1 Matching Annotations
  1. Nov 2020
    1. I've spent the last 3.5 years building a platform for "information applications". The key observation which prompted this was that hierarchical file systems didn't work well for organising information within an organisation.However, hierarchy itself is still incredibly valuable. People think in terms of hierarchies - it's just that they think in terms of multiple hierarchies and an item will almost always belong in more than one place in those hierarchies.If you allow users to describe items in the way which makes sense to them, and then search and browse by any of the terms they've used, then you've eliminated almost all the frustrations of a file system. In my experience of working with people building complex information applications, you need: * deep hierarchy for classifying things * shallow hierarchy for noting relationships (eg "parent company") * multi-values for every single field * controlled values (in our case by linking to other items wherever possible) Unfortunately, none of this stuff is done well by existing database systems. Which was annoying, because I had to write an object store.

      Impressed by this comment. It foreshadows what Roam would become:

      • People think in terms of items belonging to multiple hierarchies
      • If you allow users to describe items in a way that makes sense to them and allow them to search and browse by any of the terms they've used, you've solved many of the problems of existing file systems

      What you need to build a complex information system is:

      • Deep hierarchies for classifying things (overlapping hierarchies should be possible)
      • Shallow hierarchies for noting relationships (Roam does this with a flat structure)
      • Multi-values for every single field
      • Controlled values (e.g. linking to other items when possible)