Is This How Links Should Work?

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wfy_link_search

A user wrote us suggesting that we need a better interface for linking to content within WorkFlowy. He also included the mockup above (click to see full resolution image), which I quite like, and fits well with how I’ve imagined this working.

What do you think? Is the approach in the mockup good for linking to content with WorkFlowy?

We get tons of feature suggestions, but we really love it when users send concrete mockups for interface problems we’re thinking about. If you do interface design, send us mockups of your ideas!

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Jonathan
7 years ago

Yes Please!!! Linking is so necessary!

Matt
7 years ago

A great idea and nice mockup. Good job ‘A user’

ivlivs
ivlivs
7 years ago

Looks practical to me. +1

David Vasella (@dvasella)

Looks good, but I’m afraid that only works with a limited number of entries. With hundreds, finding the correct one to link would be difficult.

mizmdk
7 years ago

Agree. It’s a good start, but if you have a lot of similar entries in different sub-outlines, it would be hard to find the right one quickly.

Could you clarify the example? Because the text linked was about referencing, I thought when I first looked at it that the popup menu was a standard choice, not the actual content you want to link to. I thought I was creating a link TO the line we were on. On second look, it seems to be a search FOR a line we want to link to.

So the process is:
1) I create Outline A.
2) Later on, I am creating Outline B and add sub-item C
3) I realize C applies to both A and B. I want C to appear in both A and B.
4) I create a link from C to A

I would really want the link to go both ways – if I create a link from C to A. I don’t want to have to also create a link from A to C. That would really interrupt my thought process, and it would be easy to make a mistake and spend time trying to fix it.

Glad you are back!

NPM
NPM
7 years ago
Reply to  mizmdk

But what happens if you have an item that multiple other items want to refer to? e.g. C, D, E and F all refer to item A. Which does A refer back to?

mizmdk
7 years ago
Reply to  mizmdk

Good point. And you may not necessarily want the link both ways. I guess if the process for creating a link is simple and quick, it wouldn’t be a problem to cross-reference back when you want to.

JL
JL
6 years ago

There’s also the problem with having long items.. A single word/query for autocomplete when it’s fuzzy like it is here, would turn up a few thousand times. Love the idea to interlink @workflowy items but as of yet, this isn’t the perfect fool-proof way as it the rest of the app. Not without a large overhaul of every other item. (eg. massive truncation sessions for the example instance above).

As for the multiple to one linking; Isn’t that alright by itself? Define the item A as the “parent” or “topic”, the others simply anchor link to it. So it could be like another automatic list, the linkback text then would be simply “see all linked” to collapse all of C,D,E, etc.

NPM
NPM
7 years ago

Yes please.
I like linking to evernote files from workflowy (becuase the links work on my mac AND on the iphone) but the massive URLs look awful. So I’ve started keeping a reference tree at the bottom of my home page with numbered references. This suggestion would make it so much easier to add and link to such a reference.

Matt S.
Matt S.
7 years ago
Reply to  NPM

We need URL titles…Badly

ShaoWei
ShaoWei
6 years ago
Reply to  Matt S.

I second this. A markdown type syntax like [WorkFlowy](workflowy.com) will be good. This is especially useful to hide cloud links like to Evernote, Dropbox, SugarSync, etc.

Fernando
Fernando
7 years ago

If I have the following tree:
• Home
• Work
• Projects
• Project1
• Status
• Project2
• Status
• Project3
• Status

When I start typing $Status, I will only see 3 choices, all of which say “Status”.
I think more context is needed. For example, …>Projects>Project1>Status.
Or perhaps just “Status” is displayed, but hovering (or tabbing) over each choice provides more context.
Additionally, users could use CTRL or Command + Drag to drag a “link” of a specific node to another location.

Fernando
Fernando
7 years ago
Reply to  Fernando

It seems like all the indentations were removed from my comment, and so the tree structure is not evident. Let me try again:
Home
> Work
> > Projects
> > > Project1
> > > > Status
> > > Project2
> > > > Status
> > > Project3
> > > > Status

Matt S.
Matt S.
7 years ago
Reply to  Fernando

More info while hovering sounds good.

hazymat
7 years ago
Reply to  Fernando

Yep, I’m with Fernando on that one. More context certainly needed. I use Workflowy to record site visits (amongst everything else I use it for!) and each visit has similar sets of sub-items.

