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hanyu_xuesheng

My thoughts on Anki 2

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hanyu_xuesheng

I was one of Anki's biggest fans. As AnkiMobile for Anki 2 is now out, the end of Anki 1 (if you use AnkiMobile or AnkiWeb) is near.

Anki 2 and the new AnkiMobile for iPhone have been a source of frustration in the last days. Anki 1 was rather intuitive, a bit slow sometimes. That was OK. But Anki 2 is NOT user-friendly at all - it now requires endless research to perform the simplest things, e.g. try to find a possibility to create an empty deck! The author of Anki does not seem to know much about software usability engineering. So Anki 2 seems to be a software for IT nerds, not for an average computer user learning languages. E. g. you now need to know CSS and HTML ... What's more: With the new version you have to reorganize and upload all media files from DropBox to the Anki server, and I ask myself how long the Anki Cloud will be free of charge.

I wish I could go back to Anki 1. I'd rather spend my time on Chinese than on Anki 2 internals. Does anyone know of a good alternative?

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realmayo

Interesting. I use Anki 1. Am not looking forward to switching to 2. Then again, I remember hating and finding complicated a previous round of big changes in Anki a couple of years ago, but after getting used to them I had no problems at all. I'm hoping that's what the switch to 2 will be like. Any one else made the move yet?

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joshuawbb

I was going to update to Anki 2, but unfortunately Ankimobile 2 can't seem to handle my deck - the required format conversion and export to a package file went fine, but the new Ankimobile always crashes when importing it, and to date I haven't yet found a solution. I regularly go over it to clean up potential errors, so I get the feeling it might be the size. It's a three year old, self-constructed labour of love.

I haven't had the chance to tour Anki 2, but for now I find the older Ankimobile satisfying enough since it has almost everything except plugins. For me the price was well worth it, as I'd already been using Anki for several years and it's been a critical part of my studies.

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Olle Linge

How much of this is because of the fact that you're used to the old version? I mean, sometimes when switching versions of programs, everything looks stupid and unintuitive, not because the new program really is bad, but because we're used to the old way of doing things. It might be very intuitive to people who have never used Anki before, but not necessarily to you or me.

That being said, I haven't upgraded yet since the Android client hasn't been upgraded yet. I don't use much media and don't do fancy stuff with Anki, so I hope it will work. However, it would be very sad indeed if Anki became harder to use for new users. It was already fairly hard to introduce people not used to computers, if it gets harder, I'll have to stop introducing it, lest I will drown in the support questions I get. :)

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chaiknees

Do you use the synchronization? Please note that according to the Anki website, the old AnkiWeb server supporting version 1 might be deactivated within a few weeks. Therefore you should switch to version 2 rather soon.

I switched to the desktop version and AnkiDroid 2 last week. Setting everything up took some time, but that's natural for everything new. As for now, I prefer the new version. The performance is much better, the size of my decks was decreased from 28 to 6 MB which makes synchronization much easier. And less full syncs are necessary which is very convenient.

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drencrom

You need to post this on:

http://groups.google.com/forum/#!forum/ankisrs

It is Anki's official forum. Posting here won't help anything.

You can still use Anki 1, there's not anything stopping anyone from doing that.

I agree that you really need to read the manual to get the most out of Anki 2. It's a complicated piece of software. Then again, learning Chinese is pretty complicated, too, and we're all managing to do that.

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eshton

I've recently started using Anki but I've never used version 1, it seems rather good to me. Of course I haven't exactly become a power user as yet.

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SinoPhil

I'm also okay with the new version and as drencrom has already written: There is a google groups forum for Anki users, it is normally very good, very helpful and if you do have reasons to complain it would be best to post them there. The guy/s who develop/s the Anki software will read about it there, but not necessarily here.

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hanyu_xuesheng

Let me just give an example about Anki 2's poor software usability engineering:

To delete or rename a "Note type" (a fact template of Anki 1), you have to click:

-> Add (!) -> Type -> Manage -> select a Type -> Delete/Rename

Such operations as above are very hard to find, and they are implemented totally counterintuitive (You must click "Add" to delete something!).

It would not make very much sense to post this in the Anki Forum, as the developer and his forum helpers seem to like such kind of weird software usability engineering...

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WestTexas

Looks like I won't be switching to Anki 2.

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变形金刚

I am not happy with Anki 2 either, especially the web version! Will be sticking to the old version for now...

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hanyu_xuesheng

Another example:

In Anki 1, if you have several card templates, you can very easily decide which cards are created: via "Generate Cards". You can easily delete cards without deleting the fact.

In Anki 2, this is much, much more complicated. Anki 2 generates cards for all templates/card types as this is the new program design. If you want "Selective Card Generation" you must create a new data field that will trigger this. Then you have to adjust your card template(s) via "conditional replacement", i.e. the new data field triggers whether the card is empty (will not be generated) or not. If you want a card to appear or disappear, you must change the contents of the new data field.

Will the average language learner understand this??

