No monthly blog update since November. Are the team ok?

As title.

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Team is hyperfocused on Obsidian. I do hope either they have a big Dynalist project in the works, or else at some point they can afford to get an extra dev so somebody can put more effort to perfecting Dynalist.

Ahhh. So, whilst the team take a break from Dynalist, does that mean I get to take a break from paying my subscription? :crazy_face:

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Actually the answer is lying around their Discord community forum… I wish I could knew why they didn’t share it over here, using this (original) forum. Anyway, it’s comprehensible their apparent disconnection. There’s a fundament and a good reason for it; I think we should respect it. I just hope they end up hiring someone else to help with the dev and alleviate their workload a little bit.

But why does anyone need to migrate to some other forum or social media these days… where will we stop? From time to time there’s always new communication places in lieu of better user interaction or whatever…

So, apparently, this forum seems “abandoned” but there are other sources a little more active…

Yes, I feel like they have gone into maintenance mode for past few months. My subscription is almost over, might start using the free version again (LOL). It’s unfortunate because I like Dynalist much more than Obsidian.

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Haven’t they back ported some features from Obsidian? I hope this doesn’t become abandonware but Dynalist is in a pretty good place I think.

Sorry about the lack of updates, yes, we’re pretty busy with Obsidian right now. I also had a baby in June 2020 (now almost 8 months!), which is another big time sink.

Now we’re more active on Discord than the forum, just because the Obsidian community is on there. Discord is a lower friction way to reach us, if you’re comfortable with the medium or is already on Discord. (Invite link: https://discord.com/invite/cUQMdgR)

We still monitor the forum though, but now it’s more about bug fixes (see Shida’s activity) than pushing new features.

That’s totally valid, some people pay for the existing service, and some people pay for the updates. If you don’t need the Pro features and are only paying to support us to push new updates, it’s only fair.

Would love that too if we could afford it, but Dynalist is not making us that much money as people might think :grimacing:

Would love to do that whenever it’s easy to do! We have backported a few small things, like tooltips now work much better; they don’t get clipped any more. For anything more fundamental, it’s much harder to do, because Dynalist is 5 years older than Obsidian, which means the entire tech stack is much older (and tech stack is now evolving faster than ever).


I hope the above doesn’t sound like mere excuses.

To be completely honest, Dynalist is my hobby work. Not in the sense that I don’t love it, but in the sense that I had very limited experience when building in 5 years ago (I was still in university and had no experience with production level product design and development before). So although there was love, the skill was not there.

After almost 6 years, a lot of what we lacked started showing – it feels like working on shaky ground sometimes. Not in terms of stability – Dynalist is very well battle tested by now – but in terms of my dissatisfaction with the design decisions we made back then. I also wished we had a beta testing program – any small bug would annoy many people at this stage, which is additional friction of developing new features.

We were also not as good as positioning the product, marketing it, and polishing it 6 years ago, which is partially why Obsidian is more popular than Dynalist although it’s much younger.

Not promising anything, but if I were to bring the current Dynalist up to the level of satisfaction (i.e. Dynalist 2.0), it’s going to be easier to start from scratch than to work on top of the current codebase and product. Some might disagree with this, as it’s a lot of work to completely re-make something from scratch, but that’s my judgement at the moment. We’re so thankful for Dynalist – we learned so much from it, but at the cost that it’s no longer a pleasure to work with, as we have learned from the mistakes we made.

Sorry for the rambling, it’s not very organized. I didn’t make an outline (ha!); most of it is just brain dump.

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Hello Erica,

Thank you very much for your kind words. Very much appreciated the honest feedback.

I understand the tech stack being a little old and this forces the need to “refactor” everything (don’t know if this is the correct term). I know that it’s a lot of work and I may agree with the “Dynalist 2.0” option, if it ever happens. For now I must confess that I’m little worried with the fact that “it’s no longer a pleasure to work with”…
You must consider only one thing: Despite not being that much loved lately by you (devs), it’s pretty much loved by the community (myself included). It has evolved well enough to become an outstanding tool, and speaking for myself, I have a lot of pleasure working with it everyday.

Although the Dynalist 2.0 sounds like a distant dream to yet come true, I just hope the Dynalist 1.x doesn’t get to the stage where only bug fixes are treated.

Unfortunately I was wrong about the income received from the Pro users… I thought it was a good amount. Too bad I’m not a dev myself so I could maybe help with something, as “pro bono” :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

Have you ever considered the possibility to open-source one part of Dynalist, so it gets more potential attention from the community, as like Obsidian?

I wish all the best to you, Shida and the new-born baby!

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That’s definitely a possibility!

Sorry that might be a little too strong. I meant more like “it’s no longer a pleasure to work on the codebase compared to Obsidian”, but still better than anything else in the world.

