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New app, Bike

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Posted by MadaboutDana
Nov 29, 2022 at 09:35 AM


It’s certainly looking much more attractive now that it supports formatting!


Posted by Amontillado
Nov 29, 2022 at 05:23 PM


I’m starting to suspect that CRIMPing may be strategic to the point of letting the rest of the world think it’s crazy.

Obsidian is on a Windows box I’m cursed with for work. It’s almost nice enough to make Windows fun. Methods championed by the Obsidian crowd have enhanced what I get out of Devonthink, too.

In Obsidian, I installed the Outliner plugin. Instead of writing extensive notes, I started adding links in the outline rows to note documents.

Back in Devonthink, I wanted to evolve my outlining. There are effective ways to outline, or at least block out a story, with groups and tags. Although perfectly workable, it’s still not quite the fluid experience of a good outliner.

Links from an independent outliner to Devonthink notes works very well, pretty much like internal links from rows in an Obsidian outline.

Today it occurs to me Aeon Timeline could be much more of a planning tool than I’ve used it for.

Start with a blank timeline and a vague idea of a story. Go to the mindmap view and add story arcs for the major points you know you’ll need. Exposition, rising action, final conflict, whatever. If you’re obsessive, create arcs for each of three acts and make Exposition, etc., child arcs of the acts.

That yields containers to put events in, which don’t have to be defined with dates and times. That can be filled in later.

Each entity has a URL field. That can link back to an Obsidian or Devonthink note. If you throw away the event in Aeon, the notes you made about it live on for later inspiration.

Being a Devonthink pedant, I should point out in that platform you can link to a note/document/file, or a group, or (very cool) a tag. If I put a link to a Devonthink tag in an Aeon URL field, I get a link to a constellation of notes for the event. The event notes, the note about the location, notes about the characters involved.

Of course, one can do the same thing with a map of content document in Obsidian.

The objective is to be free to erase in Aeon without losing work you might recycle in the future.


Posted by MadaboutDana
Nov 30, 2022 at 10:40 AM


The trouble is, Obsidian is almost ridiculously competent at most things once you start exploring the many, many (often astonishingly good) plug-ins.

Outliner is brilliant – thanks for the tip (Drag-n-Drop Block isn’t working very well for me at the moment, so Outliner’s hot keys – while not perfect – are a useful substitute)

The various kanban board options (my current favourite: Cardboard) allow you to do the kinds of things you’ve been discussing with Aeon Timeline (an app I’ve tried to like, but find too fussy).

If you want to do more exotic things, you can install Dataview (and even DB Folder), which turn the whole thing into a (pseudo-relational) database.


Posted by steveylang
Dec 1, 2022 at 07:34 PM


LOL, this reminds me that I still have a Moby Dick MD file (1.2MB) that I used for similar testing. No fancy formatting other than headings for the titles.

It opens, reflows, and edits lickety-split on my iPhone XS Max (and of course my M1 MBA) with no discernible lag.

I second the kudos for FoldingText, I still use it as well. It handles Moby Dick very well too on M1, although a proper test for an M1 would probably be 20 Moby Dicks in a single file with inline images, tags, code blocks, and I don’t know what else.

MadaboutDana wrote:
Interesting, Jesse, thanks for the feedback. I’d be happy to run these
>tests again – it’s perfectly true that actually editing the
>middle of a very large document separates the sheep from the goats.
> >However, given the difference between the performance of my i7 MacBook
>Pro (now, alas, defunct) and the new M1-powered Mac, I do wonder if
>processing speed – but above all, OS optimisation – also
>makes a difference here. I’ll check it out.
> >By the way: loved/still love FoldingText. Please, please refocus,
>produce equally nifty iOS app, make large fortune from outlinersoftware
>forum members ;-)
> >Cheers,
> >Jesse Grosjean wrote:
>>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
>>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
>>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
>>>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 MadaboutDana
Dec 19, 2022 at 08:18 PM


Hm, now I’m working with the latest version of Bike in “anger”, I’m actually quite impressed. There are a lot of subtle, well-thought-out features in here! Also, some steady development, which is great – long may it continue!

One of the nicest and most unexpected features is the ability to link to an individual row in an outline. This is very useful!

You can do the same thing in Obsidian, of course, but Bike does it very well.


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