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Foam – A Roam Research alternative with VSCode, Markdown and GitHub (github.com)
698 points by DaniAkash 9 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 225 comments





Roam/Foam is way different with Zotero.

More competition is always good to see.


As a researcher I always appreciate to see new opportunities to organize my work and improve my routines. This system does seem interesting.

To this day though I've found that Zotero is unbeaten to keep everything organized. I collect all my notes and documents in the Zotero library, and I sync it on multiple devices by placing the Zotero files in a Dropbox folder.

In this way I can use whatever app I want to write the actual notes (MD, txt, docx, whatever). I organize the notes in Zotero "folders" and the documents of each note are stored in "sub-folders". The best thing is that these are not actual folders, so the same document, if relevant for multiple researches, can be placed in two or more folders/sub-folders etc.

This setup has worked for me for nearly 8 years, with over 50 publications and over 5000 documents in my Zotero library. And best of all, the only thing I'm actually paying for is Dropbox, which I would anyway and, IMHO, is totally worth it. But that's another story. And more importantly, to get things started one can rely on the free tier of Dropbox, so even that's free.

So as a researcher (which translates to little money to spare and high volumes of documents to manage), I find that to this date I still have to find a solution that beats my configuration. I would love though to discover new opportunities!


Your comment resonated strongly with me, for I am also a researcher who finds zotero and dropbox to be a very helpful combination. (I use dropbox to store PDFs of documents, rather than using zotero, because I already pay for dropbox and basically want to avoid the paperwork of yet another bill.)

However, I do not use zotero notes much at all (apart from taking notes on bibliographic elements), and so I am hoping you might write some more about the mechanics of how you do that.

I am particularly interested in how you handle cross-references. I tend to use markdown and wiki approaches, because they make it easy to have inline cross-references to other documents. Is there a way to do that with zotero notes, other than using the "Related:" and "Tags:" items at the bottom of a note?

Also, do you have hints on organizing folders of notes?

Since you've been doing this for years, I can bet that you have some great advice, and I hope you can spare the time to explain your procedures in a bit more detail.

Thanks.


As a researcher too, I understand exactly what you are saying. I prefer DevonThink[1] to Zotero for searching and organizing over tens of GB of data with tens of millions of words. Works with the native Mac filesystem, so you don't have to import into the app if you don't want to. Automatically archiving my entire email history is a huge plus. Finds everything in milliseconds. Mac only.

[1] https://www.devontechnologies.com/apps/devonthink


Devonthink is amazing.

It's very versatile — it's got great image handling, for example, so you can use it for collecting visual materials, and easily browse as a gallery or as full-sized images. And I particularly love the built-in PDF support, which has everything you need — multiple reader views, annotations, table of contents, rotation, conversion, OCR, etc. Search is fast, multiple database support is great. And it's a very nice touch that you can combine the local database file support with cloud sync, although the mobile app could be better there.

It's worth noting that Devonthink does not have citation/reference management, so for scientists/adademics it's probably not an adequate replacement as Zotero, Endnote, Papers, etc.


Do you happen to know if it supports annotating PDFs without saving the changes into the original PDF file?

I need something that can store them separately, allowing me to export one with annotations if I choose.


No, but you can still accomplish what you want.

Annotations become part of the PDF file on disk. But they're stored as separate editable objects in the PDF that remain editable; for example, if you open an annotated PDF in Preview (on macOS) or in Adobe Reader, they are still editable. And so you can remove them.

Devonthink also lets you remove all the annotations. With your PDF(s), select Data > Convert > "to PDF without Annotations", and it will make a copy that has all the annotations removed.

I agree that it would be nice to keep the annotations separate. But fortunately the PDF format is flexible enough that it can preserve the annotations and not "hard code" them into the visual tree.


Mendeley desktop saves PDF annotations without saving them to the original PDF.

Dont use Mendeley, it is owned by Elsevier.

You can’t even export pdfs or notes from it anymore to send to others. Only some snippets via some bad Elsevier platform which is a headache. They will lock you in, and they specifically updated Mendeley such that the database is encrypted towards you yourself. I lost my whole Years worth of papers and research to it.

Do not use Mendeley. Do not use anything made by Elsevier.


DevonThink is one of those apps I've always wanted to use, but as I'm cross-platform it's never been possible.

If you run a lot of cross platform software, the Mac may be the perfect machine for you. It can (legally) run more software than anything else - MacOS, Windows, Linux - though a combination of dual booting & virtualization.

Linux and windows can do the same, inc running mac / hackintosh.

A subset is available on iOS, including a web/file scraper with full text indexing and search, tags, markdown notes, plus WebDAV sync to other iOS or Mac devices, http://www.macdrifter.com/2016/09/the-all-new-devonthink-to-...

Great points! I also use Zotero extensively. I used to store files on Box previously because of WebDAV but they dropped that support a year or two years ago.

Now I pay for unlimited storage on Zotero. This is for two reasons: 1) They recommended supporting them by buying storage rather than donating directly. Maybe it has changed now but I continue with my subscription, 2) I have several co-authors with whom I share my documents. Most of them don’t have a paid Zotero subscription. But shared folders don’t eat up their personal storage limit unlike Dropbox.


Zotero is a lifesaver for organising articles and documents. I also pay for storage as a way to support the project. Their new web-client is quite nice.

Dropbox (or any of the other syncing apps) as a syncing mechanism for other stuff is underrated IMO. I personally have notes, password manager database and a budget app database synced between devices and the amount of value I've derived from having everything automatically sync between devices is huge.

I wish more apps would take the wide availability of "magic syncing folders" into account when designing their data storage. (I know many VC funded apps would prefer to keep the data in house so it can be monetized, but there is less excuse for open source tools)


I don't like to involve cloud apps in my workflow because there is no guarantee when what will change and then break my workflow. I currently self host a simple note server[1]. Now cloud apps can help me sync these notes across my devices but I would rather prefer mapped drive than cloud sync.

I take notes from my mobile/desktop browser address bar or simply edit the files directly. No dependencies, no cloud storage, only files and no one can ever access them but me. Works like a charm for me.

[1]: https://github.com/quaintdev/pinotes


I agree but there's no great cross-platform syncing solution yet, to my knowledge. Dropbox dropped all linux support except ext4, which is limiting. GDrive and OneDrive don't have a Linux Client. Nextcloud is neat, but still not very well supported (eg, by android apps).

The result is I'm using a mishmash of all those, and keep forgetting what is synced where.


For Google Drive there is a solution for Linux [0]. I actually really like it, it's not automatic, but that's not really a problem, because you can make it automatic with some bash and crontab.

[0] https://github.com/odeke-em/drive


I am surprised you didn’t mention syncthing!

