Did you ever feel that if you could just get organized your whole life would suddenly make sense, that you would become rich, famous, and proficient in the art of love making? While the number of notebook/outliner/organizer applications available for OS X may not be indicative of the validity of that belief, certainly an argument can be made that people are willing to spend money for such software. Enter Hog Bay Software and the release of Mori 1.2.
Mori uses the ubiquitous three-pane layout and the word "view" many times in its user interface, the viewer window composed of three—suprise—views: Sources View, Entries View, and Note Text View. In overly-simplified terms, folders have entries which have notes, but oversimplification fails to capture the open-ended, free-spirited, almost hippiesque (but without the ugly clothes and STDs) quality of Mori.
Sources View is the apex of Mori's hierarchy, displaying folders and files in the familiar tree structure, but with Mori you are not limited to that structure. First, there are Smart Folders, saved searches with live updating. Second, there are aliases, which allow for multiple views of data within the hierarchy. Taking an example from the User Guide, a book might be divided into chapters and subchapters in the Sources View. A new folder might then be created in which aliases to all subchapters related to a particular character can be listed. Changes made to an aliased entry are reflected in all other aliased entries. For me, Sources View is the table of contents for any book, review, or other writing project.
Entries View alternately displays the contents of a selected folder from the Sources View, or the results of a search. Entries are whatever you want them to be, an outline element, a diary entry title, a to-do item, a recipe ingredient, whatever. The characteristics of an entry are defined using columns, including user defined columns that have all sorts of Big Brain fields associated with CoreData. As for searching, results are ranked and it's fast, as in seemingly instantaneous when searching through a 70,000 word novel. For me, entries are the perfect outline, located next to both the table of contents and the relevant chapter text.
Note Text View displays the text and other media associated with a selected item. The word processor is TextEdit with extras, the basics being rulers, simple styles and lists. The extras are basic tables, highlighting, and linking, both within a notebook and outside it. The linking is pretty cool; a contextual menu with cascading folders allowing quick connection to other parts of a project. As a word processor, Mori is lean, focused on writing over styles and formatting. For me, the text editor is perfectly suited to writing and not made by Microsoft (that would that be a tautology, I think).
Mori's innards are built on CoreData technology, whatever that means besides better searching and the fact each digital notebook is an OS X package containing two files, a search index and an SQLite database. This is probably good for technical reasons that are behind my comprehension. What's not so good about Mori is exporting, which creates individual files for individual entries in several formats, including TXT, RTF, DOC, OPML, XML, HTML, but exporting could do better at assembling a document. There are AppleScripts for related functionality, but appending entries into a clipping is a pretty lame form of output. The good news here is that Mori is pretty extensible. Besides AppleScripts, there are plug-ins, as well as a plug-in architecture for developers. Hopefully, someone will create a plug-in that can create a single document more easily, or such a feature will be implemented due to demand under Mori's user-driven development model.
So, who is Mori for? Well, it depends on your needs. For me, the goal is creative writing but the requirements (word processor, outliner, simple database) are likely familiar to any number of tasks. Mori is not so great as a general-purpose database of all media. However, while feature importance is subjective, what can be objectively compared is price:
Circus Ponies Notebook $49.95Omni Outliner $39.95DEVONthink Personal $39.95Yojimbo $39.95Mori $27.95Outliner4X Pro $24.95Chalk and Sidewalk $0.99 (free if you steal from children)
Mori not only falls toward the low end of pricing for digital notebooks, the developer offers Mori under a pricing scheme that is one step away from an unreconstructed communist utopia. Upgrades are free; the developer asking for donations when users find features useful. You can even get the source code if you are a registered user, so if price is a feature, then Mori compares favorably to the competition. Comparing Mori beyond price is difficult, as choosing a digital notebook is an intensely personal choice, like a favorite soda or condom. I chose Mori because its width and girth are a good fit for me, but were I to try to descibe it objectively I would say Mori helps get you organized without getting in the way.