Just look at the document. It's a 400+kb HTML page of Emacs configurations, keybindings and other stuff that makes absolutely no sense unless you've been an avid Emacs user for years. Where is the Plain Text here? I see nothing of the sort. Sure, the output might resemble Plain Text, but it's clearly not.
I have nothing against it or those who use it, more power to you, but please be realistic.
Sorry about the rant.
The "plain text" catch phrase is not baseless, though. One of the best things about org mode is that there really is a simple and intuitive markup format at its core. Most users probably only ever use the "outliner" features, which are pretty obvious. But once you're used to that, there are lots of more complex features you can start using, one by one. Or just ignore.
Being text, org mode files are also pretty easy to e.g. grep.
In my experience, one does actually just edit text files using org-mode. It is different than the Tasks sub-application of Thunderbird/Lightening, for instance.
I’ve been a long time org user and am slowly starting to move bits of my workflow out of it to ease collaboration with the staff I’m planning to hire in the next couple months. I absolutely love Org and am not particularly happy about moving away from it, but... it seems like trying to use it in a collaborative way is not going to go well. I’ll keep using it for myself though because it’s awesome :D
Well, you can, if you export your issues. Jira has a well working API. It's not hard to write a script for fetching your stuff locally. There are even one or two plugins on melpa for loading it directly into org-mode.
Running `grep` from the root of my Org directory gives me access to about 10 years of notes from various projects across various organizations. In hindsight, I could have tried to periodically dump things out of my clients' various project management systems for historical reference, but just using Org on its own has proven pretty effective at that :)
Could collaboration be done using a public git repository?
Forgetting to commit and push my notes before switching from my Mac laptop to my Linux laptop would be pretty disappointing, compared to them magically showing up. On the other hand, if I had multiple people working on the same set of org files in Dropbox, I suspect Dropbox would start having trouble with conflicts pretty quickly.
And... unfortunately... it seems unlikely that someone I'm going to hire is going to be on-board with project management in Emacs. While I'd love to have an army of Emacs lovers working for me, that seems unrealistic to expect :)
1. A syntax for organizing information
2. An Emacs configuration to create and maintain files in said syntax.
Clearly, the "plain text" part of the quote that tripped you off refers to 1. And in theory, you can write and read that format in any editor that supports plain text files. But I think you're right that in reality, and unlike competitors like Markdown or reText, this one is tightly coupled to a single text editor: Emacs.
Does that make the tag-line wrong? I don't think so. But perhaps it sounds like a stretch in the light of point 2.
At the same time, I think this motto ("your life in plain text") has been around for a long, long time - from a time, when org-mode was less complex. Like many successful (niche or non-niche) products, it has grown tremendously in terms of features. So, perhaps that motto was more fitting to org-mode's beginning.
That said, all tools for using anything with a non-trivial set of options or features are complex. Think IDE's or Photoshop etc. -- you don't need all the features to get started and you won't even use all features on a regular basis. But whenever you want to do something, and the tools gives you the possibility to do it, it will make you happy.
That's why you end up with long instruction manuals.
Is it different for any other tool of sufficient complexity?
So I think "Your life in plain text" still holds today.
I use org cause I can write code in multiple languages as well as having my notes and thoughts on the process. Again colleagues like that I then share those as HTML. I like that is instant documentation.
Trello and family don't do that.
Well, I mean this does come up all the time, where people talk about how much time they sink into Emacs. Emacs is an interface to a programming language. Of course you can stick time into it, just as people spend hundreds of hours writing code with any programming language. For basic usage, you don't need to. I don't think Emacs needs to apologize for being a lot of fun for experimenting and customizing. Those same people would be scrolling Twitter or Facebook if they procrastinated using Emacs.
I think there are a lot of org-mode users that would like to see org-mode for VS Code (there are some starts) and other editors. Org-mode is really an extendable dsl for personal information. Source code (which is what you are calling the output) is interesting in that it looks like a semi-structured text file, and compiles to many output formats (pdf, HTML, spreadsheets, etc).
- the venn diagram of people using emacs and using org-mode seems to largely overlap. That makes it impractical in non emacs heavy environments (aka. the wider industry).
- tooling outside of emacs is mostly not there.
- org mode is a basically similar to other wiki dialects with similar syntax, limitations, tooling, etc. Other than the (emacs) tooling, I don't see a strong reason for preferring it.
The above makes it a non-starter for me personally (not an emacs user) or for teams that have non emacs users (i.e. all teams I've been on, ever). That does not invalidate it as a personal note taking tool of course. But lets indeed not overstate its utility. Some people like post-its, scribbling in a notebook, simply remembering to do stuff, or their super duper emacs setups. Whatever works for you.
1. org-mode is already installed in Emacs. Open a .org file in Emacs and you have everything you need ready and waiting.
2. You can make an outline by putting * for first-level heading, two * for second-level, and so on.
3. You can add notes below a heading simply by typing.
4. You can link wiki-style to other documents with the shortcut C-c C-l and entering the filename. Remember to include the path as in ./filename.org. The same shortcut works to edit the link. You can click on the link to open it and then start typing.
