First impressions - messy, difficult to organize, but with great potential (already)

First, a bit about myself. I’m a bit of a hardcore digital notebook user. After testing Everynote, Google Keep, countless to-do apps, after trying Obsidian but finding it too coder-oriented for me, I spend most of the time (couple of years) on One Note, just to switch to Notion last year. I use note apps mostly as a second-brain database, with multiple media, databases for everyday organization, worldbuilding, project organization and as a portable archive of not-useful-right-now data.

After trying Anytype for a week, (experimentally) migrating about 350 MB of various data from my Notion workspace to Anytype, then removing it to start fresh and recreate some of my systems from scratches, here is what I learned:

1. Anytype is really messy.

  • There are to many pre-defined types of objects: some of them are almost identical (diary entry and daily reflection, goal/idea/task/action plan), some of them are too situational (“meditate” and “running” relation, “bug (software)” type), some of them doesn’t make sens if you weren’t the one who create it in the first place (I have no idea what “ticker symbol” relation is suppose to mean).

  • No pre-set type is named in my native language (and I have no way to change it), which means that while taking notes I am forced to either constantly switch between two languages or create every type I intent to use myself (and completely ignore ALL default types). I have this issue with both Anytype and Notion but here it is bit more annoying because english is used not only in interface but also in some parts of description of an objects (for example, I have “Sennik” set described with “Set - Objects Type: Sen - Nudny Piotr”. This mixing of languages is a bit tiring and I hope the finals version will allow for easy translation/edition for all types/objects/relations.

  • As Anytype don’t use file system, there is no easy way to mass delete notes, but creating loose, empty or residual notes is very, very easy. At one point I was deleting about 1000 notes and the only way to to this was by creating a set of pages and then deleting pages in a about 100 at a time ratio. It is very easy to quickly put large amount of data into Anytype, but removing it is extremely difficult.
    Without a way to quickly select and delete big “branches” of objects it is dangerous to accumulate data on Anytype because there is always a risk you’ll have to MANUALLY remove it later. If one day I’ll have 3000 pages in my Anytype (like I have in my Notion right now) and then decide that 1000 of them should be removed because I no longer need them (and I’ve been in that kind of situation multiple times before)… the very idea of doing it one-by-one is simply… terrifying :sweat_smile:

2. Anytype has really big potential.

  • As Anytype is mostly just a software to organize and connect data together, you can put almost any type of file into it… and I think it’s amazing. Why should I create list of articles or books I want to read if I can simply put them into Anytype and then tag as “read it later”. This makes accessing and storing them much easier, as the information about the object (“I want to read it”) and the very object stay in the same place.

  • It actually works on mobile. It’s still a bit slow, the app manage to open only half of the times, the synchronization fails quite often… but it works. I can’t say the same about Notion mobile app (which is nearly useless and usually simply mess every note I try to access) or OneNote app (which can create only very ugly, chaotic and limited notes). The idea that I can create templates (like “dream journal” or “morning routine”) on Windows and then simply use them on mobile without something breaking or turning into an ugly mess… It’s kind of ridiculous that no app allowed me to do this earlier. Good job :grin:, please don’t patch the mobile version to death, paywall it or something :sweat_smile:

  • Databases (or “sets” as they are called in Anytype) works good… but are nowhere near the funtionality od Notion databases. I hope you’ll manage to add more view types and more ways to count/organize/analyze the data, because as far as I know, no one managed to come close to Notion right now. On Notion I was able to pull whole qualitative research (using tags, auto-counting, grouping and multiple views) and I really hope you’ll be able to rival those functions.
    Also, Anytype really needs inline sets. It’s limiting that I can’t put text, notes and data from database next to each other.

3. Please add option to justify the text.
I understand that justification is very unreliable and barely works outside .doc files (I tried to code it into my blog in the past), but it is crucial if someone wants to write long chunks of text (like short stories, or research papers). Left-aligned text becomes difficult to read after more than 5 paragraphs. As I was able to mode Notion to make every text block justified, I hope that it won’t take much work to add justification as an option to Anytype.

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Hi @boring_Pete , thanks for sharing your first thoughts about Anytype!

I agree and so do some other people! Please check-out some related topics. A feature request to delete the default Types (and Relations):

A general discussion topic exists here (should maybe be converted into a feature request) where it is discussed whether it should be possible to change or delete (or hide/archive) default Templates:

If these feature requests are accepted and implemented it should allow you to edit/delete/hide/archive the Types, Relations, Templates you don’t like. I can imagine that your “problem” with the abundance of Types lies in the confusion it might cause for new users, so maybe we should create a new discussion topic to “vote” for Types (to keep them in, kick them out, or consolidate in useful Types).

I think two useful topics here to link are:

and

The first one requests the translation of the user interface and the second one is a request for translations (or maybe even aliases) for Types so you can find them in another language. I think the second one is closest to your request, but I wanted to incidate the translation of the interface is also a wish from the community.

I agree so much, also with your idea that (this?) makes Anytype feel messy. There are improvements being made to prevent “Untitled” Objects from being created unintentionally. For example, when using the + icon to create a new Object (either in the sidebar or from the Dashboard) there is no longer an Untitled Object created if you close the pop-up in which the new Object can be created. This unfortunately is not yet the case when creating new Objects from a Set.
One feature that was recently added to make it easier to batch delete Objects in a Set by multi-selecting them, but I think you are already referrring to that :slight_smile: .

Great to hear! I think all the desired improvements you mention are already captured in existing feature requests.

Same for this one! Please check-out (and upvote):

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I’m happy to help, even if the contribution I am able to make is relatively small :sweat_smile:. And hey, thanks for sending all these links, I’ll surely look into them. ^^

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