookends is not fully functional in fullscreen mode since we have to escape the fullscreen mode to be able to access the list of references.
As a comparison, when I open Mail in fullscreen mode, I can still access the different panes of the app. It is not focusing only on the email I am reading...

bilbomacuser
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Re: Potential improvements

Post by bilbomacuser »

As a new user to Bookends, but having used Papers for about 13 years (Since it was released) and a Mac user since the beginning of the 1990’s I’m facing some usability issues with Bookends.

Firstly, when I first imported some papers into Bookends I double clicked on the reference - I was so surprised that it didn’t open the paper for me to read that I assumed the pdf hadn’t attached properly. It was surprisingly unintuitive to have to use menus to get it to display the list of references with the attachment displayed below and the metadata on the right, and then to type control-command-F to be able to read the paper (in full screen mode). Obviously clicking the green dot top left goes to full screen, but that’s not intuitive to read a paper.

I agree with the above posted - you should expect full screen mode in current versions of macOS to just give you the same view but without the window. It also then allows you to use spaces which I find quite handy when frequently switching between a few frequently used apps.

When I thought about it - you do get some software (probably Music) where you double click on a video and it plays full screen. So perhaps you could expect to double click on a reference in Bookends and have it open the paper full screen. However, as with the music app, you still expect the ‘library’ view to be full screen if you want it that way, and for the video (or in bookends the paper) to open full screen in another space.

I don’t want my comments about Bookends to be taken negatively - it was a real struggle to find which app to move to from Papers 3 - and I decided on Bookends and have paid for the Mac app and the iOS full version and pro features. I also acknowledge that Bookends does seem to be very capable - and through the excellent help of support, and looking through the extensive pdf manual, have found that almost everything I’ve wanted to do is possible. I also acknowledge that if new users don’t like different ways of doing things they will get used to them over time (similar to when you hear Windows users saying they find macs difficult to use - it’s not because macs are difficult to use, it’s because they used to something different). However, as a long time Mac user, and being familiar with how Mac apps generally work, and how they should be, as far as possible, intuitive. I cannot see any downside to double click on a reference to read it - currently double clicking on a reference does nothing so it’s not as though some existing users will be used to that doing something else and confusing them.

One thing I really don’t like about Books on the Mac is that it opens PDFs in Preview (or other default pdf reader). It might suit some people to be able to set a preference for this, but as a long time Papers 3 user I much prefer to have a reading mode within the app and not to have it open the pdf in a different app.

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Re: Potential improvements

Post by Jon »

Double clicking on a reference *does* do something, unless it's disabled in preferences.

Look in preferences, List tab. There is a setting for Double Click:

1. Open attachment pane (which would be the PDF)
2. Open edit pane/window
3. Do nothing

So, set it to #2, then double click to read the PDF. If you want full screen view, there are multiple trivial ways to do this.

As for the focused PDF view, as I believe I said above, it's a feature, not a bug, and it's not going to change.

Having said that, in the next update we will be introducing yet another way to interact with PDFs, and in this case the full screen view will be identical to the normal view (i.e. all panes available).

Jon
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bilbomacuser
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Joined: Sun Jul 19, 2020 2:39 am

Re: Potential improvements

Post by bilbomacuser »

Thanks for the reply.

I take that back - double clicking does do something - and as you say it's even customisable within Preferences. Unfortunately (unless I'm missing something - which is quite likely!) it seems that the best I can do is get it to show the paper at the bottom of the screen so not really usable for reading. Yes it's trivial to click the green button, or type control-command-F, or use the View menu - but none of them are nearly as intuitive as double clicking on the reference!

If the next update brings full screen mode identical to the normal view, will double clicking on the reference then switch to focused PDF view? If so then that would achieve 99% of what I'm looking for. It would be nice to also have the same functionality in windowed mode too however (but sounds as though that's not going to happen).

A quick and easy way to toggle to between 'library' mode and 'reading' mode is what I'm looking for.

Jon
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Re: Potential improvements

Post by Jon »

No, going to full screen isn't automatic in any Bookends functions. Many people, including me, don't like full screen, and unlike you I do not think it's intuitive to switch to it unprompted. There's nothing intuitive about it, it's just what you're used to. We provide ample and, as we both agree, trivial means to invoke full screen. In the next update, you'll be able to switch between the focused view and full window view with a keystroke (although I'l imagine most people will stick with one or the other). Whether you're in full screen or not is an independent choice.

Jon
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bilbomacuser
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Re: Potential improvements

Post by bilbomacuser »

Thanks. I think I’m missing something. How do I read a paper in Bookends without either opening the pdf in another app or going full screen? That’s what I’m struggling with. I want to view the pdf the full height of the screen within bookends. Preferably as the only item filling the screen! (Ie same as the focus view but without going full screen).

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