Ink & Switch just released a new essay: Embark — Dynamic documents for making plans.
Starting from a desire to "unbundle the app" in the name of malleable software, they explore using a bullet-point outliner as a substrate for dynamic properties, computations, and views. They ground the work with a specific use case — trip planning — and they hard-code a bunch of stuff that ought to be pushed into user space, granted. But it's easy to look at this, imagine how it could be expanded, and see some really compelling possibilities for a different way to approach creating and distributing software.
Congrats to @Paul Sonnentag, @Alexander Obenauer, and @Geoffrey Litt!
11/22/2023, 4:51 PM
Bullet-point outliner, dynamic properties, computations... That's what I have been using for years, via Emacs' org-mode! It's set in a different universe, the realm of textual data and command-line tools. Not a good substrate for maps, obviously. But the architecture looks very much the same, and tons of people have long years of experience with this way of working.
Another outliner supporting similar features is Leo, which has also been around for more than 20 years. No personal experience, but I know people who use it for dynamic documents.
11/24/2023, 8:19 PM
I love the ideas here and also the example use case because it is always such a pain. Here’s me from a twitter thread from a while back:
Integration is still an open problem and the main problem with scaling something like this
11/25/2023, 10:34 AM
@Paul Sonnentag it would be really great to have your input and feedback here. Also, I see @jonathoda referred to Chorus in this context on Twitter I think.
Seems like so many of us are interested in the no-apps ideas. Maybe Slack simply has too much friction to help build community around something like this.
12/02/2023, 6:42 PM
I really love their examples of "computation" — route-finding and weather forecasting — that are convincingly useful to anybody, not just math/finance nerds.