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Nested Folders


SteveJazz

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I don’t see enhanced functionality for having multiple levels of nested folders. Is this coming, or is this an enhancement that Evernote doesn’t see as necessary? I did see in the release notes that there is support for nested tags, but when I experimented with it, I concluded that you can only have two levels (which is no better than Stacks/Notebooks). This is the SINGLE feature that has caused me to use OneNote or Apple Notes. Thanks.  

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It seems like this has been a passionate debate on these forums for a long time. I think it is fair to say that for those of us that like a hierarchical structure and the concept of actual filing notes, tags are not a substitute for nested notebooks (or folders). Tags are helpful in other ways, and they can approximate the functionality of nested notebooks, but they aren’t the same. I’m not sure it really is a debate...Tags won’t work for me (if they do for others, that’s wonderful). 

Unfortunately, having that functionality is critical to me.  I got excited when I learned that Evernote was doing a major revamp and had hopes that nested notebooks would be enabled. Frankly, even one more level would be enough to enable my workflow. Sadly, this major revamp doesn’t have that functionality. That’s fine...Evernote has a philosophy and it is sticking to it. I have a need, and I will fulfill it by using Apple Notes (which, although lacking in other features, has enable nested notebooks/folders) or OneNote. 

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I’m not sure I really want to wade into what seems like a touchy subject in this forum, but I can provide some examples. 

Most importantly, it feels to me that Notebooks have more primacy and functionality in EN than do tags. EN is still fundamentally structured around the stacks/notebooks. Tags feel like a secondary dimension (although important and capable). If I have to use tags to create my hierarchy, then I’m working a lot in this secondary dimension. I’d prefer not to do that. 

Second, I actually want to file my notes and feel that they are part of a virtual hierarchical structure. I want to be able to click on a notebook or sub-notebook and see all the notes that I know are related (because I put them in that notebook). I agree that I can structure the tag list to mimic my desired notebook structure. However, the functionality really isn’t the same. If I click into a notebook, I see all the notes that live in that notebook. I can click on a note, and still see all the other notes in the notebook (in the left sidebar). I can move between those notes and interact with them as a group. Now, if I click on a tag, I end up with a search result of all the notes that have that tag. If I click on a note, do I still get to see all the other notes with that tag? Nope! I end up in the notebook that houses that tagged note (and I’m looking at a lot of other notes that aren’t relevant). I find that ironic, because it really is an admission that the note “lives” in a notebook. Maybe that is less about notebooks vs. tags (I agree they are both just attributes), but EN provides functionality and a visual metaphor for notebooks that are different than it provides for tags. I want to be able to use that functionality with sub-notebooks with a reasonable number of notes, aggregated into larger logical notebooks, aggregated into stacks. 

Finally, philosophically, if tags are a substitute, then why does EN have Notebooks? I think somewhere EN realizes that notes should be filed/structured and tags should be used to find notes that share some attribute across the structure. And, that’s what I believe, I just want the filing structure to have more depth. 

Frankly, for me, if forced to use EN, then I’d simply create a long flat list of notebooks. I’d name them in some way to imply a hierarchy (1, 1.1, 1.2, 2.1). That would give me the structure I want, but would not be visually pleasing and it would not be as functional (as I’d be doing a lot of scrolling). Why not simply let us open or close a nested hierarchy? Honestly, the ratio of applications that use a nested file/notebook structure as the primary organizing dimension to applications that offer tags as the primary organizing mechanism must by 1000:1. It does feel to me that someone at EN just wants to be contrarian. 

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Evernote is based on Tags to organize.

Notebooks are good to share a number of Notes with others or e. g. temporarily for a new project - after finishing the project, Tag all notes and move them to your main Notebook (just a recommendation - depends on your requirements / workflow).

I assume nested Folders / Notebooks (besides Stacks)  is not a priority.

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20 hours ago, SteveJazz said:

I don’t see enhanced functionality for having multiple levels of nested folders.

Evernote has no support for folders
We get two fields for organizing notes; Notebooks and Tags
Tags are the primary organization tool

An important enhancement in IOS v10.0 is that the tag hierarchy can now be accessed - unlimited levels

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6 hours ago, DTLow said:

Evernote has no support for folders
We get two fields for organizing notes; Notebooks and Tags
Tags are the primary organization tool

An important enhancement in v10.0 is that the tag hierarchy can now be accessed - unlimited levels

Thank you. I missed the unlimited levels for nesting tags. In that case, I can try to leverage Tags the way that I’d like to use notebooks. Still, I’m surprised that Evernote doesn’t simply enable nested folders, a paradigm that has been used to organize items on PCs/Macs from the very beginning of their existence. 