Is it because you’re assuming a cloud backup is necessary component of syncing solution? In that case, you can just designate one of your synced devices to keep backups to S3/B2 :D


I've been using pcloud on Linux, and I've found it to be fast and easy. Comes with a lot more free storage than Dropbox. I believe you do have to be willing to install their client.

I agree with you. The Dropbox move turned my previously smooth workflow into a much more convoluted system.

For GDrive (I use that for work), [insync](https://www.insynchq.com/) is not 100% perfect but was worth the one-time price.


I have syncthing running on desktop, laptop, and phone. Only downside is no iOS app but that's more an apple ecosystem issue really.

I use Odrive as my syncing “frontend” and works great even with Linux

I think dropbox (or any “magic folder” sync) is great as well.

YouNeedABudget used to do this and then “upgraded” to use their own proprietary service that charges $X/month.

I think it’s not just the data monetization, but that frequently data sync is the only feature that requires ongoing services. So if I write software and want to charge a monthly service fee, then data sync is where I can force the service.

Companies can do whatever they like, but jerk companies will make poor designs that require their own magic sync. Smart companies should fall back to a sync folder to allow self-run and just charge me for software.


“magic folder” sync always meant https://syncthing.net for me. Once set up it syncs in LAN, over slow connections, with lots of changed files, handles concurrent syncs, hundreds of GBs of data etc. – it's great and becoming better day by day.

YNAB is the budget software I was referring to. I just never upgraded to the SAAS version and it still works fine.

I did that for a while, but 32 bit apps no longer run on mac. Phone works great though.

Dropbox is a dumb solution to note syncing. It works for me for now but I miss not having to sort conflicts manually.

Why do you have conflicts?

If you modify a file from both ends then a program may not know how to merge the changes.

How is this specific to dropbox though? Any storage backend will have those issues?

Replace Dropbox with Nextcloud running on my rpi and that's my setup.

I never understood how to do this. You just drag and drop a document, and after that only one consistent copy is maintained?

Also how do you have documents with inline images? Is it possible to cite other documents from zotero -- let us say you are creating a literature review?


Not sure what you mean by "documents with inline images", but yes, that's how it works. There's also a handy browser plugin to import web pages/pdfs into Zotero, with automatic metadata.

Yes, you can cite documents you have with zotero by having it generate a pre-formatted citation or a bibtex entry.


Thank you. Let me explain what I mean by "documents with inline images". When i take notes, I want to include screenshots of different pages (may be some pictures or pictures of equations) as inline images. AFAIK, zotero does not sync the inline images entered in notes.

A lot of comments in this thread makes me wonder if Roam has successfully become an actual cult. Personal opinion, but it seems like Roam's core features are hard-to-invent (though all of those existed in different apps in different contexts) but easy-to-implement. Many early adopters are very unhappy seeing multiple alternatives pop up (some arguably offering better features) which subverts the 'my-notetaking-app-is-unique-and-better-than-yours' sense of superiority. I'm seeing people defending every aspect of Roam at a level that usually comes from cognitive dissonances.

Could you name a few better alternatives? I've been fishing..


None of these alternatives (or others, AFAIK) have automatic references, which for me is the biggest Roam feature.

By automatic referencing do you mean backlinking?

I think the parent is referring to unlinked references: https://www.roamtips.com/home/roam-unlinked-references

Obsidian does have that feature, so at least one of those options should work. For me, the best thing about roam is the outline level block references. Having to create a bunch of new atomic notes can start to make things really confusing from an organizational perspective and that is what always bogged me down previously. I can use Roam more like a bullet journal, just open up today's note, throw a header down for whatever meeting I am in and start to capture, then click on the header to get all the previous notes I have taken on that subject.

Note that I am not a researcher, but a dev manager, so most of my note-taking revolves around meeting notes and action items with some research thrown in.


Yup, that’s it :)

Org-roam supports unlinked references. In any case, that's super easy to implement (it's just plain search for the current document title in all other titles) and I expect others to soon offer this feature.

Obsidian has no Latex support, so it's useless for me.

Obsidian supports LaTeX through the $...$ and $$...$$ syntax and renders them using MathJax.

A couple of weeks ago when I last tested it it didn't support inplace Latex. That might have changed.

If you're already using Emacs (or are willing to spend a few days learning and configuring things, with lifelong benefits), there is nothing that can beat org-roam. It has been discussed multiple times here on HN.

It’s still in development, but keep an eye on Athens (https://github.com/athensresearch/athens), an open-source self-hosted web app. The project’s plan is to have a usable MVP on August 1. (Disclaimer: I’m a contributor.)

Athens will allow importing of Roam databases and will support many of Roam’s features, such as blocks, pages, backlinks, and Roam markup syntax. Unlike Roam, Athens stores your database of notes on your local computer, since it is a self-hosted web app.


Little bit off topic, but I generated a zettelkasten from C2 Wiki. There is a zip file that you can download that has all the wiki entries from 2015[0] in html format. Used pandoc to convert to markdown and then did some sed scripting to fix the links and remove some boilerplate. I can open it on Obsidian and see that OnceAndOnlyOnce wiki entry has 1,470 backlinks. It's little bit slow and I can't open the Graph view, but otherwise it usable. Tried to open the folder with VSCode and then expanded backlinks sidebar. It resulted in "EMFILE: Too many open files". Is Foam using some custom logic for linking files together. I saw in inbox.md some auto-generated text for dealing with markdown links.

What I learned is that one folder with 36000 files is not a good idea.

0 - https://archive.org/details/c2.com-wiki_201501


I use zimwriterfs to pack offline wiki into single file. Works great, thanks for the hint

One more interesting tool for managing Zettlekasten-like notes is Neuron (https://github.com/srid/neuron). Static websites it generates show relations between viewed notes (scroll to top of https://neuron.zettel.page/2011506.html), support both "branching" and "non-branching" links, where the former provide structure for auto-generated index of zettels (https://neuron.zettel.page/2011504.html), plus they have integrated search and the whole app is pretty easy to set up using Nix. I really like the nicely polished interface and fact that it tries to have minimal effect on note format.

This page (https://neuron.zettel.page/6f0f0bcc.html) seems to sum up it's goals.

What do Mind-mapping, Zettelkasten, Bullet Journaling, Getting Things Done, etc. all have in common?

They impose a taxonomy on thought and rely heavily on "best practices".

Even the simplest organizational schemes require a great deal of _discipline_ to be successful with, and nothing is a "one size fits all" solution.

I'm looking forward to the day when I can dump interesting thoughts (or links to articles, videos, whatever) into a "knowledge base" and it finds connections and labels things for me while I sleep.

