Add Folders, nesting, more traditional structured organizational options (Organizational Structure for Writers)

Hi, I’m brand new to Anytype! I’m mostly interested in using this program for my writing. I’ve been using Scrivener and similar programs for the past ten years and I like to dabble in all sorts of genres. Because I tend to work on multiple stories at a time, I’ve found that the most important thing for my organization is to have nested folders.
For example, on my home page in Scrivener the first thing I see are folders containing the genres I’m currently writing in, so one labeled “Fantasy” one labeled “Sci-Fi” one labeled “Historical Fiction” and so on. Inside any one of these folders are the stories that fall underneath that genre, and inside any of those folders is another folder for chapters, notes, character bios etc. I don’t think I would be alone in saying that this organizational structure is a must-have for any writer and possibly for creatives in general. I’m not sure if nested folders or something similar would ruin your system for users who don’t want that kind of structure (in that case, I wonder if it could developed as an plug-in?), but I’m fairly certain that I currently can’t use it to write stories. Any suggestions that could prove me wrong are very welcome though! :joy:
I appreciate all the work that’s gone into the software so far and I expect that, even if nested folders aren’t added, it will still be a very useful worldbuilding tool for me.

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I would love this to have folder as it was in older evernote (one before the electron version and home section).
Potential issue anytype face would be workflows for many. Anytype works in a different workflow with sets and type.
Sometimes, I feel anytype is too complex compared to Evernote.

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Maybe merge with this?

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@qualquertipo This has a clear title.

True, I forgot Sidebar has it’s own tag in the forums actually.

Not sure if OP is (I can only see the first 6)

I didn’t add the sidebar tag, but I can! I think it’s very relevant to the suggestion.

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Welcome LollyBee!

I’m afraid I don’t really understand your request, because from my point of view, the Nested folders are already here in the sidebar.

Maybe you could specify your request more precisely? Respecting the presentation model indicated when writing a Feature request is really useful for everyone :wink:

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I’m sorry, I didn’t know we were supposed to keep the presentation headlines in until I saw someone else’s post :sweat_smile:. I’ll be sure to keep them in next time.
I think you understood it perfectly though. The picture you showed is the organization I’m looking for! But my version of Anytype doesn’t look anything like that (running it on an iPhone currently). Is this a computer version, by chance?

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I think what @LollyBee is asking for, although I might be wrong, is to have an organizing structure that is separate from the content presented in objects.

The structure that @Ayne.Hancer shows in the print screen is created by referencing to other objects from an object, meaning, you would need to have objects whose main function is to manually links to its “underlying” objects. Of course, you are not limited to using that object for linking only as you could have more blocks on that page than just references to other objects. In this structure, moving a “sub” object from one object to another is then achieved by adding a link to that “sub” object to its new parent object and removing the link to the “sub” object from its old parent object.

  • Taking those manual steps feels cumbersome quite quick.
  • Apart from that, this only works for OSes that have the sidebar implemented (currently only on Desktop).
  • Finally, this structure does not work great (yet) for circular references (note how Chapter 2 and Draft 2 reference each other, causing a loop in the nested structure):

This could be resolved this in several ways. I have not yet fully thought them through, though :innocent::

  1. Allow an object to be dragged and dropped in the side bar from one parent object to another to make it feel more like moving files between folders. A move could trigger all links to the object that is moved to be updated to reflect its new parent. This would probably break in the case of circular references though…
  2. Create a new “folder” object type that does have a section of its canvas that cannot be manually edited and only lists links to its parent folder, child folders, and objects that are direct children. These folder type objects could be shown either under the “favorites” entry in the sidebar, or as a separate group of objects in the sidebar next to “favorites”, “history”, etc., called something like “Folder”, “Explorer”, or “Navigation”. A location of a folder or an object in the tree could be as simple as 1:1 parent-child relation to a folder object to ensure a folder or object can only show up under one other folder.

Edit: @Ayne.Hancer should this one be merged with the most liked post of all time Please add traditional “tree” for navigating page structure - Feature Requests - Anytype Community?

