Project Notes - Thoughts on implementation

Hi all,
I’m surprised I can’t find something similar having been discussed, but chances are I’ve just searched for the wrong thing.

Consider a database table for projects.
One line per project with various info points for the project.
I want to be able to write notes on the project occasionally to communicate where I’m up to / what I’m doing.
Now in the past I would have made a second table and just had a column that records which project an entry is associated with, and then filter that table.
However, that table can very quickly get big if you’ve got many many projects with many many updates. I’ve also found (again, in the past and perhaps because I used the formula wrong) that using filter would slow things down.

So I wondered if I could use a canvas column in the project db. And just free form the notes in there.

However, unless I’m missing something, that would make it almost impossible to have a broad overview of projects in progress (so a view of the projects table showing just projects one is working on, and the LAST update to what I’ve been doing.

Which brings me back to square one.

I’m wondering what different folks thoughts are on a way to set this up as efficiently as possible.
The overall database I’m making will be large. I have one in use for the last 2 or so years which I’m completely re-writing, and one of the major reasons for doing this is for speed. I’m trying to get rid of info we don’t need, while use some better practices to keep things lean and working well.

As it happens, I think the same sort of structure is needed for a super simple CRM. Again, one can have a single table for different contacts and another for communication with the contact and just filter as needed (and use it to easily find people you NEED to contact) but it seems like canvas columns would be a lovely way of keeping things inside the one contact table.

I had thought of a table within that canvas column - but then how does one effectively pull data from those many tables into a single table for easy digesting of info?


For what its worth - there’s something beguiling about using canvas columns.

And I might have just stumbled on something others might find obvious, but if like me you hadn’t played a tonne with them yet, here’s a thing.

I’ve gone back to the original structure. So, table for projects and a table to notes.
But now I’m using a canvas to hold the notes (in the notes table).
The fun part comes in the projects db, where I create a canvas column with a formula

And this collects all the individual notes and puts them in a non-editable canvas for that project.

I can also use .last to grab just the last note for other views etc. Its super powerful. I just use a button in the project to add a note. Creating a UI to edit the notes might be tricky, but I’ll cross that bridge some other time. Its not the highest priority…

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HI Brendan,

Yes, lots of new things in Coda all the time, also many ways to do things.

I have a 3rd alternative to making notes using the blue arrows:
This is linked to the task list, but you can add the three columns to any table: One for the latest update, one column for the archive/ history, and a third with a button to move the previous comment to the archive/ history and then blanking the first column. (What I do on my newest implementation, is to blank the first column, and then add today() date. You could also add the user name.)

If the task relates to a meeting, there is a canvas column for meeting notes. Including a view for the action list so that action items can be captured during the meeting.
And when a project is created, it creates a “project page” based on the type of project you are working on.

Rambling Pete

Oh this is interesting indeed. I’m going to fiddle with this.

Our notes are related to projects, but I’d likely also look at adding notes to our to-do’s (which are also related to projects). And then have some way within the project of displaying ALL the notes to do with the project (those related just to the project, and those related to to-do’s.
It likely can be done by making a default to-do task which is just the overall project and tie the notes to that.

And with all that in mind I’m going to attempt to iterate on your idea within our structure.

(I did notice something strange when collecting multiple canvas’s together in a column with the way its displayed. See below - its just formatting (adding spaces) and a coma in an odd place.)

For anyone who is interested, I’ve moved this along quite a bit, and there is a decent and easy solution.
Essentially, I display a table of the canvas’s to show all the notes (using preview) and then allow people to edit each note by opening the canvas for edit.

And on that edit modal, I also display the progress notes table so that one can refer back to old notes. Super. Not perfect, but it’ll do.

Still to get buttons working to “save & close”, “cancel & close” etc - but thats for another day soon.

Hi Brendan! Love seeing what you have built here with the canvas column - such an awesome way to organize notes.

I am part of Coda’s Success Team, here to help with doc building and optimizing and if you ever want to talk through your doc’s use-case, let us know! We would be happy to think through more Coda features that will make your life that much better :slight_smile:

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Ha! Wait till you see my hacks to bring tags into it when using through a “details” view… its not working yet, but I think it’ll work.

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