Can You Hear Me Major Tom?

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March 3, 2022
New workflowy features 2022

Recently, things in the Workflowyverse have been quiet, a little too quiet. So we decided to poke our heads out and share a bit about what we’ve been up to. And hopefully to make this a regular thing going forward.

What’s New

Despite the rumors, we have not been relaxing on a beach in the Bahamas. Rather, we started this year discussing and planning for the future of Workflowy. For years, Workflowy has been a focused on providing a great single-user experience. Users have naturally shared Workflowy with friends and colleagues and invited them to collaborate. However, this isn’t always a great experience. While we do currently have some collaboration functionality, it’s not nearly as robust or useful as we would like.

We’ve drawn up a plan that we feel will take what is currently a great single-user experience and enable great multi-user experiences. To be clear, this doesn’t mean focusing exclusively on collaboration. Rather, we plan to work on three distinct tracks in parallel – core Workflowy features, collaborative features, and growth.

For collaborative features, imagine taking the fast, minimalist experience of Workflowy and then being able to use that with your entire team or company. In the near future, that’s what we hope to achieve. By laying the groundwork for what we affectionately call “charming collaboration”, we hope to make Workflowy a powerful alternative to today’s bloated and clunky team organization software.

Next we have core Workflowy features. By that we mean taking the great single-user experience and extending it with more useful and powerful features (think dates, templates, calendar integration, etc.).

Our third track, growth, will be focused on making it easier for users of all types to discover and share the Workflowy experience with others. That means making it easier to share documents, and refer and invite others to enjoy Workflowy.

In addition, we would like to take this opportunity to present our shiny new product updates page. This page will make it easy to check what we’re up to at any given moment. You’ll be able to see links to our latest big releases, a roadmap of sorts that shows what we’re currently working on and what we plan to focus on next. And finally, you’ll be able to see the latest release notes.

We hope this page will make it easy to answer the age-old question of what are the folks at Workflowy doing instead of adding [insert your wish feature here]? Jokes aside, we do listen and take into consideration every feature request we receive. Over time we’ll refine the product updates page to reflect that reality and make it easier to see what other users have already requested.

For upcoming features, we’ll be using the blog and the Workflowy user group to ask the community for feedback. We want to start involving users earlier in the development process to make sure we’re working on the problems that users really need solved. That’s where you come in!

What’s Happening Now

As you’ll see on the product updates page, we’re currently busy working on two key features. Essentially change tracking and mentions.

Change tracking will allow anyone on the team to keep up with all the changes made across the entire shared item. That means you’ll be able to see what has changed, how it was changed, when and by who. No more asking if someone has updated “the thing”, you’ll be able to see that yourself. This makes asynchronous collaborative work in Workflowy much easier.

Mentions will allow you to get the attention of anyone on your team to either tell them something or assign an item to them. You’ll also be able to quickly view your own mentions and reply if desired. In addition, we’re hoping to provide notifications of your mentions so you don’t have to check Workflowy to see if you have a mention. Of course, this is something you’ll be able to turn off if you don’t want notifications of any kind.

It’s easy to say we’re doing these things. Designing them to work in a “Workflowy” way that makes sense and fits with the rest of the experience is what’s tricky. However, we’re confident that when we release the features, they’ll provide users that have been wanting to use Workflowy in a more formal team setting with the tools they need to be successful.

Here’s a top-secret sneak peek at what the features look like right now.

This screenshot is of the mentions feature, note Jay’s shocking lack of emojis
This shows the changes feature in its current state and is absolutely subject to change

We don’t have a fixed release date for these and will instead release when we feel confident they’re ready and useful. But we’ll let you know in these updates how we’re feeling as time passes and the features take shape.

So there you have it, those are the two big things we’ve been working on and are continuing to develop. There are more things happening in the background and we’ll mention these over the coming weeks as they become relevant. For now, we hope this feature update has piqued your interest and shown you that new and exciting things are coming to Workflowy soon.

But that’s not all.

Internally we’ve taken a long hard look at how we do things at Workflowy, especially since growing the team. Going from 2 people to 14 means we need a new way to manage everything and make sure we’re using all our resources to give everyone the best Workflowy experience possible.

That means we’re also busy implementing a new way of working together that we believe will help turn us into a lean, mean, Workflowy-building machine. We’ve already started implementing this new method of working together and as time passes we will get better at it. We hope that the results will be evident to users as we get better at releasing features and overall making Workflowy a more useful and enjoyable experience.

