2020 in Review

2020 wasn’t without its challenges for many of us and I personally feel lucky to have gotten through the year with health and happiness intact. For Outline it was the biggest year ever for new features, fixes, and the growing community. Whether you’ve been following intently or this is the first time you’ve come across Outline here are some highlights from the past year:

📝 A new editor

We started the year with a new editor, completely rewritten from the ground up on the Prosemirror framework. It’s now several orders of magnitude faster than the previous version at rendering both large and small documents, mobile compatible and a really solid base for the future. The editor is open sourced under a BSD license so you can play around with it in your projects too.

⚡️ Performance

I was already proud of Outline’s performance, and this year continued that focus. Special effort was put into dropping the initial download size of the entire application by more than 2Mb’s to ensure the app loads incredibly fast and documents load in milliseconds.

🆕 New content types

With the new editor came new functionality such as highlights, notice blocks, and rich embeds like Google Slides – plus a /slash menu for quickly performing actions with only the keyboard. A special focus was also put on linking with automatic backlinks, on-demand creation of new docs from within the editor, and hover previews for internal links. All this and still fully Markdown compatible.

New notice blocks

👨‍👨‍👧‍👦 Permissions + access

In March we made strides in improving the Outline experience for different kinds of teams with the addition of groups, group permissions, and read-only access to collections. Email sign-in for guests that aren’t part of your main organization and optional custom domains we’re also added.

Custom domains

📄 Shared templates

One of the hardest things with building a team knowledge base is keeping consistency of information. In August we introduced team templates that let you define shared templates across the team that even include fillable “fields” to make starting new documents easy.

Shared templates

🇺🇳 Translations

One of the biggest advantages of having an open codebase is the contributions that are made from all around the world. It was always an aim to translate Outline and this year André made that happen with implementation of the translation framework and process integrated with CrowdIn

Outline is now translated into 5 languages, with more just around the corner.

🌎 Social impact

When I think about the places that Outline should direct its impact as a company, top of the list is in helping efforts that are tackling climate change. It’s easy to ensure that our own operations are carbon neutral as the footprint is so small – but this year we’ve also comped accounts to teams and communities working on climate change, and as of November 1% of all revenue is being donated to actively remove carbon from the atmosphere.

The year ahead…

For 2021 the roadmap is full and I’m excited to think about where the product will be by this time next year. Here’s a sneak peak of a couple of things that are “coming soon”… \n

  • A continued focus on performance to ensure Outline remains the fastest knowledge base on the market.
  • “Bulk import” from other tools including Confluence and Notion
  • Realtime collaboration to allow multiple document editors at once