Organizing via frames, Trello-style labels, and grouping

Your recent tweet about using frames to focus on what is next provoked some thoughts related to the discussion I started about large spaces (Rough 💭s on large spaces).

The way frames work now largely function as Trello-style labels wherein it is an attribute on the card that is rendered visually and gives you the ability to filter. You can also select a bunch of cards and apply a frame.

This is in contrast to tags, which are part of the card name/content and are represented by text. And you can’t apply a tag across multiple cards, and even if you could it would be a little weird because it changes the name (would you put the tag at the beginning or end of the contents?)

Currently frames are quite special and visually ornate. It would feel awkward to add the same frame to a group of a dozen cards, for example. However, every other aspect about how frames work would be useful (which I mentioned above). If there were a way to add a frame/label without the visual weightiness, it would be a nice way to group cards and show they are related in a way that connections and tags don’t.

Perhaps this could be a way to implement grouping, as we discussed. Also, in my tweet about auto-generated cards, you could use the frame-mechanism to indicate that certain cards were created by the system.

I realize using the frame mechanism for this means you can’t then use the current-type frames for those cards because of the constraint that cards can only have one frame. This is all for discussion’s sake at this point :slight_smile: TL;DR is that I’m thinking I want an additional way to indicate cards are related that connections and tags aren’t quite suited for, and frames are almost there except for their visual boldness.

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interesting food for thought,
I think it gets messy if frames get conditional, there may be another way to accomplish grouping

I forget, is there a reason that selecting cards and hitting ‘connect’ wouldn’t work to associate cards in the same space? You can even cmd click a card to auto select it’s connected cards

I admit this sorta works, but with some limitations:

  1. Wrong semantics: let’s say I have cards A, B, C, D. If I select them, they get connected A → B → C → D. But I’m not trying to say they have this linear kind of relationship. I want to attach some metadata to all of them. So, like a tag, but tags have the other problems I’ve mentioned already :wink:
  2. Visual noise/clutter: If I have a clump of a dozen or so cards, it’s a lot of connection lines that are distracting.
  3. Performance (maybe?): I haven’t measured it, but sometimes I’ve experienced that connections drawing has some lag keeping up with moving cards. Also in general, moving a bunch of cards on a busy space is sometimes slow.

But I do like the behavior that 1) I can select all connected cards and 2) I can filter by connections.

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I have a plan to fix 3, and I’ll be working on that next week


That’s great to hear. I’ve been avoiding some activities due to slowness.

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Here’s another take on “grouping.” Continuing with the Photoshop analogy, what if you can assign cards to a “layer”. It’s a slightly different model than grouping or labels. Everything goes into a base layer by default. Then you can create new layers that you can move cards to. You can turn on/off layers to focus. Connections would continue to work the same way (so you can connect cards across layers – it’s a separate aspect.)

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side update:
just released a big performance improvement when moving cards in large spaces, should feel way snappier now

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I continue to be convinced I want the ability to more easily manipulate a group of related cards and connections. I was working on writing test cases for a feature, and I started to have different regions which each represented a separate test case. It was tedious to move these clumps of cards around. And take my digital garden space. I wish there were an easier way to rearrange the cards to make space for a new section I am working on.

I kinda like the idea of having layers for this. I would put each of my sections into a separate layer. When working on a single layer, it’s easy to select all the cards to move them around (presumably Cmd-A would select all cards on the layer). I don’t have to worry about accidentally moving other cards or mis-selecting cards/connections. It gives a way to focus.


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