Category Archives: Updates

October update: custom mobile toolbar

Hi Dynalisters! Here’s what we’ve been up to in October:


Features

  • [Pro] Customizable mobile toolbar.

    For years, we’ve been bothered by our evergrowing toolbar. Although it’s pretty big already, people always want to access more features from the mobile app.

    It has been a hard problem for us, because of how small the screen estate is on mobile, and how different everyone’s use cases are, but today I’m happy to present our solution: a customizable toolbar!

    With the customization UI, which Pro users can access in the toolbar, you can remove, add, and reorder options. We added the “Duplicate item” spare option, and there are more to come in the future.

    Finally, people with different needs on mobile can customize their toolbar, and we don’t need to crowd everyone’s toolbar. I don’t know about you, but I feel happy :’)

(Custom toolbar will be released in 1.3.6, which is currently under review.)


Improved

  • Sort by date in the note. Sort by date used to only work on the first date presented in the item title, and now it will look at the note for dates if the title doesn’t contain any.

Fixed

  • [Mobile] Fixed iOS 13 auto-capitalization issue. This caused difficulities in focusing and creating items.
  • [Navigation] Fixed clicking on tags in breadcrumb doesn’t take you there.
  • [Misc] Fixed not being able to rename a document right after creating it.
  • [Mobile] Fixed Slide to Complete/Delete stopped working after dragging the bullet.
  • [Copy/paste] Fixed not able to paste some links.
  • [UI] Fixed read-only lock icon glitch in printed documents.

Underway

  • WYSIWYG editing!

    This is the “big project” we were so secret about last month. Sorry guys! Didn’t mean to tease anyone, last month we weren’t sure whether we can pull it off, now we’re a lot more confident. The bad news is that it’s not ready yet, and it will take some more time. We’re committed to it though!

    If you want to learn more about why it takes so long for us to make up our mind, experiment with it, and to actually finish it, please scroll down to the very bottom of our post. We’ve prepared a more detailed (but slightly more technical) explanation for you.

  • Reafactoring. In addition to all the planning, experimenting, and migrating, we also needed to do refactoring before introducing WYSIWYG (and also some other long-awaited features).

WYSIWYG explanation (a.k.a. Shida’s rant)

This has been one of the most heavily requested functionality of Dynalist and for good reason. While the markdown format we use made writing formatted text easy without leaving the keyboard, it’s still quite unintuitive for many many people who aren’t familiar with it. The current editing experience has been criticized because it’s not possible to edit an item and seeing the result at the same time. This also means that if your item includes any kind of formatting, its content would “jump” when you focus your cursor on it, and that makes for a poor experience.

Unfortunately, since the beginning of Dynalist ~March 2015, this has been the way. At the time, browser technology was also an issue, which was why we opted for the simpler markdown approach. See “Why ContentEditable is Terrible” and “ContentEditable: The Good the Bad and the Ugly“.

Every single component of Dynalist functions around this idea of a “raw” markdown and a “rendered” version of it. As time moved on, more and more functionality was added to Dynalist which depended on this assumption, and more users started depending on Dynalist to organize thier work and life.

This ended up making a WYSIWYG editor an almost impossibility for Dynalist. Why? Because of the tremendous amount of work that involes the “Migration”.

Some of the difficulties includes:

  • Some people use Dynalist on the web, on the mobile app, and the desktop app. Heck some people even have multiple tabs open on multiple computers (like home and work). How does an “old” version of Dynalist, unaware of the WYSIWYG format, deals with the migrated data?- Many of Dynalist’s components has to be able to parse our data format (Automated backups to Dropbox/GoogleDrive, Google Calendar Sync, Version History, just to name a few). Those will need to understand both the old version and the new.
  • Version History should still have to read the old format, at least for the 1 year retention period.
  • What would happen to previously created “backups” of Dynalist, in OPML format for example? We’ll need a way to import them to the new system.
  • What if some users decide not to migrate to WYSIWYG, either by preference or maybe just not used to it.
  • What if some users are concerned the migration might not function correctly, and they lose data? What if it does have a bug and corrupts the data??? What kind of backups/confirmations/verifications would we need to have in place?
  • How do we make sure any migration doesn’t break Dynalist internal links? These links include the document ID and the item ID, which will be different if a migration involves creating a copy (for safety reasons).
  • Do we set a date after which we forcefully migrate everyone, or do we continue to support the old version forever?
  • And many more…

Here’s the good news. While we still haven’t finished discussions over these questions, we did commit ourselves to make a push to have it done.

During the last 2 months, we’ve been experimenting with WYSIWYG technology on the side to see if we can make it work for Dynalist. Our conclusion is that the web technology is good enough right now for us to make WYSIWYG a reality in Dynalist. We’ll still need to integrate this into Dynalist’s codebase, and figure out the migration process, but I’m glad to announce that WE’RE WORKING ON IT!

