Reminders and Notifications

I’ve been looking to move on from Notion for a while. They rarely make improvements, and when they do, it’s insignificant at best. A lot of “Thanks for the feedback, we’ll make sure that gets to our team!” with little to no action.

The recent release of nested pages from Coda was one of the biggest improvements I was looking for and I’m very pleased it’s here. Full freedom to construct docs the way you want is huge. Notion set the bar very high.

What seems to be one of the last few things holding me back is the way notifications and reminders are handled. I can’t for the life of me figure out how make it work how Notion does.

If I create any block with a date in it, I can set that date as a reminder, and the notification message will be the contents of the block I added the date to.
Screen Shot 2020-05-02 at 4.44.31 PM

Or, if I have a table with a row. I can make a cell in that row the notification date and the message will be the value from the primary column (in the same row).

Coda seems to use Automations for reminders, but configuring the date and output message is very confusing—at least if you’ve never done it before.

  1. Is simplifying reminders and notifications anywhere in the backlog?
  2. Is what I am describing actually simpler than what I’ve understood so far?
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Hey!

Unfortunately there are no reminders or any sort of reliable “fire at exact time” mechanism. Automations can be used for this purpose but they are far from ideal. All they do is perform an action every X hour (1 hour being the smallest interval you can set), e.g. send a notification if some condition is met (e.g. it’s due to send one). You have to code that condition yourself. Also automations don’t reliably run each 1 hour but can be delayed. So if you’re after fine reminders (e.g. to alert you about an interview), these will most likely fail you.

What you can do instead is set up a Google Calendar pack to add yourself calendar events for these things you want to remind yourself of at specific timestamps. Then let Google Calendar be responsible for timely notification delivery.

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hello, could you please elaborate on the google calendar pack setting up??? thanks in advance

Another idea could be to use Zapier Delays paired with some acute messaging service to get the notification exactly when you want it.

https://coda.io/packs/google-calendar

Turn on the pack and through an action you can create events in a calendar of your choice. These events will have reminders as you have these set up by default in your Google Calendar (e.g. 30 minutes in advance before the event). Calendar pack is very limited in the free version of Coda though (only 20 actions, i.e. 20 created events, per month).

Or as @Johg_Ananda said, you can use Zapier or Integromat. You can actually use Zapier or Integromat to listen on new rows in Coda and create calendar events as well. This is more work to set up, but free tiers of Zapier and Integromat will give you higher limits of runs, not 20.

Or if your reminders aren’t time-sensitive, and it’s fine if the notification is delayed till the next hour + up to 20 minutes, then you can build a reminder system with Coda automations.

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This is the only feature that actually keep me in Notion. I would love to use coda as my main tool but reminders are so important for my that I can’t live without.

Nested Pages: done.
Reminders: someday
Full or almost full edit option in mobile apps: far away

If coda devs could do this, coda would be THE tool.

Coda Team is really working hard and I trust they will get it done.

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agree - this is a major missing piece. I do like the way you can structure your pages in Coda - for example, can have a table that isn’t a crazy thing, and just behaves like… well… a table!

But the ability to annotate reminders against objects, or inline when note taking is something i use daily with Notion. Coda… if you want to take it one step further, give users an easy way to see an aggregated list of any/all reminders that have been set and the objects they’ve been set against - allowing for chronological sorting/filtering. Notion doesn’t do that… and i feel it’s a major omission.

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Is this feature still missing? I’m also a Notion user, and I started using Coda today. I love the power of Coda, but I don’t want to spend time building a notification system which I feel should be part of the product.

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I’ve used the Google Calendar pack as advised above. It took me a while to figure out how to configure the pack and use formulas, but now I have a more powerful system for my task list with Google Calendar synchronization.
I would still love to see a quick and easy reminder feature added to Coda, so I don’t waste time with packs and formulas for something simple.

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I am missing this feature so hard that I am thinking about going back to Notion. I don’t wanna create work arounds with Google Calendar because I use my calendar for other stuff. Reminders of simple tasks are crucial for my workflow.

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I’m requesting timely and reliable(!) notifications in Coda as well. Whenever I tinker around with it, the tests for notifications are successful but they rarely get sent.

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Would love to get in-browser/in-app notifications, without having to set automations to trigger to send email :frowning:

Hi @Levi . Here is an example of the coda-based system we’re using. The main goal was an easy way to enable notifications for any table in your doc. The notifications are delayed 1 hour due to the coda automation limit, which is sufficient for our use cases since we use Slack and other tools for higher frequency stuff, however there is also a My Reminders page to view them on-demand.

Any suggestions for improvement are appreciated!

hi @Ed_Liveikis ,

it looks nice , did you consider to add a DeleteRows() once certain values remain empty to avoid a poluted overview table?

Hi @Christiaan_Huizer , thanks. For polluted overview table - do you mean the “My Reminders” page? That page has a filter that only shows Reminders that have triggered, but each row has a “Hide” button.

The idea is that the user hides reminders after acting upon them, to clear out the table. I added a Hide All button to that page based on your recommendation (if I interpreted it correctly).

I also added a rule to clean out reminders that have been triggered and hidden that are over 10 days old, which runs once a day. This isn’t user-facing, but will keep the reminders table tidy over time.

hi @Ed_Liveikis ,

I had this one in mind : Reminder System · _Reminders

the issue is that since you allow people to fill out a table and not the form version of it, you cannot force them to fill out every bit of info you need, they might forget about something. As a result you have rows that are of little or no value. I could imagine I would directly erase these rows and notify the user with the reason like you forgot to fill out the xxx OR add a notification that points to the _Reminders table with the invitation to complete and once in while, you delete the rows that lacked the bit of love you asked for.

Anyway, the moment Coda brings out a comment section you can reference to the issue is solved, but till that moment this is a nice workaround.

Yea good point. We do end up with these sort of ghost rows from time to time in our workflows. The auto delete sounds like a good option, however perhaps I should use forms more.

My issue with the forms is pre-populating the fields seems difficult to do for certain dynamic values (I haven’t played with this much) and also the disruption of moving to another web page tab (in the case of a published form).

For now I’ve added a rule to find Reminders without a Days column set (the number of days until reminder triggers), which is the only field that is required, and to automatically set it to 1 day from now. A bit opinionated but I’d rather not lose the reminder in case someone needed it.

seems a fair decision to me.

besides, Modals are in my opinion good to show data, not so much to gather it. Forms are easier and you don’t need to put them external, you simple create a form (like cards) on a page. It looks good and you have way more control than with a modal.

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