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Using Obsidian to manage goals, tasks, notes, and software dev knowledge base (imprint.to)
196 points by sharjeelsayed 11 months ago | hide | past | favorite | 117 comments

After having used Bear, Notable, and Atom + plugins, I’m realizing I don’t really want an app to manage my notes. I just want the notes, plus a tool to traverse them that’s got a bit more beef to it than Finder.app.

I’d like to use a more powerful app like the one promoted here, but I feel desperately uncomfortable tying my notes [in] to a piece of proprietary software. I feel like that was a mistake I made already, and don’t want to repeat.

It’s almost like Obsidian et al are highly featureful filesystem browsers, but where the only files one can have are markdown files.

What about if I want to style a real PDF in Asciidoc? It’s really common for a note to evolve into a document. An idea becomes a lesson plan for a class, which morphs into a handout with tables, admonitions etc.

What about if I want to represent some idea with a quick spreadsheet? Or a sketchup? It would be fantastic if those were somehow all represented as first class documents in the filesystem, as markdown is inside the current wave of proprietary markdown editors.

> but I feel desperately uncomfortable tying my notes to a piece of proprietary software

Obsidian is proprietary, but Markdown isn’t. And there will always be Markdown personal wikis. I guarantee it.

> What about if I want to style a real PDF in Asciidoc?

Pandoc can export MD to PDF, HTML, .doc, anything. And you can style with CSS.

But once you add spreadsheets and sketches into the mix, there’s basically no way around proprietary software.

What about org-mode?

Org-mode is fantastic. Org files on Dropbox has been my standard note keeping and task management tool for close to a decade. But... it definitely has a learning curve as you simultaneously adapt your workflow to org and customize org to match your own desired workflow.

For me, it is undoubtedly the best task and knowledge management tool I’ve ever used. But, I accepted a long time ago that the Emacs requirement is going to be a deal breaker for a lot of people.

The learning curve and attitude of the old guard are what pushed me away from org mode. I loved the structure and the promise of being able to code/adapt workflows.. and being able to merge config and comments (literate programming, is it?) to document the few changes I managed to make. But learning Emacs around it, especially on a Windows system just isn't worth it :/

FWIW, there's a VS code extension. I haven't used it yet personally but I'd like to try it out eventually. I use vim-orgmode, otherwise, and it's been great. I should note that I've never used the original org-mode in emacs so I'm not sure if it's missing features or behaves differently, etc...

I used Org for about 8 months last year, while I was testing out Spacemacs and Doom Emacs.

My experience was that the Org-mode in Emacs was great. Especially how you could capture notes with backlinks from any Emacs context, and the Agenda view it generates. I went all-in on the ecosystem and wrote my mail in mu4e, for instance, which can integrate with Org-mode for writing HTML mail. Being able to add inline LaTeX equations and syntax-highlighted code snippets to such emails was gold. Having easily executable script snippets embedded in sysadmin notes was useful as well.

As for other implementations of it — including vim-orgmode and every mobile app I tried — too many features were lacking or broken for it to be useful to me. In the end, I ended up going back to MarkDown when I left Emacs. The transition was quite painful; Pandoc helped a lot, but many things in my notes just broke during conversion, so I ended up just trashing most of my notes and spending an evening manually fixing the important ones.

While Org is free and open source software, and it’s often repeated that “it’s just plain text”... I’d like to caution others that if you really use the features it has to offer, you’ll be locked into it just like with most proprietary formats. If you’re not completely sure you’ll use Emacs for the rest of your days, MarkDown is a safer option for a knowledge base you wish to keep over time.

I recently moved from Workflowy to org-mode after being recommended by someone here and it has been a fantastic experience. Henrik's Doom Emacs distribution has really made the transition easy with its amazing out-of-the-box usability.

There is one minor feature from Workflowy that I miss though, which is is the ability to "zoom" into a headline. You can narrow subtrees, but its level won't be adjusted. I tried to use some horizontal scroll hackery but couldn't get it to play well when you're switching buffers. I'm not sure how to save those narrowed buffers across sessions either.