Who's building this?


You seem to be looking for a research assistant, phd student, etc

The key thing is not discipline. It's to make it yours. It's easy to make a software that would link your thoughts or weblinks together one way or another, but it's impossible to make it just like you would.

There is no software that would piece different ideas together to come up with a new one. That is called AI and we are not there yet.

What you want is get the results without doing any actual work yourself. This is not a problem that any software could fix.


Concur, to rephrase it, it's not the software that must make connections while you sleep, but rather you must make connections and then transfer them to software. From there you can do spaced repetition or whatever to map those connections to a mental model. There are two friction points here: realizing what connections are made and then externally documenting the connections.

Why do you need to document the connections externally? Isn't it enough to reference one node from another and provide some context?

> Even the simplest organizational schemes require a great deal of _discipline_ to be successful with

Which I think means: all that's needed is discipline. Which organizational scheme you use (if any) is almost irrelevant.

The useful question is then: which methods help building discipline?


Perhaps, but you could say the same thing about something like an `if` statement in the era of branch assembly instructions. One requires more discipline (and knowledge) but that doesn't mean the problem is solely a lack of willpower/discipline.

I'd love something like nvAlt that has zero hierarchy, but instead offloads to blazing-fast search. The problem with nvAlt is discovery so bolting on some smart filters like LRU, MRU that you can access through commands in the search bar plus a roam-style graph would help you move through the note space.

Then when you open a note, a side panel with back-links opens side by side with the note. Press a key command to flick between the search bar and the note, and update the side-panel whenever a new note is opened. This would be the perfect app for me.


you should check out my (open source) project https://mmap.io. It's a zero hierarchy, short cut driven note tool. Would love to hear your thoughts!

404 FYI :(

I guess they meant https://mmap.it which is open sourced at https://github.com/pdepip/mmap.it (matches their username).

This has always been the premise/promise of DevonThink, but I never found it quite hit the spot for me – I end up imposing organisation on it, and then we're back at your original complaint. Some users do absolutely swear by it, though.

> I'm looking forward to the day when I can dump interesting thoughts (or links to articles, videos, whatever) into a "knowledge base" and it finds connections and labels things for me while I sleep. > > Who's building this?

I do and so do others. But this is not magic. Computers can't read your mind, they can't create perfect connections without the users guidance. A certain level of discipline will always be necessary. At the end you are the only one who knows what you know and need at a specific moment, any tool can only assist you in this.


> dump interesting thoughts (or links to articles, videos, whatever) into a "knowledge base" and it finds connections and labels things for me while I sleep. ¶ Who's building this?

Mek from archive.org has recently decided to give it a shot.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q3W7rU_xKKc


Eastgate Tinderbox has been doing this for 20 years.

Mark Berenstein is one of the original Hypertext pioneers and has built a fantastic tool for notes.

http://www.eastgate.com/Tinderbox/

This and DevonThink are the only reasons I remain on a Mac.


I'm working on an app to solve the taxonomy problem at least! it's currently in very early development in a private repo but I'll make it public at https://github.com/pxeger/tome at some point

What you're describing is essentially a recommendation system with an understanding of natural language. There's a lot of research going into it, but it's still a very difficult problem to solve.

> dump interesting thoughts (or links to articles, videos, whatever) into a "knowledge base" and it finds connections and labels things for me while I sleep.

I think you just described dreaming.


This.

The trouble I see with this sort of approach (not Foam itself, but a general take on Obsidian, Zettelkasten, etc.) is that you quickly end up with a single folder with thousands of files, which makes it hard to manage, share, etc. Especially if you have diagrams or media associated with your entries.

It’s the same issue with static sites: you get a posts folder, dump everything in it, and then you dump all the images in an images folder and lose association between them.

I would much prefer if these tools took front matter metadata (or a pathname) to link to each other and had a note-per-folder approach (my own site does that, and I store images for each post in the same folder as “index.md”—the pathname becomes the final URL).


Foam author here! I am very open to all suggestions in this area. Foam is a new project I built solely to my own requirements, but I'm actively seeking feedback on how to make it more broadly applicable as per our principles: https://foambubble.github.io/foam/principles

FWIW, subdirectory linking support is not far away. Work is being tracked on GitHub at the issue below, and I already have a WIP PR in the works: https://github.com/foambubble/foam-vscode/issues/8

If you have any more suggestions and ideas on how to improve Foam, feel free to open issues on GitHub!


That would seal the deal for me. I have tens of thousands of documents, notes, pictures etc. spread across hundreds of subdirectories. Foam looks extremely promising.

I just want to mention that I find the name absolutely great. Very fitting.

So far I'm loving your project. Will be closely following it as I move my notes into foam bubbles

Amazing! Please let me know in GitHub issues or Twitter DMs how you get along. This is a very early alpha release, keen to hear feedback at all levels!

Curious, unable to determine: is there a typeahead feature when inside wikilinks?

Yes, one of the markdown extensions handles that. It also allows “go to definition” on wikilinks

I beg to differ. Having them all in one folder is actually exactly what I want.

Storing them into folders is just giving you problems. I would need to put them into many folders, to get any benefits, but than again, this could be done by tags so much more easily.

In the end there is no reason to directly manipulate the file structure. It is just easier to have a flat hierarchy. If I need to find something: there are tags, there is the graph, and of course there is a full text search.


I partially agree with you, but it's because I have a certain searching method that I'm comfortable with. I use sed/awk/grep quite a bit. The find command is also useful - but with those utilities, I can quickly search for any string or regular expression I need.

If I'm looking for the word cow in a doc that I think is in a folder (even if it's in subfolders), then I can do this:

grep --color=always -r "cow"

(I like setting color to always, and for some reason I'm too lazy to set up an alias so I don't have to type it)

I can get way more complicated by escaping spaces, looking for certain file types, etc.... really this does about the same as grep though - but still interesting:

find -name ".txt" -o -name ".md" -type f | sed 's/\ /\\\ /'g | xargs grep --color=always -n "cow"

Using these utilities, I've been able to find things in lots of lines of code, or lots of lines of md files.


You should take a look at rg and fd too to replace/augment grep and find!

Neat! Thanks for recommending those. I hadn't heard of either of those commands.

You need to learn about silversearcher/ag :)

Well, I do have around 8000 documents, and I organize them with a mix of hierarchy and tags (plus search). My entire site (taoofmac.com) was built that way, but the hierarchy was key - otherwise I would have trouble grouping and managing related things.

We have actually tried to mitigate this with our knowledge-base solution[1] by using multi-parent nesting in addition to hyperlinking + backlinks (zettelkasten).

