Right sidebar for all the stuff from information panel (statistics, toc, backlinks)

Yes, for sure, an ui with 4 panes is not friendly. On the other side having toc and backlinks (coming in 2.0) integrated in a sidebar right to the editor is veryy useful for serious working with notes.

How to solve that? Actually it is easy: never show more than three panes. Let’s say all three panes are visible, the left sidebar, the notes list and the editor, then we work with the information panel. If from the info popup window you choose to invoke the right sidebar then the left sidebar closes. So we would have: the notes list, the editor in the middle and a right sidebar. Vice versa when the left sidebar is opened again then the right sidebar will be closed. Surely you could also work in a two pane layout with notes list and editor where you just use the information popup window. But i believe i would really appreciate and heavily use the right sidebar.

That request has the advantage that you are not forced to use a right sidebar and can stay at info popup as long as you feel that it is enough for you

(Additional thought: When left sidebar is closed it would be nice to have maybe a quick picker for selecting tags in form of a popup)

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Hello.

Yes, for sure, an ui with 4 panes is not friendly. On the other side having toc and backlinks (coming in 2.0) integrated in a sidebar right to the editor is veryy useful for serious working with notes.

Please add more details about why you think the right sidebar is more useful than (the detachable) info panel.

How to solve that? Actually it is easy…

I think the weakest point of this design idea is that, when you switch tags, you lose the right sidebar and you have to re-open it if you want to see the backlinks. Yes, a tag quick picker will mitigate this problem, but only if it’s in the main UI.

To add my two cents, I am most concerned about interactions with the sidebar on the iPad later down the line. Once you add backlinks, I will likely keep the sidebar with backlinks visible at all times. But I use my iPad more often than the Mac for consuming my notes, and in the current design, I don’t see how I could replicate that workflow on the iPad. Having to click on the info panel button hundreds of times a day sounds like a bit of a chore.

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I agree to this comment. Bear has technically 4 pane design in iOS and iPadOS anyways, and especially for iPad since we have a space to ‘dock’ the info panel, the 4th pane can work. Perhaps only invoke while in editor? I don’t know.
I think most people will be happy when the info panel becomes resizable for Mac. That seemed to be the biggest complaint and I agree. Not necessarily horizontally but vertically definitely.

I am using bear mainly on mac and sometimes on iPhone. Someday i probably will buy an iPad. :smiley:

The information popup is a nice one, especially if you open a note in its own window (there is no sidebar or note list). When working with shorter notes it is no problem to use that info popup for table of contents. But i want to use bear also as a tool for long form writing, means notes or texts - when printed - have a size of at least 10 pages until 50. These texts have a heavy outlining and for writing and searching through such text i heavily rely on a constantly present table of content. I am focused on that special note, and by being focused on it i do not need the left sidebar.

The same with backlinks: if you just want to see the name of backlinks the info popup is sufficient. But a list of backlinks with a meaningful snippet of the text where the link appears offers a high value, but also needs place.

The detachable info panel is somehow cumbersome, not only because it is not resizeable in its current implementation: you have to detach it, then you have to resize it (when it is made resizeable) and you have to place somewhere where it doesn’t disturb.

And vice versa: when you open the right sidebar you would lose the left sidebar. On the other side i am not talking about a constant back and forth between the two sidebars. In many scenarios the info panel would do its job, but for focused working a right sidebar would be a big help

As far as i can see in the screenshots from bear 2.0 the drop down in the second pane offers a quick picker for notes, untagged, …, archive and trash. The rest of the tags could be arranged there too. All in all i think it is a good balance between advantages and disadvantages. It was just a quick idea and maybe there could be an better implemetation of right sidebar

Considering everybody’s feedback so far it seems to me one of “core” issues is the vertical size of view displaying the TOC/Backlinks. The other one is how this view should remain visible while navigating notes when triggered by users. (correct me if I’m wrong)

While inclined to preserve the info panel as it is in Bear 1 I have to say a 4th column might indeed suit better both issues above.

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You are correct. For what it’s worth, UpNote has a four-column design and I never once felt like it was a problem. You can always hide the right-side column if you want.

EDIT: I also agree with previous comments that seeing some of the text surrounding the backlinks would be preferable to just a list of notes containing a backlink.

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I agree with the thought about a visible and resizable info panel. It could be much easier and more information if you don’t need to bother the button every time invoking a panel. But also I agree that the minimalistic interface of Bear is Alma Mater for the Team and its philosophy not about geeky Obsidian with its “connection-map madness” and so on. But. You could take a choice to the user: f.e. we can activate it in the settings if we want a persistent info panel. Or maybe add a fourth layout to the existing three (left pane + list + editor, only list + editor, only editor). Adding to this info panel would be a great extension.

