It's even worse than it appears.
Monday March 15, 2021; 10:47 AM EDT
  • Thanks to my correspondents on Twitter, I think I'm starting to figure out Roam's product. I am guessing about some of these things, using the blogger's ethos, put your mistakes out there for everyone to see so you can learn faster. :-) #
    • In Roam's world an outline is computed, not stored. There is no OPML file for an outline, as with my outliners. There is a database with blocks of text, and they are connected to other nodes/blocks through links that are represented textually by double-square brackets or with a hashtag as in Twitter. #
    • In Roam, the outline hierarchy is a way of browsing the results of a query. I've often thought of this as an interesting way of doing things, and even have an experiment up that I think is Roam-like, It's a way of navigating a database of synonyms, using an outline structure as the presentation format. It works.#
    • Can you reorganize an outline in Roam? I haven't heard about anyone doing that. This is one of the reasons I'm not sure Roam actually is an outliner. In my world, an outliner has two defining functions: 1. You have control of detail, via expand and collapse and 2. You can reorganize according to structure. The text is on rails. #
    • People expect by entering all their ideas into Roam's database that there will eventually be serendipities, things they will learn by seeing connections they had not seen before. #
    • You are expected to use Roam for all your note-taking. Many people see Roam as a replacement for Evernote. #
    • In my world, OPML support is not incidental. Each of my outliners is a church, but the religion is OPML. There is no lock-in in this world. You can use any other tool that can read or write OPML. So when I ask if Roam supports OPML, I'm asking if their product can play with products that are compatible with mine. This is like asking, imho, if a news reader can deal with RSS. With OPML the standard is rock solid. For some reason no one has screwed with it (thankful).#
    • Can I use my own editing tools to get my ideas into their database? I don't know. I suspect a developer could create a bridge. Most of my writing is available in OPML. There are lots of examples in the repository that holds my blog content starting in May 2017. The rest of it is on the web, and I can provide a zip archive for a developer who wants to try importing all 26-plus years of my blog. ;-)#

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Last update: Monday March 15, 2021; 11:33 AM EDT.

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