Welcome to export heaven

Table of Contents

What is BoxPress?

BoxPress is a versatile hypermedia export system for Tinderbox users. Its huge collection of macros, stamps, templates, and content-specific prototypes give writers and thinkers painterly dominion over page frame, style, structure, and granularity.

It has an export control system like no other. By putting Tinderbox inheritance relations in the service of layout, BoxPress lets you accomplish sweeping effects with simple pop-up menus and awakens dormant powers of formal artistry. By giving you effortless control over all aspects of design—both layout and enriched content—BoxPress provides a turbo-charged creativity experience unlike any other platform.

The inviting emptiness

Tinderbox is the place for formal emergence, a DIY environment that promises to produce deeper insight into your own ideas by forcing you to invent the in-forming and relational elements from scratch. Less is more when it comes to free-form writing and structuring.

But when it comes time to export, this liberating emptiness becomes a serious impediment. Unless you have lots to time to code your own export system from scratch, you will have to use the built-in HTML export template, HTML page. The results are not even usable for proofreading since heading levels cannot be distinguished, and Basic Links (the ones you drag) export properly only for the topmost note. To be fair, it is not meant for actual use, only as a proof-of-concept. Still, someone may actually use it an expect good results. BoxPress fills the Tinderbox export gap by functioning as a generic universal Tinderbox export system, or GUTES for all your Tinderbox projects.

But BoxPress is much more than just a webpage factory—it is also a uniquely inspiring writing environment. With 52 macros to embed anything you can imagine into your text flow; 9 content prototypes for books, articles, quotes, people, events, and more (each with its own display and export scheme); 33 stamps that arrange do everything from setting the Key Attributes Table for all notes, toggling SmartExpression segments, restoring defaults—and even arranging your notes into an OutMap that you can stylize via control panel—BoxPress will revolutionize your writing experience. BoxPress will even convert your Map Views into fully functional HTML Imagemaps. But best of all are the plethora of Popup options that give you instant and effortless control over every aspect of your export.

Use cases

With BoxPress you can export your projects in a whole spectrum of styles. (Click HERE for detailed DIY instructions.)

Academic essay factory

With its plethora of export options and granularity control, BoxPress makes an excellent paper and essay factory.

To create an Essay Factory and export all of your content webpages as in a clean, colorless, and unadorned format: (1) add the NOFRAME frame option to normal_note, and (2) toggle the heading colors widget to OFF.

TinderPoint Presentation

BoxPress can export any project, simple or complex, as a self-contained TinderPoint Presentation that will run on any browser. It comes complete with automatic pager, sophisticated navbar, and HTML Imagemaps. Making an HTML Imagemap takes only 20 seconds. Assign it to any or all notes in your presentation to serve as both guide and description. Use different maps for different sections for a zoom-in effect.

To create a TinderPoint Presentation: (1) remove the Banner and sidebar from normal_note, (2) stock the navbar with dropdowns and bookmark links, and (3) assign HTML Imagemaps to different sections. Your export will function as hypermedia presentational slideshow that will run on any browser.

Research Browser

BoxPress can export your notes as an academic research and discovery system. Sometimes the presentation of information can aid in the discovery process. BoxPress has some advanced export features that aid your pursuit of further discovery.

Research Prototypes receive distinct layouts, with Featured Image and a metadata Undertitle tailored for each. The PanelZoom macro automatically links your hypotheses to both their source note and to online resources automatically. BoxPress’s peerless granularity control lets you determine reveal and conceal with total precision. And it’s a breeze to use agents to make gorgeous sectioned synoptic SmartButton indices.

To create a Research Browser: (1) remove theBanner from normal_note, (2) suppress dating, (3) stock the navbar and make it sticky, and (4) reinvent the sidebar.

Online educational website

The Research Prototype Export Schemes are perfect for creating text-book type layouts. Event lists, biographical indices, bibliographies, and quote lists are all easily accomplished with agents.

To create an Educational Website: (1) suppress dating, (2) stock the navbar, and (3) be liberal with HTML Imagemaps.

