Summary of July 25, 2022's Town Hall and Live Q+A

Here’s a summary of the questions and answers on July 25, 2022’s Town Hall, written with @Flip

Please note that due to microphone problems and time pressures, some details might have been missed or incorrectly written down. If there are inconsistencies, please refer to the recording.


About New Features

  • How does the idea of integrating an infinite canvas / stylus (or Apple Pencil) support look like as of now?
    • infinite canvas may be possible at some point in the next year
  • How is the implementation of spaces planned?
    • with “Spaces” or with “different profiles” to separate
  • Clarify “Databases” vs “Sets”
    • Are both planned?
    • Differences?
      • “Sets” are rule based views → Collection of objects
      • Database content is also stored there, not linked
  • Whats the vision of the new home screen?
    • Easy access to favorites
    • currently, not adjustable, not convenient to preview objects
    • plan to rework the progress when joining anytype and making a very flexible Dashboard
    • ETA 2-3 months
  • “It was mentioned by Charlotte that formula support was discussed critically, naming a conflict between making a knowledge management tool vs a data management tool. Can you elaborate on that a bit?”
    • difficult question how to implement it right
  • What are the planned functions for the webclipper?
    • You can scrape webpages and put them as objects within Anytype with relations.
    • Team does not want to elaborate at this stage of development.

Is it planned, to…?

  • PDF Annotation Support?
    • Haven’t researched this function as there are other things to do. If people vote and it gets enough upvotes on the forums, the team may look into it and research.
  • save changes to files, that were made after opening them from within Anytype (Filesystem Integration)
    • a vision is there
    • no ETA
    • will be definitely implemented
  • Support different text style
    • Speaker announced that Anytype already has this feature, although the question was unclear by what exactly was meant by “different text style”
  • Create Websites like in Notion?
    • Will be able to do so, but will be censorship-resistant.
    • You won’t be able to work with them (collaborate with other users) online; you’ll need to do it via Anytype.
  • implement a Notification system?
    • Is planned, will be essential when collaboration is implemented.
  • Implement the “Every block has a toggle” function?
    • Its 100% planned.
  • Forum Question: Reason behind prohibiting a Set to a single Type?
    • reason why it’s not there yet: architectural problems, wrong architectural choice.
    • We’ve spent a lot of time to rewrite this feature, and this feature will be coming: Sets based on any Type, Relations, etc.
  • Licensing?
    • Believe that Anytype should be available for everyone for free.
    • But there are corporations who want to use Anytype to make a lot of profit.
    • Case in point: some database company, which Amazon used to make profit off of. (mongodb?)
    • This question cannot be answered now; will be decided when we have a community of developers. A vote may be held to determine the licensing.
  • Nextcloud?
    • No plans to dist. software to Nextcloud.
    • Not sure about integration with Nextcloud.
  • Forum Question: Will Anytype at any point expose the interface used to build the trust framework?
    • You have a substrate framework that can be used to build your own blockchain. e.g: Polkadot Network
    • Anytype will integrate its own vision of trust framework.
    • Will definitely take place. Designed in a way that if someone wants to make their own trust framework, they will be able to do so.
    • Sorry, answer was a bit unclear
  • Chat Question: Approach to making Anytype a DAO?
    • important to create an independent, sustainable, collective system.
    • May have been an attempt at a joke - change the first letter of DAO to another letter?
    • Answer was a bit unclear
  • Chat Question: How Anytype plans to make money - which group project to make most money for company?
    • We believe the software itself should cost almost nothing; it’s easy to copy.
    • We believe the biggest asset is our social connections, trust, and the data we create.
    • Money will be from subscriptions gathered within Anytype.
    • Focus on personal, server and people/communities. We don’t want to sell our software to corporate clients - we want ownership to go to the people; to make it fair.
    • Monetization via enterprise sales: team is not planning to handle enterprise sales internally. Planning to outsource these tasks.
  • Chat Question: Limitations about certain paid backup “tiers”, e.g: storage, feature limitations?
    • Team cannot answer this question yet; too early.
    • However there are technical limitations: 2TB for backup nodes.
  • Chat Question: Blog is dead. Any plan to revive it?
    • Yes. Aside from that, there are plans to produce more Anytype-centric media, and increased activity on social platforms.
  • How will “Multiplayer” look like and work?
    • by sharing spaces with other users
    • git like sharing with forks, branching, version history
  • Spellcheck like LanguageTool?
    • Will provide writer-centric (e.g spellcheck, word count, etc) features later.
  • Drag and Drop in Kanban?
    • Yes. It’s coming.