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3 hours ago, SteveJazz said:

Still, I’m surprised that Evernote doesn’t simply enable nested folders, a paradigm that has been used to organize items on PCs/Macs from the very beginning of their existence. 

The folder paradigm predates computers; legacy from paper documents stored in a filing cabinet

imho I see these benefits in moving to a tag paradigm    
- Multiple organization categories can be specified for a note/document    
- Freedom from filing notes/documents in folder/sub-folder/subsub-folder/subsubsub-folder/....
   and retrieving

Some users emulate the folder paradigm by using the notebook/tag trees

The discussion has been moved to the General Requests forum

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22 hours ago, SteveJazz said:

I don’t see enhanced functionality for having multiple levels of nested folders. Is this coming, or is this an enhancement that Evernote doesn’t see as necessary? I did see in the release notes that there is support for nested tags, but when I experimented with it, I concluded that you can only have two levels (which is no better than Stacks/Notebooks). This is the SINGLE feature that has caused me to use OneNote or Apple Notes. Thanks.  

HA HA HA HA HA HA!!!

Nested folders/notebooks has been the #1 recurring Evernote feature request since the day it went Beta.  Evernote will NEVER have nested notebooks. 

Never.

Think of Evernote as the battle hardened officer in the "baseball bat" scene of Inglorious *****. You, on the other hand, are Lt. Raine. Nested notebooks are your request to have the other German positions pointed out on a map.

They would rather DIE than put nested notebooks into Evernote. 

They have spent 18 months totally rewriting and recoding Evernote so that all versions on all platforms operate identically--even though that has meant that features have been REMOVED.

Yes, that is correct--their response to a problem that did not exist ("Our Windows and Apple platform releases use slightly different menus and hotkeys--OHMYGODNO!!!!") was to spend a full 18 months of development time acting like Procrustes and trim all versions down to the lowest common denominator. 

Nested notbooks?

That is a GOOD one!

They don't care what you want. They don't care what ANYONE wants. What they care about is you learn to do things their way or you can go elsewhere. 

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19 minutes ago, TheMagicWombat said:

Nested folders/notebooks has been the #1 recurring Evernote feature request since the day it went Beta.  Evernote will NEVER have nested notebooks.

The discussion subject is "Nested Folders"
Nested Notebooks is another subject; there's an ongoing discussion here

Evernote has no support for  Folders and no support for  Nested Notebooks

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2 hours ago, DTLow said:

The discussion subject is "Nested Folders"
Nested Notebooks is another subject; there's an ongoing discussion here

Evernote has no support for  Folders and no support for  Nested Notebooks

Are you REALLY trying to tell me that you don't think the Notebooks in Evernote and the Folders in every OS and information storage system (including filing cabinets) in the world are different???

You open them BOTH up, and STORE things in them in an attempt to keep your pieces of data organized...

End of lesson. 

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40 minutes ago, TheMagicWombat said:

Are you REALLY trying to tell me that you don't think the Notebooks in Evernote and the Folders in every OS and information storage system (including filing cabinets) in the world are different???

You open them BOTH up, and STORE things in them in an attempt to keep your pieces of data organized...

Fact: Notebooks and Tags are fields in the Note metadata    271521321_ScreenShot2020-09-17at3_58_52PM.png.394ffdf11bf2bcf6cfbb0206aee3c8d6.png   

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some users emulate folders using the notebook/tag trees

722593373_ScreenShot2020-09-17at4_05_42PM.png.300a87ab7ac04f5fc0ace0a7cc0b97bc.png385638025_ScreenShot2020-09-17at4_05_09PM.png.02921520de1324ec590070e8568f88ea.png

 

 

 

 

 

On my Mac, notes are stored in OS folder
(/Users/DTLow/Library/Group Containers/Q79WDW8YH9.com.evernote.Evernote/
   CoreNote/accounts/www.evernote.com/1156250/content
)
with a separate OS folder for each note