Canonical blog

If you do nothing, your notes will export as PAGES and POSTS inside a blog with automatic Home, Categories, and Archives pages. The sidebar includes an About Blurb and list of categories that are links to category notes (prototype cat_note). Each cat-note contains a Table of Contents and list of teaser posts. The Home page contains teasers of the most recent n posts (a key attribute).

BoxPress by the numbers

17 Prototypes. 10 for content, 2 to automate map design, 1 that turns your LinkMap into a FillMap, and 10 for backstage use. The Content Prototypes include eight Research Prototypes, each with its own customized Export Scheme (appearance in your export) and Display Scheme (appearance inside Tinderbox).

58 macros. 31 for text, 16 for media, and 5 for technical use. Plus there are 18 other backend macros to help make templates (and other macros) modular and readable.

12 Background options. Add (and combine) the webpage color, texture, and image you have assigned in the Styles Dash. Override them all with local values, and then bequeath them to their children for inheritance-based background control.

6 Frame options. Remove navbar, Banner, sidebar, and footer. Move the sidebar to the left. Or remove all frame amenities at once.

30 Export options. uses simple key attributes—most of them pre-populated pop-up menus—to control a wide variety of options:

Routing options—Divert or conceal the note as a whole in its various incarnations. E.g., make a bonafide footnote note, or omit the note from the Table of Contents, or omit the image in its SmartButton.

Width options—Maximize Text Area width or spotlight your Imagemap.

Navbar options—Create dropdowns, separators, download buttons, and bookmark links.

Page element options—Toggle title, date, featured image, Table of Contents, Buttontops, and incoming Basic Links.

Child inclusion and suppression—Suppress all children, or force their export as SmartButtons (i.e., even when they’ve already exported as subsections).

Granularity options—Append children as seamless, bounded, auto-balanced columns, table rows, or SmartButtons.

Export numbering—Numbering the children.

34 templates. With 5 user templates meant for use with ^include^.

33 WYSIWYG dashboard widgets. These both store and display the 121 currently active style settings in the Styles Dash.

121 individual CSS style settings. You can GRAB and SAVE them to one of the four Theme Buttons. BoxPress imports their values into the exported CSS files.

33 stamps. Save more time that you ever thought possible with these courteous and ingenious stamps. Use stamps to set the desired Key Attributes Table for all notes, to toggle SmartExpression segments, to restore defaults, and even to arrange your notes into an OutMap that you can stylize and structure via control panel.

17 infrastructural notes. These create the directory structure for your website. Special webpages that are automatically created include Home (with teasers), Pages, About, The 404 Page, Archives, Categories, and the individual category pages (with Table of Contents and teasers).

Export folder. BoxPress ships with fully loaded export directory complete with—

  • an updates folder for your Download macro
  • an uploads folder for audio, video, and PDFs
  • a js folder with 9 Javascript files
  • a css folder with 9 css files (three of which are updated when you export)
  • a font folder with 9 great fonts
  • an img folder with IMAGEMAPS and BoxPressThemes directories. The former has 9 sample Imagemap JPGs. The latter contains five handcrafted Theme Folders, each with the seven mandatory background files plus extras for customization.

What you get

BoxPress gives you a copious buffet of ready-mades.

Amazing Agents

2 TOP Agents you’ll always use—QuickAgent (ready for anything) and History (to find your recent labors in the last minutes, hours, or days).

4 CORE Agents to manage and display export status. Ready POSTS rise to the top; non-ready ones darken and move to a lower tier. Both tiers are sorted by $blogDate. Notes can export as their own page, be removed from the Table of Contents, or skipped entirely. All via pop-up menu.

7 FIND Agents with nifty control panel interfaces.

Beautiful backgrounds

Background settings are inherited from the Styles Dash (in conjunction with the Theme Folders specified therein), and they are triggered per-note (or pre-prototype) and can also be overridden simply by supplying filename values.

Add (and combine) BKG-COLOR, BKG-TEXTURE, and BKG-IMAGE trigger options to activate the color, (repeating) texture, or (fixed) image set in the Styles Dash. Adding any trigger will automatically re-frame the Text Area in expectation of the newly visible background. With BKG-XFIT and BKG-YFIT you can stretch to fit. To float the Text Area and apply the color from the dash, add CARD. Color, texture, image, and card color can all be overridden by local values and bequeathed to their children for inheritance-based background control.