General

  • Electron vs Tauri - have there been any considerations?
    • Using electron because of it being standard
    • Electron was compared with Flutter
    • Electron works well for the current use case
    • Native apps will be made when there is code, that will not being changed anymore a lot (works stable)
  • Digital cooperative form of organization that’s collectively owned by its creators
    • Right now, Anytype is registered under U.S law, which is not great for security (data request via law) and sovereignty.
    • In the future, Anytype will switch to a digital cooperative, where it’s owned by users and revenue is split.
      • Get more details about the answer to the question when recording comes out - I missed some words
  • “Full encryption of local files - would it make sense to integrate that or should the user be responsible for that?”
    • Could be implemented, but they don’t see the reason for it:
    • If the machine is compromised, then it’s compromised. It doesn’t matter if it’s encrypted or not.
  • “What are the top three priorities the team has?”
    • Public Launch ( ETA ca 6 months)
      • Sync has to work very well
      • Infrastructure has to scale very well
    • Collections
  • Native Mobile Applications vs Cross-Platform - why was native chosen?
    • We started with native because we know it was a tough and long process to make it work.
    • Faster prototyping: better to start with cross-platform, but the team knew that people needed something like Anytype. But they also knew that the quality of the experience was crucial here, which is why they believe Native is the only way to get a good experience.
  • Live question by nharvey: “a little bit of a chat, if you don’t mind”.
    • About the plugin architecture and the approach that’s taken.
      • The user is looking forward to develop plugins for Anytype.
      • Perhaps some features can be developed as plugins to speed up development.
    • We’re introducing developer capabilities step by step.
    • First step: open protocol so you can read and write data to Anytype objects. Create them too.
      • ETA 6mo.
    • Other layers are planned, aside from the open protocol.
      • Web Clipper will have some schemas to help you scrape better from certain services, like Goodreads. Just press the button, and the content you have will be imported with the relations.
      • Layout will allow you to create your own object types.
        • Right now they look like Notion pages, but once data structure is enabled, you’ll be able to create your own objects with developer defined parameters.
          • Tricky, as we need to think about how its going to be accessible within the Anytype app.
          • How to make this architecture right? SDK.
      • Create your own formulas and logic, as a built-in block within Anytype.
    • If you’re interested, you can join our team.
  • Live question by philoup:
    • Wondering about how the Anytype team will achieve interoperability?
      • Very important to the team.
      • Protocol will not be prop. Will be open to everyone; works freely.
  • Chat Question:
    • TopHatTurtle: Is there any plan on adding different widgets to the homescreen, calendars, todos, etc?
      • Not planned for now. Maybe later or with plugins.
  • Technical Writing (e.g, Wiki)
    • Team mostly focuses on writing code; not many resources allocated to technical writing.
    • The team is looking for anyone who has experience in this field.

ETA?

  • Discourse Chat Plugin
    • ETA in the near future, perhaps next month.
    • It’s already installed, but we need to make it more pretty-looking and more optimized in line with our existing channels.
  • backlinks
    • “hopefully 6 months”
    • updates on that will follow
  • formulas (sets)
  • Web version
    • not planned, modern browser cant do the p2p stuff
    • Supporting web browsers takes significant resources (ref: current team has 2 Electron developers, second was brought on recently), due to browser-specific bugs and workarounds.
    • Privacy concerns with hosting non-E2EE user data on external servers. Does not fit ethos.
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I think this is good to go if no one else protests @ModTeam, we can also further clarify things in comments or edit the post if necessary. Thanks a lot @edwards!

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If kanban boards are coming, does that mean that grouping is also coming? Or will that be enabled only for kanban boards in the mean time?

https://community.anytype.io/t/sprint-review-37

According to the Sprint Review, it seems to be coming to kanban boards.

Thanks for that! Very useful (also a good preview before the recording is shared).

I really appreciate the honesty and openness of the team regarding development.

I’m confused about this one, if anyone knows/could elaborate:

Very excited about these!:

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Hi, looks like you’re not the only one who was confused by “filesystem integration”. What it is isn’t very clear, but there’s a fairly good explanation to what it is on Telegram - probably better than if I tried to explain it - by Enda.

https://t.me/c/1400996727/9272

Sure! So rather than copying files into your Anytype, you could link to or embed the files that are already in a folder or online.

From what I could gather, it’s essentially a link within Anytype to a file stored on the local filesystem, kind of like a file:// URI. Hope that cleared up the question.

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Thanks! Link doesn’t work for me, as I’m not on the Telegram group…

I do understand the idea of being able to have links to local files within Anytype. But I don’t understand the “save changes” part…

From what I understand, if I have a Photoshop file linked in Anytype, I could:

  1. Click on the link to open the file in Photoshop
  2. In Photoshop, I can edit it. Then just Save As
  3. Link should still work…
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However, filesystem integration (as explained by Enda) is not really what is meant by save changes to files, that were made after opening them from within Anytype, as that refers to the following scenario:

  1. You copy say a pdf file into Anytype.
  2. Upon opening it you may be prompted to select Adobe Acrobat on your PC
  3. You make changes to that pdf (highlighting etc.)
  4. Upon saving the changes anytype prompts you to override the changes to the file you have stored into anytype.

That way you can carry changes to files over to all your devices quickly without reuploading your files all the time. File linking wouldn’t solve that as you’d be reliant on another syncing service such as Nextcloud.

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Ah got it! Thanks for explaining

As I explain in the post below, I probably wouldn’t want to lock my files in Anytype. Would want to be able to have local files appear within Anytype though.

Regarding syncing with other devices, couldn’t it be done by combining both systems? Have the files be local, and whenever they’re requested within Anytype, make a copy of it inside Anytype. And if the file changes, update that copy. All transparent to the user - although user would need to decide the rules, of what permissions certain devices would have over files (I’m sure it’s much more complex than that - just a suggestion)

What are collections exactly?

From what I understand it‘s like a space for individual objects, not like a set which is type-based, so you decide what you want in it. Please correct me if I‘m wrong.

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Collection is like a folder, Favourites tab in Dashboard is technically a collection. We are discussing collections as a new type of object with an exclusive layout.

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So, a Set allows you to show all Objects that match one or more filters (where a single Object can appear in multiple Sets) and a Collection probably filters on some kind of specific “Collection” Relation to ensure an Object can only be in one Collection at a time? If so, can Collections be nested to mimic a folder structure?

Will there also be an “all documents” view or tab like in Craft where you can see all the objects you created?

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My team can write the needed documentation in the languages in which it’s needed first. With which member of the AnyType team should I discuss technical writing?

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