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:sweat_smile: - this is a nice community too! A lot of us using Dynalist and Obsidian right now :wink:

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Discord is fine maybe for us to reach you, but it is not a way to communicate to your users, nor for the small amount of people interacting communicating with each other. We can’t be there hours a day, and it’s just one long conversation there so if something important is mentioned, we don’t see it. The lack of update info in December and January leads one to believe this product is in danger of being abandoned.

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Dynalist is an amazing piece of software. It’s clean, professional, stable. I can’t really ask more. And the fact that you developed it as a hobby tells something about your potential.

Any technology stack, any technical solution becomes obsolete, if not dead, sooner than later. You’ll smile at what you’re doing now with Obsidian: the cutting edge of today is the shaky ground of tomorrow. :wink:

What I - the user - can do with Dynalist is the value, no matter the technical hack you’ve found to let me do it. The fun? Yesterday I’ve written some code in a modern cloud enterprise integration platform, and it was funny. Some weeks ago I put my hands on a quite old Excel VBA macro and, surprise surprise, it was really funny as well, because I love coding. But this is me… whatever I can say, if it’s over it’s over.

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You inspired me! I also want to learn how to code. I’m accountant and know the basics of Python and VBA. Could you share with me what is a good way to start? Like creating a mobile app or web platform like Dynalist kind.

If you know Python, I think you can start somewhere with Django to make a web backend. However, to make the frontend (what you see on a webpage), unfortunately you’d still need to learn the basics of JavaScript, HTML and CSS.

I hope that helps!

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I agree with what Alan has said here about fearing the abandoning of the product.

I also was wondering what was going on with Dynalist since no updates had been posted. I’ve noticed ‘bug fixes’ but none of the features for which we’ve been asking, posting, trello-ing, etc. I find myself in exactly the same boat with Dynalist that I found myself in with Workflowy a couple years ago. Hoping for features that have been talked about for years but have never materialized. While ‘reasons’ (not enough people, personnel on leave, ‘distracted’ by other projects, etc) can be made, there are things overlooked here. The first is that we do not buy Dynalist—we rent it . This is the subscription model to which all software has been moving for years. If you think you own it, stop paying for a month and see what happens. Let’s not involve the ‘free version’ as it has features disabled on purpose—to get you to pay for the paid version, and that’s OK. For the paid version the moment we stop paying, it stops working. Therefore, we pay for its continued maintenance and further development along with monthly server costs. If we weren’t paying for future development, then why would we spend time with trello and forums and responding when developers say “please add that to our suggestions for features”. We shouldn’t pay for bug fixes—bug fixes are mistakes that should be considered ‘the cost of doing business’ in the software development world. No software is perfect, but you allow for that in development and maintenance costs as a company. Any developer who doesn’t lives in a fantasy world.

WYSIWYG, reminders, Siri integration and other items have been talked about for a long time…someone noted that Workflowy went through a ‘lull’ like this for a time, then snapped out of it. Very true, and now it makes me wonder if, as said by Dynalist personnel, their focus is on something they deem more worthy of time that Dynalist (Obsidian) then we should look elsewhere for our application needs. That is their right, of course, to spend their dollars as a company where deem them most likely to make them money and survive. But it is our right as consumers to know that (and thanks to them for telling us so) so that we can look elsewhere for apps that may better suit our needs.

Knowing what I’ve just read in these recent threads the last few days stirs me enough to make a conscious effect to start researching my future outlining/note needs, knowing that at this point in time, Dynalist development seems stagnant and their primary focus elsewhere. Perhaps Obsidian will be that app once it stabilizes. Perhaps Dynalist will inherit all the good stuff from Obsidian and suddenly advance into an app that isn’t ‘painful’ to maintain. Perhaps all the free users ‘hogging’ development time and funds should be shut down to lower costs and redirect those efforts to paid Dynalist users. Not knowing the exact capital expenditures and user counts for free vs paid Dynalist users, I wouldn’t presume to know if that would help, but perhaps it deserves consideration.

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This becomes a downward spiral, you can’t afford to increase the team because you’re not making enough money, development stops and you make even less money. This can go only one of two ways… Shut it down or get behind it.
Kind of depends whether @Erica has the enthusiasm for Dynalist 2.0. If she does then I’d suggest working backwards from say one year out, how much would it cost? And then see if there are enough enthusiasts to foot the bill for say ‘Founder Membership’ whilst the product is developed?

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I agree with what you are implying about the ‘downward spiral’, Simon, but if experience has taught me one thing, it is that hoping for the ‘enthusiasts’ to foot the bill rarely works. People who use the program a lot (like myself) usually tend to greatly overestimate the number of users x the number willing to endure conditions x the number willing to continue once they smell blood in the water x the likelihood of jumping ship for a better option. It’s kind of a ‘Drake Equation’ that greatly surprises you with the incredible unlikelihood of a desirable outcome.

