1. Flexibility of blocks is a cognitive overhead for most folks in my team. They would rather prefer more constrained and opinionated approaches like Trello
2. Notion is currently a jack of all trades and master of none. We have tried to use it as a wiki, project tracker, issue tracker, CRM & spreadsheet. Though it's good to have one tool that can do many things, we quickly reach limits of what is possible automatically and have to spend a lot of time to manually maintain it
3. Convention over configuration creates problems for other team members to follow because conventions are not documented properly.
But I see a lot of potential of it becoming a platform. If they can incentivize 3rd parties to build over their platform and build trust, I think it's gonna be the next big thing. "One platform for all my data" with specialized tools to deal with different kinds of data. I can imagine tools like Tello, Jira, Hubspot, Google spreadsheets & draw.io running over it.
There's just enough flexibility to slow you down, but not enough flexibility to make it down exactly what I need without jumping through a lot of hoops.
My favorite productivity tools blend into the background. I can get down to doing the work without mental overhead of managing the tool. Notion, on the other hand, feels like I'm spending half of my energy fighting with Notion, and only half of my energy doing the work I'm trying to accomplish.
This reads as if you except Notion to give you meaningful work to do, a workflow you can follow? Or do you just don't know how to implement the workflows you envision yourself?
This lead me to my latest startup https://froosthq.com/ which is Notion inspired and aimed solely at software teams.
It's interesting seeing where teams hit the limits of the tool & wish for (or move to) something else though. I wonder if "The Notion Way" will emerge at some point, which would be useful for quickly qualifying yourself in or out.
Visual cognitive load is ok as far as the brain can process blocks of information. Such as a table with borders. When you have emojis, colors, effects, etc without clarity of separation, you get something that becomes tiring after a little while to look at.
I called it Emoji-Driven-Development.
Please link me the github issue so I can make use of a bottle of kerosene I've got left from 1940's gas lamp.
I really like how Marie Poulin's sets up her Notion process, here's a good example of how to make contextual dashboards - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YX2AJD4kx80 but there's a bunch more, just massive productivity boosts from not having to jump between so many different apps/services.
Flexibility is always a challenge, but in case of Notion IMHO the bigger challange is getting over it's aweful userexperience and interface. And flexibility is not always a problem. Excel proofs that flexibel solution can succeed with the laymen.
> 1. Flexibility of blocks is a cognitive overhead for most folks in my team. They would rather prefer more constrained and opinionated approaches like Trello
Is this not solved with their Template-Library? Those deliver a guided opinionated experience. Though it's not as constrained and powerful as a specialized app like Trello.
> 2. Notion is currently a jack of all trades and master of none.
It's a canvas-tool. You get a set of brushs and pencils and it's up on you to paint what you need. This has naturally advantage for some and disadvantages for some others.
> 3. Convention over configuration creates problems for other team members to follow because conventions are not documented properly
Is Notion a team-tool? Do they advertise it as such?
> But I see a lot of potential of it becoming a platform. If they can incentivize 3rd parties to build over their platform and build trust, I think it's gonna be the next big thing. "One platform for all my data" with specialized tools to deal with different kinds of data.
There are far better soltions around for this. I doubt this is a sane endgoal for notion.
I don't think there's any easy answer here. I respect the Notion team a lot for making a tool that is so flexible, but it's also a curse in some key scenarios.
But... even after looking at all the four separate landing pages I have no idea what exactly fibery could do for me
My only beef with Dropbox Paper is their iOS apps are buggy as hell and have been for a few years. I really wish they’d invest more in their native apps.
My only pain point is the damn file system
That, and the fact that new files are world-readable by default. (With unguessable URLs, but still...)
What I really wanted was just a simple flexible to-do list, something that I missed from Basecamp v1 and was willing to try somewhere else.
But the flexibility made it a nightmare. Because what I wanted was very simple, the friction that I encountered, though probably not huge, felt much larger, because I felt, why can't this be easier? I just want a simple to do list, and I was messing with headings and all of this non-essential stuff that I didn't need.
I'm sure in a business setting it could be different, especially if someone goes through the trouble of setting things up so you have some sort of system of consistency that you work inside of, but as a first time user the flexibility was a bit of hinderance.
Stopped using it and went back to old good Google Sheets, Apple Notes. Very constrained and just the right amount of "flexibility" to make it work for you workflow. No emojis encouragements.
I want to use notion, it's such a nice UI/UX. Problem is, it's just too complicated.
Trello is basic, but gets the job done.
What all these platforms really need is solid APIs and interoperability so we can use the right tool while keeping everything in one place (ideally email or slack).
