The home page for tina describes it as a “text-based personal information manager.” Which … I guess is true.
tina takes text data of any sort, and allows you to apply categories — much like you might do with a task organizer or perhaps a to-do list.
Controls are very vi-esque. Press o or SHIFT+O to add an item anywhere in your hierarchy, then press SHIFT+C to “categorize” it. There are navigation, cut, paste, search and other tools available, most of which follow the vi arrangement.
Where tina loses me is when categories themselves get categorized. Apparently it’s possible to categorize the category, then again and again and again.
And it’s also possible, although I’m not sure how I did it, to loop back from a category to the original data set, meaning there’s a circular structure that crops up. That might be just my whacked-out attempt to learn tina though. So if that’s weird for you, just ignore it. On the other hand, that might be useful.
tina saves its data as flat text files, and picking through those might give you some insight as to how tina is meant to be used.
I liked tina for being quick and light and colorful and easy to control, so long as vi controls aren’t foreign to you. It’s a little quirky in its behavior, but I can see where its arrangement and style might be useful, in certain situations. 🙂