I’m sure Fernando’s CTRL+drag is workable, but that wouldn’t be so great for referencing items that are far away, or buried deep down under many nested items that are not expanded.

Jesse Patel
Jesse Patel
7 years ago
Reply to  Fernando

yeah, good point.

JL
JL
6 years ago
Reply to  Fernando

+1 for greatness. Since it’s generally lazytown here though, we’ve long given up on interlinking and keeping items within their hierarchy. @Workflowy is now the dumpground for any and all thoughts, whenever, wherever while tags work their beautiful filtering magic. Except for dates, collaboratives, searches, etc of course.

hazymat
7 years ago

Also I must admit I don’t fully understand the mockup.

What’s the significance of the items “Top 1”, “Mid 1.a”, and “Mid 1.b”? Are they just random, or is there significance to the fact that the referenced item is under “Mid n.b” and the referencing item is at the same point in the equivalent tree “Mid 1.b”?

Sorry if I’m being dumb!

Amir Masoud (@amirmasoudabdol)

It’s perfect…

Domagoj Delimar (@domdelimar)

I would say go with it, test the initial working version with at least a subset of your users and then see if it could be done even better.

I know I’m definitely missing this feature, didn’t really think about how it could be done, but I like what I see here. I think it could be usable.

islandowl
islandowl
7 years ago

Thanks @hazymat for being dumb too. You gave me courage to write to say that I do not understand the mockup. Could someone please describe what this is doing?

Are you saying that Workflowy pulled up all the lines that had the words “I want” because “I want” was typed after the $? And then the user selected the one the “I want” statement that they wanted to reference? If that is true, then you are saying it would pull up all the lines that had those words in it so that there could be more than three to chose from?

Matt S.
Matt S.
7 years ago
Reply to  islandowl

Correct.

Anthony
Anthony
7 years ago

Yeah I don’t get it either. Is there a way to give every node in WF a number that is accessible on the hover menu? Then you could just link to the number of the node? I have multiple nodes with exactly the same text so the above example (as far as I can tell) wouldn’t work for me.

JL
JL
6 years ago
Reply to  Anthony

The problem is probably that in a filtered or zoomed-in view, that index number isn’t as easily visible as it is in “all items”, or relatively so view. However if the one can autocomplete to search for the item, with contextual hierarchy/tags to differentiate between similar/same named items as well as then linking in the shortform you describe (ie. “see $45678”), cross-referencing would surely be perfect.

Technically though, short urls have been in transit for a while now. Once they get all the other tricky factors down, namely the whole “avoiding referencing the wrong thing” thing, @workflowy could simply use the unique url ids they are using now to link lists/nodes.

djwilkins
djwilkins
7 years ago

I don’t quite understand the mockup but I absolutely want the feature!

Think its safe to say cross-referencing / overlap between different branches of any logically and well-fleshed out WF structured is unavoidable.

Paul O'Leary McCann (@polm23)

People who don’t get the mockup: call the non-note portion of a node the “title”. Pushing $ allows you to auto-complete a title to select a node, which is then linked to. Auto-complete would presumably work just like it does for @ now.

Like Fernando, I’m worried about how this works when you have nodes with the same title. If you use lots of short names repeatedly the hierarchy is pretty good, but if you use full long lines it’s unhelpful – maybe that could be a modal setting, or WF could use a heuristic to guess, or different symbols ($ vs %) could be used.

Jack Preston (@unwttng)

I’ve always maintained that the most useful addition I could see in Workflowy would be not quite this feature but a similar one. Instead of linking to another node, essentially embedding it symbolically. So that it could be accessed and used at the point of embedding as if it were duplicated there, but with all actions actually happening to the original.

Andreas
Andreas
7 years ago

Symlinks (aka “copy by reference”) would be extremely useful. I use workflowy for project management and as my calendar, and I would love to be able to embed my projects within my calendar while still having them live in my projects folder.