What’s Next

Starting with these features, we plan to regularly publish updates on the blog, via social media and on our new product updates page as opposed to our standard way of sharing updates – cryptic crayon doodles delivered by carrier pigeon.

We’ll let you know when we’re close to releasing to beta, then to all users and so on. We’ll also mention any important updates or tweaks as they develop. We really want the community to feel like they’re along for the ride and can see and feel the progress and improvements as they happen.

On a much more serious note, we would also like to mention that several members of our team are based in Ukraine and have been facing the extremely difficult situation that’s currently ongoing in the country. Needless to say, current releases will slow down a bit until the situation is resolved and our team members and their families are out of harm’s way.

Sound off in the comments section if you have any thoughts, concerns or anything else you’d like to share.

Until the next update,

– The Workflowy team

Song referenced in the title 馃幎

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Michael Greis
Michael Greis
8 months ago

Thank you for this (and the product update page).

Finally I can learn what’s going on (and what’s not) all those times I get the little blue dot prompting me to restart and load a new version. I know most of those are not feature releases, but I’m reminded that I would like to know if there is anything new.

trackback

[…] to the upcoming “mentions” and “changes” features. As we mentioned in the last post, we’ll be running a closed test of the features before going to beta so we’re busy […]

5pic72
5pic72
8 months ago

The very basic function of Workflowy is to capture stuff so having a quick capture widget on our phone should be the top priority before getting any of the features discussed here.

The more we capture, the more we use it. The more we use it, then and only then, these other features become important.

Will Dollis
Will Dollis
8 months ago
Reply to  5pic72

To me the basic usage is to organize and think through thoughts.

Will Dollis
Will Dollis
8 months ago

Outstanding. Keep it up!

Combee
Combee
8 months ago

When will it be synced with Google Calendar?

Fred
Fred
8 months ago

I’m very happy to see an update, I agree with it getting a little too quiet. In contrast to many opinions here, I love the idea of having more team features. I love WF because I use the majority of it for solo use, but I love being able to use a small part of it to collaborate with my employees. It allows me to use one app to achieve everything. For the solo use, notifications would be the number one feature I’d use. I put dates but they go by without noticing, so I still use Google Calendar for that. Also, I would enjoy simple formulas, such as ‘today()’ that would change to the current day every day. That would make templates more powerful. For collaboration, notifications with the new mentions feature would be great. As of now we are just checking it randomly. We were about to make a ‘changelog’ bullet at the top to keep everyone updated. All in all I’m very happy to see the direction we’re headed and will be here for the ride. My only real question is the upload limits. I’m a paying member, so I see unlimited space with 5gb max file size. Does unlimited really mean unlimited? Say… 10 terabytes unlimited?

Sasha
Sasha
8 months ago
Reply to  Fred

+1 for date notifications! I’ve been requesting this for ages 馃檪

David Clark
David Clark
8 months ago

This is fantastic. Just read through it again. Thanks for sharing your trajectory and keeping us updated. I really appreciate it. Looking forward to seeing where you take us.

Santa Claus
Santa Claus
8 months ago

It seems like you’re pursuing the ol’ growth for the sake of growth strategy. Have you really never encountered the concept of feature creep in software? Shouldn’t people who feel the need for collaboration features use something else that is already better for that purpose (e.g. Notion)?

For me, what makes Workflowy better than the boatload of alternatives is its minimalism. The UI is snappy even on an 11 year old toaster. The newly added backlinks are foundational for associative note taking. I would focus on *that* use case instead, solidifying its already strong appeal as a research tool (by adding better formatting options and LaTeX) rather than misguidedly losing users in pursuit of more users.

Paco Cantero
8 months ago
Reply to  Santa Claus

Totally agree about this approach!

K V
K V
8 months ago
Reply to  Santa Claus

For LaTeX support, check out -> https://greasyfork.org/en/scripts/439947-katexflowy

It works like a charm! 馃檪

Mark
Mark
8 months ago

That’s great to hear. I (and some other users I guess) bailed from WorkFlowy to (in my case) Dynalist when development of Workflowy seemed to have permanently stalled. So I think it’s important to keep things moving and share the roadmap.

Now that I’m back on Workflowy, one of the great things about it is the elegant, clean user interface. I hope this is kept, and doesn’t become cluttered as team features are added.

On team features, I think this is a great idea although many users are used to using Workflowy as a stand-alone “secret weapon” and also, I guess, there are lots of freelancers out there nowadays who don’t need or want team features. I do believe there is a market for Workflowy as a team tool. *Everyone* understands how outlines and bullet lists work and you don’t have to buy into learning about Gaant charts, kanban, etc to be able to share an outline with someone else. Workflowy’s simplicity is it’s “super power”.