On our platform, everything is a card (rather than a document), and if you want an actual structured hierarchy, you can nest cards inside other cards. Each card can have multiple parents, so if you are collaborating with others you can easily have the same "card" in different places to keep yourself organized. In that way it works similar to symbolic links in a filesystem, except it's nesting so there are no folders – just cards all the way down.

At the same time, because your cards are not actually siloed into different folders, we have things like the "home", which has all the cards you've ever made so that you can easily filter your entire library by tag / author / etc. and see all of those cards at once.

Unlike the OC solution, however, Supernotes is not self-hosted, and so probably isn't as appealing to a lot of the techie HN crowd.

[1] https://supernotes.app


Thanks for supporting multiple-parent nesting, previously pioneered in Lotus Agenda and NetManage Ecco Pro. Bear Notes may have this as well.

It's an incredibly powerful pattern, so much so that I'm surprised by how little you see it in the wild. We've also combined it with collaboration functionality so that cards can not only have multiple parents but can have different parents for different users. This aspect might be novel – I don't think I've seen it elsewhere, but obviously it's hard to know due to the sheer number of productivity tools that have existed (as evidenced by you pointing to Lotus Agenda, which I hadn't heard of til today, thanks!)

It's not for lack of demand. Mitch Kapor (Agenda) and Mozilla talent tried an OSS reboot, Chandler. It was so well funded and failed so spectacularly, that there's a book about it.

https://www.amazon.com/Dreaming-Code-Programmers-Transcenden...

https://www.chandlerproject.org/vision/

> cards can not only have multiple parents but can have different parents for different users. This aspect might be novel

Very nice.


Nice. Very intriguing.

Question: Do you have an option where your backend could be used to supply content to a frontend public website? Mind you, given your data structure, I'm not sure how that would work.

Let me give you an example. I like to read, mostly long form non-fiction (i.e., books). Naturally, I highlight things of importance. I want to take those ideas and get them into something where I can organize, add categories and tags, etc.

Yes. A basic WordPress site would be sufficient. But given a tool like yours, why not try to take up a level? On the backend, my "thoughts" well organized. The frontend some view of that I'd want to share with the public.

Thoughts?


Thanks! And the answer to your question is yes, absolutely!

Hopefully quite soon (we already have a working demo) we will introduce "card pages", which will be public (or semi-private, it'll be configurable) pages that represent either a card itself or that card's children. These pages can then be embedded into any other webpage.

The idea is to both support behavior akin to embedding a tweet, where you are just viewing a singular card as a card, but also to allow people to effectively create "documents" on Supernotes (that can then be shared publicly) by displaying the children of a card in "seamless" mode, so that even though it's actually a bunch of cards under the hood, it'll look like a blog post, or wiki article, or readme, or whatever.

Every card on Supernotes will be able to have multiple pages, so that you can have a truly publicly-facing representation (which might limit how people can interact with it) but simultaneously embed your card somewhere else that is semi-private (like a Notion doc for your team) and allow people to actually interact / edit the card from there.


I’m [very] interested. I saw your app before, but it was during my looking at so many different apps, I didn’t look too much into it.

Being an HNer working on the product is a pretty big pro for me. Will be showing this specific comment to a few people for reference to Supernotes as well.


Glad to hear it! Knowledge management is definitely a crowded space – probably because it's something that is almost universally useful to humanity if done "correctly".

Being around HN for a while has definitely influenced how I think about the product and what I want to build. For a while I was wanting to build Supernotes as a federated service (and at some level I still want to do that), but for now the focus is mostly on making the most seamless UX.


You seem to be hitting the nail on the head with regard to seamless UX. I’d gladly pay to support something like this, but the lock-in / “what happens if you go away” problem is real and holds me back from investing all my knowledge and time. Short of an actual federated system, a self hosted option OR just markdown export / backup of an entire database would completely alleviate that for me.

So we do currently have the ability to export all your cards as one giant markdown file. Obviously the issue with any sort of export with our system is that even if we export as markdown, the relationships don't really carry over into the export.

But this is definitely something we are working to make as easy / thorough as possible. Data ownership by our users is very important, which we've spelled out in our terms[1] as well.

[1] https://supernotes.app/terms/


I think the whole point is to not have hierarchical folders because they make it harder to see connections between ideas.

But you can tag your ideas, or create "folder" notes that contain list of other notes. And you can nest those notes or course, and even have loops in your graph, so it's more flexible than folders.

Also, for static sites, I use Jekyll and I create a folder for each post in the image directory. It's very convenient.


>you quickly end up with a single folder with thousands of files, which makes it hard to manage, share, etc.

That's not a bug, but a feature of Zettelkasten.


Well technically Luhmann grouped hits notes into "folders" by using multiple drawers. But that might be due to the space limitations you face in the real world. I wrote about the concept here: https://emvi.com/blog/luhmanns-zettelkasten-a-productivity-t...

Well, I disagree. I can’t find anything in cluttered folders, and have cleanly organized knowledge domains that are best handled separately...

I think the idea is generally that you do not go searching in your 8000 file folder by hand.

In Emvi [1] we built it so that you can mention an article (and everything else) anywhere and the title will get updated when the linked article is. In case you delete it there is a hint that it has been deleted.

I generally like to annotate or mark stuff instead of sorting them into folders to search through them later. It's by far easier to remember _what_ you're looking for than _where_ you can find it. If you're trying to find a place you have been to before, it's easier to remember a land mark next to it than the streets you have to drive down.

[1] https://emvi.com/


> It’s the same issue with static sites: you get a posts folder, dump everything in it, and then you dump all the images in an images folder and lose association between them.

Not with page bundles in Hugo: https://gohugo.io/content-management/organization/


Hugo is an exception, and a recent one at that (I followed the page bundles discussion with interest since I considered moving to it at one time, but relative link handling is still over-complex from my standpoint...)

I think that falls into a class of tradeoffs that using various tools involves. With a higher level of functionality the designer of the tool must make decisions about how to implement the functionality. They can provide options or configuration to tailor behavior to an individuals preferences but that increases friction when getting started with the tool.

I'm using a a much less capable tool for managing my notes called `mkdocs`. It converts a collection of markdown pages to HTML that I serve from a script running on a Raspberry Pi (`python3 -m http.server 8100`) `mkdocs` provides Github integration but I keep the repo on a private server so I don;t have to worry about private information leaking. Point is, It does nothing with directories so that is completely under my control. It links the pages hierarchically but I can insert links between pages and to images. Manually.


This is indeed a problem. But i think a big part of writing is organization. The organizational principles changes over time as the folder grows, and I refactor to realize new principles. For notes, this refactoring is healthy for me. It makes me realize things about my own thoughts.