If I want to track tasks, I just make a Google Spreadsheet with a row for each task. This scales up easily to a hundred tasks or so, and it's straightforward to filter on a column to focus on particular categories or statuses. In Trello, I can see maybe 30 cards max before my screen space is all used up, and I spend so much time hunting around for cards. If a card has moved, I have to just read linearly through all the cards to find the one I'm looking for. I could use the search box, but that only pops up the detail window for the card; it doesn't show me where the card is in context.
Trello is like a task spreadsheet where you can only see a small amount of information at once, it's really hard to find tasks, you can't add custom columns, you can't colour-code things the way you want, you can't add tabs, you can't add formulas to do simple things like addition, you can't see previous versions, and on and on.
So why would you use Trello when you could use a Google Spreadsheet and get things done twice as fast? Does the whole product exist only because people like the cute little animation of picking up the tilty little cards and dragging them to other columns?
It's sleek, powerful, constrained and optimized for it's single purpose, while still remain flexibel enough to give space. Also scales up nice for multiple users, from 2+, teams, 2+ departments and even whole companies or even more. And it also works on most platforms effortless.
> If I want to track tasks, I just make a Google Spreadsheet with a row for each task.
That reads horrible. How do you manage richtext with Spreadsheet? Links? Pictures? How do you collaborate with others? How does this get automated and integrate with other systems? How do you get a sane overview of the state of your tasks and projects? Sure, more or less all possible, but not on the level of quality you get from a specialized and over a long time optimized solution. And you need to invest the time to build this all first.
> So why would you use Trello when you could use a Google Spreadsheet and get things done twice as fast?
More like ten times slower.
How do you manage hundreds of cards? Dragging each card one at a time takes forever. If you want to make a change to a bunch of cards, do you open each card, edit it, close it, open the next card, etc. -- doesn't that take ages? Isn't it frustrating not being able to just drag 20 rows of a spreadsheet at once, or paste/format 20 cells at once?
> How do you get a sane overview of the state of your tasks and projects?
How do you get an overview when you can't see anything? In Trello I feel like I'm blind -- all the cards are scrolling off the bottom of the screen and the columns are off to the right. Instead of a single line of text maybe 20 pixels high, every card is a stack of labels, dates, a few lines of text, little icons and profile avatars. The minimal card is 100 or more pixels high, which means that only about 5 to 8 cards will fit vertically with all the other detritus packed into the UI.
How about an objective metric: in a given column of your Trello board, what fraction of the column can you see at once? Like what percentage of the vertical scrollbar track is the draggable part? For me it's about 5 to 10%.
Why Trello over Sheets?
I use Trello as basically a really extensible digital kanban board.
It also makes easier to associate tasks with each other add extra context (for instance if I'm keeping track of some long form context associated with a task where would you put that in sheets? A note? Can you search those? Once it gets really long a Google doc? I guess).
Also can add custom fields. I used this to allow me to add weights to cards so they automatically rearrange in priority order.
I even have boards that serve as a personal knowledge base.
I feel like Trello gives you really great free reign to discover a process for things and have it evolve over time.
Could you accomplish that with sheets? Probably but not as elegantly and definitely not with a UI
I've often used it with clients to let them know which high-level features are in progress, which are done, etc. It has also worked really well for collaborative trip planning. Both of these workflows benefit from cards with cover images too.
It's not a replacement for a company-wide knowledge base or an issue tracker for hundreds of tickets.
Just because you don’t understand why people use Trello does not mean everyone’s a frivolous idiot.
What do you guys do for a living? Not a joke question.
- Integrated with GitHub issues
- Can not move card to other board
- No import/export
- No themes
- No change background image
- Only basic automation of moving cards to Done list etc
- Can move card/list to other boards
- Export to JSON
- GitHub Power-Up for GitHub integration
- Butler for automating, in English
- Change background image
- Only SaaS, can not self-host, not Open Source
- No Swimlanes
- Export to CSV needs paid account
- No Import from JSON/CSV on free version web UI
- Open Source, can self-host on x64, RasPi3/4 etc
- Import from Trello JSON cards/lists/checlists/attachments/labels/votes
- Import CSV, currently importing custom fields in progress of being added
- Import from Wekan JSON including attachments
- Export CSV, currently exporting custom fields in progress of being added
- Export Wekan JSON including attachments
- IFTTT Rules wizard has translations, but less rules than similar Trello Butler
- Gogs integration https://github.com/wekan/wekan-gogs
- API, Outgoing Webhooks per board, Global Webhooks at admin panel of (nearly) all board actions
- Not integrated with GitHub yet
- No move list to other board yet
- No change background image yet
1. GP isn't doing this. You misunderstood.
2. Even if they were(they weren't), how would this be something exclusive to HN?
I'm trash at vim (I use evil-mode), org mode, and org-agenda, but I'm still lightyears ahead of where I was 2 years ago before I used these tools.
