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Vimflowy – A productivity tool drawing inspiration from Workflowy and Vim (github.com)
204 points by maelito on May 6, 2017 | hide | past | web | favorite | 47 comments

Author here! Didn't see this coming - time to update all the documentation :)

Thanks for the comments, everyone, and feel free to ask questions here.

Some background: I started working on Vimflowy after a conversation with a friend. I'd seen many similar apps, but the vim part was important to me. I've tried the spacemacs org layer, but it didn't work out. My friend had a huge document on Workflowy which started getting laggy for him. Vimflowy lazy loads, and deleting and pasting large subtrees is efficient, which went well with the vim concept. So it started out being a tool mainly for me and my friend. At this point, I'd be happy if others found Vimflowy useful, though I don't have grand aspirations for it. I've tried to make it so that developers can customize it to their liking without much trouble. I would consider making a second set of non-vim bindings out of the box if enough people seem to like it - it'd be relatively easy to implement, but the space seems crowded enough as is.

This thing is amazing, and so close to something I've been wanting for a while now that it's like you've been eavesdropping! Thanks so much for making it available for others to use and learn from.

I'm looking forward to studying the code to learn how you built it. If you ever have time, I think a bit of architectural overview / design discussion would make a nice addition to the README.

Yeah, I'd add it if it helps other developers get started with the code base. Happy to chat with you about it, though, too! Feel free to email me.

That said, I'm not sure there's anything particularly interesting or good about the architecture though - in fact certain things I know are probably badly designed

Great job on this! It has a good amount of polish that you should be proud =)

Interesting that Workflowy has been laggy for your buddy. I've been using it since 2011 and only tend to have lag problems only when using it in IE (or Edge now) when at work, as well as Firefox for some reason. Safari and Chrome have virtually no problems with the size of my document.


The lag was for initial page load, and is just a historical footnote, probably. Here's what I dug up from past chats: In May 2015, for a 250k bullet document, it used to take more than 5 minutes. Apparently by July, it was down to 30s-60s. I'm sure it's much better now!

I encourage everyone who likes this to take a look at org-mode for emacs. With evil-mode you get vim keybindings and org-mode has many many many features in the same line as vimflowy appears to.

Every time someone talks about anything related to org-mode a ton of comments mentioning org-mode appear.

Passionate user base. For good reason IMO. Never needed a TODO app or "productivity" suite. Plain text. Never going to worry about vendor lock in. Put it on Dropbox or whatever if you want "cloud" stuff. And once you use it a while it rewards you with depth and features. You can take your notes and do so much with them. It is a rich ecosystem. I think other tools should always give it a try,Ike Vimflowy though.

I agree, a ton of comments mentioning org-mode appear.

Vimflowy doesn't say what it does so I checked Workflowy - but this also doesn't say what it does.

Infinitely nestable lists of items where each item can be a note, todo, or project.

Do you know org-mode? My question got downvoted but I suppose it means to do something like org-mode.

Oh, this is really cool!

I love the vim shortcuts, but it would be really cool to be able to customize this. Or at least allow to use Ctrl+Key, without the modes, that would really make it easier for non-vim users to adopt.

I'm actually working on a similar project(just deployed an alpha yesterday), I think you might find it interesting:


It is possible to customize the shortcuts, though it's a bit cumbersome. In Settings under the Hotkeys tab, you can download a JSON file describing your mappings, edit it, then re-upload it.

Looks a lot like https://gingkoapp.com/ . Any connection?

Is this a better or open-source alternative to it?

Gingkoapp is general(academic papers, gtd, etc), Nulis is focused on fiction writing.

I write stories and screenplays, and while gingko is awesome, I need many features it doesn't have(editing all the cards at once like a big text document, writing stats and word targets, good fullscreen editor, custom templates, fountain markup, color coded cards, collapsing branches, outline-view, saving files locally, a desktop version, a bunch of other things).

Nulis is in it's very-very early version, I've just barely deployed it, but I do think that it's going to be much better for writing fiction.

I would really love to open source it, but for now having a viable business model is a must, I need it so I could afford to make Nulis as good as I want it to be. If I figure out how to make it work despite being open source, or develop it to the point where it benefits more from being open source than not, I'll gladly do that.

It's possible that I will set up a patreon, and open source it once it reaches enough donations to become sustainable.

Gingko is really amazing and very refined. Highly recommended -- one of a handful of tools that have changed how I work.

