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Emacs Org Files in a Browser (200ok.ch)
180 points by risktaker 13 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 27 comments

Maintainer here. Thank you for posting organice to HN, risktaker! I was close to missing it before going to bed, too, so it's really a nice surprise^^

If you're a fan of Org mode and want to have access to your files on the go, or if you want to collaborate with someone who's not into text editors and source control, then organice might be for you. I'd be happy to answer any questions you might have, albeit it's likely going to be tomorrow as it's late here in Switzerland(;

organice is Free and Open Source Software released under the AGPL, the repository is here: https://github.com/200ok-ch/organice

If you like what you're seeing, feel free to collaborate or hang out with us on #organice on IRC Freenode, or #organice:matrix.org on Matrix.

A big thank you to everyone interested, enjoy using organice and best of health!

It's clever but From a UX perspective moving all the surrounding text anytime you click on anything makes it extremely hard for the eye and brain to maintain context. There's a reason why GUI text editors have affordances like menu bars.

I like it a lot, it's really neat and well done. I'd likely love to use it on mobile.

On desktop, I've spent a while attempting to "properly" swipe to toggle todo/done and it's been one of the worst exercises in frustration I've had in a long time: it selected the text instead of swiping, or it started swiping but then the action didn't properly complete. Really odd!

I've tried to find whether there was a somewhat hidden "grab anchor" that would've made the experience better, but failed.

After leaving it be, then trying for a little while more, it seems I finally "got it", and have had no problems swiping todos with the mouse since.

I wonder whether there's something that could be done for ensuring my first "bad" experience wouldn't have happened.

Added to my bookmarks, will likely give it a real go soon.

Thank you for the kind words and for giving organice a spin!

I'm sorry to hear you had a bad experience with using 'swipe' on the Desktop. This, indeed, is not a great experience. Generally speaking, it's also not a very common paradigm on the desktop, and I wouldn't recommend to use it.

organice works quite well from a desktop browser, though, and has some features explicitly for UX on the desktop. When toggling a todo, I would usually use a shortcut (the default is M-T). There's more such shortcuts and you can configure them as you wish[1].

If you don't want to remember shortcuts, you can also enable the setting "Tap TODO to advance state", which let's you tap/click on a todo item and it adances to the next piece in the sequence, i.e. from TODO to DONE. This can be enabled in the 'settings' screen[2].

Enjoy using organice^^

1. http://screenshots.200ok.ch/screenshot_2020_05_13-65191988.p...

2. http://screenshots.200ok.ch/screenshot_2020_05_13-5b68a6b8.p...

Finally! Orgmode is a viable option for today’s connected world. I love orgmode but couldn’t ever fully get behind it due to it being largely tied to the desktop. We manage our lives much more on phone and your offering allows that. Thank you thank you thank you!

You should check out Orgzly, imho it's the best Android app for org-mode out there.

I think it is a web UI for reading and modifying Org-Mode files?

I did not understand how the UI works though. There are 5 red round buttons at the bottom, but I could not understand how I am supposed to know what any of them do. Then I was thinking, that they are some kind of "simulation" of a phone screen, showing me, where some buttons on a phone would be. However, I don't know of a phone screen with 5 buttons at the bottom. And some of them had "sub buttons", which were also not labeled.

Afterwards I thought: "Maybe the buttons did not have any labels or symbols, because they use an online font?" However, I did not go back to checking, whether that is the case.

As I did not understand the UI, I wonder what the advantage is, compared to just a text editor with special buttons for the most common Org-Mode things or a menu button with submenus for all important things.

All things Org-Mode are interesting for me, because Org-Mode is such a great tool in general. It is my favorite tool on a computer for any writing.

Hi there

Thank you for the feedback. Some pointers from me:

- Did you try the help button on the top? It’ll lead you to a sample file that explains organice just like the emacs tutorial or the vimtutor would.

- Alternatively, you could check out the 10min introduction video: https://github.com/200ok-ch/organice/blob/master/README.org

- Or the extensive documentation: https://organice.200ok.ch/documentation.html

If you’ve got any pointer on how to smooth the transition from an experienced Emacs user like you to a first time organice tester/user, I’m all ears. Also, if you’ve got any questions, feel free to ping me anytime.

A good place to get help is also the community chat: Community chat: #organice on IRC Freenode, or #organice:matrix.org on Matrix

Thanks again for the valuable feedback. I’ll keep it in mind!

All the best and good health.

You can add an Entry to your org file with a bookmarklet on your Phone, awesome!

If there is a way to limit its access to my dropbox by one folder?

Good question. This is not implemented. However, it isn't implemented for a reason: organice is a front-end application, there is no back-end and no monitoring whatsoever. So, when you login to Dropbox, only your browser will have access to your Dropbox. So, from a security perspective, you're not giving too much access to a server - your data cannot be seen by anyone else but you.

The synchronization code for Dropbox is also pretty straight forward and can easily be reviewed, it's less than 200LOC: https://github.com/200ok-ch/organice/blob/master/src/sync_ba...

I hope that answers your question. If there's a reason to limit access that I'm missing, I'd be happy to get a response^^

I wanted some useable web/mobile version of org-mode synching from Dropbox for a long time! Just to confirm: is this a product non-free product?

organice is, like most OSS we work on[1], relased under a free license. organice itself is relased under the AGPL[2] To me personally, this is very important. We try do do some other related work as well. For example we co-hosted the EmacsConf 2019[3] and regularly mentor at other hackathons[4,5] which value FOSS.

