Treecle organizes and structures information


Article from Issue 173/2015

Treecle organizes information into categories and bundles it into a neat tree structure. Although the fairly young program shows some minor weaknesses, it is already fit for use.

A corporate structure, a collection of books or recipes, or just a list of tasks – all of these are information collections that you can store in a structured way, if it makes sense to do so. Popular applications such as spreadsheets or word processors are useful for this task, but they have their limitations. For example, it isn't easy to map information to trees in these programs, and that is precisely the target the free Treecle is aiming for: giving users the option of organizing their information into tree structures.

What Is Treecle?

Treecle's name breaks down to A Tree-like Collection of Linked Elements; the program and the source code are available for free from the website [1], which belongs to Indian physicist Kartik Patel. The open source tool is based on the popular Qt framework [2] and was written by Patel to organize his own collection of music and books.

Once Treecle is built locally, or just unzipped, the program gives users the ability to store text and images in large input boxes; the input can be part of a hierarchy or tree. Each branch of the tree stands for a category that can in turn contain subcategories.

The program is lean and only offers a couple of additional features. Treecle is thus geared for the single purpose of managing all kinds of information in an abstracted way. It thus lacks features such as the ability to export the data collection as an HTML website or as a PDF-based book. Additionally, you will find no password protection or data encryption features either. However, Treecle is still well worth a look: If you want to manage your data in text format with tree-based management, you might just discover that Treecle is precisely the tool you were looking for.

Fast Installation and Commissioning

If you want to take a look at Treecle yourself, you will not find any prebuilt packages in the official repositories of the popular Linux distributions. However, the software is quickly downloaded and ready for use, because the developer provides both prebuilt executables and the source code on his website [3].

Listing 1 shows how to set up Treecle on 64-bit Ubuntu 14.04. This assumes that you downloaded the binary [4] for 64-bit Linux up front. I didn't need to install any additional packages for Treecle because the Qt Framework was already in place on the lab machine.

Listing 1

Treecle Setup


First Impressions

After launching Treecle with the ./treecle command, you will see a clear-cut workspace. Press the icon at the top left (New branch) to create the first branch in your new tree structure or simply a new category. Figure 1 shows what this looks like on Ubuntu 14.04.

Figure 1: Treecle with its clear-cut user interface.

As you store more information in categories, you will find yourself building a tree, in a similar style to LDAP directories. Treecle keeps things simple: Each entry can at the same time be a (sub-)category, and it only contains formatted text and optional images. The first line in an entry or a category is automatically assumed to be the title. All other entries are then normal data.

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