But in any case I definitely will stay with org-mode for quite a long time, it truly is a powerful piece of software.

I had a look at it a few months ago, and my impression is that while it's very powerful, it's not for the average user.

Heck, I work as a developer, spend a third of my day in the terminal, and I still wouldn't use it.

Foam is the open source alternative to Obsidian.


I use zim-wiki for my notes. Open-source and stores notes in text organised by folders. I like markdown but actually prefer the simple wiki syntax it uses.

If they need to create a PDF I use pandoc and if I need to move a table to a spreadsheet I just copy the text and use the text to columns from delimiter feature. Not sure if this help you or not.

Zim’s main drawback in these days is that it doesn’t have its own mobile app, and since it’s not based on MarkDown, you can’t use any existing MarkDown mobile apps with it.

That's true, I think they started looking at creating one but it never got off the ground. From my personal perspective I don't, and can't (I've tried), take decent notes on mobile. On the move I just use a jotter it's quicker and move flexible.

I use Zettlr. It's also a Markdown manager. However you can define a folder as a project. Which helps to keep related notes orderly. Also you can export the whole project or one note as a pdf (using pandoc) or docx, odt, html... You can attach files to your note too. That being said I really enjoyed the idea of Trilium. Especially the fact that you can write your own scripts.You may be able to add scripts and make spreadsheet or SketchUp files first class documents.

I recently discovered dendron (https://www.dendron.so/) to scratch exactly the same itch you have.

It is a set of vscode plugins, which help me manage a workspace of markdown notes. Fair warning: it can be a little overwhelming to get started. At least for me it was because I wanted to do everything the "right" way. Changing stuff and refactoring is easy, so now i just write things down and worry about structure as it grows.

So far, i really like it and the dev is very responsive on discord to fix issues i had with windows. He even offers personal 30 minute sessions with him where he tries to learn more about the way you'd like to use it.

I'm using VS code and the markdown preview plugin, with a private repo on github. Works pretty good and would support other filetypes besides MD.

I am doing the same thing, additionally I have a cron job running which auto-commits every 5 minutes.

For mobile viewing I use the app GitJournal.


> GitJournal

Thanks for this

--a fellow git + markdown + cron note-taker

Hi. I'm the author, please feel free to contact me if you have any issues and/or feature requests.

There's a collection of additional VScode plugins called foam you might be interested in.


I'm using markdown files in a git worktree stored on iCloud. This provides fast syncing between my Apple devices and the ability to push everything to a git remote for peace of mind. On iOS I use iA Writer and on the mac I use vim (& wiki.vim) and command line tools like ripgrep. The only annoyance at the moment is that iA Writer doesn't support wiki links.

My setup is very similar, but I use 1Writer on iOS, which does support wiki-links.

boostnote.io might be a good tool for you. Its basically a markdown renderer + code coloring with some extra search and other features. The first version is open source and I believe the second version also will be (but not positive). you can also store your folder of notes in a dropbox folder and get decent syncing out of the box. I've been using it for two years now and don't have any complaints. I will have to admit I haven't moved over to their second version yet so I might be missing something.

Obsidian is basically a "markdown renderer + code coloring with some extra search and other features" too.

Notes in Obsidian are just regular markdown files that sit in a directory on your hard-drive. The notes can be version controlled with Git, synced with Dropbox, etc.

Yes I thought one of the things he didn’t like about Obsidian was it is closed source / proprietary. I do think they overlap pretty heavily. I’m personally going to give Obsidian a try tomorrow and see how it compares.

They aren't regular markdown files, they wont' be supportd any time soon by other markdown editors (i.e. there is currently no compatible ios markdown editor for it). They are regular text files though.

Honestly, I recommend paper. I know, I know, no full-text search, no backup, etc. But files are really easy to misplace, accidently delete, or lose due to a hardware/software failure. They're just so small.

I've found that if I write something down on paper, I'll physically remember where it is. It's really hard to get past the permanent aspect of pen and paper, but once you do, and you're willing to write down imperfect thoughts with zero organization, it's wonderful.

