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Plains project

The plains project allows you to arrange personal notes, ideas, bookmarks, etc. on a large pannable and zoomable 2D space. You can group related stuff together into a new "plain". After a while the information create a unique landscape and it's easy to find old or related stuff again.

The structure and userbility is heavily inspired by the map characteristics of graphical user interfaces. The basic idea is that every piece of information has its place on this 2D space and can be found there. As soon as enought information was added to form small structures (e.g. some notes grouped into a few plains) the spacial sense of direction kicks in. While the layout you chose might be arbitary at first and might seem a bit chaotic it's easy to find unique "landmarks" that lead to the information you search.

It's a web application and once you set it up on a server you can use it from everywhere. The data is stored in simple text files and directories. Plains correspond to directories and every piece of information to a file. This makes it easy to backup your data, search it with other tools or just use a file browser and text editor to get around.

BE AWARE: The project is in an very early stage right now. I only use it for my personal stuff. Therefore its nither cleaned up nor stable.


  • Pan around by click and draging the right mouse button on the background or a plain.
  • Zoom in and out with the mousewheel as you like
  • Use the buttons on the top left corner to create new entries: notes, ideas and plains. Click on them and drag a rectangle on the area you want the new entry to cover. You can also reset the zoom to 1.0 there.
  • The content of entries is written in a mail like format. At the top you have some headers and after a blank like the content. Usually you just have to insert the name of the new entry in the Title header. Write your contents after a blank line. Right now only markdown is enabled so you should write the contents in markdown.
  • If you hover the small wrench at the uper right corner of an entry a menu is shown. There you can save, edite and delete an entry. If you delete an entry only .deleted will be appended to the entry filename and it will no longer be shown. This allows you to bring back accidentally deleted entries.
  • You can move entries around by click and draging their symbol in the upper left corner directly left to the title.
  • To resize an entry click and drag the dots at the lower right corner.


  • Checkout the repository
  • Modify the plain.localhost.conf Apache2 configuration.
    • Set the ServerName to the domain you want to use. Please also make sure that this domain is routed to the IP of the server you're using. Either by adding an entry to your local hosts file if you use it on your own computer or by adding an corresponding name server entry.
    • Update the absolute pahts in DocumentRoot, ErrorLog, CustomLog.
    • You might want to turn display_errors off if you're using it on a public accessible server.
  • Make sure the webserver user can read the public and include directory and write to the data directory.

Problems and bugs

  • Performance is abysmal (because of the CSS transformations)
  • Only runs more or less well on Chrome. Opera has redraw issues and Firefox jumps a bit around if you start to edit an entry.
  • In Chrome you can not properly scroll the textareas as soon as they are a bit off the center. To work around this you can resize the entry large enought so the text area does not have scroll bars.
  • You can not move entries from one plain to another right now. Move the corresponding directory in a file browser instead.


A 2D space to organize notes and documents




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