Dynalist as browser tab manager

Dynalist works great as a content organizer. What else do we use to organize content? Browser tabs. Quite often, we use two in parallel; Dynalist for content indexing, and browser tabs for displaying/editing.

There are many extensions that tackle browser tabs to help us organize them better. Some offer hierarchical views, few offer tagging and markup. None integrate with Dynalist.

In essence, if we could connect the tabs in the browser with Dynalist items, then we wouldn’t need a powerful tab organizer plugin – Dynalist does most of the heavy lifting. In a minimalistic implementation, one can think of a Chrome plugin that the user can trigger to:

  1. store the current browser tab configuration as sub-items on a preconfigured “tab root” item;
  2. restore the browser tab configuration from sub-items on the “tab root”.

This can be done in a flexible manner that preserves all content, allowing the user to decide if things should reopen or not, e.g.:

  • When saving, items with URLs not currently open as tabs are not removed but struck through (marked as “done”);
  • When restoring, all “active” (not marked as “done” / strikethrough) items are restored;
  • In general, as long as an item contains a valid URL, the item it is valid for restoration (say the first URL will be treated as tab content). This leaves users free to take notes, tag, reorganize, add children etc.

This can be expanded with autosyncing, multiple “tag root” elements, browser search, etc. But the basic idea is to enable folks to connect the content they are seeing with content they are organizing.

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Very interesting idea, but I do think this should be a plugin on its own right than being in the core Dynalist product.

True, and I would love to put in some time on my own towards building this. Erica, can you point me to resources to help me get a leg up? Or should I wait for an official API?

This is more of a plugin rather than a 3rd party service that uses an API.

Although we haven’t built any of this, our ideal platform contains API and then a plugin system. API is anything that pulls Dynalist data for use on a 3rd party, where the plugin system makes it possible to modify the look and feel of Dynalist, and even how Dynalist works.

Unfortunately we haven’t finished with polishing the core product yet, and currently we’re working on scaling infrastructures, so this entire platform thing has to wait for now. Even when we do start it, it’s going to be a pretty big project. So, sorry, there’s no official way to do it right now.

Writing a Chrome extension could work, or write a JavaScript file that modifies Dynalist, like Powerpack.

Extensions can’t interact with JS objects created by website, you need server API to store and modify something like that in Dynalist

True Pio, that’s why I was hoping for an API. Well at least I can try and put in the framework in place.

Maybe I was wrong or didn’t entirely understand what @Zoran_Rilak wanted to build.

+@Shida need your input on this! :slight_smile:

I think @Zoran_Rilak wants http://www.gettoby.com/ with additional features :slight_smile:

No problem @Erica, I’m still figuring things out, thanks for helping!

@Piotr, you see where my itch lies :slight_smile: I’ve used Toby, as well as Tabs Outliner and a few other tab managers in the past, but found out that ultimately they all get in the way more than they help.

To be specific: I use Dynalist to organize my work, including links to active and reference documents, as well as TODOs/notes that shouldn’t make it into those documents, but relate to them (think metadata). Dynalist already stores all the information I need in a format I am familiar with; duplication of tab configs in a parallel tool only causes extra work and room for error.

So, all I need is a way to translate this into Chrome window/tab configurations and I’m all set.

I will try my luck this weekend with a (combination of) Greasy Fork and Chrome extensions, see how far I can get. My expertise lies in Java backends, Ruby and bash trickery; JavaScript is a world hitherto successfully avoided. :smiley:

Okay, I want to report that at least canvassing Dynalist for content from within an extension is definitely doable. Editing, probably not as much, at least not without an API or faking user actions, which I’ve no intention doing.

But even this will do for what I have in mind. Thank you @Erica and @Piotr!

3 Likes

Looking good!

I like this idea and I think Dynalist already have powerful capability to re-org items whatever an user would like to do. It very important for a user to study/track a topic from time to time and then Dynalist just serve the tool to re-org these study progress / result and eventually help user to pickup from anywhere the user would like .

@Zoran_Rilak Do you have an update on this? I would also love this kind of functionality. If nothing like this exists I might try to build an extension myself.

Hey @Robin_Vaaler, sorry, no positive update. I have abandoned work on this because my company won’t do a vendor review for Dynalist (we’d done Workflowy in the past so there is little incentive for our InfoSec to dive into yet another similar product). And if I cannot use Dynalist to organize my work tabs, I have little pressing need to organize otherwise. So :shrug: :sorry: :slight_smile:

I didn’t totally read the thread, but you can copy all your open browser tabs as hyperlinks with the tab title, all in one click, and paste them as a list into dynalist. I do it all the time.

Is that what you want?

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