Getting started with Logger-TXT OSX Alpha

Welcome to the Alpha of OSX version of Logger-TXT. This OSX app is still really early in development so be careful with using it as there may be versions that mess with your existing log file. I'm personally using this on my own, 45K line log file so I try my hardest not to mess anything up, but still, use at your own risk. Dropbox versioning is good for recovering from mistakes. If you don't have access to the Alpha yet, I am always looking for more testers so get in touch!

Thank you for having an interest in helping to improve this app! I love feedback, bug reports and suggestions to improve the overall system.

Below are some notes to get you started with the OSX app and the Logger-TXT methodology in general if you have never used it before. Sorry for the wall of text but there's lots to explain and set up. Please bear with me.

What is Logger-TXT?

Logger-TXT is a system of logging every day events, however mundane, to a single plain-text file.

Entry Format

Each entry is a single line with the format:

DATE - TYPE (PROJECT) - Primary text to store

Content is stored in a plain text file and in a consistent format for data longevity. If for some reason you don't want to use Logger-TXT anymore, you still have your log file and can do what ever you want with it. Or, if there's another app that works with your log file, have at it! Just remember to keep this file safe as, over time, there could be sensitive information stored in it.

Entries can have "Type" and "Project" metadata attached to it. The naming of these fields are relics of how the system was first designed. If you have suggestions for alternate terminology for these let me know. I've come up dry as I've been using the system as-is for years. I wanted to store entries grouped by a type, say work, and then have a further sub-classification of a project, say client1. These were kept to single words for quick typing and grouping. This was a major improvement to the log file format as I could then separate work from life entries and it was invaluable for time tracking for work projects as I could see how much was done for each client without much effort.

Example Entries

31/01/11 13:30 - WORK (PROJECT) - This is a log note with a type and project
31/01/11 13:35 - WORK - This is a log not with just a type
31/01/11 13:40 - (PROJECT) - This is a log not with just a project
31/01/11 13:45 - This is just a general event which doesn't belong to anything

Setting up Logger-TXT on OSX

Storing your log file

I recommend storing your log file in as Dropbox folder as that will give you versioning, backup and the ability to write to your file from multiple computers. Regardless if you use Dropbox, set up a folder somewhere to store your log file. The app will automatically create a log.txt file within the folder if one doesn't exist. If you already have a log file, you'll be able to set up the app to use that existing file by selecting this folder.


When you launch Logger-TXT you will see a star icon in your menu bar. Click this and select Preferences.

Setting a keyboard shortcut

Keyboard shortcuts are a great way to do things quickly, like bringing up the Logger-TXT input window. Note: A shortcut has to be set to make use of this app currently. Simple click "Record Shortcut" and set what fits for you. I personally use command+k.

Setting the log file location

You also need to set the folder where the log file will be stored/used. By default it will dump the log file in your user's home folder, but that's not that great. Select the dropdown and click "Choose" and then select your Logger folder.

Starting Logger-TXT at startup

Pretty self explanatory here, but set whether or not you want to start Logger-TXT at startup.

Notifications and Sounds

Logger-TXT uses the system notification center so all settings for that are done within System Preferences > Notifications. It may not show up until you've activated it at least once. Personally I go with Banners and the 5 recent items shown in notification center with everything else disabled. You can have sounds if you'd like but they can get annoying.

Setting up OSX to allow for proper UI navigation

Apple has a pretty odd default setting preventing keyboard navigation within UI elements to things other than text inputs. So, for example, you can't tab over to a button in a UI by default. This affects Logger-TXT if you want to use the tab button to tab to the save button and then press space bar to activate.

Follow these Apple instructions to enable tabbing to all controls instead of just text controls.

Check out Tips & Tricks below for a quick way to submit the form and avoid this issue entirely.

Viewing/editing your log file

As it is right now, the OSX version of Logger-TXT is only used for input to the log file. There is no log file viewing or editing capabilities at this point. A GUI for viewing and editing your log file will be added down the road but, at the moment, I'm focusing on input.

I recommend getting the original script set up as it's good for viewing recent entries etc, or you can just view the log file directing in TextEdit or your favourite text editor. If you have any issues getting the original shell script set up, please let me know and I'll help ya out. Getting feedback on that script is also valuable so I can improve the set up instructions.

I understand getting both of these things set up is a lot more work buttttt... Alpha! :) This will all be easier in the future.

Tips & Tricks

Quick form submission

Built into each text input is the ability to submit the form quickly using a hidden keyboard shortcut of command+enter. This pattern is becoming pretty common for submitting forms quickly and it's extremely valuable here. I rarely use the actual save button myself and always use command+enter.

Navigating between inputs

You also have the ability to quickly tab between each field instead of having to use a mouse to select each field.

Providing feedback on the Alpha

You can easily provide feedback for this Aplha through your HockeyApp account using the Send Feedback link in the menubar dropdown.

Helping out

Are you a designer? Want to do some logo work for Logger-TXT? Let me know! :) I'm still trying to sort out the branding for Logger-TXT and can use all the help I can get.

Have any questions or feedback on this document? Leave a comment below and I'll get it addressed!

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