Create new inbox item from [[unmatched expression]]

Let’s say I’m writing an item on a certain Topic 1. The item touches on a Topic 2 on which I have not written anything yet. I would like to to create an inbox item about Topic 2 “on the fly” by simply typing [[Topic 2]]. Since I haven’t written anything on that topic yet, the link search should come up empty (at least for the intact expression).

Such a feature could turbocharge the writing of study and research notes, of linked notes of all kinds.

The developers should make an app like that. They could name it after a rock. (Kidding. I assume you know you just described the Dynalist developers other app, Obsidian, pretty much exactly.)


Ha ha, I did, didn’t I? But thank you for giving me this opportunity to try and explain my request better.

This is how I looked at it: since the developers already gave us internal links and backlinks in Dynalist (great work, by the way), this looks more like a glaring omission. When you type that “[[”, you just expect a “new note” option (or new item, in this case). It just seems logical to me. If the link search comes up dry, is it really better put a “placeholder” link and then leave your outlining to create the linked item? Why not create the link and the new item in one frictionless step, and get on with your outlining?

I don’t know if this makes Dynalist too much like Obsidian. I do know that Dynalist is now in the business of linked notes. So this is really about just closing a circle. And making Dynalist better for me, and hopefully for others.

Would the new item be a child of the item you [[created]] it at, or a child of your inbox? It seems weird to link to a child that’s right there below their parent. I don’t envision myself personally ever using this feature, if it ever appeared. I do use it extensively in Obsidian, but that’s because [[links]] are the only way to see children (unless you use the sidebar, which I don’t). So in obsidian, I don’t feel like I’m “doubling up” the new item in two places. In dynalist it would feel doubled up. Actually I never use internal links in Dynalist come to think of it. Everything is ordered in a tree by me in dynalist, whereas Obsidians tree is generated in the mind map from the links. My 2 cents.

There wouldn’t be any doubling of the new item, and the new item wouldn’t be a child of the item you’re working on, since that would indeed be weird. The new item should be created directly in your designated inbox, since Dynalist doesn’t know where you plan to put it in your docs. After you’ve finished your outlining session, you can go to the inbox and work on the new items.

Of course, since the inbox is a temporary holding area, when you move the new item to another document (as you eventually would), the internal link that created the item must be automatically edited to follow it to its new location.

This extra work here, is all I meant by ‘doubling’. I know, not the best phrasing. I just mean it creates some clean-up debt for your future self to deal with. I like things to be tidy’d away in one action. That’s why I’d never use such a feature. I only use it in Obsidian because the heirarchy is in a sidebar I hide and leave a permanant mess on purpose, so there’s no tidying debt.

But isn’t that what the designated inbox is for? A holding place for stuff to deal with later? Or maybe you don’t use the inbox?

I use inbox when I’m not at my computer

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I’m pushing, I know, but on the “Why Dynalist?” page, it promises: “Farewell to cut-navigate-and-pasting grunt work.” But if you want to link to an item that doesn’t exist yet (an inevitable use-case), then a form of “cut-navigate-and-pasting grunt work” is exactly what’s in store for you.

This “link forward” feature that we’re talking about would alleviate that.

Maybe there could be a second inbox for it, so it doesn’t clutter the primary inbox, then I might use it. Actually, since I only use the API for sending stuff to my inbox, it already lets me specify any node in the json as the destination, so I could set my own inbox already, and leave the default inbox to be a sort of ‘black hole’ I let pile up with click-spawned orphan nodes.

I didn’t get the API and json references, but “click-spawned orphan nodes” — I got that! :slight_smile:

Yes, that would be a hazard of this kind of feature. Caveat scriptor — let the writer beware.

Basically I’ve warmed up to your idea after thinking about it.

I appreciate that, coming as it does from someone of your knowledge and experience. I hope the developers are reading this. :slight_smile:

I implemented this, in a keyboard macro. BetterTouchTool of Mac to be specific, but AutoHotKey for Windows should work too.

The difference being that instead of typing [[note name]], I just type note name and press the hotkey. It automatically creates a new note in a specified node deep in my hierarchy where I store them, and leaves a named internal link that I can click to go to it.

One hotkey triggers this

  1. Copy link to Note
  2. Go to end of item
  3. Enter
  4. Paste
  5. Go to start of item
  6. Up
  7. Move item
  8. Paste “The deep item you want to store all your new wikilinked notes in”
  9. Enter
  10. Enter

That is cool! You basically added functionality to Dynalist.

I’m playing with now, where creating new “pages” on the fly is an integral feature. It’s not an outliner, so the problem we were discussing doesn’t come up here.