Task management with org-roam Vol. 2: Categories

June 24, 2020
(emacs, org-roam, org-mode)

In the previous article we set a ground for moving tasks to org-roam, and encountered an issue with visual garbage in the agenda buffer. Namely, org-roam file id as part of the category. In this article, we are going to explore the means to overcome this issue.

In order to get rid of the garbage, one can use the same approach as was used before with CATEGORY property, but apply it to the file itself (manually or using org-set-property).

:CATEGORY:               emacs-plus
#+TITLE: emacs-plus

:CATEGORY:               blog
#+TITLE: Blog


While this works, it is a manual labor. And in most cases we want the category to be filename without the id. Fortunately, we can help agenda to properly parse the category by modifying the value of org-agenda-prefix-format, which allows to specify how to render each line in the different agenda buffers (e.g. regular agenda, in the list of todo tasks etc). We are looking for the capability to evaluate arbitrary lisp expressions. The default value of this variable is

((agenda . " %i %-12:c%?-12t% s")
 (todo . " %i %-12:c")
 (tags . " %i %-12:c")
 (search . " %i %-12:c"))

The interesting part is %-12:c which means:

Instead of c we can use any expression.

(setq org-agenda-prefix-format
      '((agenda . " %i %-12:(+org-entry-category)%?-12t% s")
        (todo . " %i %-12:(+org-entry-category)")
        (tags . " %i %-12:(+org-entry-category)")
        (search . " %i %-12:(+org-entry-category)")))

(defun +org-entry-category ()
  "Get category of item at point.

Supports `org-roam' filenames by chopping prefix cookie."
   (or (org-entry-get nil "CATEGORY")
       (if buffer-file-name
            (file-name-nondirectory buffer-file-name))

;; requires s.el
(defun +string-chop-prefix-regexp (prefix s)
  "Remove PREFIX regexp if it is at the start of S."
  (s-chop-prefix (car (s-match prefix s)) s))

Now if we remove the manually set CATEGORY property from both files we will get the same result with nicely parsed categories. Please note that these two approaches can be mixed. For example, if you wish to override the category, just set this property explicitly and call it a day.

In the next article we are going to talk about tagging tasks related to a person. Stay tuned and keep roaming!