Your point about managing the image resources associated with the markdown is an important one. Rather than one folder per note, the existing approach is compatible with a {file-slug}.resources/ naming scheme. Sounds like a good opportunity for another plugin.

That approach won’t fix the “thousands of files in a folder” problem. It will just add another: “thousands of subfolders”.

A full hierarchical approach (not just single level) is much better (believe me, I’ve been doing this for 16 years and have nearly 8000 notes/posts at taoofmac.com).


FWIW a hierarchy of notes can only reflect one dimension. But notes typically have multiple dimensions associated with them, and there is (in reality) no canonical hierarchy. Which means you will regularly end up in arguments with yourself about where in the hierarchy to put the note, unless your hierarchy is of a exceedingly simple kind, and serves but one single purpose.

In fact, insisting to placing notes in a single hierarchy only serves to support a common but incorrect notion IMO: that things have but one single, universally valid, most important attribute. Of course no one will seriously argue that this is the case, but the notion is nonetheless ubiquitous because of our need to simplify, probably.


> A full hierarchical approach (not just single level) is much better (believe me, I’ve been doing this for 16 years and have nearly 8000 notes/posts at taoofmac.com).

I think it would be better if you recognized that while this works neatly for you, some of us have other systems that work nicely for us.

Tags and search in particular are really empowering to me because I can file things in multiple places and find them in all of them - or I can search for multiple tags at once to slice out a subset of my notes or bookmarks.


An alternative lies in the concept of harvesting stocks from flows, which suggests starting with a journal, a timestamped, immutable list of notes, both large and small (small is better in many cases); wikilinks within those journal entries form branches, but then notes from the journal can be transcluded into other structures as deemed appropriate.

Brownfield trade-offs; the current tool is agnostic about directory structure. There are other trade-offs: simple links/URLs, the requirement for opinionated helpers/generators, and the extra layer that is not required for notes that never add attachments. I’m just throwing ideas out there; I don’t have a horse in the race.

> It’s the same issue with static sites: you get a posts folder, dump everything in it, and then you dump all the images in an images folder and lose association between them.

If only that was limited to static site generators. Wordpress does not have any media organizing by default, no folders, no nothing. There are plugins, of course.

That was my biggest surprise when I recently looked at Wordpress.


I always feel like "creating relationships" in a tool misses the point in a way. Those relationships need to be _in your head_ in order to be useful, not in some tool, or else you're spending too much time and energy on maintaining the graph, and derive little to no value from having it.

The beauty of Roam-style approach is that most of the work of updating the graph is implicit - you just reference a tag or a keyword, and it automatically gets connected with all other instances of that keyword (with context).

And explicit block referencing is near effortless too, though I do agree that there you can run into issues with the structure becoming obsolete and useless over time (I know I did).


After having tried Roam, as well as Zettelkasten and Bullet Journalling, I'm starting to think you're right. I keep searching for a magic tool to help me organise all my reading and research. But I think it's about 90% procrastination.

Things can have a lot of relationships - databases for instance, it's good to have something remember it for you, and to show other people.

Databases operate at a much lower semantic level though, so it's not a good analogy IMO.

There are many examples:

Biochemical pathways: https://www.roche.com/sustainability/philanthropy/science_ed...

Financial market trades

Suppliers for the parts of a car

Electrical networks

Data networks

Neural networks

Metabolic networks https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metabolic_network

Electronic components

Fields of mathematics

History of mathematics / politics

etc


This really feels like an overcomplicated step in the wrong direction compared to VimWiki: https://github.com/vimwiki/vimwiki

Does vimwiki support the graph? That's the secret sauce really, I found https://obsidian.md a few days ago and have been obsessed with graph based knowledge storage since.

I'm looking for a graph based solution, too. For my master thesis I used diagrams.net, but it's not a long term solution. I need something with markdown support, git, offline mode and hopefully for free.

Obsidian has a graph view, yes. But Zettlr is a much more stable note taking app than Obsidian. Zettlr is also open source. I would recommend you checkout Zettlr.com if possible. It has great set of tools and is stable unlike Obsidian (beta) which is proprietary.

Currently Zettlr doesn't have graph view, But the PR for a graph view is up and soon will come (power of open source?). If cool with it, I would recommend Open Source Software like Zettlr. :)

PR for graph view in Zettlr - https://github.com/Zettlr/Zettlr/pull/921


You keep saying Zettlr is stable, unlike Obsidian? Why? Obsidian is quite stable in my experience, despite being in beta. Do you simply mean the feature set is built out and mostly solidified? Otherwise, I don't see the rationale behind your comment.

Creating graphs, not same as organising your work into one.. If former, with markdown-preview you can write markdown and mermaidJS at the same time and see a live preview of it.

obsidian ticks most of those boxes, it's flat file, markup based, free, offline by design. don't think it has git integration but since its flat file you can likely rig something up.

Notebag also pretty cool.

Thank you for showing obsidian, it was just what I was looking for! Now it just needs vim keybindings!

edit: it has!


Or Org Mode, which has already existed for a long time.

VimWiki nicely integrates with a Vim centric toolchain and is functionally similar to the Markdown Notes extension for VS Code used by Foam.

Foam looks like a very thin layer built on top of existing VS Code extensions. It integrates with a template generated GitHub repository. If it hasn’t been done already, I imagine a “VimWikiHub” layer to be equally useful.

It really depends on your toolchain preferences and whether you want to integrate with a GutHub repo.


Glad to see that this exists and is under such promising development -- the tool looks like a perfect fit for my needs! I like working in the VSCode environment and I've been looking for the right tool for my Zettelkasten. Will definitely give this a shot once the subfolder linking gets added, that's a must for me given the structure of my Zettelkasten.

I tried this with VSCodium, but it doesn't work. The recommended extensions are not in open-vsx marketplace. I installed the foam extension from the VSIX file, and it asks to reload VSCodium but I don't see it in my installed extensions after.

I would love to help to get it working for VSCodium if it doesn't depend on anything VSCode specific.


Foam author here! I'm not personally familiar with VSCodium, but contributions in this area would be extremely welcome as long as they don't prevent any of our Roadmap features working on VS Code!

Check out the contribution guide here: https://foambubble.github.io/foam/contribution-guide


There are already an open issue about it : https://github.com/foambubble/foam/issues/26

I'm in the slow process of migrating my personal wiki from Google Sites to Markdown + Jekyll/GitHub Pages. I love that everything is in plain text and version controlled and I feel like I can organize it however I like. I also use VSCode to edit and create the Markdown files but without any special plugins.

Can I use this without a Github account? Specifically, I wonder if I can't transfer this over to a machine that never touches the internet and have it still be useful.

You certainly don't have to use git, though I'd at least get the template to start with. Git is just the sync method being used by default.