Background settings of Special Pages
As of version 1.8.0, all background information for the special pages is saved (and applied) via the Theme Buttons. The special pages are:

  • Home (with teasers)
  • Pages
  • About
  • Archives
  • Categories
  • and the cat_note prototype (inherited by the individual category pages)

About backgrounds and Theme Folders

Convenient Control Panels

BoxPress implements an ingenious re-gearing of all things interface that turns the entities formerly known as windows into full-blown control panels. View Pane Columns, Key Attribute Tables, and even text fields are put to work as perfectly elegant widgets that manage every aspect of your writing, structuring, and exporting experience.

SmartExpression Control Panel

SmartExpression Control Panel (What’s in a name?)

Here is Outline View serving as Control Panel that governs SmartExpression composition for your Prototypes:

To make your Prototypes Tab into a veritable SmartExpression Control Panel, just do View > Use Columns. This lets you easily compose your Content Prototype SmartExpressions in the View Pane.
To make your Prototypes Tab into a veritable SmartExpression Control Panel, just do View > Use Columns. This lets you easily compose your Content Prototype SmartExpressions in the View Pane.

Agent Control Panels

BoxPress agents are so user friendly. Each agent has its own ultra-friendly interface.


Great for finding something quick. Just enter your query and update. The Key Attributes Table has become a very simple Control Panel.
Great for finding something quick. Just enter your query and update. The Key Attributes Table has become a very simple Control Panel.

Recent History Control Panel (What have I been working on?)

Just type in 48 hours or even 29 minutes and that’s exactly what you’ll get. Here, the agent’s Key Attributes Table serves as a Recent History Control Panel.
Just type in 48 hours or even 29 minutes and that’s exactly what you’ll get. Here, the agent’s Key Attributes Table serves as a Recent History Control Panel.

Find that word, but only in that container

First paragraph: container (of any distance). Second paragraph: the string. Here, the agent’s text field is the control panel—container followed by content.
First paragraph: container (of any distance). Second paragraph: the string. Here, the agent’s text field is the control panel—container followed by content.

Find by Tag with all Tags listed

Collect notes by $blogTag—with all options present before you. Clicking the checkbox updates the list. Now that’s a control panel!
Collect notes by $blogTag—with all options present before you. Clicking the checkbox updates the list. Now that’s a control panel!

Find by Status with all Statuses listed

Collect notes by $blogStatus—with all options present before you. Same as above.
Collect notes by $blogStatus—with all options present before you. Same as above.

Find by created date within a span

First paragraph: start date. Second paragraph: end date. Here, you use the text field to create a range.
First paragraph: start date. Second paragraph: end date. Here, you use the text field to create a range.

Find by modified date within a span

First paragraph: start date. Second paragraph: end date. Same as above.
First paragraph: start date. Second paragraph: end date. Same as above.

Find a value for any attribute

Do Get Info and just change the first word. Here, you would just double-click on Authors (leave the $ alone) and type in the new attribute.
Do Get Info and just change the first word. Here, you would just double-click on Authors (leave the $ alone) and type in the new attribute.
Then type the value you are looking for in the text  field.
Then type the value you are looking for in the text field.

OutMap Control Panel

Here is Key Attribute Table determining the exact specs for transforming a formless Map View into a perfectly arranged outline, called an OutMap. This can then be turned into a perfectly functioning HTML Imagemap in three steps:

Control Panel
Control Panel

The result—a perfectly functional HTML Imagemap! (After clicking on an image-link in the iframe below, right-click and select Back to return to the Imagemap):

OutMap Agent Control Panel

And here is an OutAgent Control Panel. Not only form, but also content is determined by control panel settings. The value of $outDepth determines the depth to which the agent extracts the Imagemap buttons:

Control Panel
Control Panel

Elegant export control

This export option popup encourages structural meddling.

Tinderbox has long had the potential to be the best writing tool in the world. All it needed was the right infrastructure and … something that did not yet exist. Tinderbox enriches experience of intra-Tinderbox gardening with various tools—prototypes, agents, stamps, views, and links. It also enriches the structuring of export with various tools—templates, boilerplate, macros, agents, and prototypes. These can all be used to impose form on export. But something was missing—something that, when added, would make the modular (note-based) compositional style of Tinderbox writing the most powerful structuring UX in the world. That missing ingredient was the export option pop-up menu.

