Tinderbox Is Not a Car Dealer


When it comes to export, most of our applications are like car dealers. They offer a limited set of models with seemingly endless options for customization that change slightly from year to year. Our job is to choose from among the available options in order to satisfy our whims and needs. Most of us most of the time choose “print” and are happy with the sheets of paper this produces.

Tinderbox isn’t a car dealer. Tinderbox asks “How do you want to travel?” and accepts that “by car,” “by teleportation,” “vicariously” and “time” are all legitimate responses.

The obvious problem with this is: how do we go about telling Tinderbox what we want?

The less obvious (but vastly more difficult) problem is: how do we decide what we want?

The trick I think is to start by sketching out a concrete example of what you want your final product to be. Often I use a pencil and paper. Then work backwards from there.

The good news is that for many of us most of the time the desired output will be a printed page. This means we know exactly what the format’s parameters are and can imagine clearly what we want to have in hand when the export is done. Because we can imagine what we want, making a template to create a printed page is straightforward, easy to manage, and a good place to begin figuring out how Tinderbox export templates work.