UI-wise, references could work just as duplicates do currently – in the drop down of a node, select “Reference” (or “Virtual copy”), which inserts another reference to the same subtree.

mizmdk
7 years ago
Reply to  Andreas

Agree

nietaki
7 years ago
Reply to  Andreas

Very much agree. I would argue that the functionality of symlinking/copying by reference a whole node would be more useful than embedding a link to it in another node. Especially if the symlink would mirror the “completed” aspect of the node – we could finally have shared prerequisites for multiple tasks and actual interlinked mind maps.

As one of the other users (caedmon5) said, you can use the “share” feature to that effect, and having it, only more efficient and more tailored for the task mentioned above, would be just perfect.

Good luck!

Jon Widén
Jon Widén
7 years ago
Reply to  Andreas

Actually hard links would fit the bill even nicer. Making my case for that in this my comment below http://blog.workflowy.com/2014/03/27/is-this-how-links-should-work/comment-page-1/#comment-7977

JL
JL
6 years ago
Reply to  Andreas

@nietaki, Thanks for the explanation! I got “symlinks” but felt as if my understanding was a bit off given @andreas descriptors.

Second the soft copying or direct linking thing. At a previous comment, i mentioned “automatic lists” that compile from all linked back items. This would work greatly in conjunction with your outlined example. What remains obscure though is the ease of linking between zoomed sublists. With the currently existing feature of “duplicate”, one simply selects the option and then cuts the newly created item to go wherever it needs to. Granted, i don’t use that feature a lot if at all so that isn’t much of a bother right now. However if the same functionality applied to referencing, it would become tedious real quick..

Joe Sacher (@sacherjj)

I would call it Clone. Similar to Duplicate in option. Then move to proper location.

margaret
margaret
7 years ago

The problem with Duplicate is that changes you make in one location do not apply to the other. You may want this in some situations, but not what I am looking for with a link.

Jon Widén
Jon Widén
7 years ago

Clone sounds like an excellent name for it. I’ve suggested the name Linked Duplicate before but clone feels like a more intuitive name.

Jon Widén
Jon Widén
7 years ago

Actually it makes makes me think of Quantum entanglement but I guess the name Entagled Duplicate would make for more confusion than clarity 😉

Nicholas Perry
6 years ago

I like the term ‘mirror’ or ‘shadow clone’ or (if you are coming from the other direction ) ‘mimic’.

I’ve used these verbs in a similar context (only in a line-art based app) and they worked well.

I still haven’t come up with a good verb for something that would represent a ‘copy on write’ behavior when the content is modified from the clone’s side and not the main one (the clone mirrors the source until someone chooses to modify the clone – similar to what templates do)

Margaret
Margaret
6 years ago

Can it be like a Mac Alias? Is this the same as a symlink?

JL
JL
6 years ago

@nicholas perry, “Mirror” sounds perfect since it’s already used in the technical society.

Pedro
7 years ago

I would prefer something like this:
https://daringfireball.net/projects/markdown/syntax#link

Example:
This is [an example](http://example.com) inline link.

This resolve two problems, we could link a workflowy node:
[Errands](https://workflowy.com/#/df118-353a64f32)

or a regular link:
[Google](http://www.google.com)

I have made an animated gif demo:
http://cl.ly/image/210O1Y282g0o

And this would be using a shortcut, It´s ok to be lazy sometimes 😛
http://cl.ly/image/1Z223015272w

djwilkins
djwilkins
7 years ago
Reply to  Pedro

What Pedro said!

Why not use a url title and tackle both internal and external links in one shot?

Nice touch with the demo gif bytheway Pedro.

Matt S.
Matt S.
7 years ago
Reply to  djwilkins

Yes, please!

islandowl
islandowl
7 years ago
Reply to  Matt S.

Pedro, that is brilliant! I love the idea of using the same syntax as Markdown for the hyperlinks!!

mizmdk
7 years ago
Reply to  Pedro

@Pedro: I’m not getting an animation with the gif demo link.

mizmdk
7 years ago
Reply to  mizmdk

I’m sure the suggestions using URLs, parentheses plus brackets, and so on are great for techies, but look too complicated for non-techies like me.

theharryramsay
7 years ago
Reply to  Pedro

Pedro’s system is brilliant. If we could just replace the Google URL with the link to the specific page within our WorkFlowy subtask (manually by copying it) – it’d be more than enough.

