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Notion API – public beta (notion.so)
536 points by cristinacordova 36 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 253 comments



Big fan of notion. Not a fan of the data lock-in or haphazard security. For tools like this, SaaS will almost always beat open source just by virtue of elbow grease and a product direction. So I’m willing to forego the open source alternatives. But I really wish Notion gave me more options for how to host my data. AFAICT they offer no “dedicated storage” or “on premise” plan, even if you want to pay for it.

In fact I heard a rumor that the entirety of Notion runs on a single unsharded database. If true, combined with the fact that this API took so long to ship, I have to assume that there is a crippling amount of tech debt in their stack. Hopefully it’s growing pains and they’re sorting it out, but it doesn’t make me feel confident about the security of my (most sensitive) data.

It’s maybe also a cautionary tale about what happens when you dismiss too many early decisions as “premature optimization.” You ship fast in the beginning but a few years later you’re buried in all the debt you generated.

Granted, it’s a good problem to have. If the choice is between a profitable, popular company buried in tech debt, or the perfect stack with no customers, I’ll take the debt.


(Cristina from Notion here)

We shared a bit more in the past about how most of our user content was stored in a single database instance (see more here: https://www.notion.so/notion/Focus-on-performance-reliabilit...). That is no longer true and we recently re-architected this database to scale horizontally.

Totally understand that you want more options for how to host your data. Unfortunately, we don't have any plans on that front at the moment.


My company had Notion hit us up for an Enterprise contract. When we asked if they offered enhanced security, single tenancy, or even they’d accept some sort of liability if they had a breach … the answer was no, no, and no.

We ultimately decided to not go enterprise since it offers little value over their existing plan and keep sensitive data out of Notion.

I hope Notion gets to a point where they can offer stronger guarantees to their customers. If they pull it off they’ll easily be mission critical software.


Notion doesn't even need to offer these guarantees in their SaaS service. They can just ship to my Kubernetes cluster, and let me manage the ingress and storage, and that would be enough to make it mission critical software.

In the meantime, we end up using tools with a little bit less good UX, but we just can't share that data publicly. UX can't win over security, and I hate having to choose.


Curious, how is that a less good UX?

That seems exactly like what customers want — just when you share things publicly it goes to a separate public sandbox? It should be fairly trivial to obfuscate


Thanks for being upfront about “don’t have any plans for that”, instead of a vague “we’re looking into it” which sounds better but effectively means the same thing.


Off-topic question. Who draws the illustrations for Notion's marketing pages? I love the art work.


We pay professional artists to draw all of our illustrations.

- Roman Muradov: https://www.bluebed.net/

- Iris Chiang: https://irischiangart.com


>Totally understand that you want more options for how to host your data. Unfortunately, we don't have any plans on that front at the moment.

This is unfortunate. I tried Notion a few months back, and almost loved it enough to pay for a subscription. Once I saw that, I refunded the subscription and went back to markdown and git. I love your software, but the lock-in is frustrating.


If you’re the CEO, would you rather have a frustrating but profitable product or a non-frustrating but non-profitable product?

I think people forget this part of the math.


(I work at Notion)

"Lock in" is not a part of our strategy. We try to offer data portability via import and export; you can export your entire workspace as HTML (most metadata, pages link to each other and can be browsed offline), PDF, or Markdown (most easily editable). Given an HTML export and a few hours of scripting, I think you could migrate to any API-accessible document storage strategy.


Except if the export is broken, as it has been for us for months with no answer from support. Our company account got quite large to about 40 GB. Ever since, all export options just result in "export failed"... and as nothing can really be deleted; I'm scared we'll be locked in permanently.

Don't get me wrong. We love Notion. But we also need our data to be portable and backed up to not be liable.


You know, it could be that they just have a product vision and want to build and sell it to people that want it. If it's not what you want, you don't have to use it.


If your product is only profitable because you created artificial friction, your business is unlikely to exist a decade from now unless you are thinking about diversifying already.

Allowing me to host my data myself should not reduce your profits as long as your product is still the best.

If you’re focused on (relative) short term profits to get paid and retire on a beach, and you succeed, good for you. I’m totally jealous and wish I was you.

Unfortunately, I’m also not your target customer.


I don't see how or why these things have to be related in any way whatsoever? Atlassian offers self hosted solutions and presumably do so because it's profitable. I don't see why offering a self hosted solution has to somehow mean less profit, or to the extent of non-profitability for that matter.

You could make it *more* expensive to use the self hosted version. It's straightforward to justify if you consider the additional development overhead, and if you include some kind of a support package.

My question is genuine. I see strange justifications like this often when it comes to self hosted versions of X, Y, or Z product. What exactly is the risk to profit here? I can see extra engineering overhead as a possible risk, but that's a solvable problem. There are many ways to handle software updates. Spinning up new backend environments is often done on devs machines daily when developing. I don't see any novel problem that hasn't been solved.

The "we have no plans for this", or "we are looking into it" are all often used ways of avoiding the question of "why aren't you doing this?" There are plenty of companies out there that for one reason or another, need to control the environment where their data lives. Why give up that business? Why do people who work at those places have to often settle for worse products because of this? Why not give businesses *choice* of storing their data or having someone else deal with the complexity?

Is it that the presumed market for this is too small? And why is nobody being transparent about this?


You are reasoning about this well. Offering a self hosted solution is a solvable problem that can be profitable. The challenge might be that there are multiple different strategies the folks at Notion could follow, but choose not to. Each is solvable and each can bring more profit. And yet they need to decide what to do and what not to do. You should not chase every rabbit and solve every solvable problem.


Hey, I just don't like the way the numbers shake out. I'm just letting people know that I voted with my dollar.


You should try obsidian plus syncthing. I use notion at work but hate how slow it is most of the time. For everything else and for all of my own stuff at work I use obsidian.


Do you at least have plans to expose audit and access logs to customers yet?


I couldn't find anywhere what database that they use. Am I missing it?


Even pretty established players like Asana don't offer on prem.

Curious what you'd be willing to pay for this, as it's exclusively an enterprise feature. My guess is an absolute minimum of $50k/year contract value, or 250-350 users at an enterprise per-seat price (just guessing).

Aside from going fully on prem, the idea of strictly dedicated storage is interesting -- like "bring your own S3 bucket" simplicity. I don't see that often outside of $10 desktop apps.


Even if the offer is appealing, this is unlikely to happen. Confluence who used to offer it, has stopped and soon everyone would need to use the cloud version. The thing is that for a collaborative tool like Notion (and others) being Saas, and in the cloud is kind of mandatory. As you need your tool to integrate with other services and thus, can't be static.

The only possibility left is "dedicated storage". That works for static ressources. But the `page` content itself is dynamic and changes often, so you will need more than "bring your own S3" and something like "bring your rds" but that starts to be pretty complicated. Quip though still offer on prem AFAIK.