Here is what you can control via pop-up using BoxPress:

Exports are prototype-specific

All frame amenities can be suppressed

Insane navbar control

Page content

Granularity options

Perfect numbering

Economical with zero redundancy

HTML imagemaps

BoxPress makes good on an idea that always felt like Tinderbox destiny: an easy way to export your Map Views as HTML imagemaps. Imagine if you could add all the beauty (and information) of spatial hypertext to your webpage and use the notes in that image as links to those notes’ webpages (a LinkMap)? And what if you could, just as easily, use those same notes as buttons to fill a sidebar with the clicked note’s text (a FillMap)?

It would be like Tinderbox living inside your browser.

Surely, this has been the destiny of Tinderbox. But who has time to export a Map View and then painstakingly trace over its notes inside Dreamweaver (or whathaveyou)? And what about scaling? The invisible clickable areas that empower an HTML imagemap do not automatically resize.

But what if the imagemap’s clickable areas could resize themselves along with their underlying images?

And what if you could have this imagemap function either as a LinkMap or as a FillMap—at the flip of a switch? A LinkMap would take you to the webpage Vincent Price, while a FillMap would remain on the screen and neatly load the body text of Vincent Price into a sidebar on larger browsers, and below the map on phones and tablets?

Most importantly, how would your thinking, mapping, and writing change if you knew it wouldn’t be locked inside of Tinderbox, that the meanings and relations expressed could be enjoyed and acted upon by someone besides you?

In short, what if the informational objects you created (exported) with Tinderbox included not only text links but spatial hypertext?

That dream is now a reality. If you have a Map View that looks good, you can go from zero to responsive LinkMap or FillMap in 30 seconds.

LinkMap vs FillMap

Converting between LinkMap and FillMap

Impeccable includes

Notes outside the natural outline order of your export can be embedded inside your export with ease. To drop an outsider note and its children into your flow, make an alias of it and place the alias anywhere inside the outline structure. If the original has children, these will also be exported and properly nested.

The other method is to use the ^include^ export code. BoxPress lets you include notes in a variety of useful formats:

  • As three kinds of seamless subsection. Choose from full subsection (title, color, Undertitle, body), plain subsection (title, body), and plain body (no title). Just use the bstSub, bstListGroup, and bstTextRich templates.
  • As a SmartPanel. Every SmartPanel includes online links and Undertitle. Its body text will be either that of the original (bstPanel template, or IncPanel macro) or new text that you’ve supplied inside the macro (PanelArticle and PanelZoom macros).
  • As a Well or Window. (IncWell and IncWin macros).
  • As a SmartButton (IncSB macro).
  • as an Iframe (Iframe macro).

Undertitles are automatically included for subsections, SmartPanels, and SmartButtons.

Click below for full details:

Marvelous macros

Indulge your creative impulsivity with BoxPress macros. At the heart of BoxPress is an artisan’s toolshed of well-honed ready-mades, packed with thoughtful features. For example:

  • HTML style tags are stripped from the alt and title attributes for you, so your captions are rich but your tooltips are legible.
  • The Table and TableHere macros invite you to start your table with a newline, so that what you see is … an actual table.
  • MediaThumbs and MediaThumbsCap macros also let you start with a fresh newline, to enhance readability.
  • Adding a class arg to image macros automatically removes well and shadow, so your new construction begins from scratch.
  • Macro names are built from semantic components. For example, the Here suffix always means you are not including content from elsewhere, but entering it inside the macro.

Macros for every kind of media

1 macro for inline image placement

3 image macros (uncaptioned, captioned, and captioned for window snapshots)

3 hover-toggle image macros (uncaptioned, captioned, and captioned for window snapshots)

1 left-to-right double image macro (captioned)

2 thumbnail macros (uncaptioned and captioned)

1 audio player macro

3 YouTube player macros

2 uploaded video player macros (specify directory in Directories Dash)

Macros for text

5 macros to include entire notes

3 macros to include parts of other notes

12 macros to build specialized text blocks (2 kinds of code, 3 kinds of Panel, poem, blockquote, pull quote, script, 2 kinds of well, faux Mac OS window)

3 macros that create HTML tables

4 macros that link to other notes and heading bookmarks

3 macros to make buttons for external links and downloads

4 macros to build a span

The joy of macros

Tutorial: How to add an embedded image

… and control its caption, size, and position


Macros for media

Macros for text: organized by function

Explore Macros

Stupendous stamps

BoxPress includes seven sets of well-culled stamps to make tasks easy.

