Frequently Asked Questions
Is the app still being developed/maintained?
Currently (May 2023), after a period of development that led to version 2.0, we are back in a research cycle. Check the roadmap for more details.
Is this a tool for data/network/graph analysis?
Cosma is not intended for data analysis, no.
You may be familiar with Andy Matuschak’s notes. This is the kind of “data” Cosma is meant to help with: research notes that are carefully crafted and constantly revised, so you know what’s in them (i.e. no need for data analysis), on a somewhat smaller scale (tens or hundreds of nodes rather than thousands) but densely linked, hence the emphasis on the graph view and contextualized backlinks.## I tried to launch the application but my operating system won’t let me.
You can ignore your operating system’s warnings and run Cosma, provided you download the application from our GitHub repository, the only official source. To override system warnings, you must have administrator privileges on your session. On macOS, right-click the application then select Open (you may have to do it twice).
Explanation: Windows and macOS require that the code of an application be “signed” in order to trust it automatically. This is done by obtaining a certificate. The process is technically trivial, but is not free, because there is a lot at stake. Indeed, if an application is not signed, the system displays an alert and asks the user to confirm his intentions. Faced with this, many users prefer caution and give up. It is therefore in the best interest of application providers to sign their application so that it can be used. But the case of Cosma is particular: it is experimental research software, only recently made public, and with no dedicated funding. The application is therefore not signed.
I tried creating a record but the application responds with a cryptic error.
You probably did not set a records directory in Preferences. Cosma needs to know where to create records.
The issue is solved in version 1.1.
I created a record with the same name as an existing one, and the old one is gone!
This bug was reported to us after the release of version 1.0. Download version 1.1, which solves the problem.
Don’t forget to backup your data, either by making copies at regular intervals or by using a version control system such as git!
Do I really need to use unique identifiers? Can’t I link my records via their titles?
No. Using unique identifiers reduces the risk of dead links without requiring automated maintenance. We feel very strongly about this choice. We mention this in the Unique identifiers section in the docs.
But 14-digit links are so cumbersome…
Cosma allows you to replace the 14-digit identifiers by an arbitrary string in the output (cosmoscope). In the demo, we chose to replace them with a simple arrow (→) but you could use a pointing hand (☞) or any other Unicode string. In Cosma, click on Preferences and enter the substitute character(s) in Link Symbol.
Is it possible to manage multiple directories?
This is possible with Cosma CLI v2-beta.
For the GUI, is technically possible to do it by following the suggestions below.
Method 1: History
This method is based on the history. It works well for cosmoscopes that you do not intend to modify, and with automatic history disabled.
Imagine you have two directories,
- In Cosma, set the application to
dir1. Click on History and then manually save the cosmoscope and give it a description. Close the history.
- Next, set the application to
dir2. Click on History and then manually save the cosmoscope and give it a description. Close the history.
You can now switch between cosmoscopes by clicking on View History, select the desired history entry, Open.
Method 2: `config.json
This method requires manual juggling of configuration files.
Locate the directory containing the files necessary for the proper functioning of the Cosma application (hereafter referred to as the “support directory”). This depends on the operating system:
- on macOS:
your user name/Library/Application Support/cosma;
- on Windows:
In this directory you will find a
config.json file. This is where Cosma stores and retrieves the configuration.
Again, imagine you have two directories,
- In Cosma, configure the application for the
dir1directory. Then locate the
config.jsonfile in the support directory and make a copy elsewhere. We advise you to create a dedicated directory, e.g.
Cosma Configurations, with a subdirectory
- Back in Cosma, configure the application for the
dir2directory, then do the same as before: locate the
config.jsonfile in the support directory and copy it elsewhere, for example into a
dir2subdirectory of the same
You can now switch to a specific directory by copying the corresponding
config.json file to the support directory. Update the Cosma display by clicking on New Cosmoscope.