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New app, Bike

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Posted by satis
May 18, 2022 at 09:27 PM


That’s pretty interesting. In the past many text/word apps *would* choke on large files so I understand that metric, though it may be time to retire it.

Going back decades for me the king of all apps for handling big files has been BBEdit. I’ve never had a text file it couldn’t open, edit or scroll.

Some apps still have practical limits. Eighteen months ago I had to split up a Ulysses sheet of ~130,000 words into several sheets because although it scrolled quickly typing in the file was excruciatingly slow. Subsequent Ulysses updates improved editing dramatically and I just copy-pasted that document - which has now grown to 250,000 words in numerous sheets - into its own single sheet and it scrolls like a dream and editing the mega-sheet is no problem.

In order to get a file size for the document I needed to export the sheet to a text file (in the process learning it was a 2.4Mb, or two Moby Dicks), and unfortunately Ulysses froze after successfully exporting, and I had to Force-Quit the app.


Posted by MadaboutDana
May 19, 2022 at 08:41 AM


Very interesting. Maybe that reflects on Ulysses’s decision to use a database as the back end? I must say I do prefer apps that handle their files “externally”, as it were. It’s so much easier to prevent proprietary lock-in.

A nice, balanced review of Bike’s strengths and weaknesses has just appeared on MacStories (by John Vorhees): https://www.macstories.net/reviews/bike-an-elegant-outliner-for-mac-focused-workflows/

Elegant and speedy, yes. Too pared-down? Also yes.



Posted by Jesse Grosjean
May 19, 2022 at 06:12 PM


>And just for a laugh, I opened the markdown version of the file (1.2 MB
>in size) in various markdown apps. Here’s how they all did:
> > ...
> >Now granted I’m running these apps on a new MacBook Pro 14

This is interesting, but not my experience at all.

I’m on a 2015 iMac 27, maybe that’s making a big difference, but generally it still feels very fast.

I think you may not be doing the full set of tests…

Scrolling top to bottom, yes most apps can handle that OK. This is because it gives the text system time pre-render and pre-layout. Same thing if you resize the window or edit at the start of the document.

The problem, in my experience, comes when you scroll down into the middle of the document and try things. I’ve just retested (macOS 12.3.1) and I still see major problems:

1. Bear (good) – Best that I tested. I think they might also be using a custom built text view. Maybe it doesn’t matter for your use-case, but I can’t figure out how to really resize the window text dynamically. Line width is fixed. Yes you can change global preference, but that’s not really what I mean when I say resize window. Also if you do change that global preference while viewing test file you’ll find it very slow to update. Anyway I would say Bear passes test well, but its text presentation is less flexible them I would like for a text editor.

2. ia Writer. I scroll half way down… I resize the window: It’s very rough, screen only updates maybe once a second. I type: There’s a noticeable delay. I type and there’s a noticeable delay. I don’t think it passes, but it’s better the next apps (for this particular test)

3. Nota. I start wonder if we are doing the same tests. Forget window resize (which is the hard thing) if I type in the middle of a nota Moby Dick document it takes multiple seconds before any text shows up.

4. Taio. Same story as nota. Typing is pretty much impossible in the middle of the document.

I encourage a couple of other people to try these tests. Maybe my computer really is just to slow, but I know when I do these things in Bike on my computer things are instant.

Generally I use TextEdit to compare Bike against the default text system. It performs better than the listed apps that I’ve tried (except for Bear), but still has major problems. For example scroll to middle of test document and resize window. For me that often loses my place. The window resize also effects scroll position and I’m lost. Or other times it saves my place, until the first time I click anyway to place my cursor, then it scrolls off into nowhere land.

> You don’t have to slim own your app to the
> point of having no real features at all to benefit
> from fast loading and scrolling (and editing, for that matter).

Bikes editor speed is independent from feature design choices.

> So what’s his point? In short, what’s the point of Bike (I’ve got some very
>large outlines in Dynalist, and they don’t slow down noticeably in any
>of the apps – even though they’re markdown-compatible)?

My point is that I think outliners and text editors can be better than they are. So I try to imagine it and then I try to build it.


Posted by Jesse Grosjean
May 19, 2022 at 06:45 PM


> slightly baffled by Jesse’s obsessive emphasis on the ability to load and scroll through a very large document.

And in my reply I forgot my original claim…

“Bike is small, but designed for real work. It’s fast. It can handle big outlines that break other outliners. Bike’s also fast at the basics–opening files, scrolling views, and resizing windows. Bike won’t slow your Mac down”

These (the apps you tested) are all text editors with no structure or outliner features, at least the ones I could test.

Bike is an outliner. It’s pretty cool that (for this particular test) it’s faster than most macOS text editors (on my computer anyway), but there are many programmers text editors that are faster/more scalable than Bike.

That’s because Bike is designed as an outliner. Please try the same test on some outliner apps with the provided .opml file too. Make sure to expand everything then try to use. Most I can’t use. And when I can I look at Activity monitor and see they are taking GB of RAM… Bike has been open all afternoon for me, I just opened the test file, and now Bike it’s using ~50mb in main process in Activity Monitor.

My intention is not to say these other apps are bad. Moby Dick is big, generally you don’t need to handle that much text. But you ask why I even bother and this is why.


Posted by Dellu
May 20, 2022 at 04:50 AM


It appears to me that Bike is just a chunk of code from FoldingText. It is neither better nor faster than it. I was also amazed when I received the invitation..I see no reason to buy Bike, really.

I also tried MobyDick.markdown on my old mac (Macbook Pro, early 2011).

FoldingText: opened in a flash
Fsnotes: same speed to FoldingText
Typora: same; very fast
BBEdit: very fast
Sublimetext: only appear to be slowed down by it a bit: took it about 1 or 2 seconds to open it.



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