For those who prefers Markdown over WYSIWYG, I just want to reassure you that Markdown is NOT going away – we’ll figure out some way to have it supported.

It’s not clear how long this is going to take, but in our estimate it could take anywhere from 2 months to half a year, depending on how many obstacles we run into and the workload we dedicate to maintaining and improving Dynalist in other ways.

This is not to say that we’ll be 100% focused on WYSIWYG; keeping Dynalist up and running, fixing annoying bugs, and improving the product overall will still be taking a significant chunk of our time. You can still expect us to post monthly updates with bug fixes and new features. We might also post updates on our WYSIWYG progress, but no promises on that one.

September update

Hi Dynalisters! Here’s what we’ve been up to in the past month:


Features

  • Archive document. You can find the “Archive” option in document right-click menu. After you archive a document, it will be excluded from global search results. For better performance, the document will also be unloaded from memory when it’s not being viewed.
  • Big project! We’re spending more than half of our time working on a big project that will make Dynalist better in the future. Stay tuned!

Fixed

  • [Copy paste] Fixed copying URLs from the Chrome address bar will now copy the plain-text link, rather than a named link whose name is also the link (thanks, Chrome!).
  • [Mobile] Fixed tapping on Collapse or Expand icon would scroll all the way to where you were before.
  • [Misc] Brought back the “Set as inbox” option to the node context menu, for those who change their inbox locations frequently.
  • [Mobile] Fixed can’t drag to scroll mind maps on mobile.

August update

Hi Dynalisters! Here’s a rundown of our August changes:


Features

  • Swipe gestures are coming to mobile! Swipe right for to complete item, and swipe left to delete it. Now available on mobile browsers, and coming to the mobile app in the next few days.
  • You can now reorder files via drag and drop on mobile! Simply tap and hold the file name and then drag to move it.

Improved

  • [Dynalist Pro] You can now set a different format for dates without a time, so that the time part of all-day events doesn’t show up as 00:00.
  • [Item move] Creation time is now preserved when moving items to another document with the “Move to” feature.
  • [Formatting] Markdown now gets rendered in breadcrumbs.
  • [Formatting] Markdown is now stripped when creating bookmarks, shown in the window title, and when dragging an item to create a document.
  • [API] Added endpoint for uploading files.
  • [API] Added endpoint for checking if a document has new revisions since the last check.

Fixed

  • [Search] Fixed searching for “parent:” followed by a capital letter doens’t return results.

July update

Hi all! Here’s a rundown of July changes:


Improved

  • File reordering improvements. Now you can drop files into collapsed or empty folders by dropping on the right side of the file pane. Moreover, the drop location is now indicated by a line rather than moving the file around, making it easier to drop files precisely at where you want them to be.
  • We’ve updated the desktop app to use Electron 4.2.6. This fixes (1) the issue with numbering in number lists and (2) the macOS bug where only the first page gets printed.

Fixed

  • Fixed sync issue of items getting out of order sometimes.
  • Fixed clicking on a bookmarked search doesn’t update the query timestamp. This caused new results to not show up as time passes when you click it again.
  • Fixed code styles are not applied when printing a document.
  • Fixed cannot open another document’s mind map view with the file menu option (“another document” being a document that’s not the currently open one).
  • Fixed Up and Down keys not working in the select inbox location setting.

June update: checklist change PSA and tons of improvements

Hi all! Here’s a rundown of Dynalist June changes:


Features

  • Drag item under an empty or collapsed item. To drag under an item, land the cursor on the right half of the document. Landing on the left half will drop it as a sibling as the neighbor items.

Improved

  • PSA: Checklist change. Now when you make an item a checklist, all its child items will get checkboxes, but excluding itself.
    This makes the checklists look cleaner. On top of that, it helps group actionable items together and thus reinforces the hierarchical structure.
    If you want the old behavior back, please enable the “Show checkbox in front of checklist parent” option under Settings – Preferences – Advanced.
  • Now you can sort items by date. Items will be sorted by the first date in them.

  • Flat search sort. Now you can sort the flat search results the same way you sort items (by title, date, checked, edited time, and creation time).
  • Search: new search operator “parent:”, followed by the keyword you wish to find in the parent item of the matched items. For example, “apple parent:trees” will only find items that contain “apple” whose direct parent also contains “trees”.
  • Search: new search operator “has:children”. This operator will only match items that have one or more children items.
  • Inbox: now you can set your inbox location directly in settings. No need to find the item and choose the “Set as inbox” option in its menu. Click here to see the updated help center guide.
  • Export: with each format (formatted, plain text, OPML), now you can choose to copy the exported content to your clipboard or download it as a file.
  • Mind map view: notes are now shown on mind maps.
  • Now Search Everywhere and Flat Search have customizable shortcuts, in case you don’t like the defaults (Ctrl+Enter and Shift+Enter).

Fixed

  • Fixed clicking on the document titles in Search Everywhere results doesn’t jump to the document.
  • Fixed absence of proper error message when trying to drop multiple files to upload.
  • Fixed Korean fonts not working on latest macOS.