2 Global Togglers—One stamp to rule them all. Use these to toggle the Key Attribute Table and smart quotes on/off for all windows.

2 Export Togglers—Toggle export and show it. Toggle export of a note’s self or its children—and receive feedback with an updated badge.

6 Global Key Attribute Setters—Pick the set of key attributes you want displayed for all notes from Image, Date, Source, BKG, and Tech. Using Source returns to the default set for each prototype.

5 SmartExpression Togglers—Craft just the right display name. Use these to toggle note numbering, display of Proticon, date, descendant count, and Bips (icons indicating granularity options and attachments, such as featured image (or HTML Imagemap), online links, and DevonTHINK links).

2 Day/Night Color Schemers—If you use ^⌥⌘= to Invert colors on your monitor when you write in the dark, you will love the Color • Night stamp. Use Color • Day to revert to normal.

4 MapMakers and MapStylersBoxPress will arrange your notes into an outline structure inside of Map View that you can then export as an HTML Imagemap. Use the MapStylers to pretty-up your map before doing Edit > Copy View.

3 Name Changers—For when you want to change the note’s actual name by prepending a number, converting to smart quotes, or moving the year into $DueDate (a convenience feature: when entering lots of event-notes, you can start the note with “YYYY: ”).

5 Attribute Cleaners—These stamps will restore attributes by type to their default values.


BoxPress manages the appearance of your website with its famous WYSIWYG Styles Dash. Everything having to do with color, font, border, and shadow lives therein. Simply paint away; your export will follow.

Tinderbox notes (which are colored, bordered, and shadowed rectangles) are perfect for website wireframing. And because these same notes (inside Text Pane) can be have their own Key Attribute Table, they can also act as dashboard widgets. BoxPress will incorporate their values into your templates, boilerplate, macros, and CSS files. Changing their values will determine both the appearance of the notes inside of Tinderbox and also the appearance of your exported webpages.

But wait, there’s more. Thanks to the $RuleDisabled checkbox (and the fact that a note’s $Rule code is executed with no delay), Tinderbox notes can also serve as action buttons. Combined, these features create the BoxPress Styles Dash, which is both WYSIWYG and live-action.

The BoxPress Styles Dash controls all the standard thematic elements—navbar color; navbar button styles for normal, active, and hover states; Banner color and image; Banner title (and subtitle) font and color; post title font and background gradient; post date font, color, and format; post block shadowing; colors for headings <h1><h6>; body background color; and Text Area background color.

If you have a set of settings you like, you can grab and store them in one of four Theme Buttons that are provided, from where they can later be loaded and applied.

Use the Theme Grabber to take a snapshot of all your settings. Then load the grabbed theme inside the Theme Manager for naming, editing (option), and saving. Choose your destination Theme Button from the pop-up menu, select the SAVE option, and , and saved themes for editing and re-saving, using a convenient pop-up menu.

When you’re ready to apply a stored theme—all 52 settings at once—just click the checkbox of the appropriate Theme Button and the whole CSS file and boilerplate will be re-written upon export!

Just click the checkbox of the Theme Button of your choice and the new theme is applied:

Ergonomic cockpit UX

Ever wonder what an optimal writing workspace looks like? Even the absolute noob will feel like a pro with BoxPress’s ergonomic window segregation. Windows are specialized and positioned by function so you always know your orientation.

The BoxPress windows are three—UI, Export, and Content.