Did you topped out the tool or your personal ability?
> but I'm still lightyears ahead of where I was 2 years ago before I used these tools.
But is this because of the tools, the gain of new experiences or the 2 years difference?
And how do you know whether you are really moved forward, and not just run in circles appearing busy without being more productive? Do you have some objective metric for this?
Both, I'd say.
> Do you have some objective metric for this?
Well my happiness, for one. My sense of accomplishment. How much more I can fit in a day. But no, I don't KPI myself.
Emacs has a number of collaborative editing solutions: https://www.emacswiki.org/emacs/CollaborativeEditing
The nice thing about org-mode is that it automatically gets all the cool stuff that emacs has. (Although, I have never tried any of the solutions listed in that wiki page and I suspect even the "working" ones have issues).
And that's part of the reason we went on to build Obsidian
(https://obsidian.md/), the local-first knowledge base app. Everything is in plain text Markdown.
Just released 0.6.0 and here's a video for anyone interested: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KAkJMHg-dGw
The private beta community has built cool stuff already: https://github.com/kmaasrud/awesome-obsidian
In private beta right now, looking to launch soon.
But just keeping folders of Markdown notes is also inflexible, but on the opposite side of the scale.
Obsidian looks like a great balance! I've requested beta access as well.
Edit: Obsidian seems to make it easy to create a Zettelkasten, sort of like https://github.com/alefore/weblog/blob/master/zettelkasten.m... but with automation baked in.
I just placed in a beta request.
A business partner and I heavily prefer to utilize markdown for note taking (we generally use Typora) but this poses problems when we are trying to colaborate on a document together.
Does Obsidian support real time collaborative editing?
Not yet, currently most of our users bring their own sync (Dropbox etc.), so if you edit the same document in real time that might create conflict copies.
We're working on a sync service with end-to-end encryption (for convenience, completely optional), and we might improve it to support real-time collaboration in the future.
Right now I think the closet thing is to use set up an encrypted folder with a third party app to use with Obsidian.
Which, sure, I guess I'll take it. My $4/month isn't going to make or break their business and they probably barely give a shit about getting money for personal usage. Does remind me that my usage of their app doesn't align with their business model, which makes it feel rather... tenuous? Like at any time they might say "actually we're going to only support paid enterprise usage now" or "oh we're shutting down because companies just used Confluence and Airtable instead" (I have yet to sell any employer on using Notion because it's too unstructured for them to grok the benefits of :\).
GitHub and Notion are two recently examples, but for every one I see in the market, I can point to at least 10 that failed to take the obvious action.
Recently they have been hiring aggressively and expanding their templates for specific use cases. Coming from a cynical HN perspective, this looks like another promising startup falling into the vicious cycle of using VC money to fund hyper growth.
However their founder Ivan Zhao has been outspoken about not taking more VC money than necessary, and creating sustainable growth. So for now I'm approaching this news with cautious optimism.
Also, I find it interesting that they're working on an API. A lot of organizing products lack integrations and this might open to door to sync items between Office, GSuite, fitness applications and other services for life management.
BookStack doesn't have any client apps — it's basically a PHP app like WordPress that you can self-host, but the collaboration feature set is pretty good. It's a wiki that feels a bit like Notion.
It is BSL licensed, the only restriction is that you cannot run a hosted version for other organizations to use (aka compete with the only way the project maintains itself).
it can work well for productivity apps, slack, for example.
Another example of the SSO Tax: https://robchahin.github.io/sso-wall-of-shame/
What if I had multiple members in my free workspace?
No worries, you don’t have to remove anyone! Nothing is different for you until you hit 1,000 blocks of content. At that point, if you want to add more, you can:
Upgrade to our Team Plan.
Start a new workspace for just yourself and use it for free, indefinitely.
Remove members, and enjoy no content limits on your own.
Note: Make sure members in your workspace have their private pages backed up before you remove them!
Sure there’s a way to opt out of fullstory in general, but that’s not very reliable.
I should mention that we use fullstory for our saas product and quite happy with it. However, our implementation makes it possible to opt out upfront during registration and or change your session recording settings from within our app. We don’t rely on fullstory or bs workarounds, we simply don’t load fullstory when you opt out.
