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doc | Forum Activity | Posted: Tue, Mar 21 2017 5:20 AM

In what appears to be a reactionary move to recent criticism of the lack of progress on the web app in a recent forum thread and highlighting'code out the door but they are not what they seem.

Alan Palmer (Faithlife):
We have added the ability to take, edit, and remove notes and highlights in the web app. These are entirely new and separate from your desktop notes/highlights.

and

Alan Palmer (Faithlife):

They are different from desktop notes in several key ways:

  1. First and foremost, they are not broken into different "documents".
  2. We have not added support for specific highlight styles and indicators.
  3. Contents of notes are plain text (do not support formatting, links, etc.).

These differences are subject to change as we continue fleshing out the web app but we wanted to provide this basic level of functionality as early as possible.

In simple terms what that first difference means was only clarified after a couple of users questioned what this was really about:

David Mitchell:

Doug Newby:
 Just so I understand correctly; when you say "new and separate from your desktop notes/highlights" you mean that notes/highlights done in the web app do not sync to desktop/mobile and vise versa?

That is correct. The notes and highlights in the web app are stored in the same system as the rest of them, but we made a deliberate decision to keep them separated so that we could get something out the door without having to implement full rich text support.

At some point in the future (no schedule guarantees!) we intend to make notes that you take in the web app available on your other devices.

So right now if you take notes / make highlights in the web app they will not sync to your desktop or to mobile apps. Hence you will not be able to work seamlessly across platforms / devices with notes / highlights created in the web app as it stands.

If you do decide to use notes / highlights in the web app please ensure you understand this difference. The web app is in beta this feature has clearly underdeveloped and will change - when a developer says "so that we could get something out the door" that always rings alarm bells for me.  And ensure you do read the web app forums to be fully informed of the lastest status of this feature and what impact changes to it might have to any notes / highlights you have created in the web app  - personally I would say if its critical work stick to creating the notes / highlights or any other user created content for that matter in the desktop or mobile app.

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JT (alabama24) | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Mar 21 2017 6:25 AM

Disciple of Christ (doc):
when a developer says "so that we could get something out the door" that always rings alarm bells for me.

I agree. This decision is perplexing to me. It seems quite short sighted and potentially a huge headache for some users. It is better not to ship than to ship the wrong thing. 

Out of curiosity, where was the original post? 

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Graham Criddle | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Mar 21 2017 6:28 AM

alabama24:
Out of curiosity, where was the original post? 

https://community.logos.com/forums/t/139394.aspx 

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JT (alabama24) | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Mar 21 2017 6:45 AM

Thanks Graham! 

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Mark Barnes | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Mar 21 2017 7:53 AM

alabama24:

Disciple of Christ (doc):
when a developer says "so that we could get something out the door" that always rings alarm bells for me.

I agree. This decision is perplexing to me. It seems quite short sighted and potentially a huge headache for some users. It is better not to ship than to ship the wrong thing. 

This is a very sensible decision from the developers point of view, and perfectly acceptable for a product in beta (which the web app is).

Adding notes/highlighting will no doubt be very complex. Any coder will want to split that task up into various sub-tasks. As an example:

  • Displaying simple highlights
  • Adding/removing highlights
  • Displaying more complex highlights (e.g. inductive study)
  • Handling custom highlighting schemes
  • Syncing highlights

During a beta phase, it's perfectly sensible to break that process down into discrete milestones, and release and debug each milestone separately. It's called incremental development, and it's increasingly common.

The alternative to this is to not release until all the steps have been developed. Then people complain that nothing's happening. You can't please all the people all the time.

See also http://agilefromthegroundup.blogspot.co.uk/2009/12/agile-software-construction-is-like.html 

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JT (alabama24) | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Mar 21 2017 7:55 AM

Mark Barnes:
During a beta phase, it's perfectly sensible to break that process down into discrete milestones, and release and debug each milestone separately. It's called incremental development, and it's increasingly common.

I agree in principle, but not in this case. When the developers add a feature which can cause harm to the end user, that is inexcusable! 

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Mark Barnes | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Mar 21 2017 7:59 AM

alabama24:
I agree in principle, but not in this case. When the developers add a feature which can cause harm to the end user, that is inexcusable! 

You're overstating it.

If they released a version which messed up your existing highlighting, then that would cause harm. Releasing a version which doesn't (yet) sync back to the desktop hardly causes harm. They may even add functionality later to convert these basic notes to full notes that sync. But either way, no-one is harmed.

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PetahChristian | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Mar 21 2017 9:45 AM

Mark Barnes:
The alternative to this is to not release until all the steps have been developed. Then people complain that nothing's happening.

So true.

The fact that the product is a beta should be all the warning anyone needs. We're getting early access to a work in progress.

Please feel free to test it and report bugs, but let's please not be unreasonable about expecting x.0 features in an 0.x beta. It's not finished yet.

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JT (alabama24) | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Mar 21 2017 10:17 AM

Mark Barnes:
You're overstating it.