> It's really hard to get past the permanent aspect of pen and paper

As someone that grew up without any electronics except a TV, how the world has changed ... now if you could pretty please get of my lawn :)

I like to take notes on paper however my notes are always messy. I'm not able to take notes on anything without having to go back and reorganise them, make sense of them, and add to them. Paper and pen (pencil in my case) are limited in this respect. I'd love to be able to take notes perfectly the first time but find I'll take notes and rewrite them in text (currently zim-wiki) which for me reinforces them in my mind. I can then add/change them when needed. My notes evolve over time, which means paper notes would have to be rewritten continuously with the same information with additions/deletions/expansions/etc. This is much easier electronically, especially when you version your notes (I do this with fossil in zim-wiki).

I find also pen and paper to be limited for programming notes.

Explore "Zettlekasten". There's a great book on the topic - "How To Take Smart Notes"

I do something like that using org mode in termux. It has really improved my note taking and personal information management. I do my workout logs, nutrition logs, language study, work task management, agenda, all in the same environment, and the format is open. Versioning and syncing is done with git.

org-mode is without a doubt the most comprehensive and powerful note taking software that exists today. It's so good that even non-emacs users should give it a go.

If you don’t care about mobile, Anno [1] is nice. It’s very simple; just a web-based UI for Markdown files. There’s an okay-ish PDF feature as well.

[1] https://github.com/gwgundersen/anno

I had a similar trajectory and settled on Bookmark OS. The Notes are not as feature rich as Obsidian but it's almost simpler is better for me https://bookmarkos.com

there are open source options for creating markdown wikis, that support (almost?) all platforms, and filesystem-storage as well.

I'm a happy user of Boostnote.

Have you tried Roam Research? https://roamresearch.com/

The comment you're replying to says:

> but I feel desperately uncomfortable tying my notes to a piece of proprietary software.

I was initially skeptical of Obsidian, but...

(1) It’s not proprietary - it’s a browser +/- IDE for markdown files. I point it at the folder in my Dropbox directory where I already keep all my md files. It’s a new front-end, but doesn’t lock me into anything.

(2) As an extension of 1, I can continue using NotePlan as my calendar/todo on my phone (which builds everything into md files), and Kiwi to access all of the above on my phone as a personal wiki.

(2) was already my workflow and knowledge base; Obsidian just made for a nicer editing/browsing tool on PC.

The key is that, as what is essentially a wiki, both the files/notes and their interrelationships are conserved/non-proprietary, regardless of what happens to the chosen software in the future. No lock-in for any part of my calendar, workflow, or knowledge base, and all three can point to one another because it’s all just md in the same folder.

> (1) It’s not proprietary

I would call requiring a paid commercial license if you plan on doing commercial use "proprietary." That was the deal breaker for me, as I'm more than happy to continue using Foam until a free Obsidian-like client comes along.

I meant to convey it's not a proprietary format - no lock-in of my data.

This sounds like a great setup thanks for making me aware of Thes these tools; noteplan & kiwi

I think what most people don't see coming is that Wilker Lúcio was hired by Roam Research he is the author of Pathom and gave this talk recently:

- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IS3i3DTUnAI

It's about connecting many graphs together, the killer app in this space is to figure out how to connect these graphs together such that teams and communities can grow connections on a massive scale

There will be many challenges in doing that particularly around selection, per edge permissions likely leveraging Clojure's namespaced keywords to get global attributes

This will mean a major re architecture of Roam Research, I predict most Roam clones are going to get absolutely blindsided by this

Roam today is ~just~ a datascript database on the client being kept up to date with firebase

For now if you want open source Roam keep an eye on https://github.com/athensresearch/athens

One question for all users of knowledge-bases like this:

How often do you write something down and look it the next day and realize it's not relevant anymore because of reasons like:

• you memorized it

• it's not as important as it seemed yesterday

• it's a todo and having it there actually nags you and prevents you from completing it

• it creates some other kind of mental load: while skipping over it, it grabs your attention, which then prevents you from attending to other tasks on the list.

