For nearly a month, we have tested and reviewed as many Mac apps as we can, trying to recommend the best new Mac apps for you. In this post, we’ve recommend these apps as below as the best newly released apps for the year 2023.
Tana: 2022 The most amazing note taking app
Tana’s homepage says “you can cancel half of your software subscriptions” and that’s true, at least I’m no longer torn between Roam Research, Notion, Obsidian, Logseq, etc. If the biggest innovation in note-taking software in the past two years is Roam’s dual chain, then Tana’s Supertag is another big innovation.
What is Tana? Tana is Workflowy + Roam + Notion, which integrates the core features of these three software, Workflowy’s outline, Roam’s dual chain, and Notion’s database, and really makes note-taking software fast and stress-free through two features: unity and flexibility.
Today I’m going to share with you its three main highlights and current problems, and at the end of the article there is a very simple data management Supertag that I made to share with you for free, so that friends who are starting out can quickly build a sense of Supertag and inheritance logic.
First of all, Tana has the standard features of current mainstream note taking software, such as daily entries. Clicking on Today or pressing the shortcut key takes you to today’s diary, and the calendar is displayed in a daily anniversary structure on the sidebar.
There are also double links, where you can create a link by typing @. If you use @ to create a link on a new node, it will create a reference to the original node; if you are typing something and then create the link, this is an in-line link.
Then there’s the Tag/Tag, which looks like a regular tag but has actually been stripped down – that’s Tana’s one-of-a-kind Supertag, which we’ll talk about later.
The above is the standard of mainstream note taking software, daily record, double chain and tag. Let’s see what Tana’s three highlights are.
Completely uniform granularity
The first thing that struck me about Tana was the complete uniformity of granularity.
All notes in Tana are nodes, there is no concept of documents, pages or blocks, and the operations are the same in any interface. For example, in Quick Add, you can do all node-related functions, including adding tags, adding double links, etc., just like in the normal interface. Instead of just giving you a text box to type some text first.
Uniform note granularity brings a consistent experience, first of all, we don’t have to think about whether we should create a block or a new page, or whether to use parentheses or brackets when embedding – more importantly, global uniformity means perfect filtering and filtering.
Filtering is not the same as searching, so let’s take an example to see how they are different.
The difference between search and filtering
Let’s first look at what a search is.
For example, if we click on a tag in Obsidian, we are actually searching for the tag as a keyword, and the final result is given after the search. We can see all the documents that meet the criteria, but we can’t directly manipulate them in the search results list.
This is not only an extra step in the operation, there will be a lot of irrelevant information to interfere with us.
Filtering is not the same. Although filtering is essentially a search, it is different in the presentation of results. Filtering gives results that can be manipulated directly on top, for example, the list of books below is a tag filter, and you can perform various operations, including modifying and adding, while not feeling any difference between the filtered node and the actual physical node that exists.
For example, “Organize My Books” which is a physical node, operating my books under this node has the same effect as operating books under the filtered node, so that future organization will also enjoy great convenience as a result.
To briefly summarize, the difference between filtering and searching is similar to the difference between a smart folder and a document search. What are the benefits this brings to us?
The first is that we can take notes in any place we want, and as long as we mark the right Tag, we can be sure to find it later and organize it very easily. For example, if I want to do a book management, when I need to add a new book, I don’t need to find the page where my book notes are and add a record. I just add it directly to the page I currently have open, such as the journal page. This is the first benefit of uniformity and minimization of granularity.
The second benefit is the flexibility of document organization. First of all, outline notes are inherently tree-like, and we would feel uncomfortable without folders in our notes, whereas here we can create the same outline structure according to our preferred folder structure.
More importantly, Tag and the unified granularity of notes allows us to be more flexible in organizing our notes in a way similar to smart folders, allowing us to slice and dice our notes library in various ways to present the results we want to see. Thanks to the addition of Tag, each note can come with its own description of what it is and what it has, or called its own metadata and its own attributes.
We spend a lot of space talking about granularity unification and minimization, because it is important for the pressure-free recording and organizing of notes, and the underlying data structure of a note software determines its functional direction and future development prospects, as long as it involves a double chain or sieve of selected document-based note APP, I am generally not optimistic.
The previous section has demonstrated the flexibility of Tana’s note organization, and its unique secret to doing so is Supertag, the super tag.
