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Tana?

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Posted by Dr Andus
Jan 5, 2023 at 02:42 PM

 

Any more thoughts on Tana?

There appears to be a bit of a learning curve involved (it looks like I’ll need to watch a few hours of videos to understand and appreciate some features, so I’m just wondering if it’s worth sinking time into it).

I’m both a Roam and WorkFlowy user, which seem to be the two main competitors they are targeting (judging from the imports they’ve set up).

It’s like there is quite a serious and big team behind Tana, it looks like a major effort, seems much bigger than Roam or WorkFlowy when they started out (?):

https://tana.inc/company

I thought these sort of services were quite niche, even within the world of productivity software, so it’s curious to see the amount of effort put into this, it looks like they are anticipating a big market for this?

 


Posted by exatty95
Jan 5, 2023 at 07:22 PM

 

Anyone who has used Tinderbox will feel right at home. And similar to Tinderbox, it does have a learning curve.

So far for me the most intriguing feature is its embrace of a “Supertag” feature that is very analogous to Tinderbox’s attributes. If you create a tag for #book, you can designates it as a Supertag and populate it with field you define: author, to read/have read, genre, topic, rating, etc. I used Tinderbox for a few years and never came close to really grasping its power—I was happy when I could generate a list of things like books I’ve read on a particular topic. I don’t think Tana doesn’t have anywhere near the power of Tinderbox as of now, but with a little effort and some of the videos I’m finding it much easier to work with than TB was for me. The easy import options are currently limited to Roam and Workflowy as you noted (with some additional options available through “Tana Intermediate Format” in Github), so that may limit some folks. And like all program, Tana has its quirks. But I am enjoying trying it out—it’s an appealing sinkhole of time just like Tinderbox!

 


Posted by Stephen Zeoli
Jan 5, 2023 at 08:04 PM

 

I used Tana for a few days. I certainly didn’t delve into all its rich features, but through my experience I would agree with what @exatty95 said. And I would add this:

I found that Tana is a lot like Notion… not in its user interface, but in the fact that to get anything out of it, you need to spend time setting it up to meet your needs. That primarily involves the supertags. That’s why I’ve shied away from Tana. I just don’t want to spend that much time fidgeting with my “setup.” As an aside, I get a kick out of the Notion subReddit, where there are so many contributors writing things like, “I finally got my [name of project] page where I want it.” Don’t get me wrong, I can understand the joy of getting these tools to work perfectly for you, but I’ve learned that is a rabbit hole for me.

But Tana does have some other cool features. For instance, it is simple to flip an uncompleted task from today to some other day. So I believe Tana is very thoughtfully designed.

I hope this is useful.

Steve

Dr Andus wrote:
Any more thoughts on Tana?
> >There appears to be a bit of a learning curve involved (it looks like
>I’ll need to watch a few hours of videos to understand and appreciate
>some features, so I’m just wondering if it’s worth sinking time into
>it).
> >I’m both a Roam and WorkFlowy user, which seem to be the two main
>competitors they are targeting (judging from the imports they’ve set
>up).
> >It’s like there is quite a serious and big team behind Tana, it looks
>like a major effort, seems much bigger than Roam or WorkFlowy when they
>started out (?):
> >https://tana.inc/company
> >I thought these sort of services were quite niche, even within the world
>of productivity software, so it’s curious to see the amount of effort
>put into this, it looks like they are anticipating a big market for
>this?

 


Posted by Paul Korm
Jan 7, 2023 at 11:45 AM

 

I’ve had access to Tana since a few weeks after I posted the question at the head of this thread.  I operate it almost every day for a hour or so—I hesitate to say I “use” it, because I’m not sure I know yet what use case of mine it would be a good fit for.

Overall, I think Tana is a fascinatingly precise instrument.  Very carefully constructed.  It’s a graph database.  Everything is a node.  Every node can be tagged.  Every tag (which are also nodes) can have as many attributes as you wish, and tag attributes can be other tags with their own attributes, or fields with their own attributes.  Nodes can also have notes (other nodes) and embedded searches.

It’s easy to spin out of control with these complex semantic links embedded into one another.  It’s recommended to keep some notes on the side diagramming the structures you build in Tana so you don’t lose track of what you’re doing.

There are a lot of videos (of course) from users claiming to explain the secrets of using Tana productively.  I think Maggie Appleton’s is the best of these, so far. 

Comparisons to Tinderbox are fair, but not entirely accurate.  Tinderbox is not a graph database—at least not in the modern technical sense.  Over the last 20 or so years Tinderbox has accreted hundreds of features that seemed interesting to the author, without a strict guiding architecture.  I suspect that Tana’s engineers are not much interested in bolting on idiosyncratic features—they proceed very slowly and carefully to tweak the Tana engine.  Of course, since Tana is web-based and everyone’s instance is hooked into the Tana core, it’s a virtue to be careful.

Tana is opening up to more users these days—all current users were given the right to pass out an invitation to another person, recntly.  I recommend experimenting with it. 

 


Posted by Paul Korm
Jan 7, 2023 at 07:08 PM

 

Be sure to browse the Tana Slack channels

https://app.slack.com/client/T02E0729D6U/C048S52GH1Q


And add the “Tana Pattern Library” to your sidebar in Tana for some useful field and supertag patterns for various use cases.

https://app.tana.inc?nodeid=prMg0WbQMi

 


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