Do employees have access to the content of my notes?
We do not yet have end-to-end encryption, or other encryption functionality that would make it technically impossible to access your data. We would love to do this at some point but it will be difficult because our permission model is quite complex!
Do you have technical controls in place to prevent this access, or is it more of a policy?
I would definitely pay for an E2E encrypted Notion.
That being said, having clear-text data would allow features like an API on publicly shared pages/blocks, to use Notion as a CMS. I have seen some attempts  at reverse-engineering their internal API, but an official one on a paid plan could be a nice addition.
right now i'm trying out Outline  which has an option for self hosting.
Outline also has an RPC-style API for the entire project btw, the documentation needs a little work but it's there:
We're considering the self-hosted option too - that's the big draw.
* unlike Notion, it's one workspace per instance. makes sense, but worth noting as using workspaces as for organisational purposes won't work so well here.
* for personal instances, Slack doesn't make all that much sense. i see a PR for LDAP support on GitHub, so i will play around with that
* supports embeds just like Notion - paste the link and it just works. supports codepen, figma, gsuite, youtube and others. this was the feature that made me take notice of notion, so it's good to see it here.
* even better, the embed API seems pretty easily extensible, so the sky's the limit here. i can't wait to make some sweet dashboards based on entirely self-hosted data!
* no mobile app is a bit of a bummer, but the PWA experience works pretty well. considering i'll be authoring predominantly on desktop and only reading on iPhone, this isn't so much of a big deal for my use case
* no auto-save :(
* you can share a read-only, fully public link of any page you want. pretty damn cool.
all in all i'm pretty impressed. it seems pretty robust! i mean, it's definitely not as full-fat as Notion, but perhaps that's a good thing - and OSS means it's easily extensible for whatever you need to use it for. who knows which way my opinion will change after some more extensive use, but this definitely shows promise.
I certainly agree that that's the point, but such a system needs some potential usability affordances. For instance, a key stored in the browser rather than a password the user has to remember, and ideally a key synced between multiple devices controlled by the user so that the loss or failure of one device does not mean loss of the account.
For example, imagine having the browser generate an asymmetric key for the user, and making sure browsers store such keys (encrypted) in Firefox Sync or equivalent, so that the keys are safe even if the user moves to a new device or an existing device fails or gets lost.
Don't work for Agile Bits, but have used 1P for a long time and couldn't live without it.
Currently everything happens client side, however we believe homomorphic encryption is at a level of sophistication that should support most users and their needs.
My guess is that all these apps are salivating over the data to be able to train their NLP models which they can sell to an acquirer. I can't wait for Obsidian or some other app to reach feature parity (including wide, stable platform support). Would happily pay $$$ per year for it.
Most negative comments aren't mean-spirited, but they can verge on nitpicky. The worst type of comments are not those talking about product shortcomings, but are ones that veer way off topic into a commenter's pet point and kind of tank the whole discussion. Similarly, if everyone's just praising a product its not particularly constructive or helpful, except to know the product is going in the right direction. Good critique is super valuable.
This isn't necessarily because people who think they're smart are melancholic. I think it's because praise ultimately sounds the same in the end. Because it sounds the same, it doesn't sound smart, it doesn't get upvoted, you're better off just not posting it.
On the other hand, you can sound smart and original with criticism if you word it right.
Hence why I take the critical comments with a grain of salt and pay attention to the fact that the original HN post is on the front page with 256 points at the time of this writing. A lot of people clearly really like Notion.
I'd recommend watching their office hours video for building things from scratch to see how powerful it is for personal use: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x1I3Hic0urY
all workspaces now appear as "Team plan trial" but still the same limitations as before which is fine with me.
all the workspaces are named with our initials at the beginning to make sure we don't get confused with personal ones...
"AB - Home | AB - Finances | AB - Life" etc.
- keep your daily todo stuff on a sheet of paper in front of you, transfer the stuff from yesterday onto a fresh sheet before starting to work
- keep project specific tasks close to the project. If the project is physical stick a note onto it, if it is git managed code open a issue or add a todo inline, or add a todo.md in the project folder. Only put a vague line on your daily todo sheet: "work on project x" all the detailed stuff should be in the project
- if you have calls, meetings etc, just add them to your calendar with a reminder, no need to have them on the todo list
More recently, we used Notion - where 'we' = a group of professional volunteers; professional in that everyone had skills to contribute and volunteer in that no one is being paid for those contributions - to create a Citizen-to-Citizen long term support platform for those impacted adversely by the COVID19 epidemic. In India in case you're wondering.