Anki 2 has some benefits, and is faster than Anki 1, but Anki 2 is only for IT experts.

If you have only simple cards with two fields, front and back, then Anki 2 is as easy to use as Anki 1. But most of the advanced features are now much more difficult to handle.

It's a pity.

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lechuan

Have you provided direct feedback to the developer? Might be more a good step before steering other language learners away from the software.

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Manuel

Hanyu_xuesheng's observations are spot-on. I am still using Anki v1.0.1 (download link at end of this post) for the following reasons:

  1. This version is the last version whose GUI requires the least number of mouse clicks to carry out most tasks. In later versions a lot of things require an extra one or two clicks.
  2. This version is the last version with a really intuitive GUI, at least for me.
  3. This version is the last version that supports a feature called Model Tags. I don't think anybody uses it but I found a use for it which can help optimize learning times, therefore it is a must for me.
  4. This version is stable (i.e. not beta).

A few days ago I tested Anki 2 for the first time, hoping that a lot of the features that were messed up after v1.0.1 would have been brought back or improved, only to find that even more featurs are or appear to be missing.

Furthermore, I found Anki 2 to be completely anti-ergonomic (too many clicks required) and counter-intuitive (I cannot figure out how to perform even some of the most basic tasks which in Anki v1.0.1 are self-explanatory). As an example, in Anki v2.0 knowledge of CSS is required in order to format your decks. This is fantastic if you are a web developer, which probably the majority of users are not.

For me, Anki v1.0.1 is as good as it gets. All that needed to be done was:

  1. Fix any outstanding bugs.
  2. Optimize code to make the software leaner and faster.
  3. Improve Anki algorithm
  4. Improve existing GUI fun.ctionality e.g. a proper color picker (which I requested 2 years ago).
  5. Possibly improve the stats page appearance, although it was already quite good.

As usual, the "if it ain't broke don't fix it" rule was completely ignored, as is the case with countless other apps out there, and the result is inevitably disastrous.

In the light of things I continue to use and wholeheartedly recommend Anki v1.0.1 against any later versions. Luckily, former Anki releases can still be downloaded from the deprecated downloads repository on the Anki project page, link supplied below:

Anki v1.0.1 Download

Old code is not old if it still runs without issues, so there is no reason not to use an older version of Anki if it works better for you.

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hanyu_xuesheng

lechuan wrote:

Have you provided direct feedback to the developer?

Yes, and I reported some bugs, too. But as the above mentioned points are design decisions made by the developer, any complaints about them will have no great influence or impact.

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imron

Admin Note: First time posters promoting flashcard products other than Anki in this thread are just going to keep having their posts deleted. Even if you are just a regular user of that product, this thread is about Anki 2 and users' opinions on that software, (including how it differs from Anki 1).

It is not about whatever other flashcard program you use, and such discussion is off-topic.

If there is a program you like, feel free to start another thread discussing it, or search to see if an existing thread already exists. For iPhone/iPad apps, there is this thread in particular.

For everyone else, please carry on as usual.

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eloper

Anki 2 words perfectly well in my opinion. i honestly can't understand the criticisms i've read - creating an empty deck is exceptionally easy; time management has been refined considerably.

The only shortcoming is limited Chinese support, but an addon is in the works and should be ready shortly. Certainly, i can't believe people are out there using Anki 1.01. amazing.

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Olle Linge
The only shortcoming is limited Chinese support, but an addon is in the works and should be ready shortly. Certainly, i can't believe people are out there using Anki 1.01. amazing.

You just provided the answer yourself. Why is it unbelievable that people hesitate using a product with limited support for the language they're studying (while Anki 1 has good support with plugins)? Add that AnkiDroid is not ready yet and it's not strange at all that people don't update.

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Manuel

I am curious, what Chinese support is missing in Anki 2? You still can type Chinese characters and have as many fields as you like, which is all you need for studying Chinese. Are you referring to the plugin that automatically generates pinyin from hanzi? I tried that for about half an hour and found that, because there are loads of hanzi with multiple pronunciations, it was just quicker to type the pinyin manually using one of the various available pinyin typing tools. Although typing out the pinyin manually is a hassle it helps you remember better.

There is also a hanzi stats plugin which can tell you how many unique hanzi you have in your decks, etc. I wonder if that still works in v2 because I use it regularly to keep track of progress. Other than that, and ignoring ergonomics, Anki 2 pretty much does the same job plus offers better support for mobile devices. Still not my cup of tea though.

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Olle Linge

I am curious, what Chinese support is missing in Anki 2? You still can type Chinese characters and have as many fields as you like, which is all you need for studying Chinese. Are you referring to the plugin that automatically generates pinyin from hanzi?

I think most people are talking about Pinyin Toolkit:

  • The pinyin is actually correct most of the time, you exaggerate
  • Pinyin Toolkit colours the pinyin for you
  • Pinyin Toolkit gives you measure words
  • Pinyin Toolkit gives you definitions automatically
  • Pinyin toolkit has audio

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