I started using Notion years ago but found it too slow and cumbersome, and didn’t like that it was online-only. I switched to Obsidian, and now I also use Logseq on the same vault. That works great, but I find myself missing the database features of Notion.
Anytype seems like the best of both worlds, but I’m getting hung up on the more rigid taxonomy. I feel like I need to create “top-down” categories rather than let them happen organically “bottom-up” by linking files like I do in Logseq.
I don’t think this is a problem with Anytype specifically – maybe my brain just works differently than the way this app was designed. Apples and oranges perhaps?
I think a lot of users share your view. Anytype is great, but it does feel much more “rigid” than a lot of the more granular softwares (I don’t use Obsidian or Logseq, but I know how they work; my reference is RemNote, which is great in this aspect).
It seems the team is going in that direction (of allowing much more flexible workflows for creating/navigating objects). But I wouldn’t expect it to look like any of these other tools so soon (if anyone knows better, please correct me!).
If you want to continue using Obsidian, there are database plugins for it.
For me, the biggest reason why I don’t use a more bottom-up approach is because backlinks and the graph aren’t yet properly implemented.
I’ll try my best to explain, but I don’t have formal expertise in this area!
I use the term “Top-down” to refer to something where you have to create a category (or a tag) for an item before you create the item. For example if I add a note containing a recipe, I need a “recipe” category first. Mentally I would say it’s similar to using folders – you create a folder for each “type” of thing, and then you put the relevant things inside the folder.
With “Bottom-up” I mean a system where you don’t create categories, but something similar to a category starts to emerge as you link things together. You will see “categories” start to form naturally in the Graph, as related items begin to form clusters. Roam and Logseq are good examples of this process. There are no “folders” for content – all the notes/documents are in one big pile.
I like the second approach because it’s more flexible. Often times, two notes that seem completely unrelated (they would be in different Categories) become relevant to each other, so I link them. This creates a kind of “bridge” between two clusters in the Graph, and sometimes this opens up new ways of thinking about the various notes I have written.
However, the second approach is also much more unconventional. People are used to using folders since before computers even existed. It’s OK if the Anytype team believes Categories/Tags/Folders are your preferred approach.
Thank you for explaining this! We believe that anytype should work for both cases and we are going towards this direction. We also believe that using the graph as a data structure could give you a much more flexible user experience, right now it’s ability to see a part of the graph as a table, gallery or a kanban. In the future it will give even more - like second degree relations and backlinks for better search and navigation. You can’t reach these capabilities if you use a network as a data structure - like in Roam or Logseq. The only problem is that you need to do a lot of manual work. To solve this problem we have a plan to make it invisible and automatic, so you would enjoy a simple editing experience while you keep flexibility of the graph.
I want to put this on a t-shirt. Thanks for all the work on this stuff @anyteam