I have a theory that GTD helps only few, for most people it just makes them feel better because they are now spending time creating lists instead of doing what's on them.

> it creates some other kind of mental load

Agree with raytracer, that it works contrary to this. Writing things down in a system that you can reliably go back and check, tells your brain to calm down about this thought. If required, you can always reference it later.

You will need to classify points as either tasks or general information you want to store for later.

The cool part of tools like Roam, Obsidian, is that you can create bi-directional links. So if you are intentional about this and if you're referencing something related later, you will come across this point and it may be useful then.

> it creates some other kind of mental load:

I find it's actually the opposite. Writing things down means I can forget about whatever it is and focus on the task at hand.

> it's not as important as it seemed yesterday

This is a good thing in some situations. I generally write down ideas whenever they appear. Coming back to the ideas in days/weeks/months helps to provide some perspective. If it still looks like a good idea, it can be acted on.

Bad ideas can be discard or ignored.

It's a better outcome than spending a day getting side tracked only to wake up the next day to realise the idea was rubbish.

It doesn't hurt to have a backlog of things for those slow, inspiration free days either.

A knowledgebase is very different from a GTD/to-do list. My personal encyclopaedia is full of so many citations and interlinked factoids that I can honestly say I wouldn't be half as learned as I am without it. Almost everything I write down no longer gives me a mental burden once I offload it from my memory. It's something that builds on itself over time as you gradually learn more and more about various topics.

GTD and a knowledge base are 2 separate things that shouldn't be conflated. So your criticism of GTD could be valid, but it doesn't have any relevance to a knowledge base.

Without exaggeration, I'd say about 5% of the cases?

> • you memorized it

This means I've got about a day or two at most while I still have it memorized - but my plans usually span longer than that.

> • it's not as important as it seemed yesterday

That would account for most of the irrelevant 5% of my notes, I suppose; but most of the time, it will still provide important context when I come back to it weeks later.

>• it's a todo and having it there actually nags you and prevents you from completing it

Never really understood these sorts of todo issues. If a task is sitting somewhere for longer than necessary, it's likely unimportant. If it is important, I'm more than glad to be "nagged".

>• it creates some other kind of mental load: while skipping over it, it grabs your attention, which then prevents you from attending to other tasks on the list.

Move it to the bottom, or to another list outright ("To do later").

>I have a theory that GTD helps only few, for most people it just makes them feel better because they are now spending time creating lists instead of doing what's on them.

I have a theory that people like to riff on organizational tools when they do not know how to utilize them properly - which is why most are drawn to utilize them in ineffective and inefficient ways, generalizing this as a property of the tool.

Besides, GTD/task management is a miniscule portion of why it makes sense to construct knowledge bases.

I mostly use my wiki as a place to store actual information and use a different system for managing todos. I would agree that wikis aren’t really fit for that, if that’s what you’re saying, but that’s also not their intended purpose.

I'm writing a PhD which is a three year project. There is no way I can memorise everything I need to know.

This was crossposted to the todoist subreddit and and I already said this there:

The overhead that these systems need is my worst nightmare.

I tried obsidian, because I saw how people use notion, roam and obsidian ro manage tasks and as knowledge base... but I just can't imagine me doing this.

I programmed a Bot for todoist and at one point I developed a github > Todoist sync, to manage my work on the Bot... at on point it almost was comical how many additional tasks I ended up with, just to make it happen.

I tried obsidian and quickly tried to use Typoda for markdown, because even writing markdown comes with an overhead... additionally I always need to install 3rd party apps to even access my knowledge..

I'm still looking for the perfect system, but always to back to Todoist for tasks and a simple static file generator for my knowledge base(docsify).. I can edit and access it from everywhere and dont have much overhead.

What I also dont get is the lack of API of theses systems. Afaik notion still don't have one, and even roam doesn't.

For journaling and brainstorming, I build a Todoist function that creates and links a Dropbox Paper directly to the task in Todoist... this way I already have a task and it's out of sight when I'm done... and it only requires a browser.

I envy everyone who can use these apps though. It does seem to be a nice way of offload stuff of the brain.