The metadata is stored in a separate SQLite database

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2 hours ago, DTLow said:

Fact: Notebooks and Tags are fields in the Note metadata    271521321_ScreenShot2020-09-17at3_58_52PM.png.394ffdf11bf2bcf6cfbb0206aee3c8d6.png   

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some users emulate folders using the notebook/tag trees

722593373_ScreenShot2020-09-17at4_05_42PM.png.300a87ab7ac04f5fc0ace0a7cc0b97bc.png385638025_ScreenShot2020-09-17at4_05_09PM.png.02921520de1324ec590070e8568f88ea.png

 

 

 

 

 

On my Mac, notes are stored in OS folder
(/Users/DTLow/Library/Group Containers/Q79WDW8YH9.com.evernote.Evernote/
   CoreNote/accounts/www.evernote.com/1156250/content
)
with a separate OS folder for each note

The metadata is stored in a separate SQLite database

Just because you define a dog as a cat doesn't make it able to climb trees. 

The notebooks in Evernote ARE the same as folders in every storage system out there EXCEPT that Evernote won't let you place a notebook/folder/directory into another  notebook/folder/directory.  That would be a lot like me releasing a spreadsheet program that did everything EXCEPT there was no ability to divide in the formulas, and so I called it not a spreadsheet, but a Megasheet Program, and said the lack of a division function was a feature, so people would construct their formulas more productively without using the foolish dividing function. 

I mean, come on! You can just multiply by a fraction if you want to divide, so I don't see what the big deal is that the Megasheet program doesn't have a division function!

It would still be a spreadsheet, just it would be a BROKEN spreadsheet. 

The core of your argument is  Evernote Notebooks are not folders because you cannot nest them. Yeah--and that is the core argument for why the notebooks in Evernote are broken--because they are folders that have intentionally been devoid of a nesting ability. 

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1 hour ago, TheMagicWombat said:

The core of your argument is  Evernote Notebooks are not folders because you cannot nest them

I  only listed the one fact (Notebooks and Tags are fields in the Note metadata)

As to nesting
- Notebooks can be nested to one level using Stacks   
- Tags can be nested to unlimited levels using the parent/child hierarchy

Also, unlike folders - Notebook and Tag names can not be duplicated; each name must be unique   

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39 minutes ago, SteveJazz said:

tags are not a substitute for nested notebooks ... Tags won’t work for me

We've gone off topic, but why are tags not a notebook substitute?   

Tags and Notebooks are quite similar; two fields in the note metadata   
I use both fields for note organization

I know that Notebooks have a special purpose in Evernote; to identify notes as online/local, offline, private/shared

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And, one other example that shows the differences.

If I have a stack with 5 nested notebooks, I can click on the stack and see all the notes in these 5 notebooks.

If I have a tag with 5 nested sub-tags, I can click on the parent tag, but I only get the notes tagged with the parent tag. I don’t see any of the notes that are tagged with a child tag. Frankly, I don’t understand that behavior at all. It feels like there is no relationship between child and parent tags (other than I can set them up visually that way, but I don’t see any enhanced functionality by doing it). What does EN expect me to do? Tag notes with both the parent and the child tag?

Frankly, I conclude that EN spent a lot of time creating a hierarchical tag structure that doesn’t work the way I would expect. It created a notebook structure that does work like I expect (but lacking in level depth). Both are fails (to me). 

I’m not busting on EN. It has a lot of great functionality that is superior to most other products. Nested notebooks are important to me, I don’t see tags as a viable alternative. Net, I need to either compromise with EN or look at another app. I may be the odd man out, and that’s perfectly fine. 

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9 hours ago, SteveJazz said:

If I click into a notebook, I see all the notes that live in that notebook. I can click on a note, and still see all the other notes in the notebook (in the left sidebar). I can move between those notes and interact with them as a group. Now, if I click on a tag, I end up with a search result of all the notes that have that tag. If I click on a note, do I still get to see all the other notes with that tag?

Actually they both work the same way (edit: Windows/Mac platforms)
Click on a notebook/tag and you see all the notes for the notebook/tag
Click on a note and you still see all the notes for the notebook/tag

>>why does EN have Notebooks? 

