Archiving tool considerations


I am considering writing a (hopefully) simple archiving tool for my own use. I’m not promising anything at all, but I’d like to eventually have a tool that is useful to a wider audience than just me. In theory such a tool could be very configurable to cover a wide range of use cases.

The tool will be based on Dynalist’s API, using the Node.JS API client. With that it will run on pretty much any modern OS (provided you can install Node.JS) and I also have plans in mind on how one could host/run it for themselves using “serverless” solutions (usually for free).

But I’m not posting this topic to discuss the technical issues (though I also welcome thoughts on that), but to figure out what you would like to have such a tool do for you.

My question to you is: How would you like your archives to look? How would the archiving tool work through the following things? (With some ideas in parentheses.)

  • How are to-be-archived nodes found? (Checked items? Only items with a checkbox? Items with a @done tag? From one/several/all documents?)
  • Where will tasks be archived to? (Same document under a specific “Archive” item? Separate archive document? One document per month?)
  • How should the archives look? (Add date to item or its note? Group them under items per day/week/month? Uncheck archived items so the archive is nicer to look at? Remove due dates, tags, something so they don’t show up in global searches? Add a plaintext “path” to the original item with document name and parent items?)

Personally, (I think) I want to do the following for my own setup:

  • Source documents would be a handful of specific documents that may contain tasks.
  • I would define all “checked” tasks (with or without checkbox) as done. For me it’s as simple as that.
  • I would probably set up the archiving tool to run at least once a day, perhaps even every hour. I’m not sure yet.
  • I would have one dedicated Archive document.
  • The tool will create one item per day with contents like “2020-05-26 Tuesday”.
  • All items archived on that day will be created as sub-items under that item.
  • I will probably strip or “disable” due dates and tags so they will not interfere in global searches. I will remove the “checked” status so the text is easier to read.
  • The note will be set to a “path” (with all parent folders, document and parent items) where the item was originally located. For example “Work Documents > Project X > Widget Procurement > Potential Suppliers”

I’m pretty sure that I am going to build this tool for myself either way, but as I said I’d really like for it to be usable for others. So if you have any thoughts on the matter, please let me know.

(I also saw some older topics on archiving, but it looks like the desired uses cases are so diverse that it is unlikely that the Dynalist devs will be able to provide a crowd pleasing solution. So perhaps an external, hackable solution is a good fit for this feature.)

Stay safe,


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I’d quite like a way of extracting checked items from specific documents, which otherwise tend to clog up the database (particularly with the Move dialogue, which doesn’t seem to filter out checked items yet). Otherwise, I’m ok with manual archiving. It offers a sense of completion.