Please simplifiy date functions, (feature request WYISWYG date search function)

I really don’t understand the built in date functions in dynalist or ways to utilize it for searching. It is one of the reasons why I avoided using them. I read up all the FAQs, did some tests, and still am confused

It is very confusing to me, also some of them do not work, and I think some of the useful functions of it are missing as well

IS: completed, checklist is pretty straight forward

HAS: date, note is straight forward too (note being shift+enter)

edited is slightly confusing. I assume it looks at the bulletpoints metadata updated values. Are these for hard coded bulletpoints with “!” dates or is this metadata associated with creation of a bulletpoint? Why would I be able to enter both positive values (4d) and negative values (-4d), the bulletpoint’s metadata is on of the ending/starting points? I cannot be editing things in the future, so this is very confusing

UNTIL This picks every hardcoded “!” date from the beginning of time in the document, and you pick an end date, offsetted by today, via “-4d” if you want 4 days off from today.

SINCE: I have no idea what this does. I tried on my documents to get this to populate anyhting, but I don’t know what the parameters are

WITHIN This picks today, as a starting point (cannot be offsetted to my knowledge). You pick an ending point based on “4d” or “-4d” if you wanted to go back in days. I wish I could change starting point so its not always today though

COLOR This is broken for me

Currently, “EDITED:” is the only thing that uses bulletpoint metadata, the rest of them use hard-coded dates using the “!” operator

I find a lot of the date functions to be really, really confusing and untuitive even with testing I still have no idea what half of them do

I really wish the searching of date functions could be seperated out by the following approaches:

1: Search by bulletpoint metadata (Bulletpoint creation date metadata, Bulletpoint lasted revision date metadata)

2: Search by hard coded dates

This would VASTLY simplify searching since this is how data is being created, and updated systematically anyhow

Hard coded “!” dates would generally be the approach of someone whose occassionally scheduling something in google calendar (meetings) or a deadline. They are generally going to be used based on what the user is using them for

The problem I have with searching right now using any search date operators is I cannot use it for core functions. E.G.

  • How do I search for bulletpoints that I created, from March 3rd to March 15th? (metadata)

  • How do I search for bulletpoints that I modified, from March 3rd to March 15th? (metadata)

  • How do I search for hardcoded date items via “!” from March 3rd to March 15th (! hard coded dates)

  • How do I search for bulletpoint items via “!” for the 12th week of the year? (!hard coded dates and metadata)

  • How do I search for bulletpoints items I made on February of this year? (!Hard coded dates and metadata)

The search operator needs to be flexible enough that any arbitrary date range could be used and still be intuitive. It doesn’t really matter imo that it takes longer to type out a search parameter, rather that it actually works, since powerusers will just be using phraseexpress scripts anyhow

Also, this is assuming I am not cutpasting, and moving things around, which is understandable. But as of now, I cannot really use any of the date functions. I really wished the search parameters were simplified to the above, so its very easy for anyone to understand what there looking for.

Most of the date parameters need to specify “today” as a starting point, which makes it very inflexible. Most of those functions are limited by only one flexible date range, the other point is fixed

Perhaps a feature request is to use a WYSIWYG search parameter approach, where you can pick systematic date searches (pick items modified or created this year, January 2017), by week number, or by arbitrary date range, and then specifiy datatype search (Metadata last edit date, metadata create date, Hardcoded dates, Colored bulletpoints, has tasks, last date crossed out on task (ctrl+enter), etc)

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Proposal: Make it look something like this:

or base the search functions similar to how other companies do their search navigations (google, wordpress, etc)

in any case, the date functions are just really confusing and need to be simplified

It’s true that you can’t edit things in the future, it’s just using the same relative date range system.

The parameter is the same as the “UNTIL”. You didn’t get results because you didn’t set any dates, I guess.

For more Until, Since, and Within, see this post: What are the differences between the operators "within", "until", and "since"?

That would be an absolute date range, which will be introduced in this future.

Can you be a bit more specific? Search queries like “color:blue” works fine both on desktop and on web for me. Have you set color labels?

With that said, we’re due for an overhaul for search operators, which would in turn makes bookmarks more powerful too.

For the time being, if you understand how relative dates work in Dynalist, it shouldn’t be hard, at least we think.

Poll: is the current system way too complicated for actual use? (Comments are welcome too!)

  • Way too complicated, I’ve never used them
  • I’ve learned how to use it, but it can definitely be simplified
  • It feels straight-forward to me

0 voters

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Nevermind , I got it to work, didn’t realize your not suppose to put a space. Its “color:orange” , not “color:_orange” (where _ indicates a space)

Also, I’m not sure if you saw the image proposal I made above your reply either since I made it right during the time you replied

Ah, that’s why. I thought you knew about it since you got “EDITED” to work. We should remove this requirement that there mustn’t be a space in the future.

Yeah I saw it. I usually don’t know how to reply proposals like this – obviously we’re not going to exactly changes things according to the mock-up. We need to consider more scenarios and do things in a way that’s consistent with our current design and conventions.

It’s a good idea and as I said in my 2nd reply (the one with the poll), we know we need to change it at some point, and there are basically only two ways to do filters: with text filter operators (the current way) or the visual dropdown/slider/picker way (the other way).

Thanks for the mock-up though!

I had to create a cheat sheet / visual reference. I agree with others that fixed date or range queries are difficult or impossible.

I tried to use AND / OR operators to combine WITHIN statements, but no luck. Really hope you can improve date searching, Erica. THANKS!


I agree that this system is weird - I have only every used ‘within’, and I still can’t get his to only give me everything dated today: -1d (gives yesterday), 0d (gives nothing), and 1d (gives tomorrow) don’t work … at least as far as I can tell … I think the ‘within’ operator isn’t unintuitive actually but I think you should also allow more natural language operators like date:today and date:tomorrow etc …

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Yes, it’s not supported at the moment, and I don’t think there’s any hack around it.

Really nice visual though, can we borrow it and display it in the help center?

What date range are you trying to search? Maybe I can help. As I said above though, fixed date search is not a possibility right now.

“within:today” should be what you were looking for. I agree, more natural language operators would be nice.

Yes, feel free to share my graphic.

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A date search for week number (with ISO-standard) would also be very much appreciated , for example “since: wn201727 until:wn201728” for items within weeks 27 and 28 of 2017.

I take it you are already thinking about absolute date searches, please consider the week numbers.

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