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Messages - Dormouse [ switch to compact view ]

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And this is a big reason Conor does not impress me as a founder. He's petty, vain, impulsive, and egotistical.
They don't do badly for ticks, and could add a few of their own.
You don't need to remind people of who they are, and nor have they been replaced.

May be enough to stop some users switching to Roam.

But I don't think it will be many. Roam is quite expensive (money, learning, curve, need for regular use) for someone to use as well. And Notion does many things Roam doesn't, so not a good replacement for those who use those things. Roam has a clear idea of what it's trying to do and I doubt Notion can duplicate its ability to do that which leaves people wanting that switching anyway.

What it does do, is free its users from backlink envy.

Roam Research valued at $200m in a fund raise where it took $9m outside investment.

localization. Does Obsidian have that yet?
Yes, and increasing. Doesn't have the same level of need as some of the others, since they are just documents, so no relevance for quantities etc.

I don't know how/why but despite being very new, it seems to be further along in some key areas I care about vs. others (even vs. Obsidian in some respects).
It's features seem to be a better fit for you. A code exchange with Athens is apparently being discussed.
Not for me,  being database not files.

Logseq may be the Roam alternative I've been looking for! They've already solved block *and* page embeds as well as syncing/backup (Github). In that sense they're ahead of Obsidian. Very interesting indeed.
As an intended Roam equivalent (database outliner; self described as Roam + github) blocks are straightforward. I thought Obsidian now does page embeds, though its not something I've tried to use.
Foam has introduced block references using UIDs.

I've only had a cursory look. Imports the Roam .json but Obsidian markdown files are less straightforward because of syntax differences.

Intends to switch the database to HTML in future, to reduce the amount of processing involved in markdown conversion:
Yes, the html version of Logseq will store user's notes using a datascript db instead of markdown or org. There're a lot overheads to sync the plain text with the internal db. Also, we'd like the html version to be used for real-time collaborations in the future.

Any more info regarding what that html fs-sync would imply?
What I'm thinking about now is that user can save the serialized db to the native file system and load it next time when they open the computer, so there's no need to login, no need to sync using Github or Dropbox.

(Imo, would be so cool if logseq would be a org/markdown browser/editor interface ontop of the raw files its built on atm, that also would allow for graph querying of the filesystem org/markdown files.)

Yes, we'll have a desktop app version which will work directly with the native file system.

eventually i can end up scirbbling diagrams and saving the images, and those images are my zettel.
I do that!
A bit. Sometimes just drawing on paper or a board and saving a photo. Sometimes just hand writing. OCR is remarkable now. But mostly on my tablet.
And gets processed in exactly the way anything typed.
I find it much more productive to rough some things out by hand.

another strange application from back in the day called....liquid story builder
Nothing comes close to the strangeness of Liquid Story Binder. It worked, if you could learn the techniques, but it was always in the way of any creative flow. It was strangely antiquated even when it first launched.

Scrivener also has a steep learning curve, but is a good program. Particularly good for some things, especially if you write in small chunks, but mostly OK and functional. But the Windows version always struggles to keep up. After an extraordinarily long gestation the developer promised the final version would be out around this time last year. Still hasn't made it. But works reasonably well, doesn't lose data and can be used free until it's finished. I've used it from time to time but it has never aided creativity,  just getting the job done.
And not really designed around screenwriting.

I like Scapple,  but I like using a pen and Android tablet more.

"Scapple"? Only some are way more mature than it sounds like it is currently
Scapple is actually an old program. Designed as an adjunct to Scrivener. The simplicity is deliberate.

"database vs. text" is a false dichotomy
Clearly we disagree.

It is a dichotomy  - the programs either work using a database or they use files. (Or potentially both in the case of WriteMonkey 3).

"data ownership" (not a given with a DB, e.g. if it's using an open DB format and/or all content is markdown and it has a robust exporter).
Here you are introducing caveats specifying things to be watched for in a database.
Such watching is unnecessary with files.
In practice, databases don't use pure markdown (although they may attempt to export it ). The file based programs aren't pure either as they all prefer wikilinks. Not that any markdown is really pure.
And exports from programs like Roam need a lot of work to convert to useful files - and that is likely to increase as Roam continues to add features.

In theory, a database can provide any feature that a program using files has.
There are additional benefits, such as only having one file to backup. And speed - everything is loaded in a usable format whereas files have to be loaded before any processing.
But also disbenefits - they're rigid, you can only do what the program does; databases corrupt; export may not be as robust as you thought, especially if development is rapid.
The differences make the difference between the approaches a useful dichotomy to consider. For many, maybe even the majority, the benefits tip on the side of the database. Going with either approach means accepting the disadvantages of that choice.

I want to know these specific advantages and use cases for external tools operating on text files.
External tools have already been through a competitive process to decide which ones function best for me.
They have their own development trajectory which is entirely independent of a whole database program.
I can add any program at any point to gain a feature. I am not dependent upon the database developers choices and preferences.

This program called Scapple.  It's just a brainstorming tool.  You write in bubbles and connect them, that's it.  But I have been using it similar to how a zettel works, which is one scapple file per thought.
I periodically return to Scapple. It's one of those programs I think ought to suit me (because it's visual) but never quite does in practice. It's very good if it's working for you though. Quite a lot of people are major fans.

DB component
WriteMonkey 3 operates a hybrid system; JSON database with option for documents to be synced to independent files. That works OK for me.