I want to use Git, I have that on my offline machine. But offline means github isn't an option. However, this indirectly answers my question, so thanks.

The title is click bait. It seems all note taking applications now need to be Roam Research alternatives. And then you get the entourage of other mentions (Hi, Obsidian.)

The Readme for the linked repo mentions this note taking system was inspired by Roam Research. That doesn't mean it's a Roam Research alternative.

Personally, I like VSC but I find it quickly gets cluttered and I'm trying to pare back the things I use it for.

I also often find myself struggling with the VSC UI for file handling. I don't know why. I often find myself opening another editor / file manager to use along with VSC. It seems error prone to me.


It implements Roam-style syntax, backlinks and graph view, in what way is it not a Roam alternative?

* Quick entry in a workflowy-like interface (blocks) * Bidirectional links * Block linking * No need for file creation / management

Roam is just getting started with a dedicated team and a sustainable business model. At this point, I'm guessing they have built a lot of runway for development even if they lose a lot of users from their pricing.

Development with a dedicated team will move quicker than open source efforts. In this context, we're talking about a "Roam alternative" because the alternative is implementing ideas from Roam. Unless the team is all out of ideas, the future of alternatives will be to continue copying Roam.

The graph seems to be one of the least useful features. It doesn't take long before it becomes useless.


And the competition will check the pricing. Roam is the only block game in town, for now.

But are the backlinks created automatically? In Roam, yes, in Foam, I yet to have figure how.

Also, core feature in Roam is its Search box. I also don't see that in Foam.


Yes, backlinks are created automatically in Foam. See this page of the docs about opening the Backlinks Explorer pane: https://foambubble.github.io/foam/backlinking

To search, I think you can use VS Code’s built-in project-wide file contents search (⌘⇧F) or filename fuzzy matching (⌘P).


Same here. I keep using VS Code for dev only and Sublime Text for all other text editing tasks.

I don't think or note about anything important or complicated enough to need a tool like this, but I love this approach for those who want it.

Notes are really just text to edit, so why not use a text editor for notes, especially if it's something you already have open?

For my much more simple notes, mostly lists for things like todos and music to check out, I switched to using a folder of text files in a separate VS Code window, and I couldn't be happier. I used to use Notational Velocity on Mac and then Zim on Linux, but I realized I might as well have a full editor for things like sorting, (un)capitalizing and block selections. I find rich text features and even markdown distracting for my notes, but I could use the latter if I ever wanted. Line folding is great for decluttering, and it lets me stick to under ten topical files. I thought I wanted wiki linking, but really just clickable web links plus multi-file search. Finally, autosave of existing and new, unnamed files is what let me to ditch a notes-specific app.


Org mode in emacs seems to fit your description pretty well (for Emacs users, at least)

I've thought about it, but it seems overkill for what I'd really use, and I have Mac/Gnome keybindings burned into my fingers, so Emacs feels really alien. (I know about CUA-mode and other options, but it feels like fighting against the current to change everything from Emacs defaults style keys.)

I use Mac and emacs keybinding all the time. C-a, C-e, C-k, C-y.. not sure what you mean.

To choose one of your examples, when I want to paste, my fingers know C{md/trl}-v, so C-y is not familiar. But it's not just copy and paste, I want keys for things like find, find again and replace to work about the same in all the apps I use, notably browsers, where I spend more than half of my time. Keys like these are used by most Mac, Linux and cross-platform apps. I know the Emacs commands aren't exactly the same — they're often more powerful, with more options for different types of find — but editors like VS Code and Sublime Text also have more powerful find than a browser, for example, but their keybindings are much more similar.

Seems nice but a bit fiddly and lacking backlinks, after trying numerous clones of Roam Research this finally convinced me to just commit to Roam and stop trying these things out, maybe one of these solutions will eventually be just frictionless enough to work for me but not at the moment.

I'm glad Roam offers decent exporting though.


Foam author here!

Fiddly, yes. This is very early stage project and in need of polish.

Lacking backlinks, however? We actually got those, thanks to the VS Code Markdown Notes extension:

https://foambubble.github.io/foam/backlinking


What kind of friction do you encounter when using Roam? I'm asking, because I'm interested in this kind of tools in general and I might offer a general solution based on Tiddlywiki.

No, that's the thing Roam is pretty frictionless. It's web-based, no setup needed and isn't Roam-lite, or Roam-ish with some caveats around UI or functionality.

Oh, ok.

Seems like a lot of people are unhappy with their new pricing model! https://www.reddit.com/r/RoamResearch/comments/hf2fiq/i_love...

What model? A monthly fee?

As opposed to what? Free? Getting investors who will pay for development while the service monetizes the users? It's unfortunate that this is what users have come to expect. That we feel should be getting free usage of a service when the developers have bills to pay just like everyone else, in addition to the cloud usage costs.

The people complaining about monthly fee in that three are target users for nobody but Facebook, Twitter, etc.


I personally like the JetBrains model where one can pay yearly and get updates but if you have to stop paying due to some reason you can still use the version you originally paid for.

I miss this model of releasing products, it was the defacto standard for the first 40 years of software development and I shall weep for it's return.

Right, for much of that time we didn't have digital distribution. 40 years ago we were buying vinyl records (probably superior products) and cassette tapes. 10 years ago, selling subs were a pain because we didn't have providers such as Stripe to make it easy.

I'm all for a premium, but $15/month is a bit too much. Almost all their competitors are half the price. Here's the pricing of their competitors I can think of on top of my head:

Evernote: €7/month

Notion: $4/month

Ulysses: $5.49/month

Standard Notes: $9.99/month

OneNote (+ the entire Office 365): $9.99/month

Inkdrop: $4.99/month

Bear: $1.49/month ($14.99 per year!)


You're not the type of user they want:

> We don't want fuckin tire kickers who don't take thinking tools seriously.

> You don't think it's worth the money, that's cool - gtfo.

> You're actually poor -- we'll help you out.

https://www.reddit.com/r/RoamResearch/comments/ep2vy6/how_mu...

That thread on Reddit really soured me on Roam. I'm glad to see alternatives like Foam pop up because there are some interesting ideas there.


Their big mistake was so abrasively describing their product development strategy.

Their core strategy is sound - to develop, at an early stage, for a passionate group of users (even if the group is small).


If you do not get a value of $15/month from using Roam then it simply is not the right tool for you. Roam makes it easy for me to explore connections between ideas. It has a user interface that fits my way of thinking. I'm also a Office 365 subscriber but OneNote cannot replace Roam for me.

Honestly, it's not that hard to implement something like Roam compared to the aforementioned competitors. The value is in the idea, and even that isn't novel. It really is a mystery to me why an open source alternative doesn't exist / isn't more popular.