This is simple and there are only two things that need to be done:
1. Make all tasks and sub-tasks in WorkFlowy as individual files that generate a link of some-sort or an option for the link to be copied with a right click
2. []() system for setting up the links.

I am not a programmer and have no idea how complicated this can be. But I think it can work.

How would I practically use it?
I have one file called Work Projects and another called Today’s Tasks on the home page.

Work Projects:
* A
** a1
*** a1a1
*** a1a2
** a2
***a2a1
***a2a2
** a3
***a3a1
***a3a2
* B
** b1
** b2
** b3
* C
** c1
** c2
** c3

Today’s Tasks:
* 1st April 2014
** Complete a1
** Complete b1
** Complete c1

So when I open up WorkFlowy in the morning, I’d immediately go to Today’s Tasks. And when I do, I’ll find Complete a1.

I would like to be able to click on Complete a1 and be forwarded to *A **a1 and shown the sublist containing *** a1a1 and *** a1a2.

By implementing Pedro’s system and the other option of making the WorkFlowy pages turned into directory style urls, I think linking can be made effective.

Thanks,
Harry

JL
JL
6 years ago
Reply to  Pedro

I already do this manually, haha..

David Crandall
7 years ago

I like where this is going. The only thing I might add would be that once a node is referenced, give an option for that node to actually appear as a child entry under the reference.

I know this would mean that nodes would appear multiple times, but it’d be awesome to be able to update it in one place and have that update appear in all of the references. Right now, the duplicate option is good, but if I change something I have to remember to go back and change all the versions or it gets out of sync. And if I just include a link to that part of my WFy, then I lose the context of where I placed that link once I follow it.

But, like I said…I like where this is going!!

mizmdk
7 years ago
Reply to  David Crandall

I totally agree

Thomas
Thomas
7 years ago

I like many of the ideas described above:
1. offering list of nodes matching entered terms;
2. displaying the path to each candidate node on hover;
3. supporting display of URL titles for internal and external links
(With an internal link, you don’t always want the link to appear as the verbatim text of the target node, as the mock-up suggests.)

I don’t like: using $ as the initiating symbol. Using $ would break the most common use of that symbol — the $ prefix signals that the value that follows is US currency.

In it’s place, I’d prefer to see the Markdown convention used:
[URL title](targetaddress)
Except that, for internal links, Workflowy could add its own new file type prefix: wf.

Example: [This is my link](wf:88a0a41e-db9a-bb1c-ed79-0f0408acd73c)

JL
JL
6 years ago
Reply to  Thomas

Had an idea above but you helped solidify it here.
With those [wf:numbernumbernumer] sort tags, one could use the current @workflowy short url ids. To visualize better which item in particular it is referencing to (after having made the correct reference and all), maybe alt-text? A hover on the identifier (“$” or “wf:”) could popup a small tooltop with a few lines of the node’s text itself. That way one doesn’t have to click away from the currently working in view.

caedmon5
caedmon5
7 years ago

I currently use the share feature to internally link, and it works fine. If you eliminated a couple of steps (the question about edit or read-only and the need to copy the link from the box that pops up), you’d have a working cross linking system already.

I use it two different ways. If I’m lazy, I just grab the share/edit URL and pop it in the bullet I want to link from. If I’m not lazy, I grab the last part of the URL alone and make a hashtag from it.

Matt Piziak
Matt Piziak
7 years ago

Symlinks are the feature I’d most like to see from Workflowy, with time-generated tasks a near second. Since many tasks actually work toward multiple goals, the best model for a prioritized workflow is not a tree but a directed acyclic graph. Allowing us to copy a node to multiple locations (by reference, rather than just duplicating it) would achieve that structure. When you enter that node, I imaging seeing breadcrumbs not just for the path you entered by, but all the other paths as well, like so: http://i.imgur.com/RJinvK8.png

I think that copying nodes by reference provides a more consistent experience than this internal linking solution. It retains the elegance of a fully node-based interface.