Identify notes as online/local, offline, private/shared   
Note Organization

>>Why not simply let us open or close a nested hierarchy? (Notebook)

There's a request and discussion posted here

>>If I have a tag with 5 nested sub-tags, I can click on the parent tag, but I only get the notes tagged with the parent tag. I don’t see any of the notes that are tagged with a child tag.

Child search is actually a feature option in Evernote/Windows

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7 hours ago, DTLow said:

Actually they both work the same way
Click on a notebook/tag and you see all the notes for the notebook/tag
Click on a note and you still see all the notes for the notebook/tag

They don’t actually, not after the second step I described.  For notebooks, when you navigate to a notebook, all the notes in that notebook are in the left sidebar. I can click into a note, and the all the other notes in that notebook remain in the sidebar. It is easy for me to move between those notes and interact with them. For tags, when I select a tag, I get what I’d term a search view. The selected tag is active in the top left and all the notes that have that tag are displayed. So far, the behavior is the same as with notebooks. However, I can’t interact with this group of similarly tagged notes. As soon as I click on one note, the view changes. I still am in that note, but the display now shows the notebook in which that tagged note lives, along with all the other notes in that notebook, whether they have that selected tag or not.  This highlights again that there is a difference in how notebooks and tags are implemented, displayed, etc in EN. If you want to simply say that notebooks and tags are simply attributes of a note and are the same...then, fine, at that level, they are the same. The problem that I’m describing is that EN approaches notebooks and tags differently. Living in a tag structure for organization forces me into that dimension, and to me it is inferior to the notebook dimension (as in the above example). 
 

‘The same is true in the parent/child example. I want to interact with all of my notes that are part of a group and a subgroup, or sometimes I want to interact with the notes that are just in the subgroup. (I’m using group and subgroup to be generic and avoid stack/notebook and parent tag/child tag terminology). I can do what I want in the stack/notebook dimension.  Click on a stack and you get all the notes of all the notebooks in that stack. Click on a notebook in that stack, and you get only the notes in that notebook.  This works different in tags. Click on the parent tag (which is equivalent to a stack in this example), and you won’t see the notes that have the child tag (even though they are in that parent’s hierarchy) unless they contain both the child and the parent tag. Again, I’m not saying either dimension is inherently right or wrong.  I’m saying they are different, and they are different. Unfortunately, my preference is for the notebook dimension and EN has decided to not create a hierarchy for that dimension.  As a side note, even Stacks is a poor form of hierarchy, since no notes can live in the stack and outside of the stack’s notebooks. In any computer filing system, that limitation doesn’t exist...I can have files (notes) or folders (notebooks) live side by side in a parent folder. Stacks is really just a wrapper without any functionality except for visual organization.  I can use that, but it isn’t ideal. 
 

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1 hour ago, SteveJazz said:

They don’t actually, not after the second step I described.

I edited my post to specify Windows/Mac platforms    
The new version of IOS  (v10.0) is a little buggy with this - I posted a bug report here

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16 hours ago, SteveJazz said:

Most importantly, it feels to me that Notebooks have more primacy and functionality in EN than do tags. EN is still fundamentally structured around the stacks/notebooks. Tags feel like a secondary dimension (although important and capable). If I have to use tags to create my hierarchy, then I’m working a lot in this secondary dimension. I’d prefer not to do that. 

Eye of the beholder thing.  If one doesn't care about how things are stored then tags provide the logical dimensions.  If one does care about how things are stored (hierarchy in this case) then tags are a poor man's substitute for nested notebooks.  Unfortunately it is what it is until/if EN implements nested notebooks   And yeah, this has been a touchy subject since dirt was brown.  But it encompasses how folks see the world, hierarchy or table.

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On 9/17/2020 at 10:20 PM, DTLow said:

I  only listed the one fact (Notebooks and Tags are fields in the Note metadata)

As to nesting
- Notebooks can be nested to one level using Stacks   
- Tags can be nested to unlimited levels using the parent/child hierarchy

Also, unlike folders - Notebook and Tag names can not be duplicated; each name must be unique   

Putting two different notebooks/folders inside the same "stack" is not nesting. That is as much "nesting" as saying that because 2 folders both go in the same file cabinet they are "nested" in the file cabinet.

Nesting folders/notebooks is where one folder/notebook goes inside of another.  Just because you drop two folders into the same linoleum floor does not mean they are "nested".