I moved my notes out of Apple Notes and into Markdown inside text files last year due to the bugs I encountered. This means I can sync them with whatever product I like (currently OneDrive) and open them on any system (currently macOS) with any app that can parse Markdown (currently iA Writer). It also means whenever any new app comes along, I can play around.

Usually what I want is something that loads very quickly and has a minimal UI that allows me to focus on writing, but also allows me to search all files quickly. iA Writer ticks all those boxes, and also has support for simple #hashtags so I can organise the notes.

Where things become more difficult is if the app adds a lot of custom functionality that is either specific to that app or adds lots of custom metadata to the files. Then you start to lose some of the above benefits, particularly cross-platform.

I looked at Obsidian but found the UI to be heavy and slow, and lots of extra functionality I wasn't interested in. I've tried a lot of apps[1] but always come back to iA Writer.

[1] https://davidmytton.blog/the-best-note-taking-apps-for-mac-m...

I tried using Obsidian, but I could not resolve the uncertainty of what should be a separate note file vs several items inside a note file.

I then tried various 'outliner' applications (Dynalist, Roam, Workflowy). With these kinds of apps, there is hardly any friction between document and content granularity levels; everything can be just one big tree / directed graph.

I finally settled with Dynalist [1] -- it recently introduced backlinks and is the far more mature, sleek and feature-rich option compared to Roam.

[1] https://dynalist.io/

Btw, obsidian is from the same makers of dynalist.

While I love Dynalist design, their forum and the simplicity...

Roam is evolving quickly and has (what appears to be) little features that make it much more useful to me. More like a living, organic thing.

Eg: I really enjoy [[doing this]] to a concept and turning it into a page in less than a second...

I'm a mathematician who scripts everything I can. I've been thinking about mind-mapping for decades.

My breaking point: I have DropBox folders for 1770 math papers, that I periodically read on computers and tablets. The significance of most of these papers is lost to me. I want to be able to browse this collection in a "supermarket shelf" topology. Most of creatitivity is not planned; planning tends to stifle creativity. Rather, a frenetic mind is fortunate enough, after months of fruitless wanderings, to encounter the right set of ideas in close enough proximity to notice. For example, a PCB protoboard has the correct 0.1" spacing to guide a router jig for making a pasta guitar. Who knew?!

Ideally one traverses a private web site with links to every asset. The associations need to be both manual and automated, logical and accidental. For example, time of creation or visits is critical data for determining proximity. Looking at each PDF in plain text to attempt to infer proximity would be a great application of deep learning tools, leveraging existing proximities as training data.

On a larger scale I have repeatedly urged the American Mathemetical Society to open up its MathSciNet cash cow to be a premier playground for machine learning. Unlike computer science, mathematics does have a detailed index of all published research, through the efforts of many volunteer reviewers. However, math is crippled by many archaic beliefs: That ideas are organized by fields such as number theory, and there is a single global worldview specifying this organization. That the value of MathSciNet is its hand-curated organization. I believe that we're crippling a generation of mathematical progress by not allowing mathematics to be at the forefront of mind mapping efforts, with many competing voices/tools describing its organization and facilitating idea browsing. Autocomplete is still at the "pager" stage of development, with "smart phones" yet to come. We could all benefit from the cloud autocompleting each of our mind-maps. Mathematics is a relatively small, constrained domain where shared mind-mapping and autocomplete could first flourish.

I've separately used a text file as scratch paper many days for the last fifteen years, saving every file. I can retrieve much useful information through full text search. I am reminded however of Don Knuth's adage "Premature optimization is the root of all evil," and the smaller optimization problem of how to best organize physical receipts. Excessive organization is wasted effort and a form of neurosis. I scan lots of documents but not every receipt; they all go in boxes dated by quarter, vacuum packed after a year. When I really need a receipt I can find it, but the effort to file has been properly balanced with the effort to retrieve. Same with text files; full text search works. It would be a mistake for me to put more effort into the structure of these files. Rather, through scripts and AI tools, I can evolve an indexing exoskeleton around these existing unstructured raw materials.