1. https://200ok.ch/floss.html

2. https://github.com/200ok-ch/organice/blob/master/LICENSE

3. https://200ok.ch/posts/2019-11-10_impressions_from_emacsconf...

4. https://200ok.ch/posts/hack4glarus_hackathon_2019_winter_edi...

5. https://200ok.ch/posts/2019-10-13_mentoring_at_the_eth_visco...

Thank you for clarification. I must have missed the floss links from the homepage.

It is licensed under AGPL it seems. https://github.com/200ok-ch/organice

Nice, but:

1. How do I move nodes up/down? 2. How do I promote/demote nodes?

Same with lists.

The ease with which I can do this in Emacs is what sold it to me initially.

Hi BettleB,

thank you for checking out organice. You're question is very valid - it's important to move stuff around quickly in an Org file. In organice, you can quickly move nodes (and trees) in any direction. Here's a screencast showing how: https://youtu.be/aQKc0hcFXCk?t=360

Having said that, since moving nodes around quickly is important, you can do a lot more with nodes in organice. For example, you can create sparse trees[1] or you can refile trees.

If you've got further questions, feel free to ping me up anytime!

1. https://200ok.ch/posts/2020-02-09_creating_org_mode_sparse_t...

I'll take a look at it, but as someone who mostly uses a PC with a keyboard, having convenient keybindings would be critical for me - I don't want to do too much with the mouse.

But certainly, for the times when I'm not near a computer, it's nice to be able to access via the phone, etc.

hihi, good points!

organice has you covered on shortcuts, though. Quite a few users don't use it primarily as a mobile app, but in a desktop browser. You can even customize them. This is the settings screen for shortcuts: http://screenshots.200ok.ch/screenshot_2020_05_12-c9c7a531.p...

Of course, the shortcuts are not as mighty as in Emacs or VIM, but the usecase is a different one (away from your main computer or sharing files with people not that much into text editors).

In any case, thank you for taking the time to check it out. If it helps you just a couple of times while on the go to add something to the shopping list or remember when you're in the store, I'm happy^^

I was looking at this yesterday and was amazed at how featureful it is.

To promote/demote or move up/down a node, click or tap on the node and then tap/click the little arrow icon at the bottom. That will reveal directional buttons that allow you to do those things.

Nice stuff.

Some nit regarding the user experience:

- Sorry, but I just can't wrap my mind around your choice too emulate a handheld device's screen layout on desktop. It actually makes me feel like running some mobile app in a cranky emulator! I also checked org-web on desktop, I think their layout is much more handy (sorry for the bad pun).

- It's really annoying to not properly prepare users to get started for using the tool for production. OK, there is the landing page. Quickly that gets me to the sample doc, which is nice, extensive and useful. So far so good, appetite is whetted. Now let's get to do some real stuff, let's start a document! ... ehm, no way to do that. Maybe login is necessary for that? At which point I start to scratch my head -- given that the tool is touted as client-only software, why do I need to log in anywhere to create something? Anyway, getting beyond that... OK logged in. It drops me to a file browser... but still no "Create" or "New doc" button. Slowly it dawns on me that the org files need to pre-exist on backing storage to be able start work on them. The level of frustration is pretty high at that moment, the only reason to not run away right away because it addresses something I am interested in. So while I think it would be part of a full feature set to allow to create docs, its lack wouldn't be a big issue if users were properly guided through the setup the workflow, which involves uploading their initial org files to the storage.

By the way, why do users have to configure a storage backend and can't just import/export org files? I see stuff like https://github.com/qbit/gavin is being worked on, but it feels a bit upsidedowny to me... if there is demand to use this tool without cloud hosting, wouldn't it be simpler just to add import/export facilities than the ancillaries of pretending to have a host? (Does it maybe have something to do with Apple's recent decision to kill local storage?...)

Other things that would be nice to have:

- When focusing in a subtree, would be nice to have a place somewhere that indicates the absolute path (sidenote, I also wonder if such a setting is available in Emacs...)

- I read https://200ok.ch/posts/2020-02-09_creating_org_mode_sparse_t... and I appreciate the work on the internal search engine, but the UI provided does not match sparse tree. It's just an ephemeral pop-up, not a filtered live view of the content.

Does this require me to send unencrypted files to GDrive/Dropbox?

Good question! No, it doesn't(; Even if you were to use GDrive or Dropbox, all communication would happen over HTTPS.

I'm assuming you're not talking about encryption on transit,though. organice can use WebDAV as a backend, so you're free to use a whole range of free software like ownCloud,Nextcloud and Seafile,but also self hosted dedicated WebDAV servers like Apache or Nginx. More documentation on that is here[1]

Just recently, something interesting in the community happened in this regard, too. qbit started to write a a simple WebDAV server specifically to run organice called gavin[2].

1. https://organice.200ok.ch/documentation.html#org7366d60

2. https://github.com/qbit/gavin

It also supports self-hosted webdav. All of the processing is done in browser, though, I am pretty sure. My self-hosted version is just a bunch of HTML and JS served by nginx.

staggering competition seems to arise in this field


If you look at the bottom of the Readme in the repo, you can see that this is a fork of that one. https://github.com/200ok-ch/organice

I'm glad to see this, since I was wondering how to search in org-web. (can't use in-browser search to find items that aren't currently displayed)

Thank you for checking out organice. Indeed, it is a fork of org-web and has since added quite a few fixes and new features.

The search capabilities in organice are quite sophisticated for example. I've written a small blog post to compare it to Org mode in Emacs: https://200ok.ch/posts/2020-02-09_creating_org_mode_sparse_t...

All the best and enjoy using organice!

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