At the end of the day, the issue with collaborative tools, is that you can't e2e encrypt easily, and almost impossible if you offer full text search. The best solution is to trust your provider for data security. And use maybe some daily backups in your own network.


Atlassian tools still offer on-prem, but you need a data center license now and they doubled the price of that. Unfortunate, but they'd be losing some huge customers that cannot run in the cloud not just as a matter of policy but technology. The entire IC developer platform is using the Atlassian suite, for instance, but on JWICS, a classified network with no connectivity to Atlassian's cloud.

What's going to end up happening if more vendors decide you can only use their service from their cloud is the largest enterprises and governments are going to exclusively use Microsoft and AWS since they're more than willing to just build you your own cloud that meets whatever security and disconnection requirements you have, no matter how stringent. Already no new government projects that still have a choice are going with Atlassian tooling.

We'll see how it goes for them, I guess. Maybe they don't need governments and Fortune 500s and can get by selling exclusively to startups with no real security or lock-in avoidance requirements.


Well, the comment still stands. You can't /reasonably/ deploy Confluence on premise any more when weighing up the cost feasibility of using the on premise service for Data Centre vs Server.

The idea of using their cloud service (Atlassians) wouldn't be that daunting if it wasn't for the consistent feed back I see here and else where that performantly, it absolutely sucks.


Backup to s3 every N hours sounds like a good trade off.


You're right about Asana -- but it's worth noting that RoamResearch ($100/yr) offers private, offline dbs, and Roam's OSS "vassal" app (ie, clone) AthensResearch is self-hosted and free-as-in-beer.


Logseq https://github.com/logseq/logseq is also a good OSS alternative and they're also working on collaborative feature I believe.


Obsidian (https://obsidian.md) also offers offline, + for free.


Are either Roam or Obsidian collaborative?


Not sure about Roam, I've been using Obsidian, and my purpose is for personal, making note archive offline. So never had any need for collaboration. But with Sync and Publish features, maybe there is a possibility.


Roam seems to be working on it. I’m unsure the status as I haven’t checked in a few months.


I think Roam has been fully collaborative since the launch. The browser keeps the whole database in IndexedDB and syncs it continuously with a WebSocket streaming Datomic-style transactions.


Roam: yes Obsidian: unsure (I think not)


Zero cost but not Free Software. Another untrustworthy thing like Notion.


I'm most saddened by the people who spend their time writing plugins for Notion / Roam (and to a lesser degree, Obsidian), providing extra value for free to a non-free product that will profit off the free labor. (or rather, I'm saddened that companies like Roam are so willing to exploit community engagement for a profit)

Time would be better spent contributing to an open source alternative like Athens!


Thank Ben :)


Roam's site[1] only mentions $165/yr. The 5 year plan is $500, but then... if you stop using it after a year, you would have paid $500 for 1 year of usage. If you're thinking of no lock-in, you need to see the monthly price, which is $15 month, way more expensive (for personal use) than anything notion has (free/$4/$8 per month)

[1]: https://roamresearch.com/


> it's exclusively an enterprise feature

Are you suggesting privacy and data ownership concerns are only limited to enterprises?


I think it suggests that the support and SLA costs are higher in these situations.

These factors make sense to me. Note that Gitlab believes the opposite so on prem is also free.


The support costs are a solvable problem. The challenge is architecting your stack to accommodate external storage, and delivering a usable experience to your users when they connect their resources.

It would be nice if AWS could deliver a smooth OAuth experience so that in a few clicks, a user could provision an S3 bucket and share it with a service provider as easily as they can grant access to a GitHub repository.


> Even pretty established players like Asana don't offer on prem.

Sounds like an opportunity ;)

Starting or rearchitecting a project gives you the rare chance to make decisions that your competitors never even had available to them. You can leverage new tech to move faster, and you can learn from their mistakes to avoid their most costly traps.

“Bring your own S3 bucket” actually sounds pretty awesome and I wish more companies would do this. Everybody wants to be a middleman controlling the transaction, but they’re missing a whole class of customers by not offering self-directed storage options.

This is a great example of a decision Notion could make now, that Asana would have a hard time adapting to. As long as they’re rearchitecting, they should keep an eye out for opportunities like that.

As for how much I’d pay – if I’m the only party with access to my raw data, and I can run the software locally even if Notion goes out of business – for a team of 5-10, I would pay $50-75 per user per month.


You might want to take a look at AthensResearch (free, self-hosted RoamResearch clone).


Oh I have. Problem is Notion is most popular with the least technical people on our team. Migrating would be a hard sell.


This might be an interesting alternative: https://github.com/QingWei-Li/notea.

Open source Notion clone that you can host locally.


Looks awesome, but it relies on an S3 (or compatible) backend, which I personally find too much of a hassle.


Min.io[0] is pretty easy to set up, if you haven't heard of it, and is S3-compatible.

0: https://min.io/


(I work at Notion, but not on the Infrastructure team)

We completed our sharding migration almost a month ago (https://twitter.com/jitl/status/1383235281457876993?s=21), and are now using >1 primaries. The project took a long time and really made the “changing the engine while the car is doing 200MPH” analogy true for me.


I bet you have lots of fun challenges!

I hope I didn’t come off as too critical. I do love Notion as a product and my org is a paid member. I just wish there were more options around data hosting.

None of these problems are the mark of bad engineers, either. It’s just what happens when you ship fast and grow fast. Like I said, good problem to have :)


You didn’t :)


This is the reason I use Obsidian. https://obsidian.md/

All of your data is locally stored markdown text files with no lock in.

All of the amazing benefits of linked note taking without the downsides.


I absolutely love Obsidian except for one crucial flaw: no tabs. They've made every editor view a "pane", which means that on a laptop you can effectively only work on one or two files at a time. There's a plugin that adds tabs, but it's pretty awkward and not what you normally think of when you think of tabs. Otherwise, Obsidian is truly incredible.


It doesn’t work well for a team though, with a bunch of local markdown files - does it?


Admittedly harder when there is frequent concurrent modification required, but Syncthing works well for me to share between nodes.


Obsidian is not a replacement for Notion tho, no databases, a lot of custom configuration, no nice templates, etc... I can't take how slow Notion is, and I'm looking for a self-hosted replacement, but Obsidian is just not there yet, except for the note taking part, that I dont care about.


> no databases

You can query Markdown files with the (third-party) Dataview plugin. Wrote about it here[0], very simple query syntax. Only tables and lists, but tables is the one I've used by far the most in Notion.

> no nice templates

Well you can always create your own. There's a first-party templates plugin[1] and a similar third-party one that also allows custom variables and has a showcase[2] (think: you can curl the weather and add it to your journal).

