Announcing the alpha release of Intergrid
Intergrid is an online outliner and note-taking app. It's inspired by – and in many ways replicates – Indigrid, except it's on the Web. It's free to use, and it's readily available right from the...
Intergrid is an online outliner and note-taking app. It's inspired by – and in many ways replicates – Indigrid, except it's on the Web. It's free to use, and it's readily available right from the main page.
The main goal of Intergrid is to help you focus on the notes.
There are no settings. You can't pick the font. Theming is not an option. There's only content, and what you want to do with it.
Plus, it looks cool.
Is it feature-complete?
Hell no. It's been in development for three months – which is to say, not very long. It still has ways to go.
Which is why I'm keeping the initial release rather quiet: Tildes and a handful of friends are the only people to know about it so far.
Are there bugs?
Afraid so. There are some I know about, and there are probably some I couldn't even reach.
Why release it, then?
localStorage – the technology used to store and gather data about your notes – is adjacent, as far as browsers are concerned.)
It would be of particular use to people on systems other than Windows. While the current version is focused on desktops, future versions may gain mobile support – all the more likely because, outside from a handful of hardcoded interactions and design considerations, there's nothing preventing mobile users from enjoying the app.
There's also the pragmatic reason: something Jeff Atwood called "Always Be Shipping", all the way back in 2007. You can't get feedback on an app that has no public version. Your programming expertise and design sense will only get you so far. Getting it out there – and going forward with the feedback – is a generous part of the process.
Where are you planning to take it?
The first step would be the fix the bugs. There will be a list of known ones in the comments.
Once those are fixed (or can be postponed without repercussions to being able to use the app), there are features I'm going to implement within the next couple of months. Most of them, at least initially, are going to be put in to keep up with Indigrid's feature set.
Views: open, move, and close columns, each hosting a different view on the notes, allowing you to gain perspective or edit multiple ideas simulatenously
Bookmarks: store views as separate named bookmarks, allowing you to traverse different mental spaces within the notes
Action History and Undo/Redo: record changes to the notes and time-travel between its different states, because sometimes, you want to be able to "go there" and not be weighted down by rock-solid commitment
Offline Use: work with your notes even when the Internet is down
(Even though the code for columns is already in the development branch, I was unable to come up with a respectable way of handling it before New Year, which is when I promised to release the app.)
In the long term, I'd like to make sure you could access your notes from any browser on any device. This plan also includes the ability to create and share read-only or editable partial copies of your notes – for example, as presentation or a basis for an online discussion. After finishing with shaping up the current, local-only version, this is where want to take the development. I reckon it would take me somewhere between 6 and 12 months to finish the codebase for this.
Anything else I should know?
Do keep in mind that this is an early release. There may be bugs – perhaps even the kind that will rid you of your notes. If you're uncomfortable about using software this early in development, please don't: your sanity is dearer to me than getting users.
It will, however, get stable over time. If there's ever a breaking change on the horizon – the kind of change that will change an aspect of Intergrid radically – users will be notified about it at least two weeks ahead, so that at least they could backup their notes. I want to ensure the safety of mind for the users of Intergrid, so that they know their notes are in safe hands.
That said, make regular backups anyway. The nodes are encoded/decoded as indented plain text, which means they can be transferred to and from a simple textfile with copy/paste. Any single whitespace character – space, tab etc. – is considered one level of indentation, so it doesn't matter how you indent your plain-text notes: they will be aligned as you'd expect. Intergrid and Indigrid both export tab-indented text.
Can I help?
From the coding and design perspective, I would appreciate open-source involvement. However, at this stage, even though there's a repository awaiting changes, I'm uncomfortable making it public just yet, because licensing is hard and I don't want to get into any sort of legal trouble without at least understanding what I'm dealing with.
Once this and other aspects of open-sourcing the code are dealt with, I'm going to post another update.
If you'd like to support the development financially, you could donate via PayPal.me. The first $5 or so will go to supporting the infrastructure: the monthly hosting payment and 1/12th of the yearly domain name price. (Even though the domain name has been paid for for the next two years, I'd like to be able to host the app reliably. The domain name is directly tied to the data saved – you can't access another website's saved data unless they're on the same main domain – which is why it's important to keep it.)
Check out Intergrid