“Copy As ... Agenda Link” Single Personality Desired

Hello all,
I’ve already harped on about it in a couple of replies in another forum category … (please see Daily logs on the Agenda: routines and tools) …

It (my request) boils down to this. Could a note’s “Agenda Link” please remain the same, no matter where it gets moved.

A note’s link that - in essence - is its unquestionable and immutable identity would be invaluable, for the way I wish to use Agenda. I’m hoping not to be the only one who sees the value in this. I won’t belabour the point, I think I’ve already done that in the “Talk” forum thread, mentioned above (please feel free to peruse that).

Thank you,

Paul

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Yes, “permalink” behaviour is something we’d like to guarantee and a shortcoming we’d like to address in a future update.

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Thank you for your response @mekentosj

I hope you could find it within your nature to forgive any pursuant “Are we there yet?” queries from this neck of the woods. It’s a reflection of how eagerly I would embrace “Copy As … Agenda Link” resulting in a permalink.

As I’ve already indicated in the aforementioned “Talk” category thread, I could have done away with my handwritten journal, had the “Agenda Link” been a permalink. I feel I’m not alone in the desire for such a capability within Agenda.

Slightly off topic (I think I saw this as a hint of a future feature in Agenda somewhere): While handwriting recognition has advanced amazingly of late, I’ve found writing on (e.g.) an iPad quite unnatural - indeed cold. I’ve thrown away so much $$$ in an attempt to find a suitable solution (App), only to find that it’s always a tactile failure … for me.

Kind regards,

Paul

Exactly, although my experience with Nebo, iPad Pro and Apple Pencil 2 is getting there. Obviously, if Apple can’t do something with the glass to simulate the feel of paper, I’m hoping they’re talented engineers can find something with the pencil nib to make the experience “better”! Seems like the least expensive alternative.

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pnm & daveb08 — have you tried Paperlike?

Not affiliated in any way, just a happy (repeat) customer. Pretty much transformed my iPad writing experience.

I’m glad to hear this is on the roadmap.

The current behavior was pretty disappointing to see. When I first demoed Agenda, I saw and used the “copy Agenda link” – and just assumed they were permalinks. Because of course they would be :slight_smile: Permalinks are one of the best things about DEVONthink and OmniFocus. In fact, had I known that Agenda links could break, I probably wouldn’t have bought it (so maybe it’s a good thing that it took me a while to run into that? Because I generally find Agenda very useful).

I was hoping to use Agenda (partly) as a wiki-like repository for my notes. Obviously with links that break when I move them, it doesn’t work.

Anyway, I don’t want to pile on. I just want to +1 that permalinks are incredibly useful, and that the current behavior was very surprising in a bad way.

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I agree the behaviour can be surprising, it’s a bit of an unfortunately consequence of the way how data is organised inside Agenda. We’ll do our best to come up with a solution.

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Hi @Pat_Maddox

I did allude to a similar ‘disappointment’ (possibly bordering on a whinge, I’m sorry) in my original set of replies in the Talk category (see for example Daily logs on the Agenda: routines and tools). I too was ‘surprised’, given the polish of the devs’ seminal product - Papers - that I’ve been using for years. As a result, I too ‘assumed’ a similar expectation as you.

In particular, I had already experienced - in other major and mature environments - implementation details not matching or satisfying what people were really after. As a coder in one of my past incarnations (I may be getting a little crusty now), I empathise with the devs on the challenge of transforming “Copy As … Agenda Link” into permalinks. Doing this may result in major refactoring/recoding/restructuring.

I am hoping that - given Agenda is a comparatively young product and its devs have the motivation (which they seem to possess) - they meet this challenge with an appropriate drive, priority and timeline.

Right now (as I’ve already indicated in my Talk category posts), this shortcoming (for me anyway) means I’ll continue with my handwritten journal routine. The only reason I purchased Agenda was to bring my journals into the electronic world :pensive:.

Kind regards,

Paul

I SWEAR by Good Notes!