Having wrote that, your "a lot of custom configuration" definitely applies.

[0] https://input.sh/replicating-notions-tables-with-obsidian-pl...

[1] https://help.obsidian.md/Plugins/Templates

[2] https://github.com/SilentVoid13/Templater/discussions/catego...


except,in Notion, you don't need 3rd party plugins, or "create your own" templates, you already have it out of the box, don't get me wrong tho, I don't love Notion, is very slow. The biggest problem I see with obsidian is, requires a lot of configuration, like you mentioned. I just want something that works.


I've also recently migrated to Obsidian and it's been fantastic.


+1 on Obsidian. It requires a different way of taking notes to be really useful but it's all part of learning to take better notes.


I personally like Joplin[0] the best - it can sync via Dropbox or any other host of options.

[0] https://joplinapp.org


Apart from the HN growd + a few more, I think more users likely just don't care about options to host data.


Many regulated organizations do, though.

Single reason we didn't adopt notion is lack of ability to self host.


Out of curiosity what do you use for documents and email? Not using Office365/Google Docs/Outlook/Gmail at all?


We use plenty of cloud stuff, I guess that wasn't clear from my initial comment. We use Office 365 & teams for our 'business' teams, Slack for tech teams & Monday.com for our 'Jira'. The business has evolved from on prem exchange so its natural a trust in MS is embedded.

I wanted notion to get out of document hell. Legacy business with many spreadsheets and word documents. With notion it wasn't the cloud being the issue, we run all in house software & DBs in AWS.

But some startup from San Fransisco offering a platform with notable downtime / performance issues and no direct ownership of DBs was an issue for something like a wiki where you want to be able to publish sensitive information, ip etc. We're in a regulated industry so compliance & security input is ultra relevant.

Sharepoint is a fucking abomination, it's what was previously used. Notion makes a perfect wiki solution.

If it had a self hosted option we'd have adopted it. It was turned down, and fairly so, by our ops team for the hosting situation. There's no reason for something as *simple* as a wiki should be completely outsourced. Portability is a factor too.

We chose wikiJS in the end. Great wiki but terrible writing experience. Tend to write everything in an external markdown editor and just copy it in.


In my experience, you will find this kind of org uses Office365/Outlook, and not Gsuite/Gmail, as they have in place a commercial agreement with Microsoft which covers regulatory requirements put upon them (and some they put upon themselves).

Of course they could _try_ to get an agreeable contract in place with Google, but Microsoft is Enterprise-friendly and can make this happen much more readily.


We use Microsoft over Google simply because they are not an advertising company.


That's still not self-hosted though ...


Hes right though, certainly in our case.

Microsoft has been deeply embedded in the org for years and they can certainly give stronger contractual assurances than Notion can.


Same for my org. We'd have the entire team move, if self host was an option.


I'd imagine the HN crowd cares less than executives at large organisations and government departments. There's a requirements for industries and businesses to either own their own data or keep that data onshored in their jurisdictions.


They totally care about their data though.


It’s probably a Pareto distribution like anything else. Maybe 20% of users care about it enough to pay for a 4x more expensive plan.

I’d be curious to read more about what their architecture looks like now and how they’re planning to evolve it to fit their priorities.


I'm actually working on launching a self-serve on-prem version of Retool over the next few weeks. Would love your feedback on whether the way we're thinking about it resonates with how you feel about on-prem/self-hosted tools. If you're open to it, let's connect jamie at retool.com


Do they still not support things like 2FA? At my previous company, we couldn't get buy-in from our security team due to them not supporting 2FA. The team loved Notion, but that was a deal breaker. Also, if I remember correctly, magic email links could not be disabled. There is no excuse for not implementing 2FA w/ an authenticator app -- it took me a couple days to implement it into my product. They've had people asking for 2FA for literal years (just search Twitter!)


Maybe your security team could implement an authentication server with 2FA to cover those softwares that don't support it natively?

For example, https://www.authelia.com/ is open-source.


That only works if you can put the app on your internal network; Notion is neither self-hostable nor available 'on-premise' w/peering, that's what people are complaining about here.

You can't magically put 2FA in front of some third-party public site. (You could from within your own network.. but that's perhaps worse than pointless!)


How does this solution help if the SaaS offering doesn't support alternate authentication providers and doesn't offer 2FA?


Sorry, I thought it was self-hostable.

Yikes, no 2FA or SSO isn't good..


Sigh, it is a paradox.

As a consumer, I want my software on-prem. But as a producer, I want to deploy as frequently as possible, so that I could iterate without friction, and I would try to avoid platforms/techs that are not hot upgradable.

As a consumer, I want no data tracking. But as a producer, I want data-driven growth, so that I could understand where I did wrong and how to improve it. And data comes from tracking.

This paradox is not just limited to the software industry: For example as a consumer, I prefer reading texts. But as a producer, I found videos are easier to monetize because of the attractive/addictive nature.

More often than not, the formers which benefit consumers are not justifiable in pure economic senses compared to the latters, thus the reality we are living in nowadays.


It's not a paradox as much as a difference between you and the public you target.

Compared to you, they don't care about tracking, don't want the hassle to set-up on-prem and don't mind or prefer videos over text.


It’s possible to make self-hostable software that auto updates. Besides, managed deployment and single tenancy are not mutually exclusive.

In this case I’m not even asking for self-hostable. I mostly want single tenant. Yes, self-hostable or “bring your own storage” would be cool, but provider-managed single-tenancy at least eliminates a whole class of data security bugs. This way, even if an application-layer dumps all the rows in the database to the client, at least they’re only my rows.


Why do you want your software on-prem and be responsible for deployment and monitoring,”?


Sorry I wasn't being clear about this part. What I meant is a comparison:

If there is an on-prem option, the release, the update/migration, the installation environment, and the documentation on deployment should be carefully crafted. All of these not only require more effort, but also require people to keep in mind not to stomp on things. And even worse, they have to search for potential problems with their imagination because they don't have access to the data with edge cases they're dealing with. If people are not careful, it's very easy to seriously screw things and lost some customers forever. On top of that, if fixes are required, the team usually needs to fix multiple versions over and over, of which the codebase might have drastically changed. The teams are usually less and less "brave" as time goes by.

For most SaaS without on-prem options, people can just focus on the functionalities and deploy many, many times a day. For non-critical issues, people don't need to worry about them, just debug what's going on and respond fast, and the issues are very likely fixed in hours. Plus they can use components like Kafka, Elastic Search, or even other SaaS as needed, without having to choose between re-invent things or ask everybody to install a zoo of components in their on-prem solutions.

That's one of the key reasons why web application is so popular nowadays compared to what we've done in the 90s desktop applications. Because it enables the "move fast and break things" mentality because more things are fixable in web applications. On-prem is like 90s desktop applications in disguise. Just try to imagine how horrifying if someone breaks the upgrade functionality. Or if one needs to fix a bug in Windows 10, they also need to fix it from like Windows Vista to Windows 10, where the codebases are drastically different.