5. You can move headings and the full subtree below them using the Alt key plus arrows. This outlining capability is very nice if you're used to it from Workflowy or Dynalist.
There are lots of other things you can do with org-mode, but as a basic way to organize your information, it's very simple even if you've never used Emacs.
Be dismissive of my comment if you want, but I'm guessing you either didn't bother to read it or to understand it, because there's nothing in there that the vast majority of computer users don't already do.
Depends. It's very practical if you're an independent contractor. I run my contracting from Emacs, including tracking tasks, time, generating invoices and processing documents. The main extra integration I have is LaTeX, which I use to generate nice PDFs to send to customers.
Before, as a salaried employee, I still used it for task management and time tracking - regular software used for that purpose (e.g. Jira) is nowhere near ergonomic enough to make detailed TODO lists, and store notes and code samples along with them. Not to mention, it's not the kind of stuff you'd want to spam on public time/task tracker systems. So Org Mode works really great as a private, more detailed tracking/noting system. Bonus points if you develop with Emacs too, as then you can achieve nice synergy (e.g. evaluating code snippets straight from the notes).
> org mode is a basically similar to other wiki dialects with similar syntax, limitations, tooling, etc. Other than the (emacs) tooling, I don't see a strong reason for preferring it.
That's only partly true. Org's markup language is pretty similar to Markdown. But it's the tooling - the Org Mode - that makes it unique, and mostly unusable outside of Emacs. Within Org language, like TODO markers, priorities, drawers, header options, code block parameters, etc. serve as hooks for the tooling, and this is what lets you turn an .org document from a glorified Markdown into a fully-featured outliner/task tracker/time tracker/spreadsheet/literate programming environment.
Org-mode has a strong focus on organisational features (hence the name) and is quite extendable and modulare. With org-babel it has also a very sophisticated environment for literate programming. How are wikis in that regard this days?
org-mode is great tool for emacs as an environment. If the idea of having such a tool so close so tied into how you're working then it's the best tool I know of.
If you just want a markdown-ish outliner you can probably get that workflow elsewhere.
That being said, there are many tools built on the org mode format to help with things like todo management and interactive execution of code blocks, but it doesn't make it any less plain text.
Org modes files do export as plain text; this makes them super simple to deal with. It looks similar to a non-rendered markup file. Not pretty, but definitely plain-text.
One huge feature of org mode I have yet to use is that you can nest org mode files. So you can have ten org mode files from different parts of your life all get pulled and displayed into one screen.
this thing is a 5 year old specialist's setup and its not appropriate for new users, even the installation instructions have not aged well.
that didn't stop me from copying way to much of his work into my initial setup and crying about the mess i made when i got started though :) if you want to get started with org or that strange editor, consider yourself as having been trolled and look for something that has popup captures and does linked images not something this time/billing specific at first!
The latter is robust to your hard drive failing and downloadable in plaintext, too. And it looks better. And you don't have to learn a billion key shortcuts with silly names like "yank" to use it.
And later on, if you decide to keep using it, you can decide to add more shortcuts to your repertoire on a case-by-case basis.
"Yank" is not specific to org-more, btw, but Emacs lingo which predates, of course, a lot of modern UI conventions. Most other names are quite straight-forward.
Note also, that it's not the keyboard shortcut that is called "yank" - the latter is the name of a functionality which you could, if you wanted so, type out in order to use it. The keyboard short is there so you don't have to, and you don't even have to remember the proper name of the function that the shortcut is for.
Or if you later find some other tool that suits you better it may not be possible to move all your data to the other system, or at least prohibitively hard. With org mode, you can probably whip up an extension that mimics that other tool, or else just port you data.
The attraction of org mode is that it it's probably close to the simplest, most primitive way of solving that problem it solves, while also being one of the most easily extensible and customizable (because, emacs).
I don't want primitive, I want convenient and easy to use. I don't want to have to think about how I'm taking notes or write in lisp or "rice" anything.
Also, Emacs is ugly and doesn't sync with my phone. I'm sure I could fix both of those things with sufficient effort, but again, I want to put forth effort solving actual problems, not remaking my Workflowy setup.
This entire topic is microcosm of goofy command line/unix fetishism.
If you want primitive, get a paper notebook. One page per day. That works well, too (seriously).
I'm not claiming Org is a silver bullet, or even better than WorkFlowly or anything else people might use, but it definitely has it's place.
Workflowy has the opposite problem of orgmode. Workflowy owns your data and unless you frequently sync it with your hard drive then you risk losing all of your notes.
However, the best tool is the one that fits your needs and that you're familiar with. That said, would I encourage you to Wade into the orgmode pool? Most certainly!
It syncs to 3 places, of which 2 are encrypted off-site backups. Since I already do everything in Emacs, org mode extends all the tools I already use (links to emails, specific lines in a source code file, contacts, IRC). I spent one hour learning it about 4 years ago and I use it to manage just about everything I have to do on my computer.
If you are not already sold.on Emacs, however, I understand that it can be a tough thing to swallow.
If you also use org-mode for tasks then you can add todo items to your notes that show up in your general agenda, which you may be using to keep track of meetings or events, as well.
in the last year i know two new developers who have written their own emacs configs.