I need mind-mapping to manage assets, not to create a private web site of my thoughts. And there cannot be a user/programmer dichotomy; we each need to script additional associations into our mind maps. That belongs in exoskeleton, not cluttering up primary text.

For me, I'm unwilling to invest time in an app thats not open source. Other key things for me would be a web gui, mobile gui, self hosted and easily backed up. Trilium notes is the best thing I have found so far.

I suppose “self hosted” and “easily backed up” works fine since Obsidian is supposed to work on local MarkDown files which you can store and backup in any way you want.

Not sure why you’d need a WebGUI since the app appears to be cross-platform; personally, I tend to view web interfaces more as a last resort when there is no native app available. I’m not sure a WebGUI makes sense either if you’re storing your data in a local folder.

As far as I know, they don’t have a companion mobile app though, and that’s a deal-breaker for me too.

Canceled Evernote a month ago. To many bugs. Using VIM at this point. Honestly thinking of going back to a notebook. Only issue is I cannot read my own handwriting sometimes ;)

Used Evernote for a while, not even paid, but it doesn't offer anything (for me personally) that a flat folder with text or markdown files wouldn't cover. Then looking at the downside, I don't own the data and if Evernote decides they've had enough, all my stuff could be lost.

Tried doing plain files again (via Notable because people said so, but that also doesn't really offer anything an editor with markdown support (cmd + click to open other file) doesn't offer itself), but by then I didn't really need to keep notes anymore (I passed beyond the "research" phase of my current project).

A knowledgebase is for storing thousands of notes and quickly retrieve them when needed. Searching dozens of notebooks for the relevant info is not scalable.

With plain text formats such as Markdown search is just one grep away. Using ripgrep it’s also quite fast.

I think parent was referring to this:

> Honestly thinking of going back to a notebook


Look into vimwiki.

2nd that. I keep coming back to vimwiki after forays into other tools. It isn't perfect but its reliable and I can find my notes when I need them

I use a Google Docs. Been using it solid for over 2 years.

Markup, searchabilitiy, simple.

I tried Obsidian but prefer Foam[0], just because I enjoy using VSCode. Once it gets materialized backlinks I suppose it will be similar enough.

[0] https://foambubble.github.io/foam/

Can't you already navigate with the tree view instead of materialised backlinks? What's the benefit?

I prefer to link my sites organically inside of text in the page. E.g. on a page about Linux I'd write

GNU/Linux is an [operating system](../os) based on the Linux [Kernel](../kernel).

Tada, two backlinks without having to list them. If there's no link on the page it's not important.

Do you see problems with that approach?

I actually do like the 'explore backlinks' pane for Foam so it would be of some navigational use for me. They list reasons for adding it as:

> Make every link two-way navigable in published sites

> Make Foam notes more portable to different apps and long-term storage

(via https://foambubble.github.io/foam/materialized-backlinks)

Though I may be getting confused between the backlink differences that Foam, Obsidian, and Roam offer. A list of forward links per document would actually be useful as well, which IIRC neither Foam or Obsidian offer at the moment. Obsidian also shows the user 'unlinked mentions' along with explicit backlinks, which is also a nice feature that Foam lacks.

My current working model (WIP).

1. Write in Markdown. Stay as less markup as possible and tend towards plain text.

2. Organize/Categorized into folders; such as -- parenting, entrepreneurship, startup, homelab, books, etc.

3. Choose a really simple publisher (Jekyll for now). I sprinkle the least front matter in the header of each file. So, I can publish the selected ones online for me, friends, and family.

4. Let Obsidian look over it (it drops just one folder .obsidian), write with it sometimes. I don't want any tool taking over, chewing it and making smart decisions for me.

My focus are those files inside the folders. I should be able to just replace Jekyll or Obsidian in future without losing the integrity of my content.