In conclusion, on-prem sounds applaudable to the audiences on HN, but the reality is it doesn't work well for most for-profit businesses.


Craft Docs is a good Notion alternative I personally like, and they're avoiding the data moat angle:

https://museapp.com/podcast/26-no-data-moat/


Craft is really slick, but it's not really an option for those not using Apple products. Well, I guess until the web editor is out of beta.

I'm keeping an eye on AnyType

https://AnyType.io


Honest question, since this thread seems to be mostly about the data. If AnyType uses IPFS, doesn't that mean data will vanish at some point?


From what I understand, it's all stored locally on your devices. IPFS is just used to sync between your devices and to share with others.


> For tools like this, SaaS will almost always beat open source just by virtue of elbow grease and a product direction.

You mean a broken wiki and slow project management tool is better than specialized open source tools which are way better at the same thing


I have more respect for and trust in a product that I know is keeping things simple and straightforward vs. fucking around with Big Data consistency problems prematurely.


I’m curious: notion lets you export everything as markdown and CSV. If you had a sync/backup job running, that, say, imported the csv to a Postgres database every night, how would you feel about your concern?


When I initially signed up for Notion, I did so thinking the API was already usable. It was used as a selling point for their premium service even though it wasn't implemented. This was a year and a half ago or so.

I felt pretty burned by it and killed my subscription. Hopefully this turns out well for the people who've been waiting for it, but that experience left a terrible taste in my mouth.


For those like myself ignorant about the company, Notion appears to be a project management tool with integrated wiki and docs support. With at least a claimed strong user focus.


Yup, that’s how they present it, though in reality it’s pretty clunky as a project management tool, and you’d almost always be better off using a purpose-built solution.

Notion makes a decent tool for a personal/organizational wiki but it’s too slow/unresponsive/janky to use for many other purposes IMO.

I’ve been using it for a couple years and I used to hold out hope that the performance could be optimized, but at this point I think it must be some fundamental issue with their tech stack (or some other organizational issue). It just feels bad to use. The pages take forever to load, the search is slow, and the actual page editing feels sluggish.

It’s a shame because otherwise I really like the core ideas of how Notion works. If someone released a tool that was “Notion but fast”, I’d switch in an instant.


Your comments reflect my almost two-year experience with the paid version of Notion.

I found it very difficult to figure out how to use the tools beyond very narrow use-cases they provided in examples.

And I found the docs were almost useless in explaining the overarching design. As a result, despite a lot of time spent, I kept bumping into unexpected limitations or design corners with no way out other than to scrap the document type I was trying to construct.

I went back to Trello for project management, Todoist for to-do's, and my Dropbox-backed markdown files for notes.

It's a shame because with more attention to the user experience and better docs, I think they'd have a killer product.


I had a similar experience. The slowness of Notion to me. I now use Obsidian which has tons of nice shortcuts and is snappy, even as it's what I believe is an Electron app.


Also had the same experience. Couldn't stand the unresponsiveness and clunkiness. Ended up moving to Bookmark OS


I just recently deep-dived into using Notion for our boutique management consulting firm.

It has been great so far as a lightweight CRM, and a collaborative meeting note—taking tool with backlinks into CRM. Also documenting our internal processes.

Project management and ToDos haven’t stuck.


When it first launched we talked to the guy who made it (pretty sure it started as a side project) and IIRC it was backed by a relational database with every block being a row and a lot of joins that make up a page. Hopefully they've optimised it since then, but if that's still the architecture it's going to be hard to get performant.


I set up Notion as an intranet for my wife's company and it has been enormously useful for posting company documents, policies, handbooks, announcements, etc. Employees are invited as "guests" at no additional charge.

We also use a Notion database with various views for tracking customers, sales pipeline, rewards, and a lot more.

When we bring on a new customer, we quickly create (from a template) a personalized welcome page for them with an embedded copy of their service agreement and a few other things. Notion can generate a public link so we send this right away and it makes a nice impression.

Performance isn't great but it is so useful for us that I don't mind. I do hope they provide an offline version soon as that is my biggest wish right for it right now.

* I'm not affiliated with the company, just a pleased customer.


The opposite is true, its a WYSIWYG wiki which you can abuse for project management. The project management capabilities are similar to Github Project boards which means that it is very basic.


It’s weird that that’s (still) how they market Notion. I use it as sort of a combination of google docs and google sheets — I can write long-form documents and include attachments, link to other pages, etc, and also create databases (and every row is its own page).

You’d have to shoehorn project management into their database paradigm, which definitely seems subpar compared to a purpose-built task/project manager. But the “personal wiki” aspect of it is fantastic.


I see it more as a google docs or dropbox paper replacement that happens to include some on-page elements that work as project management tools.


I didn't quite have the impression you had, but I did sign up for a "early access beta", that mostly resulted in me receiving a bunch of spam from the company telling me how almost ready the api was.

Happy the thing is released finally, it is a big improvement on Google docs.


Same.

That said, Notion is a really good product.


Isn't that the whole point of Agile MVP development? Sell something that doesn't exist and hope someone buys it? Personally, I don't expect much from it, after working with Airtable's API and hating every second of it.


You nailed the opposite of an MVP, which is to deliver it immediately and improve it later.


Theres a lot of reasons why it makes sense to sell something before building it. You want to be up front about this fact but getting commitments to buy something is a good idea before actually spending money and time to build it.


Of course. That has nothing to do with agile MVPs, though.


Well you've either got to make it clear that it doesn't exist yet, or not actually charge them until you build it. Otherwise that sounds like fraud.


There's some validity to the criticism, but that's more the intersection of short-cycle methods and American "hustle" culture than anything to do with an MVP approach itself. People with more integrity can take an MVP-centered approach and just be honest with customers about where they are.

Indeed, I think that honesty works better; underpromising and overdelivering is a great way to build trust among your initial customer base. Trust that you need to carry people through the inevitable bumps and anticipations of an early-adopter experience.


What in particular did you not like about their API?


I've recently started using Notion and I'm surprised at few things that I find incredibly annoying with it so far. Since it seems there are some Notion staff here I'll take this as a change to give some feedback to hopefully improve the product.

* No read-only mode. I like to have documents default to a read-only mode so I don't accidentally typo random characters, or delete something when try copying. etc.

* No floating table of contents. There is a ToC block but it's at a fixed position, where it's not terribly usable especially for long documents having a giant ToC at the top isn't great. I've tried using columns but it just squishes the rest of the document way too much

* Floating heads. When you have multiple collaborators the avatars zooming up and down the left side of the document is incredibly distracting. I'd love a way to disable this completely. I don't care where in a document other people are reading.