I used to use this, an ipad + “bubble” styluses to take notes at uni in ’09.

Apple pencil + good notes is even better! It has this “handwriting feature, where it creates an zoomed in area for you to write, and then automatically moves along the page as you write.

Best part… it converts your handwriting into text / searchable notes! And allows for export into other apps.

Yes, please

What mechanisms will break Agenda links? Is it just moving notes to another project? Or are there other operations that will change the UUID / break the links? I’d just like to know so I can avoid those as much as possible for the time being. Linking is important to me, and I’d rather have less flexible notes / have to create “redirect” notes rather than have links break on me.

Also, does Agenda assign random UUIDs for each note, or does it somehow generate them so that a UUID could be reused down the road? I’m thinking that I can paste a note’s UUID into itself, so that even if the UUID changes from a move, I can still search for the UUID from now-broken links. But, that only works if Agenda picks random UUIDs as opposed potentially reproducing them based on some algorithm.

That’s indeed the only condition under which it breaks. It’s because each project is its own data store and upon moving a note from one project to another it effectively creates a copy in the target project and this copy gets its own (random) uuid. I’m afraid there’s no simple solution until we add mechanisms that allows agenda to resolve an “old” uuid to the new one in the new project.

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Yes I know, this may invite a TL;DR reaction, but I implore you to read on … please.

Please forgive any presumptuousness on my part to even suggest the following. It harks back to the days when the use of handles were the bread and butter when coding on the Mac. It’s probably not necessary to go the full Hungarian these days.

Handles can suffer from performance issues as there’s an extra ‘hop’ to get to the thing you want. It depends on how much of a hit it translates to in the Agenda environment… I’m not sure if there’s a twist on the use of handles with the suggestion, but it could save a major restructuring/refactoring/recoding effort. Here ‘tis:

  • In this case, the handle is the global invariant (permalink, UUID, <insert_your_favourite_term>);
  • Create a single, global table (OK, database), where each record has two fields, namely a UUID (the handle) and its associated “Agenda-Link”;
  • Both fields would quite likely be indexed/keyed, enabling searches for both (this table will hopefully not be referred to as a graveyard);
  • Whenever/before an “Agenda-Link” MAC (move/add/change) for a note occurs, look up the graveyard (D’oh! :man_facepalming:) for a hit on its current link (I guess there wouldn’t be one if it’s a new note);
  • If there is a hit, update its entry with the new one;
  • If this is a new note, add a new record with its link, along with a new UUID/permalink value;
  • Add a UUID/permalink offering in the “Copy as …” pop up, or better yet …
  • Depending on whether people are heavily using the current offering ( direct “Agenda Link” to the note, which goes stale as soon as it moves into another project), you may add a little advisory to the original ”Copy as … Agenda Link” that it may soon be disappearing. This could also happen silently (I prefer surreptitiously), by combining the two or even getting rid of the original as an export;
  • You could find out how heavily the current offering is being used (it’s the only one right now), by referring to the global table anyway - distinguishing the lookup by its key (say agenda://note… vs agenda://uuid), although that may break a few things as every instance of the application would need to have its current pointers added to the graveyard;
  • Given the immediately above, it would perhaps be easier to (silently) change the “Copy as …” offering to the respective UUID/permalink and treat lookups for “agenda::/note/…” as you currently do, with one extra step. After determining whether the lookup is valid (it may have moved or been deleted) - check whether there’s a hit in the graveyard. If not, add a new record, as described above;

As I said, the presumptuous suggestion would likely not need a major overhaul of how things are presently stored. As to a performance hit, given the application (Agenda) and the use of its links are typically used in an interactive environment, the extra hop may not be that noticeable. I could be wrong.

Aside from obviating a major overhaul, another nice thing about this is the implementation would become more ‘hidden’ in time. And yes, it invites a seamless transition to the user base (important).

