I’ve just purchased a new iPad, and I’ve been taking handwritten notes, when appropriate, in GoodNotes and importing the PDF into Anytype after finalization. It’s a testament to the value and importance that Anytype already has to me, despite being in alpha!
I just wanted to provide some of my input to how I believe pen input can be implemented into a notetaking app that is primarily text-based - ala Anytype.
Many note-taking applications that support inking/handwriting were often built from the ground-up in order to take advantage of pen input and make it a first-class citizen. Examples of this can be seen in applications like OneNote, GoodNotes 5, Samsung Notes (the version built for the Note line of devices) and Notability. Here, I’m pretty confident all these apps are free-form, where different elements (ink, images, etc) can overlap each other. For example, this means that we should be able to write some text, then annotate over the text using the pen.
Unfortunately, a free-form type of note app, where we can just write over the text won’t work for Anytype. Although it would be amazing to be able to just take an Apple Pencil and start annotating all over the text in the Object Canvas, it would be incredibly complicated to build on Anytype’s current architecture and difficult to create, especially considering that we need to scale the software from small phones to large desktops.
So, how do I believe Anytype should integrate pen input? Prior to the release of the Apple Pencil, the default Apple Notes app only supported text input, meaning that it wasn’t built from the ground-up to be inking-first - just like Anytype. It’s also not free-form, like Anytype as well.
Apple Notes, being an application which was initially built solely around text input, handles both text input and pen drawings by separating these two horizontally. You can’t type on the drawing, nor can you draw on the typed text. If a user wants to add more drawings, the Apple Notes app automatically creates a new drawing “block” seamlessly. If the existing drawing is expanded upon, the drawing “block” is expanded automatically.
This ensures that the note can be used across multiple devices with varying screen sizes seamlessly, as we only have to downscale the drawings, not the entire “canvas”, like in GoodNotes.
In Anytype, we could create a new dedicated “Drawing” or “Ink” block type that will be automatically created when the tip of the pen touches the screen.
(I apologize if this has already reiterated things that have already been said, or are obvious; I just wanted to offer my own concept and an analysis into how other apps implement pen input).