September 8, 2017

Active Notes

As a rule each note is a formatted text but for some of them it is a desire to attach some actions to them, for example:

User’s story

I have a note about some event in future. I would like to add alarm to my note so the Notes will warm me about the event in advance.


There are some other “note activation” tasks like this so it should be more or less universal mechanism for doing such and similar tasks.

Possible solutions

A. Note activators (a.k.a. widgets) a la Markdown/Wiki

Idea is to add fields with some special format so user can just type what he/she needs. For example you may type the following text in your note:

Next family gathering {alarm: 2018-09-10 -1d} ...

That will be automatically transformed into something like this:

Next family gathering 

and the following will happen:

  • the note will be marked by “alarm” tag/attribute. By using that tag you can easily filter out pending tasks;
  • The Notes will start monitoring that note and will notify you about it 1 day in advance.
  • Relatively simple implementation and simplicity of use – no special UI is required.
  • Single note may have multiple active fields, alarms, etc.
  • Problems with discoverability. How user will find out what active fields are supported?  It needs to be some registry, popup menu for such things, etc…

B. What else?

One Comment on “Active Notes

January 29, 2018 at 7:06 pm

RE: cons
Use Slack approach – when user start typing with some special char (i.e @) – show popup with suggestion to set alarm. If user continue typing something that does not match alarm pattern – enter text ‘as is’.
It works fine in Slack (# – channel name, @- user name) without need for Help or hints …

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