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I think you hit the nail on the head! Even if objected can be used in a round about way, I can see it not being worth the frustration for writers who are used to a very basic “Microsoft Word” type of structure.

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You can vote for a Mobile Sidebar (by adding a like :heartpulse: to the top post) here → Sidebar for Anytype Mobile

@sambouwer Now that we have a tree navigating structure with the Sidebar, what we can still ask for is to display all the structures by default instead of having to put the top Objects as a favorite. From my point of view, it can be seen as an advantage compared to other services because it doesn’t clutter the Tree view by default and respects more the data aggregation logic of Anytype.

I don’t understand the screenshot of yours, as Chapter 2 should not be inside Chapter 1 in the first place. :thinking: Your loop looks like a bug, could you please demonstrate the whole process in a video record and put it in a Bug repport?

The Tree view is now available, with obvious gaps but it’s here. Now we just have to create or vote for Feature request which details the improvements we want to make to it. Oshyan himself explained it in his last statement Please add traditional "tree" for navigating page structure - #40 by Oshyan

I completely agree! It is similar to Ability to freely reorder Sidebar Sets and Favorites but still deserve another feature request, I hope you will create it.

However I don’t really agree with your second point, but maybe others will find it interesting. The only way to find out is to create another Feature request for it.

Voted! :heart:

Posted bug report here:

Created FR with option 1 as main request and option 2 as alternative:

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I’m not sure if it adds much value to this discussion, but I want to try to briefly outline what I think is the root of the original feature request here, and also spoken to by @sambouwer above. Let’s ignore the specific implementation ideas for a moment, and remember that such ideas are helpful and should be shared, but should not be taken as necessarily the thing that is being voted on.

So I think what we’re talking about here is a core dichotomy in modern note-taking between Folders (and generally, by extension, “nesting”), and more free-form and flexible, less rigid or truly structured approaches like Tags, Links + Back Links, etc. Evernote is a classic Folders approach, as-is the file system in your computer of course. Until recently there have not been that many truly “structureless” (or “dynamic structure”) tools, and where that did exist it was based around Tags which can be seen as a sort of simple “folder” structure anyway (1 level of folder, though in some cases tag parentage is supported too).

Roam Research is one of the more well-known exemplars of a more fully “structureless” approach, or perhaps as I said “dynamic structure” approach. Most of your “organization” comes from linking between pages and blocks, rather than by explicitly placing something in a folder or other “location”. Many other tools are now trying similar approaches.

Ultimately some people prefer one approach (e.g. folders), others prefer the alternative (e.g. dynamic/unstructured). Relatively fewer people I’ve seen seem to like making in-depth use of both simultaneously (I’m one of those though :grin:).

Anytype is largely unstructured at this time. Even Sets are not describing parentage (although there is an existing feature request for essentially that), Sets are merely a view that dynamically shows objects that match its criteria. You can change some Relation of a Type seeming unrelated to its organizational structure (for example a Time value) and that could add or remove it from a Set view. This is a dynamic structure. For people who like Folders, this can be maddening! The question is whether Anytype is defined by this approach, and thus intentionally not serving the needs of people who want folders and more strict structure, or whether it wants to add such features alongside dynamic structure to hopefully address the needs of more potential users.

In short, I believe what @LollyBee is requesting is the addition of Folder-based organizational tools alongside and/or integrated with the existing dynamic structure model.

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Yep! I think that sums it up perfectly! :blush::+1:

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I also think the additional option to organize objects in a folder structure is very important. It’s especially confusing that a newly created object floats around without a real “location” and I have to go hunt for it in the graph or the “recent” category to find it again.

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I’d like a more traditional tree structure as well personally.
I do a lot of work in things like IntelliJ, VSCode and Notion, so for me to have that consistency be there is key.
If I want to make relations, I can do that later as needed, although, relations for me, tend to be pretty rare in the way I organize my things.

I’m not a fan of the current system of having a few objects on the homepage and having to type to find what I need (I’m a clicker) either, so a setting where I can have the sidebar open at all times would be desired as well.

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