I have misunderstood. I was under the impression that this system was not a part of the current system, nor would it be. Alan wrote: 

Alan Palmer (Faithlife):
These are entirely new and separate from your desktop notes/highlights.

Alan Palmer (Faithlife):
These differences are subject to change as we continue fleshing out the web app but we wanted to provide this basic level of functionality as early as possible.

This made it sound like they hobbled something together which they had no intentions of supporting in the future, just so that beta** users could have some "functionality" now. David clarified a bit: 

David Mitchell:

The notes and highlights in the web app are stored in the same system as the rest of them, but we made a deliberate decision to keep them separated so that we could get something out the door without having to implement full rich text support.

At some point in the future (no schedule guarantees!) we intend to make notes that you take in the web app available on your other devices.

As long as this means that the notes & highlights WILL (eventually) be integrated into the rest of the system, I fully agree with you. If this is not what is intended, but rather they mean "the note system now WILL NOT be plugged in, but eventually we will create a system WHICH WILL," then you are wrong and harm indeed will be done to users. 

I <think> Phil clarified this just now, but I am not sure: 

Fr Devin Roza:
I hope you take advantage of this opportunity to "migrate" the desktop notes to a more flexible and powerful "centralized" note repository, where things like "note documents" become just one more type of tagging that the note has, with the added benefits to speed, searching, flexibility, etc. that a system like this could bring. 

Phil Gons (Faithlife):
That's exactly where we plan to go.

Lastly, re:beta testing... There are two different kinds of beta testing. Any number of times I have made posts about beta testing, reminding users that it is designed to help work out bugs and should not be used on "production" machines, etc. Things can and do go wrong. 

There is another kind of beta testing, and this clearly falls in that category. Faithlife is MARKETING this as a selling point feature of Logos Now. The word "beta" here should NOT mean "helping the developers work out the bugs" but rather "this feature is in development and not quite ready for prime time." If FL doesn't intend to support these notes for these users, it is shameful. Hopefully I have misunderstood (as it seems I might have done). 

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Alan Palmer (Faithlife) | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Mar 21 2017 10:49 AM

I'm sorry that my announcement wasn't more clear. It sounds like there are a lot of assumptions being discussed in this thread. I'm always happy to address any specific questions and concerns people have in this thread.

alabama24:
... was not a part of the current system, nor would it be.

"They are new and separate from the desktop notes". By this I was referring to the fact that they don't sync. I wasn't trying to imply anything about the future. Our current plan to eventually merge these web notes with existing notes into a new system (I think Fr Devin Roza must have a bug planted in our conference rooms) Wink. This is likely still a ways out though, and I always hesitate to promise things too early. I have a fear that even as I say this, different people will make varied assumptions and it might even spawn more speculation. Tongue Tied

Again, I want to add clarity (and, hopefully, not more confusion) so please let me know if there are questions I missed.

Geeked

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JT (alabama24) | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Mar 21 2017 10:54 AM

Alan Palmer (Faithlife):
please let me know if there are questions I missed.

My concern isn't that the notes don't sync now, but only that you won't abandon support for the notes that the users create now. It sounds like that is your intent. Yes

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David Mitchell | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Mar 21 2017 10:57 AM

alabama24:

As long as this means that the notes & highlights WILL (eventually) be integrated into the rest of the system, I fully agree with you. If this is not what is intended, but rather they mean "the note system now WILL NOT be plugged in, but eventually we will create a system WHICH WILL," then you are wrong and harm indeed will be done to users. 

I <think> Phil clarified this just now, but I am not sure: 

Fr Devin Roza:
I hope you take advantage of this opportunity to "migrate" the desktop notes to a more flexible and powerful "centralized" note repository, where things like "note documents" become just one more type of tagging that the note has, with the added benefits to speed, searching, flexibility, etc. that a system like this could bring. 

Phil Gons (Faithlife):
That's exactly where we plan to go.

In terms of implementation details, we've hedged our bets. Our intention is (eventually) to migrate all apps to a new, more powerful model for Notes. However, the initial implementation of Web App Notes is built on top of the old system, so that we can (basically) flip a switch and make Web App Notes appear in Desktop/Mobile notes if we have to abandon the current strategy for any reason. (customers hate the new UI, unforeseen technical challenges, whatever)

alabama24:
If FL doesn't intend to support these notes for these users, it is shameful.

Prior to leading the team working on the web app, I led the "Documents Team" for about two years, whose sole concern was safely preserving our customers' Notes/Highlights/Visual Filters/Reading Plans/Prayer Lists/etc. while scaling those web services up. I know how important your data is to your livelihoods, and I would not release a feature in Logos Bible Software that allows the creation of new data without a firm commitment to preserve and support it.