Aze
Aze
8 months ago

Good evening,

Is a real iOS application possible?

Because for now it’s not very readable and comfortable to use… which made me migrate to Craft… for now…

Perf
Perf
9 months ago

Honestly, I don’t see my team migrating to WorkFlowy for collaboration work because we are already happy using powerful tools special designed for that matter. And those softwares are so rich in features for collaboration and Project Management that migrating to WorkFlowy for that would be a backwards step due to its smaller scope and fewer features.

Having said, that. almost everybody in our team uses WorkFlowy to manage their own personal tasks. We have always seen WorkFlowy as the perfect tool for single user, personal task management rather than a collaborative tool.

Saying this, so you don’t lose the focus on the real power you have already achieved. I know there are hundreds of tools now in the market for collaborative work, many of them are excellent. For personal use, on the other hand WorkFlowy is still the best tool in existence for single user management. Hope you don’t lose that privilege in the pursue of another market that is already happy with other tools specially designer for that pursuit.

Carlos Rebolledo Aguirre
Carlos Rebolledo Aguirre
8 months ago
Reply to  Perf

No comparto la preocupaci贸n por los a帽os de vigencia sana de Workflowy, a quienes les creo que no van a dejar de lado a los usuarios individuales.

En lo que se refiere a la colaboraci贸n, la espero con ans铆as, porque si bien existen muchas herramientas de trabajo colaborativo, muchas de ellas caen en tal cantidad de funciones y dise帽o que no son arm贸nicas con las ideas de simplicidad, flexibilidad y enfoque, aspectos que Workflowy en lo personal tiene una ventaja importante.

Maciej
Maciej
7 months ago
Reply to  Perf

Would you mind sharing what software do you use for project & collaboration tasks?

Carlos Rebolledo Aguirre
Carlos Rebolledo Aguirre
9 months ago

Hola

En lo personal me parece fant谩stico las noticias de Workflowy, porque me permitir谩 trabajar en tareas pendientes y proyectos de mejor forma con mi equipo.

Tambi茅n me qued贸 claro que las mejoras en equipos, en caso alguno importa abandona al usuario individual.

Ahora bien, una cuesti贸n de fondo que me permito se帽alar con respeto y aprecio a todos:

  • Workflowy es tan flexible y extraordinario, que no me imagino c贸mo podr铆a negarme a que con funciones de colaboraci贸n sean m谩s las personas que lo utilicen.
  • Es un poco ego铆sta privilegiar el uso individual por sobre la colaboraci贸n, m谩xime que la colaboraci贸n es la mejor forma de la realizaci贸n individual; y, que mejor que hacerlo con Workflowy

Un abrazo y gracias al equipo de Workflowy

Perf
Perf
9 months ago
Reply to  Rodolfo Lopez

隆Qu茅 bueno! Tambi茅n falt贸 agregar en el changelog que ahora en WorkFlowy tambi茅n hablamos en Espa帽ol! 馃榾

joseph
joseph
9 months ago

The team features aren’t personally valuable to me at the moment; but I’ve been so impressed with everything else workflowy has integrated that I’m eager to see how they turn out. (Definitely have used numerous apps for team management that I felt ‘missed the mark’.)

Love the additional transparency and hoping for the best for your team. I had no idea you were up to 14 people, that’s great!

Vincent Noel
Vincent Noel
9 months ago

I’m sorry to say I find the screenshots extremely confusing. At first glance I don’t understand to which lines the “comment” and “added” tags are assigned. The contents of the page do not help understanding.

S C
S C
9 months ago

Please can you focus more on the single user experience as a priority, rather than teams? I’m sure this will be useful in the future, and that you will find a way to keep it from being bloated like other apps out there, but so many of us are using it to help organise our lives. As others have mentioned, there have been some features that have been requested for years (Reminders!), even though we all know that they can’t be created with a wave of a magic wand.

For me personally I would really like:

  1. Reminders: This important feature would eliminate the need to use a separate todo list app that already has this included. Workflowy is great for todo lists, tasks and organising my thoughts, but reminders would make it so much more useful
  2. Please can you add the ability to automatically colour date tags whenever a date is added to text so it stands out more. Like when you add a colour to say for example a #priority tag, Workflowy updates the colour of all existing #priority tags and any new ones that you write (If this ability already exists, please point me in the right direction)

Thanks for listening to your community and thanks for keeping us updated.