* Database/Table horizontal scrollbar. Almost every database in our documents end up with this giant scrollbar that spans edge to edge, looking like a horizontal rule, breaking up the visual flow of the page significantly. I keep thinking it's some kind of page break.

These are just some of my initial impressions. I do think it's a very visually nice product and has a lot of neat features but I'm pretty surprised by some basic QoL stuff missing and hope to see it further refined.


While we’re making a wish list, the biggest thing for me would be permissions on database tables. It’s very hard to centralise info using tables when you need multiple versions for multiple people (e.g. if I’m tracking job applicants in Notion, I want to be able to store some personal information but not necessarily show that to everyone).


Would you like to set permissions per column? Read-write-modify?


Exactly that, yes!


> No floating table of contents.

I built a browser extension which does this plus many more customizations like full width for all pages, scroll to top button etc.

Notion Boost: https://gourav.io/notion-boost


Item #4 on your list drives me nuts as well.

I can't remember which, but either making the page full width or locking the page gets rid of them.


I just added custom CSS to make the scrollbar only show on hover


Full Disclosure - I have been lucky enough to have closed BETA access to the Notion API and here are some things I have noticed. BTW I do not work for Notion, im totally indie :P

- The team building the API has been super responsive and respectful, very good collaboration on their Dev slack and I had a great time testing things

- The documentation has been updated with the feedback from the community who had access, it's in a MUCH better status now than when it started

- The API speed has increased, it was really slow, now its a bit faster :)

Looking forward to see how other companies are using the Notion API, whether natively or through other integrations, I've seen a lot of activity from the folks at Integromat and Typeform :) (which are awesome tools btw!)


I've also found them to be pretty responsive (I've messaged them a number of times with bug reports and feature requests). That really contributes to my overall appreciation of the product!


And the Zapier integration is launched, too! https://zapier.com/apps/notion/integrations

It has the same basic trigger (new item), actions (create/update item), and search (find item) as every other CRM integration. It is missing a trigger for item getting updated - still excited to see how folks are using it though.


CMS* though I am guessing it is being used as a CRM, too.


I have to give a shoutout to the dev who wrote Nishan, a wrapper around Notion's internal API used by their webapp. I've been using it for a while and it will be a long time before the public API catches up. Getting users to find the api token from cookies has been a pain though, so I'll be looking into migrating asap. https://github.com/Devorein/Nishan


I was a huge Notion fan. However, the long sync times were driving me nuts. I have since moved to inkdrop (https://www.inkdrop.app/) because it's much better for my use case:

* I can write Markdown notes. I've only wanted to write markdown notes.

* The syncing is incredibly fast because it's using an existing technology purpose-built for syncing (CouchDB)

* I can bring my own CouchDB and not have my data locked in

* Has a mobile app that works well

* There is a "vim mode" and that makes me happy.


The big attractor to Notion for me is the All-in-on workspace idea. It's a table-database, it's a wiki, it's a kanban board, it's a team calendar, it's a project gallery, it's a blog.

Tables can have wiki notes, which can have tables. The recursive nature works very well for organizing your knowledgebase and having an entire org work together.

The things I hate about notion.

1) pressing / anywhere opens the menu. So annoying.

2) It's live collaboration on code is awful. We end up using codesandbox and then copy-pasting back.

3) It looses and new edits every now and then. Their sync needs work.

4) No way to proper version control documents and have a pull-request/suggestion like model for editing authoritative docs.

The other player in the same market is https://coda.io. They go quite a bit further than notion in terms of formulas and reference tables.

With both Coda and Notion, I feel I seldom have to use google docs.


> It's a table-database, it's a wiki, it's a kanban board, it's a team calendar, it's a project gallery, it's a blog.

So what does it do that something like gitlab or phabricator cannot do ?

And if you are willing to consider different products for different things then you have dokuwiki/xwiki/wikijs/bookstack for wiki and multiple popular project management tools like kanboard/focalboard.


> So what does it do that something like gitlab or phabricator cannot do ?

Gitlab is great. Their wiki is absolute shit.

Notion just has a mostly really great user experience for writing notes, adding some tables or screenshots, moving them around, etc.


Does it support teams like Notion?


Finally! Cool API stuff aside, this could make an excellent use case for a content back-end to your Jam-apps or quick little apps.

For example, Vercel reverse-engineered the internal API and made a super awesome demo here when introducing "Serverless Pre-Rendering". [1]

There's a video demo and code of how they did it.

[1] https://vercel.com/blog/serverless-pre-rendering


I have been using Notion in its API form for a while through notion-py[1]. Currently, it powers my blog[2] and for me, it's a really good integration. I write something, ask my friends to review it. I run a command to publish it, and it's live. The workflow is really, really good and removes a ton of friction because the software that you write in is also the one that powers your blog's content.

Overall, I think Notion API can open up many, many possibilities, since it can become a really good CMS, besides already being a great note-taking tool, and a team app. Notion has millions of users, and it's a huge market already.

Btw, if you're interested in running your blog on Notion, I would love to hear from you! [3]

[1]: https://github.com/jamalex/notion-py

[2]: https://shubhamjain.co/

[3]: https://twitter.com/shubhamjainco


Notion static pages are extremely bloated. I commented previously about a documentation page created with notion that was 2+ mb for what was essentially 10 links


I am interested in running my blog with Notion. I currently use a Gatsby blog on Netlify using NetlifyCMS. So I'd need to export any entries to Markdown and commit them to the blog's repo (the rest is handled by Netlify). I'd ideally like it to be bidirectional though, so that any changes to files in the repo are going to be reflected in Notion...


We integrated the Notion API into Pipedream. Triggers and actions coming shortly:

- Demo: https://pipedream.com/apps/notion

- Workflow Example: https://pipedream.com/@tod/p_D1C3LlN


I’d be sold on their product if they had better security implementation. Company wiki’s are troves of sensitive information and I’m uncomfortable that I have yet to find any central logging on the product.

I wish these things were also taken into account


I'm writing a Python client right now, 99% copied from their JS implementation, if anyone wants to join the fun!

https://github.com/ramnes/notion-sdk-py

I hope they will release an OpenAPI specification file soon so that code maintenance between different clients is kept to a minimum. :)


I really like the idea of what notion is trying to do, but their "databases" drive me nuts. They force a default column that's useless for relationships... and I never know if they want to be database like or excel like. Notion needs a good roadmap, and also start acknowledging user feedback, besides the "we got your feedback".


Along the same lines, the fact that they don’t have any simple inline tables that aren’t “databases” is annoying. Sometimes I don’t want a database or a spreadsheet, just a simple inline table with a few columns.


Kinda confused about this one? Inline tables are ... well inline tables. Why does it matter that they're actually pages/databases? Is it that you want tables in the formatting sense?