David Mitchell
Development Lead
Faithlife

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JT (alabama24) | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Mar 21 2017 11:00 AM

Thanks David. Smile

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David Mitchell | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Mar 21 2017 11:00 AM

David Mitchell:
However, the initial implementation of Web App Notes is built on top of the old system, so that we can (basically) flip a switch and make Web App Notes appear in Desktop/Mobile notes if we have to abandon the current strategy for any reason. (customers hate the new UI, unforeseen technical challenges, whatever)

I feel that I should add that I see no reason to expect that we'll have to abandon this strategy—I included this note to highlight the extent to which we have "backup plans for backup plans" when it comes to preserving the data that you entrust us with.

David Mitchell
Development Lead
Faithlife

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doc | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Mar 21 2017 2:21 PM

Thanks for adding some further clarity David but I still stand by my initial concerns that you are breaking user workflows surrounding user created content and you need to be very clear about this to anyone using the web app. The web app is promoted heavily as a part of Logos Now - I have seen FL employees stating the web app is close to the desktop experience, which it is not, it is a beta app. FL is sending conflicting and mixed messages about this web app and what it is and is not capable of doing - if I log into web app now there is no way I can telling the notes and highlights I create there will not be part of my desktop or mobile workflow. 

FL has caused users problems in the past with user created content being put in jeopardy and if you understand the history of this software notes and highlighting have been a contentious issue on many ocassions. I believe FL had a responsibility to communicate clearly the full implications of when you make fundamental changes to the way the software works / behaves, particularly when that affects user created content. The Web App is promoted as a major benefit of signing up to Logos Now so saying the web app is in beta is not an excuse for communicating this change in the wishy washy way it was communicated. 

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Mark Barnes | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Mar 21 2017 2:38 PM

Disciple of Christ (doc):
I have seen FL employees stating the web app is close to the desktop experience,

He actually said that in comparison with biblia.com, "it's as close to getting the full desktop experience in your browser as possible" (emphasis added). Obviously, app.logos.com is significantly closer to the desktop experience than biblia.com, and as a comparative statement, it's not inaccurate (though it would have been better to say "as currently possible"). Anyway, my point is that he didn't say that it's close to the desktop experience, but the closest you can get it a web app.

Disciple of Christ (doc):
if I log into web app now there is no way I can telling the notes and highlights I create there will not be part of my desktop or mobile workflow. 

I agree that there should be a 'warning' when first using this feature.

Disciple of Christ (doc):
The Web App is promoted as a major benefit of signing up to Logos Now so saying the web app is in beta is not an excuse for communicating this change in the wishy washy way it was communicated. 

As far as I can see, the only promotional description of the web app is this:

These doesn't seem to oversell the current functionality — if anything, it undersells it.

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Preston Davis | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Feb 9 2018 10:04 AM

OK, so I just subscribed to Logos Now for the express purpose of using app.logos.com more effectively. ...only to discover that my notes dont sync. With notes sync, app.logos.com is truly a "Killer App" without notes sync, it's extremely frustrating & negative experience (for me)! ...so I just got my refund. ...to bad. I really wanted/needed that functionality as I now work primarily on Linux.

...please get this added. Surely, you hear the cries of your people!

Preston 

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JT (alabama24) | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Feb 9 2018 10:17 AM

Preston Davis:

OK, so I just subscribed to Logos Now for the express purpose of using app.logos.com more effectively. ...only to discover that my notes dont sync. With notes sync, app.logos.com is truly a "Killer App" without notes sync, it's extremely frustrating & negative experience (for me)! ...so I just got my refund. ...to bad. I really wanted/needed that functionality as I now work primarily on Linux.

...please get this added. Surely, you hear the cries of your people!

Preston 

For clarification: FL is in the process of upgrading the notes engine. Currently the web app uses it, but the desktop and mobile will convert at a later date. I have no idea when that might be. In all likelihood, Now subscribers will have early access. 

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Adam Borries (Faithlife) | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Feb 9 2018 4:34 PM

JT (alabama24):

Preston Davis:

OK, so I just subscribed to Logos Now for the express purpose of using app.logos.com more effectively. ...only to discover that my notes dont sync. With notes sync, app.logos.com is truly a "Killer App" without notes sync, it's extremely frustrating & negative experience (for me)! ...so I just got my refund. ...to bad. I really wanted/needed that functionality as I now work primarily on Linux.

...please get this added. Surely, you hear the cries of your people!

Preston 

For clarification: FL is in the process of upgrading the notes engine. Currently the web app uses it, but the desktop and mobile will convert at a later date. I have no idea when that might be. In all likelihood, Now subscribers will have early access. 

Early-access announcement: New: Beta test the new Notes tool on desktop

Please note: 

  1. Now membership is no longer a requirement for the web app. It is open to anyone with a Logos 7 package, including the free Logos Basic. 
  2. This early-access for the Notes tool on desktop does not sync your previously-existing notes documents from Logos desktop and mobile applications. Note documents and notes in the new tool are two separate systems at this time. It will be possible to import your existing notes to the new system "soon"*.

*Rev 22:20 ;)

Adam Borries | Product Manager, Logos desktop application

Message me on Faithlife.com >>

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Preston Davis | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Feb 9 2018 6:58 PM

That's great news! I will "occupy" till then Time

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