SiYuan as an Outliner?

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Is it (or will it be) possible to use SiYuan as an Outliner app, similar to RemNote?

At first glance, it seems this might be possible if I keep all my content within Lists. However, I'm not sure if this is the intended use for this feature.

I'm also not sure if this could lead to peformance issues. I noticed that there is always a short loading time (a spinning wheel shows for about half a second) whenever I unfold a header or list item in SiYuan. This happens even if there are only a couple of blocks nested within. I also noticed that most docs in the "SiYuan User Guide" Notebook are relatively quite short.

For comparison, I have documents in RemNote that are a few times longer than the entire "SiYuan User Guide", with deeply nested structures, and there are no noticeable lags. This is essential for my workflow, as it allows me to quickly navigate and restructure my notes, with almost zero friction.

Of course, I understand if you're not interested in focusing on outliner features for SiYuan. The app already looks and works great as a note-taking app!

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    forestknows updated this article at 2023-07-07 00:55:46

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    • zxhd86

      It depends on how you use Siyuan.

      • Extreme support for Siyuan outline note mode

        • Simple node

          *Node example

          • * 111111111111111111111111111111111111111111
          • A single node with 400 child nodes will not be stuck. (simple node)
          • Each node has 200 child nodes, a total of 20,000 nodes, and there will be no lag when using folding and focus (simple nodes)
        • Complex math nodes

          *Node example

          • There will be no lag in 13 complex mathematical nodes in a single node. (logseq is 52)
          • 13 complex math nodes per node, 117 complex math nodes in total, no lag when using folding and focusing (logseq folding will not render, almost equivalent to plain text nodes)
        • Conclusion: Siyuan performs well when it contains only plain text nodes, that is, nodes that do not need to be rendered, and can completely replace outline notes. But if complex, rendering-requiring nodes are used, such as math blocks, then performance drops dramatically and it cannot compete with real outline notes.

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    • Nhan

      Yeah I vaguely understand how RemNote structure its data. Everything is a "rem", an equivalent to "block" in other apps. And whether a block in RemNote can be a page, a folder, etc. is just a matter of how you designate the identity of that block.

      I think the answer to your question if SiYuan can be used as an Outliner app is that it absolutely can. Block is still the smallest unit here. Though I don't know if it can support your RemNote workflow.

      I do notice a slight lag when unfold a header in SiYuan not matter how large the content within is, so I think it's more like a quirk (definitely should be improved) than a performance issue. However, there is no lag when unfold a list.

      Btw, thanks for reporting about RemNote. I don't hear much about it and was curious about its performance. Glad it's doing well.

      1 Reply
    • MonkCanatella

      @88250 That's excellent! You guys are amazing. I love the pace of development and improvement with SiYuan!

      @Nhan I wouldn't say there are features that are missing so much as priorities - logseq has outlining as first class functionality and it's built around it. So while in SiYuan you can have an outline if you like, it's not like logseq where every block is part of an outline. I prefer SiYuan in this aspect, but if you're coming from an outliner based PKMS, it will feel strange. I think in SiYuan there's a default block type, which is the paragraph. If this default block type was customizable to a list item, I think migrating from an outliner would be made much easier! Then the additional functionality of additional block types would show its power as the user gets accustomed.

      I don't think it's possible to change your default block type but I would be willing to bet it wouldn't be a major change - could even be a plugin for new users

      1 Reply
    • MonkCanatella

      I'm currently evaluating SiYuan vs Logseq. Anytype is in the mix as well. At first I really didn't want an outliner like Logseq which is why I avoided it though it met all my other needs. That said, after having used it for a month or so, it's hard to imagine not having at least some outlining feature set. What exists in SiYuan currently is just bullet points and the ability to nest them. This isn't sufficient to translate what logseq has.

      In SiYuan you can "focus" blocks which is pretty neat thought it doesn't seem to be first class functionality. I think there's room for some quick wins on this front that'll make migrating from an outliner style app easier. Considering the speed of development of SiYuan, I imagine this will be improved in the future, though who can say when.

      Here's a quick comparison between outline style content in SiYuan vs in Logseq
      in SiYuan this is about 360 pixels tall, or about 90 pixels per line! The same in Logseq is about 280 pixels or 70 pixels per line.




      Ok, so how about changing the font size in SiYuan?


      Nope. Just more blank space - it's no more compact.

      I'm only just beginning with SiYuan so somebody may know better than me, but I believe you can write custom css to make line height more compact for lists - that said without writing your own code, it's about 30% more space in SiYuan, which adds up really fast.

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