Anyone using wiki-styled apps like Notion or Confluence?

Discussion in 'PUBLIC: Discuss Tools & Software for GTD' started by Raphael Aguiar, Aug 1, 2017.

  1. Raphael Aguiar

    Raphael Aguiar Registered

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    Hi there!

    I use Evernote and Todoist since I started learning about GTD one year ago. However, I never felt comfortable using Evernote because I'm kind of a visual guy, and Evernote turns out to store everything in an old-fashioned, fragmented way (notebooks, notebook stacks, notes).

    I think our digital stuff doesn't need to be digital A4 sheets stuck in digital folders, notebooks or cabinets. Instead, they could be organized into wiki-styled, hyperlinked websites (like the internet itself).

    This model is more natural to me, since our minds work like networks - always trying to associate ideas, thoughts and data rather than retrieving each one of them separately from a cabinet.

    While dealing with my frustration, I found two interesting apps: Notion (http://notion.so) and Confluence (https://www.atlassian.com/software/confluence). I ended up subscribing to Notion.

    Although none of them are specifically made for GTD, both suit well for most GTD concepts. I made a Notion public template for GTD projects (in Portuguese):
    http://goo.gl/ssPxwx

    Does anyone here use any wiki-styled apps? If so, which one do you use?
     
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2017
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  2. apastuszak

    apastuszak Registered

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  3. chirmer

    chirmer Registered

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    Notion is AWESOME. I'm flirting with swapping out Evernote and my file storage with Notion, because its code-storing ability is second to none.

    I'm too knee-deep into using Trello for my lists, though, to swap. That, and Trello is everything I need and then some. I have no reason to leave at this time. Notion is a serious next-level application, though, and I bet many people will love it for managing lists!
     
  4. Laure

    Laure Registered

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    hey, check out Slite (https://slite.com), it's a super collaborative, simple and modern team wiki :) lots of teams are stopping to use Confluence to use Slite instead! would love to hear what you think!
     
  5. mcogilvie

    mcogilvie Registered

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    I’ve tried a few wiki’s over the years, and I found they made my life harder, not easier when I tried to use one for action rather than reference. (We do use Wiki’s at work for capturing and preserving knowledge.) I know that I felt a palpable pleasure in dumping stuff out of my brain (collection) but then I didn’t know what to do with it (process and organizej.
     
  6. AFG

    AFG Registered

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    I'm a long-time user of many and various wikis, dating back to circa 1996 and Ward Cunningham's original wikis at http://wiki.c2.com/?ExtremeProgrammingRoadmap. Wikis I have used include twiki, zwiki, mediawiki, usemodwiki, tiddlywiki, moinmoin, etc. Often writing code for.

    Atlassian Confluence is not my favorite wiki, but it seems to have won the market, and it's the wiki I must use at work.

    The Bad parts of Confluence

    My biggest complaints about Confluence range from cosmetic to fundamental

    Cosmetic:
    • in its attempts to be WYSIWYG, Confluence formatting frequently breaks
      • e.g. can't copy/paste formatted text between Confluence and Outlook or Word, without having to manually correct the formatting
      • e.g. frequently Confluence formatting breaks irrecoverably, and can only be fixed by removing all formatrting and starting over
      • I preferred the older Confluence markup, which at least could be made consistent - but that has been deprecated
    Fundamental:
    • Confluence is online-only (AFAIK). Cannot edit offline, e.g. on a plane, and then merge, as can be done with OneNote
    • OneNote is IMHO at a nice point - can be both shared via cloud (OneDrive), or local to your PC (or SmartPhone, or even Watch)
    • OneNote is to Confluence as Git is to CVS
    Intermediate:
    • The best thing about most wikis is that you can easily add features, e.g. by plugins or, for wikis that stored content in files and not databases, by standard *IX tools.
    • Confluence, AFAIK, does not have such easy automation. Or at least my IT department
    But now for the Good parts of Confluence:
    • Confluence has a reasonable access control model, so you can prevent, say, summer interns from looking at top secret stuff
    • Confluence can accept drag and drop image embedding - like OneNote and EverNote, but unlike most wikis (most wikis are really text mode)
    • Confluence is fundamentally a wiki, so you can create references to a page [NewPage] before the page exists - you only get prompted to create the page when you click on it.
      • unlike, say, OneNote, which creates an empty page as soon as you do [[NewPage]]
    If Confluence worked offline/disconnected on PC and Phone (can live without Watch), and had better automation abilities, I would grudgingly make Confluence my GTD system.

    But it ain't, so I ain't.

    ---

    Rant about Automation: most of the pain in GTD systems is in maintaining links.

    E.g. you may have a project support page, and a page in the GTD project list, with a next action in one of the GTD contexts like "Computer-Online". And you would like to be able to jump back and forth between all of these.

    E.g. I would like to be able to just tag items in my LOG, and have them automatically extracted into GTD projects and next action context lists.

    Wikis like Confluence aren't good enough for this. You can create the links, but they are single direction. You have to do extra work to make them bidirectional, or multipart.

    If you have some basic automation support you can add this sort of thing. E.g. I still pine for my Perl scrips that created project trees in twiki.

    But Confluence cannot do this, as far as I know.

    ---

    By the way, I totally agree with you that OneNote and EverNote adhere too closely to a paper metaphor.

    E.g. OneNote doesn't allow you to arbitrarily sections with sections, and stupidly requires section groups. It limits sub-pages to 3 levels deep, etc.

    ===

    If you live always connected on a PC, then I think Confluence might be okay to do GTD,

    But maintaining the links will be a hassle, unless you can automate (or find plugins that already do it).

    My experience at 4 companies that use Confluence is as others have said: wikis like Confluence can be used for reference material, but are a pain to use for tracking and task management. Even for reference, I haven't seen a company wiki that is not full of stale and misleading data.
     
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2018
  7. AFG

    AFG Registered

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    My favorite "Personal Information Management System", way back in the 1990s on the first Windows for Pen tablets, consisted of
    • Aha!Inkwriter for content
      • text, handwriting, drawings, screen clippings.
      • I believe that Aha!Inkwriter influenced OneNote - I know Microsoft purchased
    • an old visual network database called Corel Infocentral
      • not to be confused with similarly named products
    If you think the web is graphical linked hypertext, then you would love Infocentral.

    The web is naturally single direction links. If you want multidirectional, you have to work hard to keep them consistent.

    Infocentral's links were naturally bidirectional (and morre, I think). Liks coud be typed - e.g. you could link a person to several addresses, bidirectionally, ad then add metadata to the links that indicated when gthe person lived there, I.e. links were themselves objects.

    My favorite GUI feature of Infocentral was that you could take any node, and redraw the graph with that node as the root. Because, of course, everyone is the center of their own universe.

    Like I said, I can see the influence of Aha!Inkwriter on OneNote.

    But Microsoft IMHO stupidly pushed a limited paper metaphor. If I wantedthe limitations of paper, I would use paper!
     

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