Good question! There are a few things. First, you can’t make a table that doesn’t have specifically typed vertical columns, which means a bunch of layouts just aren’t possible (you can kind of fake it with all text columns, but it gets messy. You also can’t hide the column headers.

You’re forced to have a name column, and your table has to have a title (you can make the title a space but that feels like a hack).

There’s just lots of chrome. Even if you lock the table, you still have the lock icon and the new row button that will never go away.

These things may all seem minor, but they really do make tables not look or feel “simple”.

To be clear, I’m absolutely fine with the existing tables for certain purposes, and I don’t want them changed… I just wish there was a “Simple Table” block type as well.


It's kinda both. If you're familiar with Airtable, the feature sets are almost carbon copies of each other.


Well that's awesome! I've been waiting for this for a while. My company uses notion internally for project management and I'd love to extend it a little bit (eg to generate burndown charts).

I'll probably try to resist the urge to build a massive, poorly-written project management tool on top of the notion api. Probably.


And I need to resist the urge to build an entire accounting system on top of the Notion API


A little late for us. We ended up switching away after being a very early adopter. The downtime, slowness and poor search really did it in for us.

Hoping for the best to the team, you’ve grown so fast it’s incredible!


Seems extremely limited as an API, wondering what people can actually use this for.

For example markdown support for read/write would make it much easier to use it as CMS or sync the data, instead of working on the custom block types.


This is a great news. I've been toying with the idea of generating parts of my blog from notion. There are currently some projects which reverse-engineered the API and provide an "unofficial" clients [1][2]. The problem though is that I'd like to blog to be minimum maintenance after a spike of work and I'm afraid the unofficial clients will inevitably break and will require updates.

The problem with the current beta is the limits of the API. E.g. code block are not supported[3], so you can't really use it to generate a technical blog.

Looking forward to the GA :)

[1]: https://github.com/jamalex/notion-py [2]: https://github.com/kjk/notionapi [3]: https://developers.notion.com/reference/get-block-children


I currently use a 1-person Slack workspace instead of Notion because I can write bots to help me with various things.

I'll have to see if this API is complete enough to do what I want with Notion.


This sounds really interesting to me. Care to explain how you use it (the slack workspace/bots)?


I just use Slack as a universal command line interface for everything.

Slack's bot extensibility make it great for:

- As a universal notification system (calendar events, github notifications, sms for the idiot apps that insist on it -- all sms go to my slack instead of my phone, alerts about my 3D printer e.g. print complete, alerts about low battery on any of my devices or robots, automatic google maps links of businesses I have visited, just about everything really)

- Expanding upon references to things, e.g. if I tag a bot and type the name of a hiking trail it can fetch the alltrails page for it and link it; if I tag a bot and type the name of a restaurant it can fetch the yelp page and link it

- If I paste code it can run it in a sandboxed environment and show the results much like a Jupyter notebook

- As a text interface to Google Assistant (the implementation is convoluted; I have to TTS the text and feed the audio result into Google's ConverseRequest endpoint. I couldn't figure out a way to feed text directly to Google)

- I have all my IOT devices linked to Slack, I can turn on/off lights, set thermostat, pause/unpause my 3D printer, request a snapshot from any camera in my house, everything right from Slack

- Slack is also great because I can upload arbitrary files, pictures, videos, sounds with ease.

The best part is that it is available on all my devices with data synced through the cloud and native mobile apps so it makes all of the above conveniently available on my phone and e-reader.

The biggest downsides are Slack's sucky search, and editing prior messages isn't the best experience.


Do you have a blog or some sort of writeup?


Not yet but I'll strongly consider writing one soon! Didn't realize there was so much interest in this.


Expound on how you may take advantage of it.


Nothing is perfect. But if Notion had stylus support and a Linux native client (even Electron), it would be perfect to me.

They said in Twitter that stylus support is a priority, but no plans yet for a Linux client.

And, the Android app is quite clunky, not as good as Android native Notes apps.


The Windows and Mac apps are just electron - not much advantage over just using it on the browser which has its own advantages.

So, yes, since they are using electron they might as well provide a Linux one too, but I don't see why the lack of one would hold you back.


It's been requested for at least 3 years. I totally understand that it takes a while so I'm not blaming them.

But it seems like in the meantime people have started to move on (I have). Let's hope this can bring back some momentum for them.


Move on to what and why?


So many other applications out there that don’t hold your data hostage like Notion.

I learned after spending an hour to transfer notes that they have a “limit” on the number of “blocks” (aka notes) that I can have.

Absolutely terrible user experience and turned me off from ever using Notion.

I ended up going open source with vimwiki (and obsidian as a visualization layer, although as comments pointed out it’s not open source). much more robust and less impervious to scummy growth tactics or companies shutting down due to acquisitions/pivots in strategy.


> I ended up going open source via Obsidian

Obsidian is not open source. I'm hesitant to dump my stuff into Obsidian because their markdown has plenty of nonstandard features. You can't run a directory of Obsidian notes through Pandoc and copy the output to your website. I think someone did write a partial converter at some point. This is kind of an issue with all the recent notes apps like Dendron, Logseq, and Athens.


Yea I don’t take notes on Obsidian, it’s all through vimwiki.

The main thing I use obsidian for at this point is visualizing connections between my notes


I had the same experience. It started off great, but I was not a fan of the idea of having all my data hostage with Notion. I'm using emacs with org-mode and org-roam right now, but I still don't have good flow with org-roam.

Both Obsidian.md and vimwiki look really cool though. Do you use Obsidian and vimwiki together, or for separate purposes?


I take notes with vimwiki (using tags) and then obsidian is the visualization layer (being able to filter and see what notes are related to one another)


Obsidian isn't as bad as Notion, but it's also proprietary. Unfortunately, there is no good company in this space.


Outline is open source https://getoutline.com



Doesn’t really matter since the underlying data (markdown files) is what obsidian uses (vs hosting the data on their cloud).

So in the event that they don’t survive or enact policies I disagree with, nothing changes for me


Their markdown is not standard, so stuff might still change for you.


It's not standard, but that's not a surprise, as Markdown is a pretty barebones format. Most of what they extended it with is pretty simple, like [[wikilinks]]. There are also other tools being developed that can work with the custom syntaxt extensions.

Also, at the end of the day, it's still just plain text. You won't lose any of your data if you no longer use Obsidian.


I tried Notion. It was cool in the beginning, but I got overwhelmed by the UI and all the templates they have.

Went with vimwiki. I just store my notes in a private Github repository. It's simple and effective. So far I've been happy with this setup.


The limitation only applies on free accounts, paid accounts for personal usage are extremely cheap, and it has full exportability into markdown and csv. Not sure what you're talking about unless this was a long time ago.