Mathis Gardon
Mathis Gardon
7 years ago
Reply to  Matt Piziak

This is a great idea. I’m also on the symlink side, as it makes so much more sense to me than linking in terms of not loosing the visibility of the tree hierarchy ou are in.

Your smart implementation of the header paths showing all the paths that contain this node + the path you came from in bold speaks for itself.

In addition, I think the main problem with symlinks might be the not so pratical way to add a reference to a node that might be really far in the hierachy : but the way I see it, this is exactly like handling folders and wanting to reference a folder from another in the tree on your disk. When you’re in a file explorer, you just hit the “split screen” key (F3 for me), and you start looking for the node you want to reference on the right side of your screen, node which you could just drag n’ drop then on the left side with a ctrl+click to introduce “reference”. A drag and drop with a simple click and hold would be “move this node”, so basically It would introduce a whole new feature in itself for those moments where you need to make cross-tree operations between 2 far appart sections, and a split tree screen is one of the best way to address those.

That said, “traditional” linking could also be a good feature, usefull from time to time and possibly implemented in addition to this one ? (although it is already present, albeit less explicitly than in this mockup, using the share & edit feature as said by another user).

So all in all, it becomes 3 separate features addressing a lot of different problems 🙂

– Symlinks to handle node cross-reference, a first implem could be using the contextual menu (add reference to create ref, then drag it to the desired location) then =>
– Split screen : enables moving nodes or referencing them between different sections
– Linking to internal or external nodes/urls using a smart syntax for readability and efficiency (I’m used to markdown, but a shortcut like $ might do too) for those cases where linking and not referencing is wanted.

Jon Widén
Jon Widén
7 years ago
Reply to  Matt Piziak

Yes! This!
Actually I think hard links would be better suited than symlinks in this case. Also their behaviour is closer to what you are describing. With hard linking there is no ‘original’ node that is master over the others. All links point to the same data and the data is only removed once the last link to it is deleted (reference counting). Both references and symlinks can be broken but this can never happen with hard linking.

Symlinks also present a trickier UI/UX scenario. With symlinks one would need to visually separate the originals from the duplicates (and also from ‘normal’ non-linked nodes) as well as indicate how they are connected (which duplicates belong to a specific original and vice versa). This becomes necessary due to the implications of deleting an original that have symlinks connected to it. Using hard links one would simply need to convey that other duplicates exist, the exact details would be irrelevant as they are all viewports of the same data and act in a uniform way.

Symlinks also create a multitude of other tricky situations one would need to address For example what happens if a user want to create a symlink from a symlink? Would that add another node to the chain (with the possibility of breaking it later) or would it link directly to the original? Should it be allowed at all? With hard links situations such as this would be trivial – all hard links and the relations between them are exactly the same.

The creation of hard links could work the same as when making a duplicate, i.e the hard linked duplicate pop up next to the ‘original’ and is manually moved to the preferred location. As for how to best convey this to a user in terms of UI/UX i suggest visualising hard links as a stack of bullets (crude example http://i.imgur.com/FtymrD6.png). Focusing on the item would list all the breadcrumbs as suggested in your mockup.

Matt Piziak
Matt Piziak
7 years ago
Reply to  Jon Widén

Great points! You’ve entirely convinced me that hard links are better.

Christoph Dollis (@ChristophDollis)

I don’t get this idea of adding with the DOLLAR SIGN $. Dollar signs are used all the time to denote currency or, in my case, financial items.

What about using another symbol? ^ or ~ or even |

?

Jesse Patel
Jesse Patel
7 years ago

Dollar sign is just a random character they came up with, I think. We wouldn’t use that as the shortcut.

Alex
Alex
7 years ago

Good idea!
Just watch out that you have sane behaviour for

– Renaming referenced items
– Selecting among duplicates

alexeyfeigin
alexeyfeigin
7 years ago

[ Not sure if my previous comment came through. ]

Good idea!
Just make sure you have sane handling of

– Changing content of referenced items
– Selecting the right entry among duplicates

S P Hoyle
S P Hoyle
7 years ago

One aspect of links that I think needs detailing: their interaction with the ‘Duplicate’ feature. I frequently make a branch or sub-branch to use essentially as a template. Then I use ‘Duplicate’ to make a specific instance. The issue arises when a node in a template branch links to a target in the same branch. Then when I duplicate the branch, does the duplicated link point back to the target in the original template, or does it point to the copy of the target? I imagine that either option would have its uses. Maybe we could use a code like ^ (might have fewer conflicts than $) for the kind of link where the target gets translated, and ^^ to introduce a link that remains invariant.

