I really like Hook and use it all the time, but it could be so much better

I use Hook every day. And i use it to get links to anything on my Mac, and then, i paste those links in another app (mostly: Things, my task manager or Craft, my notes app). That process (getting URLs) was terrible before Hook!

I do not use Hook to “hook things together”, because:

  1. Missing indicators: I do not have a prominent visual indicator if something i am looking at (in the front app) is “hooked”. Yes, 3.6 does a better job at this, but there is a significant delay (but that’s probably due to the OS).
  2. Long-Term compatibility I worry about Hook going away in 1, 5, 10 years and being left without a way to see related files.
  3. After using Hook for more than a year, is still struggle when to copy, when to paste, what exactly i am pasting: The hook paradigm of copying and pasting is not how (my) brain works. I want to collect stuff and then say: Group these (Yoink is an example for an app that does “collecting” really well.)

I believe that Hook is great software that has already made a big impact on the Mac ecosystem.
I also think that Hooks` current UX/paradigm (copy + paste) is broken, and the UI gets more crowded with every new release.

I’d love to get your feedback on this. Thanks!

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thanks for the feedback, @floflo . just a few quick remarks before the week-end.

Per “Hooked” indicator in menu bar icon – Hook, you can set the polling interval using the Terminal app (command line)

defaults menubar.icon.status.interval

The menu bar icon is just a first step. We’re very likely to create a floating window which is both a status indicator and drag and drop tool for hooking things together and doing other things.

we address those concerns in detail on our We Value Interoperability openness page. A comparison is open meta where we wrote

The reader may recall “OpenMeta ” project (tagging). OpenMeta data were eventually migrated (or at least can be migrated) into macOS itself. No data was ever lost for compatibility reasons. But OpenMeta had a significant problem which Hook does not have: it stored data in extended file attributes (xattributes [see man xattr]) which are not adequately documented by Apple. Hook in contrast plays by the rules.

Another point is that there are ways of using Hook that don’t involve hook:// URLs and Hook tends to default to simply returning native URLs (where Hook doesn’t we often offer two integration options). For instance, with Obsidian Hook defaults to obsidian:// URLs but offers two other options).

but the page has a lot of other points.

The issue is partly that Hook is a very general and versatile tool, that can be used in many ways (.hook files, hooking things together, copying and pasting links into other content, and simply bookmarking with ⌘D). We probably should create some videos and documentation to help people who struggle with the large number of use cases and ways of using it. We could spell out some use cases and usage patterns. For example, when writing a document or email, it’s often useful to collect references using Hook’s Copy Link function , which is cross browser.

Too many uses cases for me to list here, but some readers may wish to contribute their Hook usage best practices, tips, views etc.

Also I agree there’s a lot left for us to do with Hook. And it’s just the beginning. We’re grateful to have input from our users, board of advisors and others.

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I am one who would absolutely love, videos and documentation to help with more ways of using Hook. When I first bought this I was thrilled imagining what might be possible. And it was kind of a knee-jerk reaction to purchase. Once I got it I couldn’t quite figure out what I could do with it. I still haven’t been able to figure that out exactly. So I have been kind of limping along. This would be a phenomenal thing that would help greatly for me to be able to use it better. So I just wanted to add my voice to this.

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I believe Hook’s function as a universal bookmarking app - now including a searchable index of bookmarks and the ability to delete bookmarks - is first-class. The app is well worth it to me for that feature alone and I suspect it might be more widely received if that function alone were more widely demonstrated and discussed. The fact that one keystroke lets me get a bookmark from any app without the need to remember the commands for the individual apps is quite useful. The ability to create deep-link bookmarks into some apps (such as PDFPen Pro) and to link into some apps where no native support exists (such as Apple Notes) is superb. And the fact that wherever possible Hook returns the bookmarks in native format is an added plus; if Hook were to disappear, the only bookmarks I would lose would be those which could never exist anyway without Hook.

I do agree that the more advanced features are very interesting on a theoretical or academic level but are not practical yet for daily use. Even the new alert when an item is Hooked is not truly useful because there are exceptions as to which situations where it will work; thus it cannot be relied upon. I suspect this will be improved as time goes on.

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To @floflo, you’re not alone.
I felt the same about all 3 points! (Trying out the 1st one to see if Hook 3.6 resolves it for me.)

I love Hook’s vision and how it evolves each year.
I see Hook aging well, like a very good wine.
I’m slowly starting to rely more and more on Hook.

Still, you raise important questions.

Luc seems to address this relatively well.

And now I’m wondering if this simple idea might be of great help for different purposes.

What if Hook had an export-based backup strategy wherein it produced daily an HTML file exposing each one of our hooks, clustered into their groups?

Think of the bookmark exports that all web browsers produce, but somehow adapted to Hook’s bidi reality.

If the last daily backup always wore the same name, I suppose I could reach it easily using a hook. I might even get into the habit of opening it up quite often in my browser to CTRL-F through it and browse it.

With something like this in place, I suppose I wouldn’t fear anymore losing efforts.

I feel the same!!!