I’m sorry if this comes across as being rude in any way. That was never my intention. FYI - I’ve bitten the bullet and purchased DEVONthink, using Agenda for the ‘seagull’ view and DEVON as the detail (the nitty-gritty that move across projects). Using an expensive elephant as a bandaid is not my idea of fun. I prefer Agenda’s more ‘intimate/personal’ nature, but it currently doesn’t work (for me).

I wonder how many find really good value in the current “Copy as … Agenda Link” offering(?). I personally can’t imagine there being a huge fan base.

Kind regards

Paul

Hi Paul,

You’ve pretty much described what was always the plan :smiley:
No, we don’t think it’s all too complicated, nor that there’s any performance issue too worry about, it’s just the sheer scarcity of time needed to bring it in place that is at play, as usual…

Not exactly sure what you mean with this, I’d argue that the majority of our users don’t move a lot of notes from one project to the other, and will therefore hardly ever hit the issue of a breaking link. For example I’m a heavy Agenda user myself but have perhaps done so a handful of time at most. So it really depends a lot on your workflow, whether you a) create Agenda links to many notes, and b) whether you often move notes from one project to the other. Again, we will fix this as it should be fixed, but it’s not that it prevents the current Copy As Agenda link from being useful in practise to the overall majority of users already.

Well, that’s kind of a self-reinforcing position to take. I don’t use links and move notes, because doing so breaks the links. If I could, I would.

My workflow is based heavily around moving things around (“refactoring” my notes). I’ll add a note to my inbox project. At some point that note grows, and becomes its own project (the note being pinned at the top of the project). And then it becomes its own category (originbal note being pinned at the top of the top project in the category).

Anyway, there’s no need for me to belabor the point. And yes, links are still useful – but I would say the value is greatly diminished by this constraint.

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Ditto.

If memory serves me well, it took me no more than around a couple of hours after downloading Agenda to work out that the links break when moving a note around various projects.

Most of that time was me saying to myself “What am I doing wrong for this not to work?”. It was only when I copied and pasted the “before and after” move links into Apple’s Notes App to compare them that I realised - no, I’m not holding it wrong.

Disappointing. The primary reason for purchasing Agenda was a (now misguided) assumption that their links were unique and immutable no matter where notes travelled.

There was indeed a post going back to January that raised this shortcoming, by @viktor.lakics (I only discovered that after my post here), who also felt this was a high priority requirement. In his words:

My personal plea (again) is to … Please …raise the priority of fixing this. I feel there are more than just a handful who are disappointed in this constraint, to the point of either being tempted to dump Agenda or resign to the notion that - yet again - an App’s constraints changes a user’s behaviour (and ‘requirements’).

I would (again personally) rate fixing this higher than (say) work on:

The handwriting recognition feature on a surface that presently is an abject cognitive and tactile failure. What would be really cooler than hopping onto this questionable bandwagon (again - a personal opinion after many disappointments elsewhere) is to greatly improve upon an App like “Pen to Print” that takes images of handwriting and converts them into text for consumption into Agenda.

But this thread (and digression) is just me. Or is it?

Kind regards,

Paul

Sorry guys, 2 people in a garage means by definition disagreement on any kind of priority we pick, it’s certainly high up on the list, that’s all we can guarantee at this point.

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I’m another heavy link user. So far, this hasn’t bit me yet, since I rarely move notes around. However, when I saw this thread, I was nearly dumbfounded that the links would break if a note was moved.

I use links both within Agenda and from Omnifocus to Agenda (and from Agenda to Omnifocus occasionally). I often don’t use the name of the note in the text with the link either, so if it wasn’t for the fact that the notes are often on the same day, I could have a very hard time finding the note I originally linked.

I used to write Lisp software, so links are almost second nature to me. :slight_smile:

So, I am also asking for making this a high priority. Thanks!

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I can imagine that from a customer perspective this would seem an odd omission. It arises out of very technical aspects of our syncing data model. There is a clear path to fixing it, but we need to find some time between other high-priority projects to get to it. Stay tuned.

Hind sight is 20/20! I totally get that, thinking about software I’ve written in years past…

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