What I think about the visual–and it certainly has become predominant, in OS X–is that it is risky business. I used to feel as you do, if I understand you correctly–I felt Devon was rather plain. In the year or more since, after running thru heaven knows how many trials and purchases, I appreciate that simplicity like mad.
If you are fortunate to find the perfect fit, that’s great. However, let us not downlplay the importance of the visual, in the sense of one’s attraction to the interface and also, in the sense of learning, memory and study. Many of us are visual learners–rather a side note, but in the hierarchy of perception, the visual has it all over text, words, the verbal. That’s just scientific fact. I tone down Tiger’s eye candy like mad–but again, I think DT is one set of apps that demands . . . not customization, as it is commonly thought of, but . … in time, the methods and appearance you develop, for yourself, are the essence of the gift Devon offers the user. Your work flow will suit you in an integrated manner that can only be arrived at by working through. Priceless.
I think that was part of my point. No one can sell you that, and by design or out of happy necessity, Devon apps acknowledge that truth by their very structure. Seems to me I recall being told that Devon began with writers who wanted something like I describe, not with software engineers.
Are you wanting something like those little colored arrows in Circus Ponies Noteook? Good luck getting the Devon folks to spiff up the interface! I think I create visual linkage for myself, as I work, by flipping between various views, dragging, dropping, etc. Giving it the ol’ Mac workout, in other words. DTPers and Pro respond to the creative process during the creative process. I used to qualify that more by adding, for me. I don’t think so, anymore.That’s simply what DT is. Flexible, responsive, and the fact that it remembers, and can make associations–for you who do research, it must be a revolution.
BTW, I think saying Tinderbox as “ugly” is not subjective at all. Children have a better sense of design than whoever made that interface. It is studiously, intentionally ugly–which is to say, without aesthetic consideration. That takes work! I could be wrong–I’m probably not, but it’s always a possibility–but I think this tells a story that is simply no longer true. Which is quite ironic given the superiority TB makes no bones about putting forth. A story about the intellect, that it is verbal, and that its function and hence the verbal is superior. When in fact intuitive knowlege has been proven far more vast than that we consciously take in.
But I do go on. And probably failed to answer your question!