>Honestly, it's not that hard to implement something like Roam compared to the aforementioned competitors.

Getting hard "Dropbox is trivial to implement with FTP, curlftpfs and CVS" vibes from this kind of thinking.


Come on, that's the opposite of my “vibe”. The commenter you refer to didn't believe there was any value in the existence of such a product, while I see so much value in this that it's puzzling to me how we still don't have an open source alternative. I didn't say it's trivial, but I bet it's simpler than that for the likes of Notion (and we do have alternatives to those).

Damn, sorry, honestly misread your comment. Yeah I actually do agree completely.

I think Roam can be successful because they are charging $15. It gives them a completely different customer base (among other things, probably one that doesn’t see cost as a relevant factor in deciding which note taking app to use).

From this list, I am familiar with Evernote and Notion, but IMHO they are not Roam competition, since Roam is too different from them.

Same response as I gave to another comment.

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=23667492

Why are we talking about Roam rather than those services then? Why don't we just "find and replace Roam with Bear?" (anyone know the Regex for that?)


Notion is mostly free now since they seem to target companies more than personal plans: https://www.notion.so/pricing.

I'd add DynaList to the list, too

Whether we agree with it or not, I think what is strange is how subscriptions models have become the norm.

There _is_ an alternative that isn't free and that is one off payments (rember when we used to buy software?). I happily pay in the order of $50 to $120 for one off payments, often locked to a version.

In many cases this is _more_ than I've ended up paying for subscriptions I've used, then abandoned after 6-12 months.


The only model where a one-off payment really makes sense is for products that have zero cost for the developer to keep alive. For example an SQL Client doesn’t need a cloud component.

The difference here is, Roam and similar services run on servers that cost money monthly. The service is almost worthless without it. Ultimately someone needs to pay for this.


Thing is, at their heart, these are document editing tools. They don't actually need an on ongoing operational cost (yes, maintenance, but as a number of people point out you can take the jet brains approach and lock to versions).

The supposed benefit of my data being hosted is not a benefit to everyone. I already have multiple solutions to backup and sharing, I don't need another silo where my data lives. I don't need another vendor hosting arbitrary data which means I now can't use the product because the megacorp I work for won't let that through their legal.

Key point I was making above was that one off payment is an option and can be successful, we don't need to fall straight into the free vs subscription dichotomy.


> The difference here is, Roam and similar services run on servers that cost money monthly. The service is almost worthless without it. Ultimately someone needs to pay for this.

that is also a downside though. which side of the coin wins depends on the customer. I rather use icloud/dropbox and apps then an unencrypted web version. Roam decided to implement a web app, the actual use case does not require a server or monthly maintanance costs.


These products will still require maintenance with changes in drivers and suchlike.

No software is really finished.


Regular, predictable monthly income is just a better model for businesses than irregular large one off purchases.

Customers generally don't mind so long as they can cancel easily if they find they don't need or want the product.

Plus, you can't really buy a "web app" with a one off purchase and much more software is developed as web apps nowadays.


The problem is everyone wants to sell subscribtions and I cannot:

1. afford too many subscribtions

2. accept the risk that my notes disappears because I miss a few reminder mails (I'm kind of hopeless when it comes to that.)


Not sure about roam, but services such as Dropbox assure that they won't delete your data if you stop paying, just loose access temporarily. I'm assuming only for a while though.

If someones gonna store your stuff on the cloud, someone's gotta pay, a payment model is the best for something like note taking. 15 sounds a bit high though.


> 15 sounds a bit high though

No way. Time is short. They aren't selling carrots. This isn't a commodity. There's no "market price" for a quality service. If you don't think it's a quality service, then don't use it. If you do think it's a quality service, then $15 is a no-brainer.

I follow the Patio11 school of thought. Charge more. Then charge more again. You should be doing that for your own services and you should be using services which do this.

Sure, there are some consumer focused services which in reality do need to be price conscience. Roam isn't one of these services.

As I said in another comment, if Roam were a commodity, then why are we even talking about it? Let's change the subject. So, Notepad...


$15 a month is a ridiculous price, that's $180 a year, for a note taking App. Compare that to Photoshop + Lightroom in the photography package which are 12 Euro a month here and we can all agree offers a lot more features than roam.

The funny thing is if they would have tried to charge a one of $300 people would have called the price crazy, but buy making it a subscription it's suddenly OK. Even though $300 doesn't even correspond to 2 years of subscription (and for notes you quickly end at having to pay for >10 years)


We shouldn't end up paying for software by the number of features it has. We should end up doing it for the amount of value we get from it.

Roam is a niche market and so is always going to be more expensive than more commonly used software, because there are fewer people to pay for the common expenses - same reason I have to pay more for books here in Denmark than I have to pay for English books - the cost of creating them gets stretched over fewer people.


Everyone should aspire to charge ridiculous prices for their products.

Why are you going to let Evernote tell you how much you should charge?

> The funny thing is if they would have tried to charge a one of $300 people would have called the price crazy

Funny you mention that. They have a one off $500 option and they claim to have made more money from that option than they have from their investors.


> I follow the Patio11 school of thought. Charge more. Then charge more again. You should be doing that for your own services and you should be using services which do this.

Good luck with that. Many, many companies have learned the hard way that it's easy to price yourself into bankruptcy. Especially in extremely competitive sectors.


For sure, more power to them. Charge as much as they want, as long as people pay that's great.

I'm actually a paying roam customer btw. I'm definitely going to evaluate it for a few months before deciding if it's worth it or not. I'm just not sure too many others will.

However it looks like the Roam folks are aware of that as well and are actually just using this price point to scale slowly. Bold move but understandable. Bold because it's testing their 7 minutes of fame and betting the flame will continue to burn when they are ready.


While Roam isn't competitive when it comes to pricing, my main gripe would be 1. people are paying $15 a month for a _beta_ with not that great UI/UX 2. there have been past incidents of people losing all their work because persistence is still a problem.

There will be many people migrating to other services once Roam stops being free. This seems like a promising alternative.

It has already stopped being free.

If there really were alternatives to Roam then why would we even be talking about Roam? Why aren't we talking about Notepad? Nobody talks about Notepad because it's not interesting. It's not interesting because there's nothing special about it.

There's loads of projects on Github we could propose as alternatives to Roam. If they are really alternatives, then (again) why are we talking about Roam? Why is Roam in the title?

Why aren't you talking about Foam, which is the subject of this HN entry? Why does the title name Roam and "A Roam Research alternative."

Let's all repeat together.

Room: The editor has a name. The editor's name is Foam.