My favourite thing about obsidian is it made folders redundant. Now my notes structure is more like my thinking structure. Scattered but organised via bi-directional linking and tagging. It's a great way to discover new insights from your own thoughts.

if you are looking for an open source version of obsidian, I would check out https://dendron.so (disclaimer, I'm the author)

it supports all the same features and built on top of vscode. use it to manage my personal knowledge base of 20k md files

My problem with apps like these it's that they are always working on almost everything but not really. Lately I've been testing a few things and then I got back to Org-mode. Works on my desktop, works on Android with Orgzly and works on my iPad with Beorg.

I've tried Obsidian, but the data structure is far inferior to Roam Research and not worth wasting my time with it. With Roam I know that my notes are building a rich forest of hierarchies and networks that will be more useful in the future.

Did you read the linked article? Sounds like some people are having some issues with stability of Roam. It's one of the things first talked about in the article.

I just started using MindForger which is very similar. I will definitely give Obsidian a look because I love these ideas - thibkjng notebooks.

check out MindForger - it is open source and quite simple to review as it's mainly one maintainer.

Seems to be down? WebArchive can't access it.

Google Cache - https://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:https:...

Google Cache seems to be just a proxy thats loading resources from the main site.

I use obsidian and dropbox with markdown mobile apps (text editor on desktop)> It's teh best setup. Way better than roam.

I am still using Simplenote because mobile works really fast and the sync stays up to date. The approach here of syncing markdown files with icloud seems like it might work well enough.

The lack of linking between notes is definitely the missing feature of Simplenote.

I like the approach here of trying to sync markdown files with iCloud

I think I almost dedicated the last ten years to try to solve my own problem about taking notes for tasks/goals. In the end I come back defaulting to paper-and-pen for day to day projects related notes, and cherrytree for reorganizing them weekly in a digital format.

I just want a simple kanban board with dependency graph. Like Trello but with dependencies.

I gather you mean an actual dependency graph, since that's what you said. :) Most task software with dependencies don't support graph data structures.

I regularly use Flying Logic for this sort of thing - I make a huge dependency graph, and then I create a collapsible group that encompasses the stuff that is active. The part of the graph that is "below" that window is stuff that is already done, and the stuff that is "above" that window is stuff that can't be started until I do stuff in the active window.

("below" and "above" can be reoriented to "left" and "right" if you prefer)

https://kanboard.org/ has dependencies. What do you mean by 'dependency graph'? A graph showing relations and backlinks like with Obsidian? Or graph in a programming sense where you can access elements programmatically?

Microsoft Azure DevOps Board is free, so you can use that and it has dependencies

Obsidian is a fantastic app and completely free. You also store the data yourself.

"The SOFTWARE PRODUCT is licensed, not sold."

It looks to be non-free software, with a $-free licence tier for personal use.

I personally use all my software.

I wish Obsidian (or an alternative of some sort) could pick up Devonthink's "AI" and work through both my markdown and my PDF files.

No task management, planning, etc. Just plain reading, thinking and writing.

The quest continues...

Just installed Obsidian to give it a quick test, and I must say I am impressed. I've been using Gollum for my personal wiki, but may just move over to Obsidian.

Does anyone know if you can write your own plugins for it?

Never heard of this before. Sounds like Zim-wiki, which is what I use. Does pretty much everything this can do plus is completely free.

this is the setup I keep going back to(I've tried Roam, Obsidian, Tiddly) - VimWiki + TaskWarrior + TaskWiki.

Could you elaborate as to why?

The reason is mostly I couldn't replace my current workflow using other tools.

1. open-source. 2. One command away from my editor(I only use desktop for taking notes), also synced to my dropbox in case. 3. Amazing extensibility with plugins and custom scripts. Eg: bugwarrior + pomodoro(using Timewarrior, I've used this a lot when freelancing, not so much now) + some custom scripts. 4. Journaling - custom generated template of what I need to records/daily tasks etc. 5. Viewports in taskwiki are amazing, eg: for any project related notes I can do write `# Task | project:Pro1 and +PENDING` to list pending tasks in Pro1, you can also configure to use tags like development, bug reports etc.

I couldn't find another tool that is as extensible. The downside is you need to dedicate a weekend to understanding and setup!