 

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On 9/17/2020 at 10:37 PM, SteveJazz said:

It seems like this has been a passionate debate on these forums for a long time. I think it is fair to say that for those of us that like a hierarchical structure and the concept of actual filing notes, tags are not a substitute for nested notebooks (or folders). Tags are helpful in other ways, and they can approximate the functionality of nested notebooks, but they aren’t the same. I’m not sure it really is a debate...Tags won’t work for me (if they do for others, that’s wonderful). 

Unfortunately, having that functionality is critical to me.  I got excited when I learned that Evernote was doing a major revamp and had hopes that nested notebooks would be enabled. Frankly, even one more level would be enough to enable my workflow. Sadly, this major revamp doesn’t have that functionality. That’s fine...Evernote has a philosophy and it is sticking to it. I have a need, and I will fulfill it by using Apple Notes (which, although lacking in other features, has enable nested notebooks/folders) or OneNote. 

The Evernote True Believers--at least many of them--will scream until the day they die that you are simply being ignorant.

They don't understand that there is more than THEIR way of organizing data. 

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10 minutes ago, TheMagicWombat said:

Putting two different notebooks/folders inside the same "stack" is not nesting.

Agreed - Stacks were a bandaid solution to organizing notebooks

>>Nesting folders/notebooks is where one folder/notebook goes inside of another

Evernote's implementation of notebook nesting would be parent/child hierarchy
Each notebook record would include a parent-notebook field
(based on the implementation for Tag hierarchy)

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9 hours ago, DTLow said:

Agreed - Stacks were a bandaid solution to organizing notebooks

>>Nesting folders/notebooks is where one folder/notebook goes inside of another

Evernote's implementation of notebook nesting would be parent/child hierarchy
Each notebook record would include a parent-notebook field
(based on the implementation for Tag hierarchy)

I think part of the problem is the Evernote Powers That Be (EPTB hereafter) don't want to admit that their system is not superior in ALL circumstances. If they implement truly nested notebooks, they would be tacitly admitting that, no, they were NOT right all along about tags being superior, and all the users that wanted nested notebooks were not WRONG all the time. 

That is the kind of mea culpa that this company seems incapable of doing. 

The saddest part is that if they simply implemented this--and as you pointed it it would take nothing more than adding a single field to a notebook record denoting WHICH notebook was its parent. The notebooks fall into line, and you don't even need each record to have anything modified. As long as each notebook has its own INTERNAL unique name and a lookup table for matching with internal name goes with each user notebook (already being done), the records ALL wind up in their proper notebook and the notebooks all wind up in the proper place in the hierarchy. 

This kind of hierarchy has been in software since I was using Pocket Filer 128 back in 1988.  And yes, tags can be a far superior way to organize AND retrieve data in many situations. But that is a little bit like a fresnel lens is a superior way to starting a fire over rubbing sticks together--I mean, I've seen people melt lead using only a fresnel lens and sunlight. But when it is nighttime and rain is falling, you better have knowledge on how those sticks work and get to rubbing*.

 

 

*Twisting actually, but you get the idea. 

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6 hours ago, TheMagicWombat said:

notebooks, they were NOT right all along about tags being superior

A rose by any other name would smell as sweet

Back to the subject of folders; notebooks/tags are superior (imho)  🙂

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5 hours ago, PinkElephant said:

To nest notebooks EN would have to completely rewrite the code: apps, servers, everything.

Which, as we know, they are currently doing.  In a recent interview Ian shows awareness and understanding of the age old debate of tags vs notebooks.  He also alludes to three big improvements that are in the pipeline, waiting on the new clients to rollout and stabilize.  From the posts on the forum, that may be a while but it will be interesting to see what they have queued up.  Who knows, maybe nested notebooks 🙂.

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9 hours ago, PinkElephant said:

To nest notebooks EN would have to completely rewrite the code: apps, servers, everything.

Evernote actually executed this a while back   
They updated the database, and every app    
As I recall, it was a successful implementation with few issues    
The only problem - they implemented Notebook Stacks; only two levels of nesting 

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@TheMagicWombat Very simple - you just need to look at the current structure of EN, and add a little bit of knowledge about how data is organized.

Currently the relation between notes and notebooks is 1:n. A notebook contains several notes, a note belongs to one (exactly one) notebook. A note can not be created without being assigned to a notebook, and it can’t be in more than one.

