Ability to assign numerical variables to bullet items

I was recently playing around with a project management program called airtable. It is basically a fancy online spreadsheet with extra task / project management features. In terms of comparing to dynalist, a single row on an airtable spreadsheet can roughly be thought of as equivalent to a bullet point (e.g. a single task).

From playing around with this I realised one major feature airtable had over dynalist for life management (of course dynalist has many, many advantages) was the ability to assign customisable named numerical variables to an item (e.g. a number between 1 and 100). Any time I want to use numbers I turn away from Dynalist and use a spreadsheet. Numerical variables can of course be used in so many ways: to indicate completion, difficulty, size, number of hours it should take to complete, the cost in dollars … well anything really …

I think a similar feature would be hugely valuable in Dynalist and could transform the usability for more advanced work that one would typically use a spreadsheet for.

So what I am imagining is either via the right click menu or via a trigger (like ! triggers the date function, perhaps another punctuation mark could trigger the opening of the ‘variable creator’ dialogue function).

This variable creator would allow you to enter the name of the variable and the number (and perhaps the unit e.g. ‘hrs’ ‘$’ etc) - that’s it. So people could call the variable ‘hours’ and put in the number of hours the item should take to complete, they could call the variable ‘dollars’ and put in the number of dollars it cost. This variable would be associated with that bullet point.

So this would almost be like a secondary tag system, except with numbers instead of strings.

If you opened these variables up to the API for developers, there is unlimited potential for what could be done. Further, as they just constitute a name and a number, they really shouldn’t add much ‘data bulk’ to dynalist at all.

Once these are in place, it would be amazing if you could get parent nodes to sum or average these variables from children (e.g. total cost for a project from summing children nodes), but perhaps this would be best left to third party developers.

I really think this feature could take Dynalist to the next level of functionality and allow dynalist to compete with spreadsheets / databases even when numbers are involved.

Thanks for reading!


I use airtable as well but I’m not really sure what your referring to. do you have a link to airtables reference manual / videos?

In terms of airtable all I mean is that by inserting a column with the ‘#Number’ variable type, you could assign each row (each item) a number e.g.

The equivalent of this in dynalist (my proposal) is something like this:

But where those numbers are actually proper variables which are ‘properties’ of each bullet point (i.e. effectively a numerical tag on which you can do mathematical operations)

so basically you want to do math with tags

i think dynalist would be really cool if it had more database / excel functions. I wrote a post here about using excel/airtable like filters for filtering data here

Pretty much :slight_smile:
Thanks for the link (agree about regularly wanting more database-like features)

you might be interested in these posts:


also i updated another api-ish tamper script suggestion

sounds cool but seeing the future proyects about dynalist, I think theyre moving to another place.
they dont have in mind an airtable killer or something. (except for their “views” feature)

Agreed, piotr is going too make it instead :slight_smile:

Maybe “#hrs:3” is a simpler syntax that blends well what we currently have as well?

Yes that would be perfect as long as dynalist recognises it as a number rather than a string! :slight_smile:

If I understand correctly, we’ll need search to work with this kind of numeric value to make it useful. For example, “hrs:3” or “hrs:2-10” would need to return appropriate results. Also sorting would be nice (sorting is not available in Dynalist right now though).

@Shida what are your thoughts? Is it difficult/time-consuming to parse and search for things like #hrs:3 or #hrs(3)?

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Mmmm, and maybe hrs:<3 or hrs:>3 too! :slight_smile:

We could give it a try sometimes. I’m currently unsure of the difficulties involved until we try it.

Sounds like a good hack project!