Forum feedback: Backlinks and Info Column

I got a problem when experience backlink in bear 2. Search for the note which includes backlinks to another note → open info panel → click on backlink tab → then bear 2 will crash
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Figured I would necropost here even though I’m sure all the decisions have been made. Never hurts to +1.

I love the idea of the dedicated info panel! I mentioned it as one of my main wishes in the “first impressions” thread I just posted.

Thoughts on implementation

  1. I would love to see the tabs/dropdown items rearranged. Personally I think ToC should be first, Backlinks second, and Stats a distant third. But I would be happy with any order as long as Stats is last
  2. I would love to see the Info panel have sticky settings that persist after quitting the app. So when I set backlinks/ToC as the current view and quit the app, whichever I was last looking at would be what I see when I reopen the app
  3. Unlike some sentiments here, I think the screenshots in the OP are my preference. They’re always visible and actionable but not super in your face. I will always vote for seeing the Info panel no matter where I am in a note (so my pref wouldn’t be to have it injected inline at the top/bottom or whatever).
  4. I think tabs are better than a dropdown, but I’m not dying on this hill

I think that sums up my feelings. Really looking forward to seeing what y’all came up with!

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Please, please put the backlinks at the bottom of the note.

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Sorry - I just asked a question on the forum about this exact issue. I think it’s essential to be able to pin the information panel into a fourth column. Otherwise, you’re pursuing a design vision that has a negative impact on functionality and usability whilst adding friction.

I don’t understand how a fourth column adds visual complexity. Surely a popover adds that complexity? And friction!

Finally, I’d hate backlinks to pop up from below. Why not just be able to expand the popover and pin to to a fourth column if you want it?

Why not give the user the choice over the complexity (or otherwise) of their own individual set up?

There will be a fourth column, implemented in the way you can see in the screenshots from the beginning of this thread

A search/filter inside of the backlink column would be absolutely amazing

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When there are multiple links from one document to another it is hard to tell where each is coming from

  • It would be nice if backlinks could also show what section the backlink is originating from

For example, in the first post there are two results from the “Marc Andreessen” note. If there are 5 or 6 context can get muddled and it can be hard to tell the context of the backlink.

If there is not a space-efficient way to do this then obviously it is not important enough to make changes for.

Sorry if this has already been suggested

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Oh, I absolutely love the approach of the embedded column. Is it still the plan to introduce this functionality (unless it’s already available and I just can’t figure out how to enable it)? I would find backlinks much more accessible with a persistent inspector layout like this.

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Reasons I’d strongly like to have backlinks at the bottom:

  • I can easily see what backlinks from a note just by scrolling it, the same way I discover other parts of a note (like tags).
  • The UI can be visible on narrow screens (phones, ipad in split view).

I hate the way the backlinks are practically hidden now (despite the backlinks themselves being really good). Being able to pin it to a column will certainly help, but I’m not sure how well that will work on phones, etc.

We will see I guess.

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@Torb: As for tags, you do not have to put them at the bottom. Many users (me including) have them at the very top - to be oriented quickly as for note theme etc. Noteplan has backlinks also at the very top section - and it has some advantages.

Having backlinks only at the very bottom is ok for short notes (when you do not have to scroll), but for longer notes the information utility drop down considerably - at that moment it is at the same level as opening (current) backlink window - for both you are using a keyboard shortcut (go down or open backclink pane).

So I believe it is necessary to really think about this issue deeply. Having outline in the sidebar is very common (in Obsidian, in Nota, In Ulysses etc). I believe backlinks might bear similar importance - that is reason why to put them at the sidebar (at least in desktop version - like Obsidian, Nota are doing). Or that might be optional (you choose where you want them - top, sidebar, bottom - in the same sense as you choose where to put tags. But I do not believe developers will give us so much freedom :slight_smile:

Of course, mobile/iPad design is another issue.

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I just don’t want them to be hidden by default. I guess up top would be ok too, but I reckon it could be complicated with titles and such since Bear notes are one continous document. Would that mean backlinks be on top of the title?

And in the name of being constructive: maybe a solution for mobile could be to have an indicatoe showing how if there are backlinks.

Noteplan has interesting solution with backlinks being on top: they are above title (but the actual placement is not so important IMO - whether below or above title), but they are there as unobtrusive one-line dropdown menu (you can see just indication that backlinks are present and how many (you just see > 2 references) etc. Or, if you expand - the app will remember your choice and next time when you select the note backlinks section is expanded.

I do not push this exact solution, just agree with you that it would be good to always have at least clear and always accessible visual indication visible about existence and e.g. number of backlinks - somewhere in note text UI (and if after clicking on it backlinks would open as dropdown menu or in separated pane or in info sidebar is not so crucially important for me).

Necroposting as well here :stuck_out_tongue: I was just wondering: why do we currently have that backlinks show the alias quotation in full?

ex. “Social democracy|combines elements of social welfare with a capitalist market”

In many cases, it ends up looking like a mess when seen in the backlinks panel. If the argument in favor of it is that it provides context on the linked note, can’t we actually see that… By glancing at the note title? Please consider this :crossed_fingers:

Any coming update for a fourth column (info panel, outline, backlinks) ?

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I’m also very curious and eager if you could let us know what the status is on the,

Is is still being developed or has it been paused - just an update on where you guys are at would be very welcome.

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It is paused as we didn’t find a design that we were happy with. We will likely have another look for Panda, and if that turns out nice, it could potentially be backported to Bear. No promises though. Panda will be a more technical app, and what works there might not work in Bear.

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Thanks for getting back to swiftly. Wasn’t what I was hoping to hear although I had a feeling, since nothing new was being reported on the progress on this and there’s activity in Web and Panda. It does feel a bit meh, as I was strongly under the impression this would make it into Bear 2.0 before effort would be directed at projects such as Web and this new found love of taking Panda in new directions.

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This is quite disappointing. Backlinks were one of the biggest selling points of Bear 2 and they are completely hidden away and feel like an afterthought. I understand the challenges of finding a good UX, but abandoning them seems like the wrong move.

Personally having them at the bottom of notes with a shortcut to toggle them is still the best solution.

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I love the clean design of Bear but I agree, it’s far from being optimized for displaying backlinks. Very disappointing. The pop up menu which is ok for outline and info menu is not usable for backlinks, it’s not even resizable…

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It’s very important for a lot of people, including myself, that you come up with a design that works (I may have an idea, but read on…). Only a week ago I was searching on the web for an alternative to Bear because backlinks are so important to me and having a tearoff palette that closes every time I quit Bear isn’t working.

So, here’s my idea: add an option to keep the tear-off palette torn off permanently, also making it resizable. That way, you don’t have to design anything new, we all get what we want — namely, an Info panel with backlinks that stays visible all the time, including in-between relaunches — and as an added bonus we can put the palette wherever we like on our screen.

It would be even more awesome if you could make a selection of a palette panel permanent in-between app launches, so that, if I choose to have backlinks open and only occasionally take a look at note stats, I don’t have to expressly select the appropriate panel for my workflow.

Wouldn’t that work, would you say?

I just thought about something else that might be helpful in deciding to give us at least such an intermediate solution, although I am sure you guys know this expression: “Form follows function”.

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