But first of all. If we speak about the backlinks pane we can exactly understand that there is no space on the left pane for this type of information. I don’t know how about you, but I have such a big amount of even first-level tags that there is no space for anything else. So it would be logical to move backlinks somewhere else. And the right info pane seems to be the most logical place.

I would say that the info panel would be the best place from where to invoke the 4pane-layout which let’s the info panel disappear as long as the fourth pane from right sidebar is not closed. Somehow it would be strange to have both at the same time in layout

@trix180

Here a design element from ulysses app. I am not going to build an idea around that. Maybe some of you will have one or not. It is just for demonstration

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Personally I fourth column won’t work for me as I very frequently use Bear along side something else I’m working on. I suppose as long as we have good keyboard shortcuts for hiding/showing columns, maybe I’d be okay with a fourth one as well.

Something that would work for me is to have a pane at the bottom of the main body note pain. I realize that might be tricky to design a good interface in that way.

And as far as complexity go, I don’t think Bear should be too afraid of options as long as they’re not forced upon the user. I think you Preferences screen is a good example of this. Some of it is quite advanced, but it’s not something people have to pay attention to.

I fully agree that Bear by default should probably not have a fourth pane visible, wither to the right or the bottom, but it would be so valuable for some of your users to have the option activate a pane consisting of backlinks.

Sorry to keep harping on this, it’s just that I’d really like this feature. I understand software development is hard, espescially when you’re trying to keep the UX simple and efficient like with Bear. And believe me: I really appreciate all the design and engineering work put into Bear. I absolutely love this app. It’s one of the most cherished apps I have. I helps me so much through the workday and beyond. So thanks for making it!

+1 to a 4th panel. Which presumably would only be a 2nd panel when notes are opened in their own window. That would be amazing.

Thank you.

Now, here I suggest an option combining the two types although I do not know if others will find this appealing.

Have the pop-up, and when ‘expanded’ or ‘docked’ stick it next to the window (like a forth pane) not detaching it altogether. Users will have option to keep it in dock or ‘default’.

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I am not sure if i understand: what do you mean with "stick it next to the window like a forth pane ? It is not part of the ui but an own detached window merged together with the main window? What if there is no space anymore on the screen to be sticked together?

@trix180

i am going through all possible layouts:

  • 1-2-3
  • 2-3
  • 3
  • 2-3-4
  • 3-4

The question is how to avoid layout 1-2-3-4 on opening the fourth pane and what happens if you close pane 4 in the above listed layouts. The answer to second question is easy: pane 4 just closes and layout 2-3 or 3 remains - that’s all! What else would someone expect? Actually the only problem is you have layout 1-2-3 and are opening the fourth pane. I still believe that four pane layouts are not friendly. In the meantime i think that ulysses app trick would do it: you keep the left sidebar but as popup that disappears after you click outside of it or even remove the mouse out of it

I thought while keeping the old pop-up design what once could ‘detach’ can now just go back in, or ‘dock’/‘pin’, to the original window and now it acts as is a fourth pane. Most people won’t bother with the pop-up and then also don’t have to stress about 4-pane being too much, but also power-users with long list can also dock. But then maybe I am making everything too complicated, and don’t think the transition animation can be elegant enough :thinking:

Why would you avoid 1-2-3-4? A note doesn’t take the whole width of the screen anyway because of text wrapping. Take a look at UpNote where you can have four panes open and it looks good, doesn’t feel like too much or anything.

Hello everybody,
quick update on were we are with this: After some toughs we realised the forth panel might indeed be a good solution for both backlinks and TOC but comes with an usability problem when the editor width is too small to fit both text and and forth column (@krssno this pretty much the layout problem you expressed, but with some differences). We are exploring the idea of threshold editor width and displaying the popover when width < threshold and the 4th column when the width > threshold.

This should also works on iPad’s views: Full size → 4th column, medium, small, slide over (split view) popover.

At the moment we are in the process of releasing a public Bear 2 macOS beta, the step after is releasing iOS and then work on the above. Along the way we’ll try to send mockups ideas of the 4th column here on the forum to get feedback.

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+1 on the fourth panel idea (or a resizable info panel?).

Just for reference, right now the info panel doesn’t have enough vertical and horizontal space. As a result, it doesn’t give me an useful overview of this document I’m currently working on:
Screen Shot 2022-10-07 at 15.03.50

The open mindedness about this issue from the team is just wonderful.

UPDATE: I’m now using the Bear 2.0 and the info panel has more vertical space:
Screen Shot 2022-10-07 at 20.42.03

It’s so much better.

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A simple shortcut to turn on a full height 4th column on the right with tabs for outline/backlinks/info would be ideal