How would you use Panda?

Any progress on Panda beta?

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We are actively working on both Panda and Bear Web. But also on fixing bugs and improving Bear. As you know, we are known for our attention to detail, not our fast releases. Still we are excited to get it into hands of beta testers as soon as it makes sense.


The Bear editor uses as many spaces as needed for indentation. Two spaces are enough for normal unordered list items, but at least three are needed for an ordered list. We have now added support for tabs in the editor that will be used within Panda. It will still follow the indentation rules of CommonMark and it will add one tab per indentation level.

In some rare cases, one tab will not be enough, and Panda will then add extra spaces to make the indentation work. For example

> 1. foo
>    bar

In the above case, a tab after the block quote marker on the second line will only get us to position four (as tab width is four in CommonMark). But foo starts at position five, so one extra space will be added after the tab. Indentation rules in CommonMark are complicated, but you will not have to think about it.

So right now, the editor supports “indent with as many spaces as it takes” and “indent with one tab and add spaces if needed”. Depending on feedback, we could also have something like “indent with at least four spaces (or as many as it takes)”.


I really hope that implementation (like in ulysses and in bear) will be chosen. I gave here an explanation why I see more benefit than having merged obsidian style folder-file-view.

Have you already made a decision which way you will go?



As I wrote above my use case would require the combination of folders and single (not nested!) tags. I aim to split one of my use cases (actually a very important one) out of bear because of an limitation in bears handling of nested tags that makes it not realizable.

I really regard the combination of folders and single tags as powerful as bears concept of nested tags. But just if panda wouldn’t go the way of apple notes where you can either browse your notes by folder or your entire note collection by tags, There is no way to show the tags specific to a certain folder. Also no browsing like in zotero is possible where one selected tag is filtering out all those tags which doesn’t match the already made selection. That is indeed powerful because you can browse from each tag to other tags. In recipe notes f.e I can choose a country (Italy) and see remaining tags (pasta, …). Or I can start with an ingredient f.e (broccoli) and can decide to continue with country or whatever remains in the tag list.

Here a video for illustration what I mean. (An information for zotero users: the newest test buildings of zotero 7 beta has an overhauled ui. On one side it is not really swift ui Mac style but zotero doesn’t look anymore outdated. In the video you can see the latest building of that beta)

I am aware that the vertical splitting of the left pane in panda would be a no go. But ui-wise the basic principle could be implemented in another way

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You are making good points. However, we are leaning towards an Obsidian-style folder-file view. We could use input on this from more users.

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That would be really a shame because panda then would be not usable for me in an attractive manner. As I said, the only benefit is to save one pane what comes with the loss of possible functionality. As far as I can see no one advocated for obsidian style view here. I encourage everyone to give his opinion to that

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Even if this was the only benefit, that’s huge in terms of the UI for an app :slight_smile: One panel is 25-33% of the main UI, we can do so much with that.

We will have a chat about the UI and the direction of the new Panda soon, but please keep in mind that we don’t have any interest in making a copy of Bear that works with files instead of a database. Panda is going to be a new app that shares the editor with Bear.



That‘s probably the reason why you will implement the info pane in panda as it would not require a four pane layout. On mac that is not a problem but on a 13‘‘ MacBook Air four panes are

Ulysses and bear probably determined my mindset how it has to work. I am eager to see what will come out with the first release of panda. I hope you will find elegant solution for searching for files and its content. Generally spoke I consider an app the more elegant the less panes an ui elements it contains

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I really appreciate the Obsidian approach in this instance. The encapsulated model, which has its virtues, is already present in Bear; I expect Panda to be the opposite (which also has its distinct, but incompatible, virtues). I wish Panda to be totally agnostic in terms of data navigation where Bear keeps me in its environment. There are use cases for both, opposite, situations and having the same text tools for both needs would be amazing.


One thing in advance: The way I currently use Panda, the most important thing for me would be that the folder view is an optional feature that can be hidden and ignored if/when one does not need it (like in text editors such as TextMate or BBEdit). I guess that may be easier to do elegantly when using only one panel with an integrated folder-file view (and that’s how both TextMate and BBEdit do it), but I would think that it could also be done with two panels.

That being said, I think that there are good arguments for both approaches. When looking at both Ulysses and Scrivener (the latter uses the Obsidian-style folder-file view), I somewhat prefer the way Scrivener does it because it distracts less from the text itself and allows for the text to be closer to the center of the screen instead of being pushed to the right.