The challenges are many:
1. Make it clear that we see ourselves not as a charity but as a citizen to citizen support network - today it could be that person, but tomorrow it could be you. We have to design around the dignity of the recipient and the donor.
2. We need to identify potential beneficiaries whose needs are verifiable. Which means involving organizations that work with migrant laborers at scale (to take a key demographic) and can verify and on-board those potential beneficiaries.
3. We need to pull together the back-end and front-end technology to make donations without intermediaries, i.e., there's no middleman receiving and storing the money - it's a direct transfer from one individuals account to another individual's account. No administrative fees and with any luck we could even see if the credit card fees can be waived.
4. Compelling and easy to grasp design that inspires trust in potential donors and even more importantly, builds solidarity between the donor and the recipient. We are all in this together, aren't we?
5. A communications strategy that brings in donors and creates a democratic narrative around donations.
Each one of these needs several individuals and sometimes several organizations to collaborate and agree upon a course of action. Notion helped us do that layer by layer, with the top level principles leading naturally to more technical decisions and an easy way to share content with non-technical but nevertheless insightful leaders in organizations that are providing essential services.
We first tried doing it with a combination of Google docs, Github repositories and other pieces of chewing gum and string, but once we shifted to Notion we never looked back. So much so that the next project this group is attempting is Notion native.
edit: apparently there's also a free upgrade to Personal Pro for EDU users, I wonder if that's been around for a while.
[my setup is just markdown, really, but it's here](https://lesser.occult.institute/an-opinionated-approach-to-t...)
Disclaimer: I built it.
Of course, on the one hand we do want you to opt in to tracking. This is a marketing site, after all. If you're actually interested in the product, tracking helps us understand who is interested and why, which in turn allows us to improve the product and reach more potential users. If you're not interested in the product, you don't need to click yes and there is no problem – because presumably you won't be spending very much time on the landing page for a product you're not interested in.
I think a landing page like this one is slightly different from, say, a big cookie banner on a news website, as the intent is not really for you to be spending a lot of time reading content on this site.
> Dark Patterns are tricks used in websites and apps that make you do things that you didn't mean to, like buying or signing up for something.
And here is the one used by the verge :
> A dark pattern is a user interface carefully crafted to trick users into doing things they might not otherwise do, such as buying insurance with their purchase or signing up for recurring bills
Here there's no trickery and no chance that a user would unintentionally agree to cookies when they didn't mean to. It's just a little annoying thing that bugs you until you do what they want. It's not unethical, but if you don't like it you shouldn't use their site.
I'm happy to include multiple forms of coercion; the pattern here is the ratchet: https://jacquesmattheij.com/dark-patterns-the-ratchet/
> It's just a little annoying thing that bugs you until you do what they want.
That's a nice summary of a class of dark patterns, yes.
> It's not unethical, but if you don't like it you shouldn't use their site.
It absolutely is unethical, and yes as I said above I will consider this a good reason to avoid the app.
For me, this is only a dark pattern if the cookie banner makes the site unusable (as many sites do) until you click "Yes". Ours clearly does not.
Regardless, the initial accusation was:
> If you're not giving people a choice, why even pretend?
Which is clearly not true. There is a very real choice – we are not pretending. Your choice matters.
However, since a lot of people are not a fan of our banner, we've decided to add an explicit "no" option. I still disagree that our original implementation is a "dark pattern", as we very explicitly will not sell your data, and tracking for the sake of improving the product seems like a square deal to me. But I understand that people are finding it annoying, so it's been changed. Sorry about that.
But for kids, older adults, and recent immigrants I feel this is borderline confusing (the right way to say no is to ignore?) and manipulative, and I would prefer more margin from the border.
The difficult conversation is to what degree do we expect rational agency from different kinds of folks, how do we think about formal or business relations with them, etc, but I don’t think the answer is “you shouldn’t let older moms or kids into the web”.
> There is a very real choice
I don't see a 'No' button... I love the app, really, but that isn't nice. Also a GDPR violation for those in the EU.
Ah, cool then.
From looking at the currency used though, it seems that you don't need to concern yourself with EU stuff soon =)
However, since a lot of people are not a fan of our banner, we've decided to add an explicit "no" option. I still disagree that our original implementation is a "dark pattern", as we very explicitly will not sell your data, and tracking for the sake of improving the product seems like a square deal to me. But I can understand how people would find it annoying, so it's been changed. Sorry about that.
Just type `/math` in a Notion document to bring it up.
0 - https://joplinapp.org/