Enable Sharing within our own workflowy documents

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8 comments

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    Frank (Workflowy Support)

    Hi Alfred,

    Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts on a "transclusion" feature. Would linking to a certain document work (grabbing the internal link and posting that)? I find that this is surprisingly effective. This is also made a lot easier with @rawbytz's "Clip to WorkFlowy" Chrome extension:

    https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/clip-to-workflowy/cfifjihfoegnccifkcdomdookdckhaah?hl=en

    ... which makes for super quick reference. 

    And then also, for these internal reference links pointing to an original outline, you would then also need to share the list that is being referenced.

    ~ Frank

     

     

     

     

     

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    Alfred Peters

    Hey Frank! Thanks for taking the time to answer. :) I went ahead and took a look at Clip to WorkFlowy and the options for internal linking. I tried to imagine the way this would work as I played with them and I realized that the point of the transclusion feature actually isn't linking. The linking options within WorkFlowy are already robust and movement is quick with stars, tags, internal links, etc. WorkFlowy has got linking down with no issues.

    The point of the transclusion feature is being able to build task and workflow based bullets. Without displaying the linked node in its full form and being able to edit it this falls short. I'm not sure exactly how to explain the usefulness of this without being able to show it. 

    The Leo IDE implements it but is annoying to install. If you have time there is an old site at vimflowy.netlify.com that has a wonderful demo. It calls it 'cloning' instead of 'transclusion' but it's the same thing. 

    The idea is I go to 'this bullet' to do 'this workflow'. Even if the information I need comes from multiple places in my references it's all gathered there and if it gets updated anywhere it gets updated everywhere.

    TL;DR
    A useful transclusion feature necessitates displaying the information in it's original (and editable) form. Just like it is when you share a bullet to another person.

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    George Jardim

    Alfred, Your “Enable Sharing within our own workflowy documents” is almost exactly what I and a few other users have been asking for, for a couple years now.  It would really transform WorkFlowy.  Specifically, a single piece of information needs to appear in more than one place, and if it’s changed, it needs to be changed everywhere. Here’s an illustration:  Lets say I have a Top-Level item called “Banking” with many sub level items, one of which says “Check Wells Fargo Account Number”.  Then let’s say I have another Top-Level item called “Out” containing items that will be done when I go into the city.  I’d like that item, “Check Wells Fargo Account Number”, to appear in my “Out” list without having to enter it twice, and I’d like to be sure that if I change it, it’ll also be changed in my “Out” list and anywhere else I “Shared” or “Assigned” it to.  Your concept of “Sharing Within” seems a more handy one than my “Assignment To”.  It would solve most of my present kludges, trying to get WorkFlowy to cope with large information sets.  WorkFlowy’s tagging works very well for 50-100 items, but once I started to use it for its mobility and syncing, for a thousand or more items, it became hard to keep things straight.  So many thanks for your suggestion.  WorkFlowy Team, Please, Please, Please!  Soon.

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    Alfred Peters

    Thanks George! One of the things I love about workflowy is the focus on super low level concepts. It gives you the blocks and then you build your masterpiece info structure from there without much restriction on paradigm. I think that it's extremely difficult to explain how basic of a 'block' transclusion is. It seems complicated on the face of it but we deal with it every day in real life. An apple is both red and a fruit. It belongs in both lists, neither is more important, but it is still its own thing. Nearly every thing and concept in real life is transcluded. My wife is also my friend. My desk is used for both gaming and work. My pillow is both something that needs to be replaced every few years and something that needs to be washed regularly. My favorite shirt is both a clothing item and yellow. This is a very, very elemental piece of how reality works. It just happens to have a fancy name. How can we build meaningful ontological structures without being able to represent something as defined by more than one category? I've been trying to convince the WF team of the usefulness of the concept in a 'workflow' sense; which is definitely true. But it is also a super fundamental piece of how we think that is just being left out for seemingly no reason? It just doesn't make sense to me. Take a look at the link I put in my earlier comment if you're interested in seeing it action. I hope that I can convince *someone* how adding transclusion would fundamentally change the capabilities of workflowy at a logarithmic level.

    TL;DR 
    Please, please add this WF team. It's a core piece of how reality works and people think that is being glossed over and I have no idea why... Especially since it seems like the hard work for it has already been done since we can do it between documents but somehow not inside of one?

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    George Jardim

    Here’s what I was saying on this subject nine months ago, “...

    The ability to “Link” or “Assign” a note to any other top-level note or topic, and have it appear there would make WorkFlowy much more powerful.  Max described it well, as, “There's only one copy, but there are multiple references (or images)”.  

    With this feature, if you changed that note, it would appear in its changed form everywhere you assigned or linked it to.  This would cure the terrible double-work, uncertainty and errors caused when you have to physically duplicate a note to different top-level notes or topics so it won’t be missed in that different context. I’ve found that as my WorkFlowy File has grown, it’s becoming increasingly hard to manage.  If you can’t link old but valuable notes to newer notes or topics, you can easily forget that information, end either do it again or fail to to act on it at all.  Worst of all, if you change one instance of that duplicated note, you’d better search for all of them and change them too, or suffer the consequences.  When I had only 10 topics or top-level notes, it wasn’t so bad, but now I have closer to 100.  Need a fix.”.

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    George Jardim

    Alfred and Frank: At the risk of belaboring the point of “Transclusion”, here’s what I said a year ago:

    ”...Let me see if I can make the need for “Assigning” notes to other notes clearer:

    I have a list called “Out” in which I put notes that I need when I go into the city.  That way I’m able to make sure my city trips are productive.

    Suppose that I also have a List or Topic called “Bank”.  Into “Bank” I put a note which goes, “Account doesn’t balance.  Try again.  Meet with Vice President in person if necessary and sort out”.  That note needs to stay in “Bank”, so I’ll remember to try balancing the account again when I look at my “Bank” Topic, but if I don’t see it when I print my “Out” Topic to go into the city, I’m going to miss an opportunity to fix the problem in person and waste a trip.  I could copy the note to “Out” so I won’t forget, but now I have two notes of the same thing.  If I change one of those notes after my meeting, I’m going to have to remember to change the other one too.  Might be ok for a few notes,  but not ok when you’re running many Lists or Topics with many notes which depend on one another.  Duplicating notes will soon produce an unmanageable mess.  Tagging is only slightly better.  If I tag notes in many different Lists or Topics “#out”, when I print that “#out” tagged list, I’m going to also have a disorganized collection of notes at different levels in different notes.  Impossible to follow, and impossible to re-arrange into some readable context or order.  Solution:  As an example, I need to be able to “Assign” any note to my “Out” list, so that when I Zoom my “Out” List or Topic, I see not only the native notes that belong there, but also any notes from other Lists that were “Assigned”.  Now I have a concise and reliable view of what to do when I make my city trip.  FLatFlowy is a possible external solution, although I’ve heard that if you change anything in a FlatFlowy view, you can corrupt your WorkFlowy data.  Haven’t tried it, but will.  I can’t emphasize too much that this is going to be a vital and must-have feature if WorkFlowy is going to be a killer app. It’s very easy to quickly accumulate a few hundred notes.  I have more like 10,000 from older software, which I’d very much like to keep in one place instead of the confusion of switching back and forth to WorkFlowy.”

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    Alfred Peters

    So there seem to be a few different posts in feature requests that could boil down to 'transclusion'. Do you know whether or not the current code used to 'share' could be effectively modified to enable transclusion functionality? It seems like the feature already exists; it's just locked to inter-document use only. :)

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    Cleon

    I agree with Alfred & George. I'd love to be able to show lists in multiple places, while being able to edit them from any instance!

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