A bicycle isn't an alternative to a car. A bicycle might be another viable option for transportation, but it's not a car alternative. If you believe a bicycle is an alternative to a car then you're simply not using (or have no feed) of the benefits a car can provide over a bicycle.

There is no alternative to Roam (unless you're trying to sell something, apparently.) Once people stop talking about Roam, then there will be an alternative, because it's no longer interesting.

So, have you tried Notepad?


I'm not sure what your point is. Your comment is overly complicated. Are you saying notepad is a good alternative to roam?

If you only need the features that Notepad provides, then it's an alternative to Roam. That's what these "Roam Research alternative" discussions sound like to me anyways.

Foam isn't an alternative to Roam unless you don't need key characteristics which differentiate the two services.

I also feel that Roam is being used as click-bait to attract eyeballs to other note taking apps.

This reminds me of the "I can't believe it's not butter!" marketing campaign. Logically, you could apply that tagline to any product. I can't believe this celery isn't butter! No, margarine isn't butter. They are using butter to sell their own products.

Just the same, any note taking app could be an alternative to Roam. I would bet this discussion thread wouldn't have been this long if Roam wasn't in the title.


So, for you, an "alternative" would have to be a 1:1 replacement offering?

I'm glad that's not the common understanding of the word.


Not 1:1 but it wouldn't be an alternative if it isn't offering the same key characteristics which make the service unique.

I only just got my invitation to Roam the other week and there is no free tier option.

if you're not very financial, you can get 50% off or even apply for free access.

All of the links in square brackets for recommended extensions, recipes, etc, 404 when you click from the README.

The links work in GitHub Pages.

https://foambubble.github.io/foam/


Hi! Foam author here. We generate markdown references to bridge [[wiki-link]]s to work with Markdown tools. For the time being this is optimised for a) the editing experience in VS Code and b) the GitHub pages publishing pipeline, so it's more convenient to generate markdown links without the `.md` suffix.

See bottom of the file here for example: https://raw.githubusercontent.com/foambubble/foam/master/rea...

This means that for the time being links are broken in the GitHub markdown preview.

I'll look into getting this fixed, but not sure what the best way forward is.


I think the problem is that you're including these links in the README. New visitors expect all the links there to work, but they are broken.

If the README only included basic information and a link to the github pages, it would be easier to follow.

P.S. since I'm already typing, have you considered supporting semantic links, in addition to the regular ones? It will make the relationships between the pages clearer at a glance, and allow for better automation in the future. It might also help in visualization, for example you could toggle only specific relationships, to get a simpler graph of the information you care about.


Love the idea, but I don't like the dependency on jekyll. Would love to see a clean Gatsby plugin that does the same thing. You could even generate the note-links graph for the static page that way.

Foam author here! I also don't like dependency on Jekyll, and over time I want to build a bespoke static site generator for Foam (possibly based on Gatsby) that's able to create a richer browsing experience.

Thanks for the idea! I have quite a few on the Roadmap already, and would love to hear more in GitHub issues

https://foambubble.github.io/foam/roadmap


Super excited to try this out since it maps strongly to my existing notetaking workflow (markdown, vscode, custom extensions, and so on). I hope the author (or a contributor) can come up with a clever way to input drafts via a mobile device. I've considered and rejected many workflows and continue to use a gesture on my phone mapped to the "create a new card" action in trello and manually move it over later.

I'm definitely interested in a few Roam features in my VSCode (for note while working)

Foam Back links aren't working. That's one of the essential features of Roam.

I think that's a feature that any of the Markdown Link packages could offer. But then again I would keep the link graph in a separate data store and just show back links in a separate panel—not by editing the document itself.


Is there a simple file-system-like project out there that has git-like capabilities but basically commits and pushes on any save. I’d like to just keep notes in markdown and sync notes among my devices. I don’t even mind dealing with merge conflicts. I want the git-like capabilities for file history.

You could use a cronjob to add and commit all files at midnight.

That assumes you're using a device that is powered on at midnight, or at any particular time of day really.

For those of you who have done this for a while, with links and backlinks, don't you just end up with a big snarl? It seems that unless other controls are introduced, every arrow/edge just means "A reminds of B somehow", no matter how tangentially.

On the naming. There is a popular Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) package called OpenFOAM [0]. It was originally called FOAM.

[0] https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/OpenFOAM


Backlinks aren’t enough. They don’t actually tell you anything.

We need to be able to define relationships between data. There needs to be a piece of metadata that describes the type of link like “influenced_by” or “influenced” or “evolved_from” etc.


In Knowfox, I associate a type with bidirectional links, e.g. https://www.evernote.com/l/AAEeqhDgvTZLrozLtt0zMg1JvLol4xRmD...

It looks awesome, thanks!

Bad thing is that the website has almost nothing on it. I don't know if it's a service, a downloadable app, a self-hosted web app, or anything.

And the text on the website is light grey on a white background so it's very difficult to read.

I found more information on the github, but it still needs screenshots and information on how to actually use it (download? self-host on server?)

https://github.com/oschettler/knowfox


So I discovered that Knowfox can be used on the main website by registering an account there.

I did so. One thing that is noted is that everything is private by default. What does that actually mean? Even on the github, I couldn't find any kind of description of what "private" means? Is it e2e encrypted? The keys are saved somewhere on my device?

When I create a new concept, I see it has a relations config at the bottom of the concept creation page. How do I use the relations that I define there?


Can Foam store the data in files in a local folder using a file sharing tool like Dropbox, SyncThing or Resilien? I don't want private notes going on Github.

Foam author here. Yes it can. GitHub support is purely optional. I've improved the Getting Started guide to reflect this.

I think roams queries will be the last feature most clones won't have

Mind maps are still quite good for this kind of thing. Quicker than a wiki. WYSIWYG. Use two dimensions of the screen. Very quick to refactor structure. But they are a bit 90s I suppose.

I mean, outliners are literally 60s/70s tech and they're just now getting their heyday (in the form of Roam and others). Give mindmaps time :)

I will keep using a single text file with little structure thanks.

How is different from normal note taking apps? I see a relation graph and back links. Are these two the only difference?

Yes, that’s about it. Also the infinite nesting best exemplified in Workflowy. People who are into Roam seem to believe that once you start building a graph of these relationships that you can quickly click through, the result is surprisingly useful.

This is cool. Going to start playing with it.

Seriously this has to stop, all you need is Zotero, Zim and Freemind. Formal research, desktop note taking and file organisation, mind mapping. These tools are reputable, well supported, play well with any file sync service and will be around for many years. They are the desktop productivity tools of choice. Don't waste time on cloud services that will shut down or be acquired, taking your data with them.

Freemind seems to be a dead project.



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