What is a supertag? Simply put, it is the addition of a set of data structures to an ordinary tag that describes itself.
Let’s take a look at this starting function. For example, if I have a Book tag, in other note taking software, and I want to mark a note as being about a book, we can also put a Book tag on it, but that’s about it. What if I also want to describe more attributes about the book?
In Obsidian, we can use YAML to describe it, and then those who like to tinker with it will use DataView to make a card or list display; similar operations in Notion can easily be developed to create a database.
But in Tana, all these information and functions are integrated in a Supertag, and these information such as author, year of publication, rating, etc. are called Field/fields, and after configuring the Supertag, any note tagged with Book will have all the properties needed for a “book”. Is that why Tag is Super? No, there’s more to come.
Supertag is on its way to implementing a relational database or object-oriented system.
What does that mean? Suppose you turned out to be managing cars, you would need a Supertag for a car that had two characteristics, four wheels and a steel box. So you would tag the notes that fit that profile with the car.
Then one day you suddenly need to manage trams and oil cars separately, both with four wheels and a box, the difference being that one is battery and one is oil.
One way is to create a new label for a tram, including four wheels and one box and one battery, and then a label for an oil car, including four wheels and one box and one tank of oil; another way is also to create a new label for a tram, but only including one battery as an attribute, and likewise a new label for an oil car, including only two oils as an attribute. So what about the common attributes of the cars they have? They both share the content of the original car tag.
This will form the tag relationship shown in the figure below, which is called inheritance. The tram and tanker tags inherit the content from the car tag. In Tana, this inheritance is represented using Extend/Extension.
We can achieve the same management effect, but this way is more logically clear. In the future, it will also be more flexible in the process of management and organization.
With the unified granularity of notes and the Supertag, Live Query, which is responsible for presenting notes to you in various styles, is here.
We can use it as a smart folder, for example, my Book list is a Live Query, click Live Query to see its conditions are very simple, as long as there is a Book tag on it.
Of course, we can also add various conditions, and the query results can be displayed in various styles, such as tables, cards; you can also group the query results to show the Kanban view.
Tana is a surprising notes app for me, it meets my expectation of a main notes app, and it’s not easy for a service in early testing stage to have such completion.
But here’s a brief list of shortcomings, or a list of expectations.
The latest version of Tana adds a powerful feature to Supertag, which is recursive back, although I am very excited about this feature, but I still hope that the development team can make the editor experience better as soon as possible, such as supporting more formats, including headings, highlighting, etc.
Another thing is that although the current column can be divided, but scrolling when all the columns scroll together, this is a bit awkward. After all, for most people, the editor experience is something easier to feel.
In addition, compared with Roam, Tana seems to be more like Workflowy, the most typical thing is that it does not support Markdown, copy and paste a link in Markdown format will not render the effect we want, we need to copy the HTML link, or copy the text first, and then paste the link to the text. Of course, this is not a disadvantage, but a trade-off. However, we would like to support some common Markdown syntax.
Tana is a cloud service APP, data exists in the cloud. Although some people don’t like the data on the cloud, I don’t have too much obsession with the data being local or not, but I would like to have automatic backup.
Currently, Tana only supports manual export of JSON formatted documents, which in theory can ensure that the data is not limited to one APP and can retain the complete information of notes, but I would like to support automatic and regular export as well as export of more recognizable documents, such as Markdown.
The book management Supertag used in this article is free to share, if you are interested, you can click the link to get it. You can view the Supertag structure directly in my shared space, or you can clone it directly into your workspace and change it however you want.
Tana is currently free, so if you want to try it out, you can register your email on their official website and wait in line for an invitation. Note that Tana currently only supports Google account login, so remember to register with your Gmail email. Remember to register with your Gmail email address. Also, you should backup your data when using the beta software.
AppUninstaller.com’s App Uninstaller 2023
When you’re using a Mac device, you have to regularly remove the apps you don’t use any more to free up disk space and improve overall system responsiveness. App Uninstaller is built for automatic app removal, and the newer version 2023 is the best-in-class you can ever find. I have been using this little app for 4 years, and it just perform very well to get the job done without any trace or hassle. Besides, you’ll receive lifetime updates and upgrades, which could be very costly if you’re using other apps.