HyperList: Everything. Concise and precise.

HyperList is a methodology to describe anything in plain text.

HyperList can be used to describe any state or transition – anything from simple shopping and todo lists to large project plans, process design, the human history, the human DNA or the whole universe.

With HyperList, descriptions become simple, easily readable, concise and precise.

After a couple of months of work, and with a total overhaul, WOIM has been transformed into HyperList! I would like to extend my thanks to Marilyn Abrahamian for her invaluable help in proof reading and for suggesting some new, very useful features.

You will find the HyperList document on my newly redrawn home page (isene.com) or by clicking this direct link to the HyperList document. It is also available on Scribd.com.

I admit freely to being proud of this; I consider HyperList to be one of my most useful contributions so far.

For the users of the excellent text editor VIM, there is a plugin that makes it very easy to create and manage HyperLists in VIM. The plugin includes a large range of features such as:

  • Complete highlighting of HyperList elements
  • Collapsing and expanding of up to 15 levels in a list
  • Linking/referencing between elements (items) in a list
  • Easy navigation in lists, including jumping to references
  • “Presentation modes” where you can view only parts of lists and line-by-line
  • Creating and checking of checkboxes in a list, with or without date stamps
  • Encryption (and decryption) of whole lists or parts of lists
  • Auto-encryption of lists – making a list into an excellent password safe
  • HTML and LaTeX export of lists
  • … and many more features.

Enjoy :)


    S definition: 1
    The “HyperList to the power of S” signifies the iterative or fractal nature of such lists.
    The name represents both singular and plural of the word – both the system and a list or lists conforming to this system. It represents data in tree-structure lists.
    I am interested in using this tool as an aid to sort out importances in the religion field. I wonder what can be done.

  2. Geir, my sister is one of your regular readers (the ones who don’t take time to comment), but I wanted to pass on what she had to say about this article. First of all, she has long had a high interest in admin tech. And based on her experience, she thinks that the HyperList system could “revolutionize” (her word) the business world and in particular it could change the horrible percentages of small businesses failing. She sees the basic problem in business to be, plain and simple, a lack of (and she quoted the article) “precise and concise” communication. She said if that were truly put in, as HyperList would do, everybody from top management on down would know what they’re doing and how they and everyone and everything interrelate – because it would be clearly spelled out. Mind you, she is like me and not a “techie” but was really VGI’s about the whole format, including the fact that it is easy to use on a just a sheet of paper

    As for me, it’s actually the same kind of appreciation for precise communication, and I think how great it would be if regular language were so precise and lacking in any ambiguity! I see it as a sort of punctuation system in a way, and maybe someone will come up with a system of punctuation that would follow along the same lines of showing the exact relationships of all parts of the whole. But in fact it’s great that it can be used for anything you want to “sort” or “sort out” :)

  3. Hi. I’ve just studied Mind Maps, so it seems to me that HyperList with its tree structure can be used in Mind Maps applications. Of course, HyperList is more precise so its item modifiers would have to be used in order not to loose precision.
    I’m just solving capturing and organization of a lot of information and so these FreePlan using Hyperlist is a good candidate. Another is Zim.

      • Well, so far I’ve used mainly quantifiers. Otherwise I built a map that seemed self-describing enough to me (maybe it would be not for another) and where I need a note, I wrote a note because FreePlan allows to write notes to the nodes. I user OR construction several times to find out I didn’t need it in my mind map. But I can imagine cases where I couldn’t go without AND / OR constructions.

          • I too am interested in mind maps, and would be interested in any developments with HyperlList along those lines. But I have not been overly pleased with the Mind Map software I have used in the past; it doesn’t seem as useful as I’d like, overall. But there is a related type of mind map called a Fuzzy Cognitive Map, invented by neurophysicist Bart Kosko and described in his excellent book, “Fuzzy Thinking”.

            My devious plan is to interest you in reading this book so that you will also desire to implement Fuzzy Cognitive Maps (FCMs), which I will then be able to use in Vim. FCMs are able to describe and predict complex events and test for the consistency of a set of ideas, as well as describe and predict how a system will change according to the relative cause/effect fuzzy values in the connections between the node ot this FCM. He envisions them as potentially being a standard construct for comparing models of how causation propagates in systems to better identify what is going on. This would allow us to better understand how changes in one part of a system affect other parts, as well as the global effects.


            I hope that you find this interesting as I do.

  4. Thanks so much for replacing the pdf. In answer to your question,yes–I used to program many many years ago. I’m interested in getting back to it, but only as a hobby at this point. All the languages I learned back then are pretty useless to me now, though. I have an interest in Lisp/Scheme/Python, but definitely need to work on my chops.

    It would be amazing if HyperList’s next level could be an implementation of Fuzzy Cognitive Maps. That would be a very powerful and exciting possibility! Let me know if you’d like to bounce any ideas around.


  5. Pingback: Using HyperList for social engineering | Geir Isene

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