So @phonetoroam is probably the @RoamResearch js extension that has had the biggest impact on my workflow so far.

Uses a simple and elegant "hack" to do things I had not imagined possible

If you've been waiting for our backend API, you'll want to know about this

Quick thread
The problem:

Roam is still running off the local first architecture I developed in 2017 to optimize for rapid iteration and a snappy editing experience

The backend is an event stream of edits, all logic of the graphs is on the frontend

There isn't a server in traditional sense
This is one of the reasons large graphs in Roam can be slow to load initially, but consistently have snappy editing -- we optimized for the writing and collaboration experience at the expense of being a great tool for publishing your ideas (at this stage)
It is also one of the reasons we've been slow to do things that people assume are table stakes -- ship a mobile app, provide link previews, allow cross graph sharing, or more granular permissions -- these, like many interesting 3rd party plugins, need a server with more knowledge
Switching out our backends has been a goal for many months -- but it's sort of like changing the engine on an airplane while you're in flight -- a lot harder to do than on the ground -- and we're not about to take any risks that could cause data loss or substantial downtime
Now, we've got a new backend that we're playing with in development right now, one that allows for way more functionality

But this isn't the sort of thing we're interested in taking risks with, so we're taking our time to roll out

which is why this @phonetoroam trick is so big
Here's how it works

When you sign up with @phonetoroam they generate a phone number you can text - they give you a roam/js script to add to your graph

roam/js scripts are how all roam plugins work today.. nbd

but this script includes an ID that maps to a spot in THEIR servers!
So - when you text the number - the text you send is stored in the PhoneToRoam servers, and then it just, sits there... until you open your graph

When you open your graph, their script pings the server, looks for matching ID, then looks to see if there are any new notes to sync.
The tradeoff: notes you're texting to that number are stored in servers that don't belong to Roam...

They might not have as strong a privacy guarantee in their terms of service (if they have any).. and a hackathon project has far less to lose than us if trust is ever violated...
But that said, idea of using a unique ID added to frontend script to connect a graph to data in a 3rd party server, and to sync via long polling... Feels pretty big

Means anyone following that pattern could build

Email 2 Roam
Web history 2 Roam
Browser Highlights 2 Roam
+ more
Last thing, and can't say this for sure but @kylemathews might know

I think that this idea + all the improvements we've made to the frontend API could MAYBE allow you to use Roam as a CMS for a @GatsbyJS static site that would load crazy fast and be a really great way to publish
And like I told Dan and everyone else who complains about obvious risks of "hacking" your own roam or using scripts from the community

if you are worried about security DO NOT CLICK THE RED BUTTON that says THIS IS NOT SAFE

We give you power, use wisely

Hold up - I should make this caveat, and caveat on all Roam/JS scripts much stronger...

Roam/JS is an EXTREMELY powerful API, it can do anything you can do, up to and including access notes in other graphs you control besides one you load it in.

Be VERY careful who you trust
I’ve been particularly concerned to see such a trend of people having loader scripts in Roam/js block, but putting actual functionality as closed source on a third party site — Yes, it allows for bug fixes, but also allows developers to sneak in changes you might REALLY not want!
We’re working on building Roam Depot so we can review changes and look for code that could be malicious before it goes out — till then, be aware that if any Roam/js dev who uses loading scripts lost control of domain where they host them, very bad day for everyone w that plug-in.

• • •

Missing some Tweet in this thread? You can try to force a refresh

Keep Current with Conor White-Sullivan 𐃏🇺🇸

Conor White-Sullivan 𐃏🇺🇸 Profile picture

Stay in touch and get notified when new unrolls are available from this author!

Read all threads

This Thread may be Removed Anytime!


Twitter may remove this content at anytime! Save it as PDF for later use!

Try unrolling a thread yourself!

how to unroll video
  1. Follow @ThreadReaderApp to mention us!

  2. From a Twitter thread mention us with a keyword "unroll"
@threadreaderapp unroll

Practice here first or read more on our help page!

More from @Conaw

3 Apr
We listened to 8 hour podcast about an actual cult on this drive... and it could not be MORE different from the values of @RoamResearch and our community

I love tongue in cheek humor and the history of #roamcult, but believe it’s time we set an example [[Taking Words Seriously]]
Words matter.

Cults are real and all around us.

They seek to control and manipulate members, break bonds, isolate people from friends and family, destroy the individuals faith in themselves, and to be an unchallengeable fountain of “truth” that their adherents never question.
In every way, Roam seeks to do and be the opposite of all those things.

But the stories we tell ourselves about ourselves matter - and jokes are often most funny when they are half true

And sometimes the things that are fun in your youth and just plain irresponsible as you grow
Read 15 tweets
2 Apr
It’s true, we don’t have flying cars, or handheld nuclear reactors, and string theory might be a dead end... but that doesn’t mean science has stagnated.

Last few decades we saw major paradigm shifts in “Coordination Studies” and the scholars leading the field are very well paid
Credit @geoffanders for naming the field.

I’ve long considered Startups an interdisciplinary research project, but meta field is so real
Read 5 tweets
31 Mar
The past is in an inspiring future.

Do not forget that there was a time and place where scholars and translators were paid as much for their contributions as professional athletes are paid today.… Image
Just to be clear - future I’m picturing is @balajis’s cloud state taking this on. Not the institutions we have for funding research today
Related -seems we have to file 1099s for every #RoamGames winner we award over $600, so we’ve had to slow down until we figure out how to handle payouts

Surprising how many bureaucratic barriers there are to funding a flourishing intellectual commons.
Read 5 tweets
26 Mar
A long time ago - before I had Roam -- I saw a post or thread about "the Conventional Wisdom that the Conventional Wisdom is wrong"

It argued that the folks most likely to complain about FAANG whiteboard interviews were those who did not get a job.

Ring any bells anyone?
That isn't it -- it was longer thread or post on how you should be skeptical that complaints mean there is a problem
Read 5 tweets
25 Mar
Two days ago I had the best spiritual and psychological conversation I have had in years with @haideralmosawi

Honestly felt life changing and deserves a thread of its own

Learned prayer is 27x more effective w others

Got me feeling need to get back into a live faith community
But then last night, prayed for UX inspiration - and was drawn to Library App from Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

And it provided... SO MANY ANSWERS
I’ve always been drawn to Islam.

Studied Arabic in my spare time in high school and college with help from Ahmed at the Citgo station (thanks Ahmed!), Rosetta Stone cds, and library book I never returned

House of Wisdom inspired Astrolabe as Roam Logo

Read 10 tweets

Did Thread Reader help you today?

Support us! We are indie developers!

This site is made by just two indie developers on a laptop doing marketing, support and development! Read more about the story.

Become a Premium Member ($3/month or $30/year) and get exclusive features!

Become Premium

Too expensive? Make a small donation by buying us coffee ($5) or help with server cost ($10)

Donate via Paypal Become our Patreon

Thank you for your support!

Follow Us on Twitter!