Hello everyone !
You will find a note for context at the end of the post :
Anytype is good !!!
I have experience with onboarding all sorts of new apps… But Boy ! What a struggle onboarding Anytype. And it looks like a lot many of other people share their load of struggle at first… So maybe the explanation & docs could be improved (?)
Hear me out :
The onboarding relies heavily on Use Cases, it’s nice BUT not enough : it’s like showing people a beautiful mansion and tell them “Look what you can build !”
The doc section is good at explaining :
- THIS is a brick
- THAT is cement
- THIS? It’s a screw…
First area of improvement : There’s nothing between raw materials & the mansion !
Creating elements directly from pages like shown in the use cases is advanced level… it’s quickly a mess if you don’t understand what’s under the hood. - I have been there !
What is lacking is an explanation on how users can start with the foundations, then set a string of rope for the bricks to be aligned, and then put a brick this way (not that way).
Only once users can understand that, can they dream about Mansions and easily build them from scratch! …
Second area of improvement : Anytype’s use of concepts around data is confusing.
- Data Types : one would expect String, Boolean, Integer, Float, Date, …
It took me a long time to search for them with no success (I know it does exist, we’ll go back to that later).
I suggest that the page Overview should state right away that Anytype offers only 1 data type (a text file) and that the types (described here) are just different variations of that data type (in format AND in characteristic aka relations)
Data Relations : 2 concepts are mixed with a same and unique word :
Actual relations > the link between 2 objects (pages, notes, collections… not sets)
Metadata > “Camera”, “Tag” or “Description” are NOT relations, they are metadata.
Proof : they are not appearing in the library of Types. This is only here that you start to see types like date, number, boolean, etc - it is well hidden !
This is not clearly explained anywhere. And, as long as we don’t understand that, we get confused a great deal. It’s like asking a French to explain the difference between “fair” & “just” (both translated by “juste” - “Euh, ben … “juste”, c’est juste quoi !”).
So we are left alone trying to figure out, with big sweat, that :
- Raw material [types] are just bricks [text file]
"Guys, don’t look for timber [integer], glass [dates], tiles [boolean]… they don’t exist as such. There are only bricks in Anytype"
- Cement is actual Cement [ links between objects ]
BUT Cement is also the characteristic of the bricks (height, length, width, weight…) [metadata : tag, author, description]
Now, if height, length, width, weight is not enough info for you, you can create another characteristic ! You want to specify that your brick is red or black, or grey ? …
- Create another “brick” [a text file],
- Call it “Colour” [a new type]
- Create a relation (an actual relation this time) between your first brick and that second brick that you called “Colour”
I suggest that Anytypes calls metadata & relations differently. In a perfect world, we could just create specific metadata through a metadata management interface… but the documentation could also just explain that we can create a new type & use it as a metadata through a relation.
CONTEXT OF THE POST
- I am a 3 weeks user of Anytype : not convinced at first but @shrippen changed my mind… kuddo to you @shrippen !!!
- It all started with this question : Help me understand…Types / Objects… that doesn’t really make a database, right?
- I then asked on reddit : The team behind Anytype could maybe propose users to submit proposals for user documentation
- I didn’t agree much with the answer so I replied by email… to which the Anytype team replied : “post it on the community & let’s see the reactions”
I really like Anytype & I want the Anytype team to succeed !