No matter what character you choose to introduce a link, you should probably introduce an escape character like \ to escape non-special uses of characters like $, #, ^, etc.

As others have noted, while the suggested mechanism of identifying the target by its contents would often be convenient, you need an alternate mechanism for navigating to the desired target.

Nicholas Perry
6 years ago
Reply to  S P Hoyle

OneNote solves the linking problem by walking the tree from it’s relative location until it finds the node that has the same signature. The trouble becomes how to get a reliable way to get this behavior when you want it, and avoid it when you don’t (some template links are meant to point to the same link regardless of duplicating them…). OneNote gets a little confused on occasion and will sometimes convert a relative link to a direct link – so I think its using some type of heuristic.

Its interesting because the relative links persist and still work if you export the OneNote to a PDF.

lifeh2o
7 years ago

When hyperlink to a workflowy node is posted as an item. A keyboard [e.g. ctrl+shift+r] shortcut will allow user to display the link as original node. When user press [ctrl+shift+r], original node should appear and bullet style will change. User will be able to switch back to the hyperlink view with shortkey in its original form anytime.

> A
> > B
> > > M
> > > N
> C
> > http://wfy.com/#/linktoB [cursor]

[ctrl+shift+r]

> A
> > B
> > > M
> > > N
> C
= = B
> > > M
> > > N

Dean Paxton
7 years ago

Why make it up? Use markdown? https://daringfireball.net/projects/markdown/

Kevin Gabbert
Kevin Gabbert
7 years ago

How about $$? I use Workflowy to keep track of money and having links pop up after a single $ would get annoying.

MiniGiant
MiniGiant
6 years ago
Reply to  Kevin Gabbert

If I got it right: typing a number and then $ won’t show this, typing $ and then Space won’t show this, only typing $ and immediately another character will.
I think it won’t be a problem for you. Do you think otherwise?

proportional
7 years ago

Yes, please !!!! As soon as possible.

When exporting to html or plain text, you may have to decide whether you use the full tree under the link or just the link. Also circular references may pose a problem.

I’d rather prefer to export the full tree in plain text.

Edward Anderson (@nilbus)

I like this as long as you have to explicitly choose something to link to (eg. press the down arrow, then enter/space), so that I can type $foo in a bullet without accidentally linking when I don’t want to.

Jasper Eenhoorn (@jaspereenhoorn)

BIG BIG YES 🙂

rjpianist
rjpianist
7 years ago

Just today I wanted to link two items to each other because though they are in different parts of my outline, they are dependent on one another.

The way I came up with was to tag them both with a unique tag that I only used for the purpose of linking them together. Works for me. Since as soon as you type a hashtag, you see a list of your used tags, it’s easy to come up with a unique one each time you want to link some items together.

caedmon5
caedmon5
7 years ago
Reply to  rjpianist

This is sort of what I do, but I make use of Workflowy’s hidden ID system rather than invent new tags myself. I select “share” and then copy the last part of the ID as a hastag tag. That is a random, unique for each item, string that can be used safely for cross references throughout.

If you wanted to, I suppose, you could use the URL as a whole, which would allow you to navigate to individual nodes.

Alberto
Alberto
7 years ago
Reply to  rjpianist

Oh! That’s a powerful trick. Actually it’s all I need to link projects to reference material.
I will now use @ for contexts (places or ppl) and # for “dynamic footnotes”.
And it’s easy to change, move or delete the source and/or the destination of the link(s) too.
Thank you.

rjpianist
rjpianist
7 years ago
Reply to  Alberto

Glad it’s helpful to you!

sabjee
sabjee
5 years ago
Reply to  Alberto

nice ideal! wish there was a simpler way to get the ID? That would make it easier to reference items for task management with a team. I know I could use timestamps but it also seems like a hassle?

