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Everything is a link public

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I’m now comfortably settled into my new site and happy with how it works. I use Roam as my CMS, and when publishing it extracts all the public data and pushes it up to my servers as a DataScript database. The site uses Remix to render pages on the fly, using datalog db queries to get the content.

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The content is radically different than any other site in one way: everything is linkable.

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Everything, down to this single paragraph. Hover over this and click the dot to the left. This paragraph is now linked to. Now shift-click the same dot. This paragraph is now focused.

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Any children are always rendered with the above paragraph

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Use your browser’s back button to go back. Don’t worry; we don’t load any JS on the page so your previous scrolling position will act sanely.

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And it’s not just that. I can link to anything like Coding environments. You can jump to that page and see everything else that links there. My site doesn’t support it yet, but you can also embed any block into anywhere.

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It’s truly amazing once you start working with your content this way, and it makes everything else feel ancient. I have to use Dropbox Paper for work, and I hate every minute of it.

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This reminds me of the idealistic Project Xanadu, a vision for the web where everything is a living link. Reading up on Ted Nelson and similar ideas, I can’t help but wonder if there was a different path the web could have taken.

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Typically, graph-based tools that support this approach generally focus on note-taking. Now that I can the ability to render anything from this content, almost everywhere I have to manage content would be better off with this:

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For my app Actual, I write release notes. Some of it is automated, but I still like to write parts of it manually. Write now I do it straight in a github release. I should write them directly in Actual’s Roam graph, and have the ability to link across docs

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Doc sites should totally be built on something like this. Imagine being to directly send a coworker a link to exactly the paragraph that’s important. Or being able to pull in other related sections from a completely different page next to a component example. I plan on writing Actual’s next docs site with this.

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The next version of Actual’s site will use Roam as a CMS. I’ll be able to edit any content directly in Roam, and configure the site as needed. While it will still render as a more traditional marketing site, it’ll be able to embed blocks and dynamically compose pages as needed. It’ll also still support linking everywhere, including into the docs.

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I also have the ability to write into the graph. This means I can setup automations to store github issues, support requests, and anything into my graph. What that means is I can link to them and setup important context as I’m working on things. I can see exactly which github issues were solved in a release, which support requests were related and any additional notes that I took throughout the process.

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I’m done writing text as plain text. I’m done generating header links that get broken whenever you change the titles. I’m done with dead links.

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The downside to Roam is it’s a hosted service and you don’t control the files. For something like docs you probably want it as local files, and logseq seems like a great alternative. In the future I’ll look into it instead of Roam, but regardless: make your content linkable!

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so I'm writing a post