It’s highly unlikely that I’ll continue to use a paid service for 10-20 years, or whether that service is even going to be around. Which is what the whole motivation for having a “second brain” is for me, Having a robust note taking system that I’ll be using for decades to come.

Unlikely that vimwiki or markdown will be going away, can’t say the same thing about Notion.


That's an entirely different problem (one I sympathize with, but am not bothered by due to exportability) than spreading misinformation about how it works. Your post was false in one way and misleading in another. Saying a place where your files can be exported in a standardized format "holds your notes hostage" is hyperbolic and inflammatory.


Big issue for me was not being able to sync with GitHub, which made it impractical as a project management tool. The api should solve that now so I’m hopeful. Not being used as a project management tool, I only used it as a wiki. Then I switched to Roam which solves that use case better for my needs.


Coda and ClickUp came to mind. They have had a public API for a while.


For anyone looking for a open source notes app that let's you keep control of your data, have a look at https://joplinapp.org/.


The biggest thing I'm trying to replace as I move off of Notion is the dynamic lists embedded in notes. I couldn't tell but that doesn't seem like a thing in Joplin; am I missing something?


You mean lists like this: https://www.notion.so/Products-Materials-92c8bdfbcbd049e3a97...

That doesn't exist in Joplin.


But perhaps it is doable with the new plugin system!


I really like zim (a desktop wiki) together with some filesync software


What I like about Joplin is that it lets me sync with my phone without much hassle via e.g. Dropbox


I too tried notion for a while and I noticed that it's just getting slower and slower with each release. Even on my M1 mac it's not a very performant app which is sad. It's a bit of a jack of all trades, while doing nothing especially well.

Just recently I tried using it again for a small project (3-4 people) and it quickly got chaotic and messy (used for simple task board, wiki, blogpost drafts).

Right now, I recommend:

- Craft (http://craft.do/) for collaborating on documents, information sharing, knowledge (can't do tables and other fancy things yet, but is native and veeeery nice)

- Obsidian (https://obsidian.md/) for personal knowledge database (although it's also electron...)

- DEVONthink (https://www.devontechnologies.com/) for digital office


How good is Notion? Is the lock-in worth it?

I'm fearful of lock-in, and just use markdown plain text, sync'd with dropbox, and then use different markdown apps on different OSes.


I've actively searched for years to find a system to dump my brain into and Notion is the absolutely perfect fit for me. The fact that everything is a page, anything can go into a page, and you can nest forever on the fly is exactly what I need to model my actual IRL problems.

Putting together a Christmas list? Create a list and start adding stuff. Ahh crap, I know I want a new TV but I don't know any specifics. So I just open up the TV item in the list and dive into my research. Create a database inside there for prospective options, a separate view for finalists. Copy in images, links to articles and reviews without "losing my place."

I don't have to spend any mental energy thinking about how to organize my notes because I can just pick a direction and go without being stopped by anything. Everything lives where it's most relevant I guess it how I'd say it.


imho The primary value is their pared-down databases that mostly just work like you want them to.


They offer the ability to export to markdown, so I don't think using it would lock you out of reverting to that option


Beware that for us any export has been broken for months with no real answer from Notion support other than: we know.


I used to use Trello for my personal life system inspired by the Getting Things Done method.

I get hooked 3 months ago by one of the Notion's ambassador August Bradley who make an incredible system and course avalaible for free on Youtube.

I'm excited about the API and all automations i will make by scripting for my own use cases (like an easy way to add a new item on a certain database from my CLI, or a mail adresse hooked to a database).

But all your comments freak me out. As a developer, i dont't know if i have to do my own markdown system hosted locally. Notion is a great product, and guys like August Bradley open my eyes for everything i can do with it.


For the folks who find Notion slow or otherwise unreliable, I’d love to hear your feedback on minimal.app (or minimal.app/#beta, depending on where you’re located).

Collaborative Notes just went live, making it a lighter, more focused alternative to Notion.


This is something I have been wanting for a while! Markdown collaborative notes in a native app!

Definitely downloading...


I avoid notion because it's so slow, but I can't use minimal because there is no Android app.


So far the only new note taking app that I found polished enough[1] and worth the time is Bear and sadly it’s very very much a closed walled garden and with its subscription model it makes me very uncomfortable.

Tried FSNotes - extremely immature and it doesn’t seem to have any direction at all - it’s all over, Standard Notes - visibly none native and offers no exportable local storage (by design). Decided to stay away.

Hope to see some solid and simple new native apps around Notion API.

[1] Fast enough, not cluttered, and have native apps (I’ve realised after years of trial and use that my note taking app has to be native and that’s non-negotiable)


Time to integrate it with [Neo]Vim and Emacs!


Can't delete or modify existing blocks yet, sadly.


Time to export articles as static website


This is my first thought!


Notion is a clever front end that does not need to be backed by a cloud service.

IT departments should be able to setup whichever backed storage they want; s3 buckets to postgres.

I’m so done with propping up every wannabe unicorn. This app will never be a thing at my company.

Two or three devs could make a living off this UX as a standalone client. This isn’t a Google scale engineering need.


Who makes a database API with no way to change records in the database?


You can update the properties of a page in a database using a PATCH request to v1/pages, details here: https://developers.notion.com/reference/patch-page

(I work at Notion, but not on the API team)


Yeah, I found that later. Still seems odd there isn't a direct API for it.


Is this not the direct API? Databases are just a bag of pages that have the same properties. I would kinda expect that updating a record would just be a page operation.


There is a direct API for listing databases for instance. That isn't done through the pages stuff. Just a nit I guess but using the page patch API for databases updates is just weird to me.


Thank you for the reminder that I should try converting from Evernote to Notion again. Last time I tried (~2 months ago), the automatic importer died after importing ~10% of my Evernote content.

Though, based on some of the comments in this thread, maybe I _shouldn't_ and should try Obsidian instead.


Interesting, I was able to convert a couple of thousand notes spread across about 10 notebooks from Evernote to Notion and there didn't seem to be too many issues, apart from needing to reformat quite a few that had suffered from Evernote's formatting weirdnesses.


Obsidian/Roam if you have a lot of interconnected notes


Glad they learned from their painful mistake and ditched the .so domain in favor of a .com.


Can you fill me in about why a .so domain was a mistake? Because DNS providers/ firewalls sometimes block foreign TLDs, or was there something else?


> Because DNS providers/ firewalls sometimes block foreign TLDs

yes, this


Mind elaborating on what went wrong with .so? I can imagine that relying on the network infra of another country is risky.


It's nice to see this happening at last!

This is a promising start, but so far it's read & append it looks like -- no updating (of blocks at least).

Updating page properties can take it a way, but looking forward to seeing it expand a little.