In the context of Scrivener, another benefit is that it allows for a more hierarchical view that represents the outline of the text one is writing, but I’m not sure whether this is even relevant for Panda (as it would require being able to order the files and folders manually within Panda, which doesn’t make much sense when the whole point is to use external files and not an internal database).

The main disadvantage of this folder-file view in my opinion is that it can become quite unwieldy and confusing and require a lot of scrolling when there are too many folders and files.

Is there any particular reason (except for the very good reason that it may require time and effort that would be better spent elsewhere) why the two approaches would be mutually exclusive and there couldn’t be a way to toggle between them in the settings?

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I have to agree: in such use cases like organising a hierarchical text or constructing a wiki like collection of notes, the obsidian/scrivener style view is the better choice. In other cases the ulysses/bear style can be the better way. I highly doubt that the devs would ever implement both ways as a choice. Saving one pane indeed can make it possible to create an own app with its special character.

However, an overview of the files of a special folder could be offered also in different ways than a second pane notes list. Take for example apple notes where you can switch optionally to a card-board-like view: a click on one „card“ opens the editor inside the same window. Craft has something similar. Or in an obsidian plugin I think I have seen the way to open a notes list inside the same window by „zooming“ into a folder.

I think I have to point out that @tornado is absolutely right with saying that the biggest disadvantage of obsidian style view is a large list of files inside the folder. Hopefully shiny frog will consider that in their construction of the new ui. I will not make suggestions how something could be implemented but just to phrase a request just what I would like to see: any kind of ui to get a rich and useful overview of those notes residing in a certain folder

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One thing to keep in mind is that the Finder with its various view options for folders and files already exists, so I personally don’t need Panda to recreate functionality that could be had by just using the Finder for in-depth file organisation and setting Panda as the default application for .md files.


What I might find quite cool and useful would be a Quick Look plugin for Markdown files that would allow you to quickly preview files from the Finder or wherever and see them rendered exactly like in the Panda editor, without having to open and close a full Panda window every time. I think MarkEdit also has one, for example.

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My main points were related to search and mainly to such a thing like a separate notes list and its advantages over browsing files in a merged file-folder-view. As I wrote craft has a good combination of both. The basic principle there would be totally satisfying for me. And probably some meaningful features could be build up around that principle (f.e. like apple notes do: listing up pictures, attachments and so on; everything what would exceed the capabilities of the finder). Here a video for your inspiration and consideration:

If the 3rd pane would not only have statistics, backlinks and table of contents when a file is shown but also a zotero-like tag browser when a folder is shown, then I would be amazed because at last I could achieve what I always wanted without luck in bear due to its mentioned limitation


I like the idea of an Obsidian-style side panel that reflects what’s in Finder and lets me stay inside Panda as much as possible while still keeping the files themselves agnostic.

This kind of reminds me of BBedit or Panic’s Nova, where you can either start by opening the app, then find your files inside the side bar OR you can find the file in Finder and use it to launch the app. In the latter, the side bar is usually collapsed by default since it’s assumed you just wanted to edit this one file.


So far I used zotero, ulysses and bear which all are database driven. Obsidian I have only installed for reasons of curiosity and I don’t use it in the true sense of the word. Therefore I may have a comprehension problem in regard to file based editors. When opening a file from finder I would expect no side bar at all, neither open nor closed.

As far as I can say all file based editors are using so called vaults: you add a parent folder to the app, it reads the content from it and displays the folder content inside of the app. Then - wherever you change the content of this parent folder by adding further folders or files to it, either in finder or in the apps sidebar itself - the changes are shown on both places.

Now let’s say you open from finder a file that resides outside of the vault shown in the app and its right sidebar: Does it make sense to have a sidebar at all then? That leads me to the question (@rexikan) if you, the devs, have an idea how you want to design the sidebar. Will you go the obsidian way to provide different vaults (f.e. choosable from a drop down menu) or will the sidebar collect different parent folders from disc? I would prefer the first way.

Here a nice and by far more user-friendly way (in Breveto app) than in obsidian:

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Currently, we are exploring a sidebar that shows folders and files that are part of a workspace. The sidebar can have several folders at the top level from different places on your hard drive. You can have more than one workspace. If you open a file directly, the sidebar will be closed. We are still working on the details and things might change until we find something that we are happy with. We will share more later to get your feedback.


Thank you, this sounds very promising, exactly what I was hoping for – can’t wait for the Panda beta!
But guess I just have to wait … :wink:

Keep up the good work :clinking_glasses:

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Love it. Sounds just what I was hoping for.

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