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"Roam Research" -- New web-based personal wiki

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Posted by Ruud Hein
Oct 28, 2019 at 01:53 PM

 

Nice wiki system. With a single developer, no robust local app, and maybe not the right marketing acumen I’m not investing my data future in it.

I don’t even need something like a regular app. If it can run in the local browser, or something like https://github.com/cztomczak/phpdesktop , I’m already happy. But nothing at all? Nope.

 


Posted by Lucas
Oct 28, 2019 at 02:33 PM

 

The director of the project is a relatively young fellow named Conor White-Sullivan. Here is a bio from a previous role as a White House author:

https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/blog/author/conor-white-sullivan

He previously developed Localocracy and co-founded HuffPost Labs.

He co-developed Roam Research with Joshua Brown.

The software already includes import and export options, so it is perfectly possible to try out the software without making a determination about fully trusting it with all your sensitive and/or mission-critical data.

It is true that the website does not yet do a very good job of explaining itself, and perhaps I should have been clearer that it’s still in beta, but, as is evident from the white paper, this is clearly an exciting contribution to the realm of thought processing software.

 


Posted by MadaboutDana
Oct 28, 2019 at 03:34 PM

 

In terms of UX, it’s not bad. I like the potential of the page graphs.

 


Posted by Neville Franks
Oct 28, 2019 at 08:38 PM

 

The white paper mentioned earlier https://roamresearch.com/#/v8/help/page/Vu1MmjinS goes into a detail, however it is highly repetitive and waffles on.

The app itself is painfully slow, at least on my Samsung Tablet, to the point of being unusable.

My take is this is very much an academic exercise and the target audience is academics where the graph of interrelated information would be very useful.

A concern of apps like this is that you can spend a lot of time linking content together, organizing it etc, more so than actually making use of the content.

And organization seems to be done by typing [[links]] which is nice, but drag and drop is very often used these days and can deliver a better user experience. A combination of both is likely a good step.

Our earlier app Surfulater had two-way ‘See Also’ links and Clibu has one-way ‘See Also’ links. These also form a graph of content, albeit not as powerful as I imagine Roam does.

Our new app Clibu Notes will also have cross reference links and make much heavier use of drag and drop to organize content, add links etc. And of course full offline support, collaboration, local database etc.


Listerene wrote:
NOT a “very promising” web site, however. Not a single explanation of
>what it does or how it does it or why anyone should care.
> >That’s not just lousy marketing, that speaks to the developer’s
>incompetence. Pass
>

 


Posted by nathanb
Oct 29, 2019 at 03:56 PM

 

I appreciate this comment and like when developers give thoughts on different approaches.  I very much like that you put put a lot of weight into two-way linking where that is one of the most often ignored features of most knowledge management software.

Maybe there was a different forum post about this, but I’ve been intrigued by Cliibu’s option to run from one’s own server.  I’m comfortable with using cloud storage and syncing but in the really long run, like 10-20 years, it’s hard to imagine many of these note-cloud ecosystems still existing.  So as an end-user, we have to wonder if putting a lot of work into metadata of our content will always be erased when that platform is no longer viable. 

For the most part, everyone’s ‘dumb export’ is fine if our content doesn’t get too fancy.  We make the calculus that having to manually “re-metadata” our content every few years is worth the trouble so that we can use the best fit platform available at the time. Or at least that’s what we tell ourselves when in reality we just have a growing list of ‘import X notes into Y notes’ on our to-do lists. But the platforms that will allow us to ‘natively open’ notes as they originally were captured and organized many years from now are getting fewer. 

My point is that it’s comforting to keep local control of native files over the years. I could still open a Word or Text file I made in the 90’s…. I could even open an ecco-pro file, though it would take some effort with emulated software (that I can also back up on my own).  Conversely, I would not be able to hope to do any such ‘recovering’ of ancient data of many cloud-first platforms where the content files and software is not something I can keep my own versions of over the years. 

One glaring example of the loss of personal content control is OneNote, which has been my old standby that has most my stuff, starting way back when it was like the other office software where it was file-based.  I knew that in 20 years, I could find an old copy of OneNote 2007 and open THAT file some day if I needed to.  That too has changed.

I tend to just go along with the convenience of the cloud services these days but I often wonder if lots of us will regret that.  That you’ve made a cloud platform that I could (but probably won’t) run off my own server is pretty cool. 

Neville Franks wrote:
The white paper mentioned earlier
>https://roamresearch.com/#/v8/help/page/Vu1MmjinS goes into a detail,
>however it is highly repetitive and waffles on.
> >The app itself is painfully slow, at least on my Samsung Tablet, to the
>point of being unusable.
> >My take is this is very much an academic exercise and the target
>audience is academics where the graph of interrelated information would
>be very useful.
> >A concern of apps like this is that you can spend a lot of time linking
>content together, organizing it etc, more so than actually making use of
>the content.
> >And organization seems to be done by typing [[links]] which is nice, but
>drag and drop is very often used these days and can deliver a better
>user experience. A combination of both is likely a good step.
> >Our earlier app Surfulater had two-way ‘See Also’ links and Clibu has
>one-way ‘See Also’ links. These also form a graph of content, albeit not
>as powerful as I imagine Roam does.
> >Our new app Clibu Notes will also have cross reference links and make
>much heavier use of drag and drop to organize content, add links etc.
>And of course full offline support, collaboration, local database etc.
> >
> >
>Listerene wrote:
>NOT a “very promising” web site, however. Not a single explanation of
>>what it does or how it does it or why anyone should care.
>>
>>That’s not just lousy marketing, that speaks to the developer’s
>>incompetence. Pass
>>

 


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