Notion is probably the most prominent startup to make .so (somalia) domain more acceptable. I've seen plenty of .io and .ai, but .so was new for me when I first saw it.

I thought it was a scam when I tried Notion 3 years ago.


They also own notion.com but the things I people like .so better.


I love Notion, the tool/product, but I want something exactly like it but open source and where I can store my data where I want it. I guess I should get started...


Go help the folks working on Focalboard!


Mattermost PM here, thanks for suggesting Focalboard!

@rubyist5eva You can learn more about Focalboard - the open-source alternative to Trello, Asana and Notion - at https://focalboard.com/.


looks like a neat project, might set it up in my homelab and give it a try - but I dont' think it's quite what I'm looking for


So Notion is essentially a CMS now. I still wonder what one could realistically do with the API other than small quirky experiments


I'm using Notion as a CMS for a static site I've built for a grant-funded academic project. My collaborators edit the project page, which includes nested pages, tables, and even uploaded videos and images.

After they've updated it, they click a special link that triggers a Vercel build, which converts Notion into JSON for the site to build into static pages. I'm using this as my backbone: https://github.com/benborgers/potion and it's a lot more powerful than the Notion API... this reads tables and lets you show image attachments and more


One of the things I use notion for is to centralize my trackings:

- tv, movie and actors from trakt.tv;

- books from gooodreads

- anime and manga from anilist

The reason is that: I can make better notes, I can add extra data/properties, easier to organize in a kanban or other visualizations. But now, if I add more movies on my trakt, I run a script to export to CSV, and then have to import the new rows into Notion. With this, now my exports can add the new rows and update the data.


Pretty big deal, people have been requesting this for years. Probably the number one requested feature I've seen.


> Probably the number one requested feature I've seen.

Along with stylus support.


I tried to use notion and liked the functionalities, even I only used < 10% of them. You can basically create your own static website in it. But I stopped using it after finding I can't even copy the whole note on iOS, only one paragraph at a time. Weird design decision.


I've seen Notion discussed on HN for a time now, and while this seems to be well received I'm not really sure what it's for.

What are the use-cases here? What's Notion being used for that this new API functionality will help in? How are you using it either personally or professionally?

Thanks


Just a wiki really which is made up of smart blocks. I've used it a couple of times professionally but the companies have usually moved on to something simpler after struggling to get buy in across the team. It can be daunting when you first use it, although very powerful.


Boost Note is a good Notion alternative I personally like. They have versatile markdown, collaboration features etc. https://boostnote.io/


this will be great, people will make notion clients for terminal, i like terminal todo list or terminal apps and having a great productivity tool in terminal which will sync all the device is good idea. LIke there is spotify on terminal.


We've integrated Notion API into Bardeen. Here is a page demonstrating triggers and some example workflows:

https://www.bardeen.ai/notion-beta


FWIW, my note taking app is github. Created a private repo, keeping my notes as "issues". I can label, link, search them, insert images, add comments etc. Can someone name a relevant feature that is missing from github?


Can you explain how this works in more detail - I’m intrigued!


Every time I want to memorize something, I either open an issue against my fake repo (created specifically for this purpose) or add another comment to an existing issue. It's a good idea to create 1 issue per topic and just keep adding separate comments. Cross-references can be added for the linked concepts. Github markdown is quite rich. There are features (like "<details>") that can be found only there. There's not much to say actually. Try it out - you will figure out what works best for you.


I used to love notion and roughly a year ago I started migrating all our documentation into it.

Then someone at the company decided to turn our notion workspace into an ERP+CRM+Project Management tool.

Now I hate it and moved the docs all back to Gitlab.

Never logged back in.


I absolutely love Notion and I'm excited for the future this API will bring.


I tried Notion for a while, but vendor lock-in makes these tools too risky for me. I'va ahd a good run with git+md notes. A while ago i successfully migrated to org-mode and not looking back.


That's good news. Some services like https://super.so/ (which is brilliant) were already using unofficial APIs.


https://anytype.io

Distributed, open source and aiming for public beta in the summer.


Thankfully Anytype, the Notion killer, will be soon in beta.


I’m not hopeful they’ll release anytime soon considering how long the project has been in alpha.


Interesting that there's apparently no way to update databases. That's unfortunate, because otherwise this might be a useful Jamstack data API.


Whoops, apparently this isn't true! https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=27145301


I guess one could just stuff json in these properties haha...


Beings using it for a year. Perfect and flexible for developing :) Maybe I try some pythonist adaptation for my homework...


why has adguard flagged this site as "dangerous"

https://reports.adguard.com/en/developers.notion.com/report....


I like the look of this site. Where can I get graphics similar to those cartoons on the page?


Here's some illustration sites / products I collected for a recent project as possible resources / inspiration:

  - https://storytale.io/
  - https://control.rocks/
  - https://picchustudio.webflow.io/
  - https://undraw.co/illustrations
  - https://craftwork.design/downloads/friday-illustrations/


Thanks for this!


We pay professional artists to draw all of our illustrations.

- Roman Muradov: https://www.bluebed.net/

- Iris Chiang: https://irischiangart.com


Hire an illustrator to create them for you.

What makes the Notion illustrations so appealing and effective to me is not their style, though I love the way they look, it is that they are created for the need at hand. They are individually made to a purpose.

Side note: I manage several illustrators for a team that produces educational media and one of the hardest things we have to communicate to users is what an illustration is good for.

I have users come to me with an image and say, "I want an illustration that looks like this."

And we ask them, "But what do you want the illustration to do."

And they answer, "We want it to look like this."

They don't have any particular purpose for the illustration, it's just wallpaper for their website. A way to break up a page. A function of general art direction, rather than a working part of the content.

We end up doing a lot of what amounts to custom clip art, because that's what users often want. And it really does help a website or a video, or a document to have consistent art direction. But by far the the most compelling and engaging content we work on isn't from when a user asks for a set of stock images and icons, all in the same style, but it's when they comes to us and says, "We have this problem explaining this idea, or telling this story. Can you help us with that?"


By commissioning or hiring an artist to create them for you I suppose.


I know there are sites that provide stock illustrations, I just didn't know which ones they were. But another commenter gave me some.


Congrats Alicia, if you're following these comments.


should someone have perhaps roasted their landing page I wonder


It really irks me when the pricing page for any product has any tier that requires contacting "Sales". If you don't want to include pricing for a tier, exclude it from the pricing list or add a "need something else" or "we also offer enterprise plans" after the table. Maybe just a me thing, because I'm guessing it obviously works based on how often I've come across it.


The reason pricing is not shown for that tier (in most cases, I can't say for sure for Notion) is because it's not a normal tier, it includes the possibilities of negotiated pricing and custom setups. Why does it bother you?


Seems reasonable enough to me. At a certain scale giving a price is meaningless because there are tons more factors that go into the cost.


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