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Heptabase

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Posted by Stephen Zeoli
Feb 17, 2022 at 08:11 PM

 

I’ve been reviewing the relatively new app Heptabase. It still has a long way to go to be fully functional for me, but I am very intrigued by the potential.

With Heptabase, you write notes in cards… which can be anything from short shippets to long documents. You can format your notes using markdown. You can view your notes in a timeline, with the newest notes on top. Or you can view your entire card library, which can be filtered down quickly, as needed.

But the big feature is that you can add notes to whiteboards, which are canvases on which you can freely move your notes about, including tying them together with links to form flow charts or diagrams.

I wrote a bit more about Heptanotes in a Heptanote whiteboard, which you can view here:

https://app.heptabase.com/w/e303f3cb35f5a2130bbc6adef1a5cbd9c0f87fb72c5188958a39b692fb475a91

Be advised that this whiteboard is pretty inert on the web. But you can read each card in a side panel by clicking on it. I also kept it very plain, not using optional color or links. And what look like links (and are in the desktop version of the program) do not appear to work.

The app has a ways to go. The biggest deficiency that I’ve found so far is that once you’ve created your whiteboard, there is no way to export it to a reusable format. It sort of makes the process a lot of bother for nothing. But I expect that export options will come along.

Here’s the link to the website, if your interested: https://heptabase.com/

Steve

 


Posted by Scotpip
Feb 21, 2022 at 01:03 AM

 

The idea behind the app looks genuinely interesting - there is a lack of noting apps with a visual dimension.

But the business model concerns me.

Unless I’m missing something, they want to charge me a monthly fee for accessing the new public beta of an unfinished app. They don’t even offer a free trial before grabbing my payment details - merely offering a refund after a scant 7 days.

I’ve been helping companies with beta testing for decades, and no-one has ever tried to charge me before, and the trial period is derisory.

This is a very competitive market with high churn - most of these little start-ups simply don’t make it. They have many competitors who offer generous free accounts, or a low-friction free trial at the very least. They are making it harder to experience their app that any other player in the field. So I do wonder if they have the commercial smarts to survive. Which makes committing your mission-critical info to their app a significant risk

Very sad, because I’d love to try it. But not under these conditions.

 


Posted by Alexander Deliyannis
Feb 21, 2022 at 04:37 PM

 

Thanks Steve!

The basic premise of Heptabase reminds me of the –now defunct as far as I understand– CRPA, Constructive Recollection Philosophy Application (previously PMM, Personal Memory Manager) discussed here in the past https://www.outlinersoftware.com/topics/viewt/2996/

As with CRPA, one can create various visual combinations of selected items (cards in Heptabase). CRPA didn’t have a timeline (which I find very useful), but it had a similar library of all items created.

Heptabase can be considered as a rich text Zettelkasten system (each card to link to others), combined with concept mapping. I use Brainstorm in a similar –non visual– manner, but I do see the advantages of visual implementation, provided that it can scale well.

Overall, I like Heptabase. I also have concerns with the business model, but given that it’s backed by Y Combinator, I believe that there is reason for it.
While exporting is not yet supported, Heptabase creates daily (?) local .zip backups which seem to include all cards and boards as markdown files, so there is no risk of lock-in. 


Stephen Zeoli wrote:
>With Heptabase, you write notes in cards… which can be anything from
>short shippets to long documents. You can format your notes using
>markdown. You can view your notes in a timeline, with the newest notes
>on top. Or you can view your entire card library, which can be filtered
>down quickly, as needed.
> >But the big feature is that you can add notes to whiteboards, which are
>canvases on which you can freely move your notes about, including tying
>them together with links to form flow charts or diagrams.

 


Posted by Stephen Zeoli
Feb 21, 2022 at 09:36 PM

 

I agree that charging $7 a month at this point in the development is a bit presumptuous. They do offer a one-week money back guarantee… not very generous, but it does let you give the app a try out without being overly committed to it. You will need to send a request to their support (support@heptabase.com) to get the refund.

Steve

 


Posted by Lucas
Feb 21, 2022 at 11:50 PM

 

Just to be clear, the $7/month figure is the early bird pricing when you pay for a whole year. With monthly payments, it’s $10/month, which is slated to become $12/month without the early bird discount.

As I mentioned in a previous thread, my onboarding interview left me quite impressed with the developer, so I’ll be keeping an eye on this one. By I would want to see it evolve to work more on a per-block basis rather than just on a per-card basis.

 


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