Jesse Patel
Admin
9 months ago
Reply to  S C

I want to explain why we are doing this.

First, we need it, and lots of users need it. We need to be able to use Workflowy collaboratively for our own use, and it just doesn’t work well enough. Lots of our users share stuff in Workflowy, so we are trying to bring the basics to ourselves and these users.

Second, it will speed up core features by letting us hire more people. We need to hire more people to really increase our momentum on the core product (including the features you have requested). Teams are the best way to make more money, which will enable this.

So, it all comes back to making the core product amazing and solving real needs of users. We understand it is frustrating when you aren’t part of the users an effort is serving, but as Rodolfo pointed out, we aren’t abandoning the single user experience in any way.

Paco Cantero
8 months ago
Reply to  Jesse Patel

I think this precise and concise entry clarifies everything.

It鈥檚 the perfect approach to keep the ship sailing, accomplishing all goals.

Beautiful product, guys! How I love minimalism in a cluttered world!

Keep going!!!

S C
S C
9 months ago
Reply to  S C

Thank you Rodolfo and Jesse for explaining the thinking behind your decisions. It does help to know that us single users are not being left behind and it also helps to know that the features that will benefit teams (and especially your team) will overall benefit all of us users. Thanks again for making that clear 馃檪

J Serio
J Serio
9 months ago

For me, team features is way down the list of what I need out of Workflowy. Way down. Sharing, as it is now, works just fine. There are TONS of tools that allow collaboration. Stick to what is working best for you — the core features.

What I’d like to see most is split panels allowing drag-and-drop, sorting, extended properties such as creation/completion dates, support for simple tables, a better mobile experience.

I beg of you, please don’t spend resources and time on team features — leave that to the other tools that have it already implemented.

Last edited 9 months ago by J Serio
Seraphs
Seraphs
9 months ago

Hope focus on 鈥榗ore features鈥 instead of team features. For example, split right panel. And select texts then input [[, it should create a link to the selected text not just replace these texts with [[.

Dont know why you decided to put effort on team features, this is not Workflowy鈥檚 strong point.

Bjorn
Bjorn
9 months ago

Word count?

J-Lon
J-Lon
9 months ago

These seem like cool features. With that said, I wish you’d address a couple of things that have been hanging for a long time now.

1. Please give us date/time of creation and date/time completion on each bullet item.

2. Also, are reminder notifications on bullets really so complicated to implement? It seems like people have been requesting this feature for as long as I’ve been using Workflowy, which is getting up on 10 years now.

Gavan Lim-Joon
Gavan Lim-Joon
9 months ago
Reply to  J-Lon

I agree there still needs to be focus on 鈥榗ore business鈥. URL handling is shocking and needs to be improved – I鈥檝e been asking for years to be able to disable or turn it off

Hyun Il Lee
Hyun Il Lee
9 months ago
Reply to  J-Lon

I totally agree with your comment. I need reminder notification. And If I have it, I can escape from other to-do list application.

Jesse Patel
Admin
9 months ago
Reply to  J-Lon

Interestingly, the work we’ve done on collaboration has pushed both of these forward significantly. The first one will be done asap, and the infrastructure for reminders has been put in place.

Kristian Voss Bjerre
Kristian Voss Bjerre
8 months ago
Reply to  J-Lon

I’d assume 1. is covered within “Change tracking”?

Stuart Cliffe
Stuart Cliffe
9 months ago

All good product news, though I’m sorry to hear some of the team are in harm’s way. If there’s anything we as a community can do to help them, please tell us.

On the upcoming features I only have one suggestion – I’m dealing with two levels of colleague: one is ‘collaborator’ someone able to make changes and contribute to developments; and the other is ‘audience’ – someone viewing a knowledge base for educational or informational purposes. Collabs will be technically proficient, able to use WF to the full. Audiences will include WF agnostics whose major (only?) skill will be in following links. Please allow for a ‘publish’ sort of mode where owners can set all the parameters for a database, like colours / fonts / tags and where a non-tech user can simply use a ‘view’ access to get around.

(Hope that makes sense… 馃檪 )

Frank Degenaar
Editor
9 months ago
Reply to  Stuart Cliffe

Hi Stuart!

One of the things on our “Considering” list on the Updates page is:

Basic publishing: Turn your Workflowy content into an online document or mini blog.

I’m thinking along the lines of “postach.io” which I know you must know about 馃槈

Jesse Patel
Admin
9 months ago
Reply to  Stuart Cliffe

Also, are you aware of the view only share mode?

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