This is a problem with any outline tool :). Essentially people will glance at it, without exploring will tell you their favorite outliner that they are secretly dissatisfied with. Unless you can get someone super famous to promote it, it is hard to get any traction, no matter how good it is.

Nice work! I've been a huge fan of workflowy for quite a lot of time (and VIM), and this seems like a very interesting project. Cheers!

p.s. kudos for open sourcing it

You can also try dynalist, it's like workflowy, but with a lot more features. (you can import there your workflowy notes and start with that)

Nice. I have been wanting the due date feature for a long time on workflowy. There seems to be no development for workflowy beyond what was available a few years ago.

Workflowy is great but it feels a bit stalled. I've since moved over to checkvist. The combination of feature with a keyboard driven workflow works well for me.

that's a feature for me. It felt like it was a complete product when I discovered it, and still feels the same.

If you are a Mac user looking for a native app that's similar to this or Workflowy, FoldingText is amazing.


I find Outlinely nicer /w themes and also cheaper ...


I am retracting cheaper statement, it seems it is now $40. Probably better for sustainable development, I got it on sale for $10, it is great tool.

Looks interesting, perhaps a little more GUI than I usually like but I'll give that a look. Being able to use it on mobile would be nice.

Not sure if I got on a dev or beta channel or something but I've been using FoldingText for free for a long time. It's never disabled features or promoted a purchase.

Funny how these things come and go - I made a workflowy inspired plugin for Vim https://github.com/lukaszkorecki/workflowish

Little did I know I was re-inventing org-mode

Hmmm... can't figure out a way to remove tips from the right sidebar. Any ideas?

Other than that, this seems like a great mashup between Markdown and Vim. I'm leaning towards the Markdown side of things, but can definitely see myself overwriting new tab page with this tool and using it regularly, especially since it stores the data locally by default.

ownCloud / Nextcloud sync would definitely be the feature that would make me use this tool all the time.

I made ? a bit more discoverable. Thanks for the feedback!

It's pretty easy to experiment with a new data backend, as long as it's easy to implement GET and SET for a key-value store on top of it. It took me less than an hour to get the first version of Firebase working. Most of the work would be implementing the auth, UI, documentation. I've planned on experimenting with Dropbox/OwnCloud/etc at some point

toggle-help is '?'. It toggles the sidebar.

Using vim keybindings and modes is the perfect solution for this kind of tool. Workflowy could be so better and have so many features if it had powerful modes like vim!

Like, for example, http://calculist.io/, that implements a ton of magic features on top of a thin Workflowy-like UI, but struggles with UX and keybindings.

Holy shit this is amazing.

Elegant, simple, powerful, web based.

Have deployed to Heroku/Firebase and will give this a solid try for personal and work notes.

Let me know how it goes!

Really cool project - and thanks for open-sourcing it. For a couple of years I had used Emacs and the one tool that I really miss is 'org mode'. After switching back to VIM I have tried different plugins but none get even a little closer to what you can do in org-mode.

This project looks promising and I'm giving it a try

You're welcome! Let me know what you end up thinking. I'm quite curious, since I came from a similar situation as you, but went less far with org mode (I've tried the spacemacs org-mode layer but didn't like it that much).

If you are looking for one that supports Markdown, rich media, and with dedicated Mac/Windows app:


Love the cloning feature! Haven't seen it in other tools.

It basically comes for free if you implement the tree operations efficiently :)

Also VimWiki

To expand on this: I use VimWiki daily and it's been a really great way to keep myself organized. Being able to easily hyperlink and jump between documents makes navigating the document hierarchy very straightforward. I have VimWiki set up to integrate with Taskwarrior, so I can create and manage tasks right from Vim and everything gets persisted in a Taskwarrior file, which I can then use to generate reports or otherwise manipulate via standard Taskwarrior commands. Creating/managing tabular data has never been easier in Vim with the help of VimWiki. The list goes on; I really can't sing its praises enough!

Could you share your config and workflow? I'm a heavy Vim user and I've dabbled with VimWiki and Taskwarrior but never got proficient with them.

I cannot use "$" to go to end of line to work. Also, when holding down "h" it does't scroll.

Other wise very nice!

Those both work for me. What browser are you using? (Are you using vimium or vimperator maybe?)

Safari 10.1 on OS X 10.11.6

Nice, Workflowy with Vim key bindings. Surely Workflowy itself can give support for it.

What is all this? Is it like org mode?

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