Planning for the future: Any data on scalability?



As Agenda gets more thoroughly embedded into my life, I begin to wonder just how far it might take me in terms of scalability. I’ve seen various comments in this community by members who have imported seemingly a lot of notes from other sources. I’m curious: are we talking hundreds, or thousands of notes? I’m especially interested to hear how overall performance feels with thousands of notes.

What I’m not looking for is that it become an “enterprise” app, but that it meets the needs of the personal space. So, not millions of notes and terabytes of data! In fact, I would be happy if it eventually scaled to something like a gigabyte of total storage; many forget just how big a gigabyte of storage really is (or maybe I should saw “was”).

So, I’m curious how it performs with large numbers of components, relative to reasonable usage:

  • Categories, probably in the scale of 10’s, which is to say on the order of 10 to 20 categories. Hundreds of categories really doesn’t make sense to my needs, but I’m sure some have uses for more.
  • Projects, in the scale of 100’s. I could see a mature personal environmental as accumulating several hundreds of projects, but not thousands.
  • Notes, on the scale of 1000’s. The point at which you have thousands of notes, you will clearly be stressing the infrastructure, including storage and searching. As a new product, this kind of scalability will improve over time, as it has with products like Devonthink and Evernote. I would like to think that in a couple of years Agenda could effortlessly handle this kind of load, but is captive to any iCloud limitations. Incidentally, this should be pretty heavily affected by note attachments, when they are supported.
  • Tags. I’m not sure what scale is appropriate with tagging, nor do I see how it would differ much from notes. Probably 1000’s.

Of course, pushing the limits will also impact the effectiveness of the UI, but I am less concerned there, as it seems to me that the developers are quite sensitive and ingenious in this area. I don’t doubt that the UI a year from now will have numerous refinements. This all boils down to a question of whether the long term prognosis for Agenda will be if it is a platform worthy of committing to substantive data, or (just) another pretty app suitable to small-scale use. I’m hoping for the former.


As Agenda is quite a young app, turning half a year by the end of this month only, there are still some bottlenecks to expect if you go really large. But we expect to get to those as Agenda matures long before you would normally hit the really large numbers. We will keep improving and focusing on performance and have a number of concrete areas in mind already.


On Projects, it depends how you define a project. I complete hundreds of projects a year. This can be as simple as drafting a memo or policy, planning for meetings or typing up notes.

Which leads me to notes. I can easily create 1000 notes a year. On a working scale, that’s less than 4 notes a working day.

Please think big on this Agenda team.