Currently the relation between notebooks and stacks is 1:n as well. A notebook can be in a stack, or in no stack (which means it is in the „no-stack“ group of notebooks). It can’t be in more than one stack.

IT-wise this is done by a field „notebook“ in each note, and by a field „stack“ in each notebook. This is quite simple, because you can read it from the respective „object“ as a designated „aspect“ of this object. The notebook is an aspect of a note, the stack is an aspect of the notebook.

When you allow relations that are n:m (which is you open the relation to crosswIse multiple relations), things get complicated. You can’t do this by attaching a field to the object (note, notebook, stack) because any given number of field could be exhausted by adding one more. Plus it is a complete waste of space to have 20 fields in each object, when mostly you just need 1 or 2.

So n:m is done by a linking / intermediary table that lists all relations between 2 types of objects. Depending of what you want to find out, you have to read the table from one side, and find all related objects on the other. To help on this, you usually create indexes that make it easier to read the (large) table with sufficient speed.

If you nest objects, you usually do this by creating a n:m relation, because this allows for a indefinite number of nesting levels. To read this relation between objects, you need programs that are able to follow this „deep“ structure through the chain of relations (pointers) that lead up and down the nesting levels.

If you read „note X rests in notebook D“ it is simple. It is one call in the code. If you read (usually by a recursive procedure call) through a table that links the note through levels of nesting to a notebook, things are far more complex. This means a) runtime and b) recoding this central element, because a note call is a quite normal procedure when looking for information. So it means rewriting the core code, plus another GUI, because users need to admin their deep, nested structures.

If you understand what I wrote, you know that my statement „complete rewrite of all code, Server- and clientside“ is correct. If you don’t, you can dive a little into the theory of relational and object oriented databases, and can then be try to prove me wrong (although I doubt it).

@DTLow Adding stacks to notebooks was done the same way notes are related to notebooks: By adding a field „stack“ to the notebook objects. Theoretically this could go on for ever, but if it is done by adding fields, instead of linking tables, you have a problem to create an index. Without an index, search gets exponentially (!) slower with each level you add. So you can pull that trick, but not too often.

EN did it in a quite clever way: The stack is practically only a dependent object on the topmost layer of the GUI. It does not exist independently, the whole logic is based on the single note : notebook relation. In the search language, stacks play no role. A stack exists when there is one notebook that has this stack in the stack:field of this notebook. You can not create a stack independently from the first notebook that got assigned to it.

Hope this is enough nerd-speak for today ...

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Two quick things:

First, I’ve heard an interview with Evernote’s CEO where he states that their are two camps of people: those that like to put things in folders and those that like to tag things. He’s a folder person, so - perhaps - he can finally influence the roadmap. I think tags are wonderful, but feel like notes should be in folders and then the tags can cut across the folders. That’s exactly how the CEO described.

Second, I keep looking at Bear (as an alternative App). It actually has “tags”, but I put that in quotes, because they work more like folders. And tags can be nested. Now, their implementation isn’t exactly what I want, but it certainly is a lot closer than Evernote. Net, Evernote needs to raise its game and add simply, nested folder support. 

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44 minutes ago, CalS said:

That's how it works  today.  Just without layers of folders (notebooks).

Yes, but that is the key point for those in the folders camp: we want a few more layers. Evernote is a beautiful app, and I like the new version (although it definitely is buggy). I hope to some day convert back to it.  

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2 minutes ago, SteveJazz said:

Yes, but that is the key point for those in the folders camp: we want a few more layers. Evernote is a beautiful app, and I like the new version (although it definitely is buggy). I hope to some day convert back to it.  

I knew that was what you meant.  To be specific you might edit your post to reference multiple layers of folders.  No biggie.

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..and, then I discovered Craft. A beautiful app. Completely rethinks note taking with a block paradigm, the ability to create nested pages and cards, and the concept of links and back links. Oh, and a folder system that easily allows for nested folders. Evernote feels like an attempt to polish an old paradigm. Evernote will do a great job at that, but I’ll take the new paradigm...and nested folders. Ironically, the ability to create sub-pages is so powerful, it enables me to flatten my hierarchy and I need fewer folder levels. Genius. No tagging yet, but I bet tags come before Evernote adds nested folders. Bought the Craft subscription; cancelled the Evernote subscription. 

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