Mobile app 1.3.3 update

  • iOS: fixed copy paste issue.
  • iOS: fixed not being able to upload files sometimes after iOS 12 update.
  • Fixed keyboards not showing up after first tap after app launch.
  • Fixed document being vertically scrollable when “Highlight current item” is enabled.
  • Fixed tapping on the move item success message would reload the app.
  • Added “Mind map view” option to the document menu.

May update: flat search and more

Hi All!

As usual, below is our update for May. Sorry for being a little late because of the migration.


New Features

If you often search for things that are several levels deep and find the page crowded by all the items up the chain, the new flat search is here for you.

After entering the keyboard, either click on “Flat search” or use the Shift+Enter shortcut. The result, like Search Everywhere, is read-only. Clicking on the item will lead you there.


Improved

  • Tags now auto-complete in Search Everywhere too.
  • We have migrated Dynalist to dedicated servers. Dedicated servers make Dynalist much more reliable. The new servers are also much more performant in every way. As a result, Dynalist now loads faster for most people.
  • Visual improvement for the upload manager.
  • When clicking on a search result bookmark, it will now update the current page even if you’re already on it. Before, nothing will happen and you won’t get the updated search results by clicking on the current bookmark. You had to click something else and come back in order to see the updated search results.

Fixed

  • Fixed pasting multiple paragraphs doesn’t properly convert formatting into Markdown.
  • Fixed using Ctrl+Shift+V to paste without formatting will paste twice on the desktop app.
  • Fixed items showing up as checked in Move Item and Internal Link suggestions if the document root is accidentally checked off.
  • Fixed zooming out not landing you on the current item.
  • Fixed item bullet tooltip getting cropped out by the file pane.

April update

Hi All! Here’s our update for April:


Improved

  • Tags now auto-complete in search. Woohoo!
  • To make things even better, tags also auto-completes in inbox capture.
  • Checked status, color label, and heading now show up in mind map view.
  • Added custom shortcuts for deleting checked items.

Fixed

  • Fixed pasting an image doesn’t upload it for Dynalist Pro users.
  • Various mind map view fixes.
  • Fixed date picker and “[[” popups sometimes gets cropped.
  • On the mobile apps, fixed tapping on the expand/collapse button will scroll you to the previously focused item (a mobile update will be released soon).
  • Fixed “No result found” getting stuck after you clear search term in file finder.
  • Fixed certain functions not available in LaTeX.

March update: new mind map view (not a joke!)

Hi folks,

Last month we’ve been working on refreshing the mind map view (a Dynalist Pro feature).

The prototype has been there all the time (look at this jumpy screenshot from three years ago!). This time around, we made a bunch of improvements:

  • The nodes no longer jump around
  • Markdown and links are properly rendered
  • Zoom in and out with your mouse wheel to see the big picture
  • Breadcrumb on the top
  • Go back and forward in browser history
  • Mind map view is encoded in the URL

How to use

You can open the mind map view from here (Pro account required):

And voilà! You have a mind map version of your document!

If you need some Dynalist Pro trial time to give it a try, don’t hesitate to drop us a line at support@dynalist.io. We’re happy to help!

Next steps

There are lots of improvements we’d like to bring to the mind map view.

To list a few of them:

  • [Done] Make it use the font you choose in settings
  • [Done] Switching document while in the mind map view doesn’t work yet
  • Make items in mind map editable
  • Display color labels and headings (coming soon!)

It’s an experiment, after all, it’s by no means a standard outliner feature. So whether we would continue to develop things on this list would depend on how the mind map view is received.

That means, if you have any feedback or ideas on how to make the mind map view more useful, feel free to let us know! Thanks so much 🙂

February update

Hi all! We were on semi-vacation for most of this month, and this is what we managed to get done between jet lags:


Features & improvements

  • You can now complete multiple recurring dates and they will update in bulk.
  • “[[” link suggestion dialog now prioritizes results from the same document.
  • When clicking tags while holding the Alt key to delete them, now extra whitespace will be properly removed, so that when you delete 10 consecutive tags, you don’t end up with a bunch of spaces.
  • API improvement: when capture to inbox or creating new items, now the IDs of the newly created items will be returned for your convenience.

Fixed

  • Fixed WorkFlowy import no longer working as they’ve changed their interface.

January update

Happy New Year! Is everyone used to the year 2019 now? I know we haven’t 😉

Here’s our update for January 2019:


Features & improvements

  • Two new themes, Sakura and Sci-Fi, are now added. Sakura is a girly light pink theme that’s perfect for the springtime, and Sci-Fi is a dark theme that features futurist cyberpunk colors.
  • Now when you create a document, it will be automatically opened.

Fixed

  • Fixed the iOS freeze issue when you resume the app.
  • Fixed inbox capture not working on the first try on mobile apps (v1.3.1).
  • Fixed desktop app title not updated properly when you switch between documents.