Questions before purchase of pro license (and also a little bit of Dynalist vs Roam - again - sorry for that :))

Dear Dynalist team and users

I am currently evaluating Dynalist and Roam and would have several questions before I will definitely decide on which one to commit.

I like Dynalist very much and would prefer it over Roam for several reasons (very helpful and involved developers, friendly attitude, and the way the outliner is built just fits my way of thinking and working perfectly). Unfortunately I burnt through the 2 weeks demo of the pro version without really being able to do a proper test because I was stupid enough to start the trial one night before I went on a vacation without computer (*facepalm), so I would be very glad for some information if possible – thank you very much in advance!

  • How is the 1GB data upload volume calculated? Is it the server space occupied, or does each upload of the same document count? I ask this because I work as a researcher, teacher and writer and had the idea to prepare my lectures in Dynalist. Then I would embed some lecture documents (Powerpoints, PDFs etc.) and could easily download and use them in the classroom. 1 GB would be plenty for this. However, if I would always reupload the changed documents, this would eat a lot of the data volume (I have several classes in parallel) and would not be feasible.

  • How robust is Dynalist for handling large numbers of lists / texts? I would like to transfer my archive of research articles etc. into Dynalist but wonder whether this is a good idea / feasible at all. Let’s say in the magnitude of thousands of articles (I would of course copy them as text, not as PDFs). In Roam, this seems to work without bringing the database onto its knees.

  • Related to the above: What is the proposed approach to do so: a) either each article as an own document (which I would then organize in folders), or b) one “articles masterlist”, with each “bullet” containing the text of the article and my corresponding notes etc. in further sublists? I ask this because approach a) would probably be better if only the currently selected list / document is loaded into the ram, whereas this would probably cause problems if everything is loaded at once, while approach b) would make more sense from an organizational perspective, but might overload the database / ram etc.?

  • Feature parity with Roam / future development of Dynalist. Did I get it right from the other long thread about Roam that it is technically not feasible and / or not the intention of the devs to add more “roam like” features to Dynalist, because they created Obsidian for this purpose? I like Obsidian very much, but it lacks all the outliner functionality and block level magic that makes Roam (and to a certain degree also Dynalist etc.) so powerful – the two are not comparable at all in my experience. So it’s fully understandable if that’s the line of thinking of the devs, but I would not like to invest much work and time if Dynalist will not be properly supported / developed anymore because the focus is now shifted to Obsidian.

  • Writing longer texts in Dynalist. Call me crazy, but I would love love love to also writer longer texts (articles and even books) in Dynalist – it just is the perfect environment for this. I am well aware of the obvious disadvantages of this (e.g. difficulties and a lot of work with export for final polishing in a proper word editor (all the formatting will be gone etc.), no citation management etc., but I wonder whether someone else is also using Dynalist in such a more demanding scenario and could share his experiences?

I think generally most of these questions boil down to whether the underlying philosophy / use case intention of Dynalist is rather a) being a “task list on steroids” (better suited for smaller lists / projects), or whether b) some powerusers in the real world use Dynalist in a more “advanced” / demanding setting as their main knowledge management system (with tons of data and connections in it). It’s absolutely OK if the answer is a), I was just wondering, because unfortunately, most Dynalist user demos / reviews I’ve found rather point to b) and I have the impression that this hugely undersells Dynalist.

Honestly, if Dynalist had some more of Roams functionality (e.g. tranclusion etc.), it would be an absolute no brainer and Dynalist, in my estimation, would conquer the world of knowledge workers in a heartbeat, there is so much to like! (e.g. I love the mixture of the hierarchical approach (documents pane etc.) and the endless bottom-up possibilities, Dynalist feels and looks much slicker and faster, the experience on mobile devices is so much better, the interactions of the devs with the community is stellar from what I’ve read, and much more.

I would highly encourage the devs to overthink their decision to not develop Dynalist further into the direction of a “networked tool for thought”, first due to my own experience and wishes, and second because during my recherche and comparison of these tools, I have encountered so many people, comparisons, blog posts etc. that clearly state that they would much prefer Dynalist, that Obsidian is not a proper fit / replacement (because it has no underlying database structure and targets a different way of working), and that Roam grows exponentially and steals really a lot of users that now migrate to Roam, Remnote or whatever other of these novel tools, which is a pity.

In case someone has made it through this probably not so well-worded wall of text and would have some insights / thoughts on the above, I would really appreciate it! Thank you and have a good time!

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No doubt you made your decision and have moved on…but you can do a lot with the free version of Dynalist.

I’d suggest you use it for a while, take note of things you need to work out how to do, search the forums to see if others have solved those problems, see if pro solves it, and then decide what you want to use.

Roam has lots of cool, smart features… but you need to make sure you need those before forking out for it.

  1. I don’t think you can “overwrite” a file, so all uploads are new uploads. It’s stored as [name] (url like dfd7gyr7gyf8whrghrfj/pdf) Therefore, stored and transferred are the same number.

  2. Thousands of articles of text? That would be a nightmare to import as seperate documents. And if you store them as nodes of one document, it loads all of them at once into RAM. So no, that doesn’t work well in dynalist. You can always use hyperlinking to integrate other websites, like linking to a google drive folder.

  3. Use a database app for your article hoarding. Or email each article to yourself, and use Dynalist Companion Clipper to send a titled hyperlink directly to the email into your dynalist. You can make your list that way as you come across articles. As for importing thousands at once though, what a nightmare.

  4. Dynalist is still supported and developed as far as I’m aware. Obsidian is a separate project. They do different things. One isn’t intended to eclipse the other.

  5. Hierarchical lists (i.e. dynalist, workflowy) are a very popular novel writing tool. In fact, many of the Workflowy demo videos assume you’re writing a novel. Backlinks and hashtags help track characters across acts, etc. I’d say check out snowflake method (the fractal of a snowflake is a nested list, more depth = more detail on the edge of the slowflake)

  6. "I would highly encourage the devs to overthink their decision to not develop Dynalist further into the direction of a “networked tool for thought” - could you clarify what you mean? That’s exactly what dynalist already is.

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oh someone bumped a 3 month old thread, that person is long gone, lol