>2. One command away from my editor(I only use desktop for taking notes), also synced to my dropbox in case

One can add a function in rc files to commit and push to version control, if the `.task` directory is a git repo:

  function tupd() {
      git  -C ~/.task commit -a -m "Update tasks $(whoami)@$(hostname)"
      git  -C ~/.task push

TaskWarrior has hooks[0] to execute arbitrary scripts (on-launch, on-exit, on-add, on-modify) so one can write a script that takes accepts JSON input.

I also have a transformer script that generates markdown from a specific project's tasks and annotations, with headings and lists, and commit to a project's wiki that is a git repository, and push the changes.

I had an alias named `note`:

  alias note='vi +star +'\''normal Go'\'' +'\''r!date +\%F\ \%T'\'' ~/workspace/notes/notes.md +'\''normal Go'\'' +'\''normal Go'\'

And also one named `lesson`, where I write down mistakes I make, from arriving late (meaning only arriving 15 minutes in advance) to a meeting to some consequence of an assumption, to removing one line of code I thought wasn't useful causing a bug.

It's been a long time I haven't updated it. Not because I'm perfect, but because I'm not.

[0]: https://taskwarrior.org/docs/hooks.html

Happy to hear you find it useful!

thank you for you work!

And TiddlyWiki has a Stroll plugin that provides backlinks and auto-complete suggestions for linking: https://giffmex.org/stroll/stroll.html

Thanks for sharing. Just checked out TaskWarrior; looks like a tool from my dreams.

Does anyone have a working org-mode setup with back-links?

Not me, but this guy[1] seems to have a pretty interesting setup using backlinks with Org. Other than that, org-roam[2] is becoming popular nowadays.

[1]: https://karl-voit.at/2020/07/22/org-super-links [2]: https://www.orgroam.com/

HN hug o death.

anyone got a link to what this "obsidian" is?

Note taking app. It's good. Missing a couple of features.


before i go trying it out... it looks a lot like a personal wiki?

RTF etc?

Yes. Offline notes in markdown. So cross-platform.

Great UI, 'Mind-mapping' thing that everybody wants, backlinking to other notes, markdown, offline (so private notes).

Other alternatives - roam research, notion, etc

I've tried it, I liked it. But I can't help but feel like I'm one of the only people who doesn't need an app for 'mind-mapping'. Am I missing something? Asking honestly, this comes up at work a lot. I feel like I can access things in my mind at will. Why should I need to transcribe it in some way?

I think the problem with general notetaking is, you take note and you'll almost forget about it completely in a couple of day.

This style of notetaking software help 'resurface' those information you even forgot you jot down long time ago and make the process of 'discover' new idea much easier, something like that.

Well, I mean it behave like our mind, just more tangible, in software form. Also, people forgot much more nowadays because of information overload...maybe that's why some people need to transcribe it into something and relieve their brain's load.

Be careful. It's unlikely that you remembered what happened during your second day in university without me bumping your neurons a bit.

What I am saying is, that often we need an access trigger first even if the memory is technically there. Mindmapping is a way to rewalk the thoughts you once had and reenter a specific state of memory and mind.

Even I don't get the idea of mind mapping. Just a gimmick for the productivity nerds imo.

if only they had iOS app.

Using Notion.io because of that, but i would change to Obsidian when they have it.

There is a workaround of storing the md files in iCloud and using a markdown editor like 1Writer to open and edit them. But you loose some functionality with that.

Obsidian stores notes in markdown format. There is nothing more cross platform and future proof in notes, than markdown.

You just have to sync a single folder. Google Drive/ Dropbox/ Syncthing, etc. Any solution works.

Use any markdown app on iOS - https://duckduckgo.com/?t=ffab&q=markdown+ios

I use MDNotes on iOS with my Obsidian vault stored on iCloud and it’s absolutely seamless. Trying to figure out how to implement encryption in my pipeline seamlessly too; Cryptomator might work.

thank you

Seems to be an App to implement a “Zettelkasten“ type knowledge store:


It does have a Zettelkasten mode but it's not enabled by default. Out of the box Obsidian is more like a wiki with markdown syntax.

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