Computer Scientists need Code Blocks!

feature

#1

In many forms of Markdown, I can do fenced code blocks that are formatted as plain text, if not also syntax highlighted. For example:

print(“hello world!”)

As a computer science researcher, I’d love to use Findings. There’s so much about it that I love … but without the ability to include code blocks, I end up taking most of my notes to a Markdown editor. I’m currently using Quiver, but there are other note taking apps that do code blocks in notes like

  • MWeb
  • Dropbox Paper
  • Evernote (though I’d highly recommend not implementing this feature like Evernote did… their code blocks are why I didn’t renew my last subscription)

I would also offer that there are already code highlighting open source projects that might inspire you:

All of these take code as an input and produce formatted HTML as an output. I think this is how Findings presents your notes, no?

This feature is the only thing stopping me from buying a Pro license, especially since I waste so much money buying Dropbox and Evernote subscriptions. But because of the nature of my research, probably two thirds of my notes are code snippets, whether they’re actual code, or just an algorithm’s pseudocode. I can’t use Findings without that unless I keep all of my notes in parallel in another app.


#2

Upon further investigation, it seems like I can do fixed width paragraphs. This is close, but not quite what I’m looking for. I would use this if this was the only option because of the way the Findings codebase is structured. Would love to hear from your devs about this issue.


#3

Thanks for the detailed feedback! The links to various implementations are also very useful. Thinking more about it, I feel like the best option might be to make it work a bit like in Slack, where code block are edited separately from the main text, and then visible as part of the main document with the highlighting, and with the option to only show part of it when very long. This would also work with attachment text files. In fact, the code block could be external text files, with optional editing within the app or in an external text editor.

What do you think?

Charles


#5

I was just about to request the same thing and found this post.
Please include code snippets in.

Thanks


#6

Hi Charles - as suggested previously, implementing this just as it has been done in Quiver would be fantastic - this is also the number 1 thing preventing me from using Findings.

Without code snippets it is hamstrung - not just for computer scientists, but increasingly for experimentalists who also do some coding, or use some bash/python/perl/scripts, or whatever.

I believe Quiver uses ACE (https://ace.c9.io) and it works realy, really well.

Cheers
Oli


#7

Thanks a lot for the link, Oli. I did not know about Ace, it looks pretty powerful…

Charles


#8

It is really nice and supporting it would make Findings more useful to your core audience, as well as making it useful to a whole new audience of CS and stats people!

More generally (and I guess this is even further down the list) it would be great if we could embed our own Javascript modules for use in Findings - e.g. I would love as a structural biologist to be able to embed UglyMol (https://uglymol.github.io) frames within my notes, with interactive views of a structure and density map that I am working on…

Cheers
Oli