Journal Document

The ActoTracker is designed to record information about user’s activity running quietly in the background. This is to free an user from having to keep track of it manually. However, with this kind of power comes also a great deal of responsibility. One aspect of it is giving an user control over what is being recorder and when, another is making sure the recorded data is as transparent as possible.

Journal is a folder

When you save a journal, you are actually creating a folder containing some other folders and an Action Journal (.actotracker) data file of the same name within it. Note that unlike a OS X bundle document which is also a kind of a folder, this is just a regular folder.

This has number of advantages:

  • this is fully transparent – any application can open this folder
  • it is self-contained – you can copy the entire folder to another machine and open it there
  • make it Spotlight searchable

…but also one potential disadvantage:

The folder and Action Journal data file must retain the same name and you should always keep them together. If you wish to rename or duplicate the journal, you should use ActoTracker’s save as functionality

What’s inside

Consider this journal named MyFolder.

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MyJournal

The parent folder which holds the rest.

MyJournal.actotracker 

The sqllite datafile. This is where journal entries are being stored.

The file contains:

  • unique record ID
  • url pointing to a document
  • time/date information
  • flags
  • comments
  • information about how this record relates to other records

You can use standard sqllite tools to dump the content of the file, although I would advise agains modifying it.

Images folder

Which contains preview images or screenshots associated with a journal entry. A preview image is in png or jpg format and may be nested in a folder named something like pX. This is to prevent potentially dumping thousands of preview images into one folder.

The image’s name corresponds to journal’s record ID.

Notes folder

When you add new journal entry as a note, you are actually adding new .actonoted file to this directory. This file is compatible standard RTFD document that many Mac apps such as TextEdit can read and edit.

Scraps folder

Anything that you drag and drop into the ActoTracker’s window. These files are usually in .actonoted (RTFD) format although ActoTracker may use other format in the future.

Storing arbitrary documents in a journal

You can use the journal folder as regular folder, provided you do not modify the .actotracker file or any of the ‘buil-in’ folders. This has one nice advantage; when you place an arbitrary documents inside the journal folder, such as MS Word or KeyNote document and reference it in a journal by its path, the ActoTracker will automatically create a relative path for it. This means the link remains valid even if you copy the journal folder somewhere else or open it on another Mac.

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