Another breadcrumb to put it into perspective…Dynalist personnel have stated (as of a year ago in a previous thread) that they have ‘more than 25,000 users’. Even subtracting the ‘paid users total’, which is probably far smaller than the amount of free licenses, simple math of that number multiplied by the cost per month tells you that it isn’t a lot of money if you are spending the majority of that on another product’s development. Unfortunate, but perhaps realistic. If I had to guess, I would guess that the number of paid users is no more than 1/5th of the number of free users, and even that seems very generous.

As I wrote my comment I was broadly thinking the same, I can definitely find reasons to doubt my own strategy. But on the other hand, it might not need such a huge investment. If your suggestion of 5000 paid users is correct, $100 from each is not insignificant. And if only 50% took up the offer that might still be enough to swing it.
I suspect that the bigger issue is that @Erica has less time available and is spread thinner than she was.

reminders, Siri integration and other items have been talked about

  • you can add stuff to dynalist via siri using IFTTT webhooks
  • you can do reminders using the google calendar sync and then set google calendar to notify/email x hours before each “event”

if…5000 paid users is correct, $100 from each

  • I haven’t seen even 100 pro users in the forums and discord…if we are wildly guessing, my guess is $5000/yr revenue - $3000/yr expenses = what two versatile SWEs take home at any tech company every day or two. In other words, hobby money. A learning project that paid for itself if your time is free. A little startup that didn’t take off or get acquired but everyone loves. But again, a wild guess, and should matter anyway. I have no clue. I just thought the 5000 x $100 guess sounded funny.

I just hope y’all save some of this energy for the Workflowy forums too. Jesse needs to be bullied more. Just look at this thread where, after years, he promises to add hyperlinks. Yes, the most basic function of the World Wide Web. And then he was over a year late on his promised delivery date haha. https://workflowy.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/community/posts/360001796663-Create-Hyperlinks

Using a third party solution is always more complex than a native solution, and the lack of those feature, whether available by third-parties, is in part what this thread was about. Time delays make IFTTT webhooks a bit unpredicable. While I admit that what you mentioned, BigChungus, is possible, the vast majority of users aren’t interested in all that linking and multi-application cooperation. Obviously, you are someone to whom that type of workflow is familiar, as am I. I had given up on getting Siri voice integrated so I wrote a dotnet executable that sits on another computer and ‘scrapes’ my siri-generated reminders immediately from an exchange server, looking for the words “in dynalist” and emails those to my DL inbox. But realizing that I had to do all that, and that it was subject to every glitch in gmail, security changes, apple iOS reminder changes and the like proved to be very annoying. To paraphrase Apple, I want it to just work so I can do what I need and not write all the ‘glue’ and maintain it. That, I believe, is what we pay for, and hope for in our suggestions and comparisons with other applications on these forums and trello.

@BigChungus, you are probably correct in guessing that 5000 users is on the high side (I was erring on the side of optimism and probably shouldn’t have). But, if what you suggest is true, and an application is a ‘hobby’, then don’t you think when large suggestions (and volumes of suggestions) are made by users that the devs should hint that “that’s never going to happen”, or isn’t very likely to manage expectations? Perhaps over optimistic goals on company management are the cause, but I’ve never been a fan of the marketing concept of “the illusion of progress”. You are also likely correct as to your guesses about Erica and she has eluded to as much in other threads. I respect that, and the limited time people sometimes have due to personal constraints and commitments. But to be honest, I’m not certain I would have moved from Workflowy to Dynalist if I’d realized it was (more or less) a two person operation.

I also agree with what you stated about Workflowy. I chuckled when you mentioned ‘having to bully’ Jesse about features. I was a user of Workflowy for some time until their development tapered off and pretty much stopped. I don’t consider going back to Workflowy lightly. To be honest, although I work on all platforms I prefer Windows and would move to OmniFocus in a heartbeat if they had a Windows version. Unfortunately (for me) that company is dedicated heart and soul to the Apple ecosystem.

There are surprisingly few good, multiplatform cloud-based outliners out there besides Dynalist and Workflowy as they rapidly bury themselves in features and development overhead. Either that, or they fall victim to what I call the “Adobe Effect”, where instead of charging a flat fee rope you in with subscriptions and slow development, guaranteeing nothing and severing the need to push new feature in order to encourage users to upgrade every year or so. It is a shame that that very marketplace doesn’t seem to have enough market share to spawn a (relatively) simple outliner that can support its own continued development and pay the salaries of enough employees to sustain itself in a stable fashion.

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