Program to Export Ecco outlines to Email ready text

At my software company, we use Ecco to organize all our design notes. Often, we want to discuss our notes on email lists with our customers.

I couldn't find a good way to get Ecco outlines into email, in a way that looks any good (if you copy/paste from ecco into your email program, it looks terrible).

So, I wrote a quick utility to do this.

It is a Perl program, meaning that you need to install "perl" from http://www.activestate.com/ (ActivePerl for NT is free) first before trying this.

ecco.pl
Save this file to disk with the name "ecco.pl"

The "ecco.pl" program works through these steps:

copy what you want to export to the clipboard, paste this text into Notepad.exe (don't use another editor, use notepad.exe!).

Save that as a text file (eg: "mess.txt"), then run the command:

perl ecco.pl \temp\mess.txt >output.txt

The "output.txt" file name is changeable: make it whatever name you want your file to go to.

Then open "output.txt" in notepad, and copy it into your email program. Presto, it looks great!

The main things this program does are:

1) convert tabs to spaces

2) line wrap long lines (at 70 characters) nicely under their start (rather than the usual ugly wrapping from the beginning)

For example, here are some Ecco notes I took about a management book I read, pasted from Ecco (and copied back from email, so you can see what it looks like):

and here is what it looks like in email after my exporter processed it to make it prettier in email:

Related document: overview of windows outliners.