Here are some of my regular thoughts:

  1. I want to link these 3 items together, and then why not also link these 2 other ones together?
    • OK, not sure I’ll be able to get it right quickly this time, but let’s try it out if I ever want to make a habit out of this! Ready? GO!
  2. Let’s use the global Copy (Markdown) Link shortcut.
    • Did it work? It seems to work only one third of the time. I’m gonna call it twice in a row, to help make sure it does. Still, not sure it’ll work…
  3. Let’s switch to this other item, and paste the link using the global Hook to Copied Link shortcut.
    • Ok, nothing happened but if I remember well, it’s still supposed to have worked. Hmmm, let’s call Hook to check it. Oh no, nothing was linked…
    • I sure would have loved to see the menubar icon tell me it’s put a paste-able link in my clipboard at first, and then when I finally find how to make the hook really hook, to see that too.
    • 3.6 should make it become green after a few secs - I saw that happen yesterday and I was quite happy about it.
    • Hook performs its status checks each N seconds, and it could additionally perform them after everyone of its actions that might bring a status change.
  4. Ok where was I again?
    • That is, all this fine minutiae full of friction is not good for my cognitive attention.
    • I lost the original idea that I wanted to link these 3 items together, and then these 2 other ones.

Still, I keep a close watch on Hook’s progress. I know it’s getting better and better.

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I know I just wrote a response, but I feel I need to get back to this from a different angle too.

Let’s say I want to hook a cluster of 5 items. Often 5 of the recently opened tabs in my browser. All this copy-pasting-switching-tabs-checking-if-Hook-registered-my-actions-properly-and-fixing-what-it-missed drives me nuts. Clearly, regular copy-pasting doesn’t scale well to cross-linking all the combinations.

I suppose I should force myself to start using Hook’s contextual window instead, to see if it will work better for me:

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Agreed

I think what Hook really needs to advance beyond basic bookmarking is some sort of hook tree or set of groups that comes up by command and/or every time a hook is made. It can’t all be in the background for people to remember or to randomly see when the hook logo changes color.

It needs a visible/browsable tree to see, explore, add, and edit all of the hooks.

It should not be a huge cognitive effort to remember what items are hooked - that ironically is the reverse of the core concept of the app.

At one point we didn’t even have this for bookmarks; the bookmark search has now fixed this very well and it is very useful as a result. The same needs to now happen for hooks of multiple items.

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I’ve just started using hook (and just purchased it this morning), so I’m still feeling my way through a bunch of use cases. I was intrigued by the Raycast script here (GitHub - neldeles/hook-raycast), but it isn’t working for me, possibly because it wants the shortcuts remapped.

But, the Raycast script did make clear that there are quite a few repeated steps that I take when using hook: invoke the hook window, copy markdown link, switch to the new document, where I invariably paste the markdown link (in DevonThink or Obsidian) and ALSO invoke the hook window and “paste” the hook. An option to combine those last two steps (paste markdown link into document and hook to markdown link) into a single command would be great

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Hmm, I don’t want to hijack the thread… but I’m missing something, since I thought PDF Expert did not support deep linking?

On the main topic–as a person who has also been inching into greater Hook use for 2 (more?) years, I agree progress seems slow. To me, it’s maybe less because of the app and more because the app does something that should be normal, but which the interface has trained us not to expect. So what we’re doing is retraining our brains.

More specific use cases (e.g., 2 minute video) would be great! That would persuade my brain that yes, such & such is indeed possible!

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Welcome to the Hook Productivity Forum, @j3g. Meanwhile there are videos here. If anyone watches the videos again, it would be helpful for us to know what you think of particular ones.

I meant PDFPENPro - sorry

Please, NO tree structures. I came to Hook because I could finally link to almost anything anywhere. In the mean time I have gotten closer to my goal of leaving a structure based information filing system. Yes the bookmark finding system could use some improvements. The ability to rename is where I found a bonus. I started adding one or more single key words at the beginning of each bookmark thus a marriage with tags. I am currently keeping a link to a list of those key words with a brief description but that could be improved on with a pop-up list DB and auto-complete. I’m doing this inside of Craft so instead of putting file in the Craft doc, I put its Hook link. I can also edit the Hook linked file which I couldn’t do in Craft without relinking to it. This was paramount. And, I can also link between spaces inside Craft. I’ve always been a best of breed app(program) user and now I have a great hub and easily located data inside my favorite spread sheet, word doc when I need advanced formatting, PDF, appt, task, contact, project planning, etc. I’m almost to the point of being able to use Craft w/o its’ folder structure.

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An important update about the following long comment I posted earlier:

Well, I realized recently that the above issues I have with the global Copy (Markdown) Link shortcut are not caused by Hook, but by… the software I use to make my caps lock key behave as an hyper key (CMD-OPT-CTRL-SHIFT). It often fails doing so, for all apps I use it for. What a weird many months this has been! :sweat_smile: So many apps were frustrating me with erratic behavior, until I realized it’s this magic shortcut that works inconsistently!

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I tried to “Hook” files but felt lost.
Now I’m using Hook only as a file-link generator. I put the link in plain-text note (Org-Roam, a Zettelkasten note-taking plugin for Emacs) and use Hook’s PDF deep link frequently.
As for the link between two notes, it is generated by the note taking app.
There is no direct links between two files or folders; they are organized around plain text notes.

This is how I am using Hook. Hope this helps and would love to know more use cases from others.

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There’s also a new topic here specifically on that: What is your practice in using Hook? - Discussion & Help - Hook Productivity Forum.

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This is my case, too. Almost exactly. These links get pasted variously into Drafts, OmniFocus, DEVONthink, and Numbers. I rely almost not at all on the basic concept of hooking things together. To put this in psychology terms @LucB might understand, my toddler-brain is struggling with object permanence. :wink:

does the menu bar icon badge help, by indicating that something has a hook? Would the badge being a floating window help? (We have this in house, but not ready for release).

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