Stowe Boyd (@stoweboyd)

My feeling is that the best approach is to modify the URL technique mentioned by caedmon5 to get a URL pointing to the node you want to link to, and then add a new command ‘add link’ on the node you want to link from, which uses the URL in the clip buffer if present. Then there would be a distinctive link icon at the end of the linked node.

Nicholas Perry
7 years ago

I like what hackpad does to link between ‘pads’.Whatever its needs to be very smooth. I agree with Kevin Gabert that having it pop up after the $ is typed could get annoying. Having it popup on hackpad after the @ sign is already getting tiresome.

I think OneNote’s style works great and is worth a nod. I prefer the wikilinking method [[texthere]] or [[TextHere|URL]], or somethign similar to markdown. Ultimately I want something that lets me just write out my link and paste in my url and be done with it – it would be nice if this system supported inter-workflowy and external urls in the same way. A link is a link after all.

MiniGiant
MiniGiant
6 years ago

I would love something like that (it is really needed!), however, I want to suggest a small improvement:
Typing $ and additional characters will show suggestions, as described, and hitting Enter will select the wanted content; However, for such a case the user doesn’t remember the name of the needed content, they will be able, by using the arrows, to navigate and zoom (UP and Down: negativing among the suggestions. Left and Right: zooming in and out).
For such a case the user wants to zoom-in from the main list of content, they’ll be able to type $$ in order to get the main content to start zooming from there.
I don’t think you actually need me to day that, but just for the protocol: make sure changing the content will also change the links,

One last thing: it would be great to be able to add a reference / an inner link without actually adding the content itself (like a regular hyperlink). This is my suggestion:
After choosing the content, right next to it, the user will be able to type square brackets including the wished word/phrase. Then, the text will change to the word/phrase which links to another content.
Hitting delete at the end of the word will change it back to be editable.

griffingaryl
6 years ago

I think linking between existing Workflowy documents would be a very useful feature, and I can see a lot of uses for this. This post is almost three months old. Where does this sound? Also, what’s in the pipeline for upcoming updates, Workflowy?

Andy
Andy
6 years ago

Yes

spolsky
spolsky
6 years ago

I’d prefer clones. Where if you edit one, all other clones change as well. Have a shortcut or automatically generated tag or a bullet-point-function to show all clones of the current list.

Failing that I like rjpianists idea and have been using it, I create new tags e.g. @_sometext and put them in all copies. If I want to change them all I use copy and paste.

A split screen view would help in this and in other ways with large outlines but my workaround for that is opening my outline in two different browsers.

Daniel Paul O'Donnell
6 years ago

I’ve been thinking about this for a little bit, and I think there are actually a couple of different things all jumbled together. Some of these are easy to do and some hard.
1) The original idea looks really attractive, but actually is probably very problematic for all the reasons people have mentioned: you might have many more than one line showing the same text.
2) There is already the basics of a linking ability built in, since every item in WF has an in effect an ID number through its sharing URL (though the new sharing method may be changing that).
3) Cloning (i.e. having something editable at two places might be a little difficult to do (though it is something I would love, because I’d really like to be able to see items without their context (e.g. if I have #todo at various depths, I’d love to be able to just extract the todos without being distracted by their contexts).

I think the easiest thing to do at the moment would be to add an item to the menu that comes up when you click on the dots that, in essence, combines “duplicate” and “share.” I.e. duplicated the item immediately, but puts a reciprocal link (using the share URL) in each. You could then drag the copy elsewhere in your list and always have a reference.

This is something I could use immediately: for example, in meetings, I often record todos. Currently I have to choices for accessing them: I can leave them where they are and have to wade through tons of context; or I drag them out of context to my todo list, and link them back to the meeting using a URL IDREF I create by hand from the Sharing URL.

If we had a “duplicate and link” option, then I could do the following:
1) record my notes from my meeting, including the todos.
2) When the meeting is over, use the “duplicate and link” button to create duplicates of the todos, complete with a link to original (and vice versa)
3) drag the linked copy of my todo to my todo list elsewhere in workflowy.

Anyway, I think this has to be the easiest to implement, since both parts are already in place: you can duplicate items and you can share them by URL. All we need is a function that does this automatically.