Windows are perfectly sized and strategically placed to take advantage of Tinderbox’s automatic Text Window placement (in the upper-left quadrant, more or less). Each window is pre-populated with tabs that put everything you need at your fingertips:

  1. UX Window. The UI Window controls your user experience—with tabs for Prototypes, Agents, and the advanced DisplayExpressions that allow for BoxPress simple SmartExpression composition.
  2. Export Window. The Export Window controls all things export—with tabs for Dash: Styles, Dash: Directories, CSS, Templates, and Boilerplate.
  3. Content Window. The Content Window is your Planet Focus—with tabs for BlogTopNote, Pages, and Posts. Lots of space for new tabs: just hit the New Tab button.

Minimize the UI and Export Windows to create an empowered distraction-free writing mode. Empowered because your UI and export controls are only a dock-click away.

With BoxPress, power is always ready-to-hand. And this makes a difference.


Load kindred Key Attribute sets with a click

Other control panels

Extensively automated

BoxPress’s extensive automation lets you focus on the business of writing and lay-out.

Automatic bookmarking

Linking to a webpage in Tinderbox is easy. You can either write it in using export code or select the text and drag from the Text Pane link parking space. (To see all the methods of linking among your notes, see How to add links and buttons.)

But what if you want to link to a note that is a subsection inside a compiled export? Is such a thing even possible? (Yes. See the link just above!)

Yes. BoxPress automatically marks each of your headings with an id attribute.

To link directly to a subsection, use the Anchor macro.


Adds a link to a bookbark (subsection heading)

Syntax: post name, sub-post name, [linkname]

Automatic prototype assignment

New (and moved) notes automatically become normal-notes, but only if they don’t already have a prototype.

Automatic Table of Contents

To make an automatic Table of Contents to any depth, just enter a non-zero outline depth for $blogTOC.

Basic Links that just work

With BoxPress, Basic Links work at every level of outline depth.

Every webpage and subsection will automatically include a Related Links panel for all outgoing Basic Links. To also include incoming basic links, just add the INLINKS option!

Default granularity “contexts”

BoxPress employs default granularity contexts, harnessing the principle of anticipation to harmonize your writing effort with the structure of your final product.

  • Write inside Blog PAGES to append children as SmartButtons and export them as their own pages.
  • Write inside Blog POSTS to concatenate children seamlessly—at all outline depths—into a single page.

Exploring PAGE granularity

Exploring POST granularity

Drag-and-drop Navbar construction

To add a navbar button, just drag or cut-and-paste your aliases inside. That’s it!

Easy fancy text embeds

Poems, scripts, block quotes with citation, pull quotes with citation, panels for journal abstracts, tables, and brightly outstanding wells are all inserted with the simplest of macros.

Great date handling

Dates are neatly and intelligently displayed. Some notes need a single date. Others need a span. While still others benefit from both—say, a note describing the deed of a person.

  •  Automatically exported for person-notes, article-notes, book-notes, film-notes, quote-notes, and quote_ana-notes.
  •  BoxPress knows your intentions. If you enter a start with no end (or vice versa) it adds the ellipsis for you.
  •  If a person-note carries a date span ($StartDate and $EndDate), BoxPress assumes it is biographical and shows it under the image of the person. If you also add a point-date (using $DueDate), BoxPress assumes that you want to show this (likely event) instead—yet the biographical span is kept accessible!
  •  If you enter negative dates, BoxPress converts them to BCE.
Enable negative dates on your Mac
Open System Preferences in the Finder. Go to Language & Region and click Advanced. Click the Dates tab and then change the Short date format as follows: make the YEAR four digits, and drag the Era tag (the “AD” block) from the bottom and drop it inside the Short field.

Honed headings

Headings and spacing scale perfectly by using em units. Headings without background colors lose their padding, and subtitles adjust accordingly.

PAGE Sampler: Headings

Layout and style of headings

Prototype-specific export schemes

Each prototype receives an individualized export format for webpages, subsections, SmartPanels, and SmartButtons.

Special pages

Special webpages that are automatically created include Home (with teasers), Pages, About, The 404 Page, Archives, Categories, and the individual category pages (with Table of Contents and teasers).

Tables galore

Make elegant Bootstrap tables from tab-separated values on-the-fly with the TableHere macro.

Complicated multi-note tables can be made using the TABLE export option, with the container note’s $Name supplying the table title; its paragraphs, the headings; and its children, the table’s rows.

With the new Table macro, you can even export tables that you make using the standard Mac OS Table palette (Format > Text > Table …)!