Pierre Masci (@masci_p)

Any update on this feature? That would make Workflowy so much more powerful.

Jesse Patel
Jesse Patel
6 years ago

Unfortunately no update yet :/

yehosefshapiroYehosef
6 years ago
Reply to  Jesse Patel

Just another +1 for the feature. I think it’s very useful and would make the tool much more powerful – but there are technical and ux challenges and tradeoffs have to be made.

Are there no updates because 1) you’re not sure if its a problems or one you want to solve or 2) not sure how to solve the problem or 3) working on other things and haven’t had time to solve the problem.

Even an update at this level would be great. Thanks!

Jesse Patel
Jesse Patel
6 years ago

Sorry for extreme slow reply. We’ve been working on other things, is why there’s no update.

grandcanuck
6 years ago

Just wanted to throw a +1 on the linking feature. It’s something I’ve used a lot in a lot “note taking” situations. When one item needs to refer to another.

I started this in OneNote, but used a similar feature in Evernote.

Now that most of my organizational note taking is moving to workflowy, it would be very useful.

grandcanuck
6 years ago

Another +1 on this feature. It would be very useful for most users I’m sure.

I’ve similar techniques with other applications like OneNote and Evernote and it is a great way to relate things to one another or add a reference to something in a list without retyping it all.

So BIG +1

lee
lee
6 years ago

Love and need to have links within documents. Lists are getting massive. Also need a way to hide long hyperlinks which take up a lot of space on screen. Put a function to let people add hyperlinks to shorter texts please. Thanks. Look forward to your updates and improvements.

Jesse Patel
Jesse Patel
6 years ago
Reply to  lee

Yep, planning on doing this.

Morgan Newall (@the_reelists)
Reply to  Jesse Patel

hi Jesse, is this being released anytime soon (blog post was March 2014!)?

Jesse Patel
Jesse Patel
5 years ago

Nope. It was just an idea

themaveric (@themaveric)

Hi Jesse, any update on this? I see the last update request was in December, so figured I’d give it a shot.

I love it exactly as it is in the mockup, and the addition of drag-and-drop functionality would make it oh so Workflowy! Can’t wait for this to be live!

Eric

NPM
NPM
6 years ago

Whilst we are waiting for formatted links to appear in workflowy (and please, the sooner the better), I have come to a half acceptable workaround. I keep links in the notes part of a line, but on the second line, the first line being the text ‘link’.

So clicking on ‘link….’ gets you to the proper link eg

https://www.evernote.com/l/AAGkFhlipqdM-72e_qIIyaIn16XCH4mKUnY

NPM
NPM
6 years ago
Reply to  NPM

actually probably better to use a direct workflowy link
https://workflowy.com/s/hXUwD434zu

NPM
NPM
6 years ago
Reply to  NPM

Although I see a shared workflowy in safari looks different to my normal workflowy in safari. The shared workflowy expands the whole of the note which destroys the whole point!

Nathaniel Heinrichs
5 years ago

+1 for starting small: link aliases, a la Markdown:

[This is the link title displayed in Workflowy](http://foo.com/something/anotherthing/yetanotherthing?is_oogly_link=yes&do_i_want_to_see_all_this_text=no&etcetcetcetc)

James Kuypers (@JamesR404)

Isn’t it useful to copy the URL of a branch and paste it where you want to reference it? I also reference external sources (RTM, websites) with hyperlinks.

Only downside is that URLs don’t work when offline… Hmm, there’s a point for linking to other branches.

Another way of working with that is using tags like #topic to link branches, still that’s not a one-to-one link.

timtecset
timtecset
5 years ago

You can achieve most of this now by putting the hyperlink of one item into the note of another.
I’m not sure how many features were available when you started here – but that gets you 80%of the way there.
Eg “organise books” is dependant on “buy bookshelf”
I’ve tagged “organise books” with #waiting and then, when you click into the “buy bookshelf” item and get the unique URL for it, you can copy and paste that into the note for “organise books”.
Later, when I’m reviewing my #waiting list, I can click on the links in the notes to remember what it was I was waiting on.
Good enough for now! 🙂

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