Obsidian has a settings (workspace) file and, I think,  a JSON file with some saved info. It automatically replaces both if they are deleted, but there's some database functionality at least during a session.

I think they may extend the database functionality. I will be watching carefully what they do with that. They have already reserved YAML front matter for themselves (I believe this is to expedite future plugin functions); I'm definitely not keen on this approach because it starts cluttering the file up with extraneous stuff - I'd prefer plugins were allowed to use a JSON file.
Simple for me to avoid plugins I don't like. If Obsidian itself goes in a direction I dislike,  I'll stop using it or just have updates turned off.

I think there are other ways to achieve/solve the feature/functionality desires you have that make you want to work with "files", while still having nothing to do with a files vs. DB distinction.
But the distinction is key to being able to use the other programs.
In theory, their features could be duplicated, but I doubt they will be and my freedom of choice will be reduced.

I think this DB or files thing may be a false dichotomy, at least for many people. I've yet to see a compelling real-world example of specific, practical workflows that would necessitate "files" that have no DB component. I think you may feel strongly that your own workflows demonstrate this, so I'd love to hear some examples of how you intend to (or already do) work this way and what significant advantages it brings you (vs. for example an Obsidian plugin that does the same thing as some external tool you use directly on files).
For many I agree the distinction is moot. They want all functions within a program and, in practice, a database works better for them. Because for many things a database can work faster or introduce features that are cumbersome in plain standalone files.

For me the workflow advantage of files is simple: I use other programs with those files. Those programs are standalone and feature rich. If one falls by the wayside, I can use another. I can use them at the same time as I have them open in Obsidian. I am not limited to whatever is available in Obsidian. I can simultaneously use Obsidian competitors such as Foam or Dendron. Because I can do this at the same time there is no switching disadvantage compared to an Obsidian plugin; in fact there's an advantage because I can use multiple windows where Obsidian is limited to one window per vault (apparently a limitation of Electron).

I don't care about when the Obsidian editor becomes wysiwyg because I can just use Typora. In practice I do most of my writing in WriteMonkey. I often have ProWritingAid open on the files.

a very clear and important distinction between cloud/SaaS (Roam, Notion) and desktop/offline, perhaps with optional cloud sync (Obsidian, Anytype).
I agree that this is an important distinction, but most of the database systems have online availability.

A few advertise a local database as a USP, but that brings a heavy price in terms of availability on all devices. My own guess is that these will wither and only the cloud sync (optional or not) will survive. Many programs are happy to advertise the program as free and only charge for sync - they know that's the best combination for hooking new users and making continuing users pay.

all of these systems pretty much import and export various flavors of markdown.
One big advantage of files is that there is no export. I have them and I know what they look like. I never have to worry about changes to what is exported or glitches in the system.

There's also Amplenote
will it ever end
Not for a couple of years I think.
To be fair to Amplenote, they've been going since last year, so predating Roam's popularity.

Most older apps will be looking to add similar functionality, without necessarily understanding how it would be used, and the new wave will be adding features.

My recommendation for users is to make a decision about database or files (or any combination according to preferred workflow), pick the app(s) that seem to suit best for now and then just use it(them). Check alternatives only when hitting an issue. They're all going to change and develop dramatically (some will vanish) and it will be easier to compare in a few years. Everyone is aware of what the others are doing,  so the whole herd will add desirable features in a lagged sync.

Wiki-links have become standard. I expect that there will be a lot of pressure for markdown expansions to cover the new usage. I've already seen proposals to replace markdown completely. The new generation of users won't want to be adding HTML for simple features like underlining or colour.

I've noticed a huge proportion of Mac users on Obsidian boards - Linux too -  and believe this is also true for Roam. Obsidian's developers use Windows. Not sure if this has any implications.

Also noticed that Dendron now has transclusions; not sure when it was added. I expect transclusion to be as pervasive as bidirectional links. I can see that having a big impact for Notion in particular.

I used to like Xara.
But that was a long time ago.

There's also Amplenote

Imports from Evernote, Roam and Markdown. Exports Markdown.
Mostly advertising itself as a secure, encrypted alternative to Roam.
PWA app like Octo; I'm not massively keen on that myself.
Seems to be aimed at tasks and productivity notes, rather than notes in general.
Free trial but no free tier.
The blog is quite interesting.

So Notion + Obsidian + Evernote + Things3 + iOS Reminders. Can't convince myself that keeping all those balls in the air at once is efficient. Reminders are specific, and so is Evernote providing he only uses it for OCR, but the others cover all tasks.

There have been suggestions for Obsidian to support MMD, adding some desired functionality missing from GFM Commonmark. I'm not sure the developers would be keen to add yet another standard to comply with,  but they could just add the elements they want.

there is nothing stopping a tool like Obsidian from having a "working database" or sidecar XML files or whatever it needs to support those raw text files to have extra features like block references and transclusions, etc

It would change the way the program worked.
Either you add multiple UIDs to the files (which can be done manually now), which makes reading the raw view harder, or you'd have to put them in a database equivalent which managed that outside of the file. The minute you do that, that database is needed as well as the files. Current process is that the files are loaded when a vault is opened, and that's all that's needed.

I  imagine that someone may try to do what you suggest in a plugin when the API is published,  but I don't see the developers doing it. I'm not sure how such a database would deal with files being added to the folder when Obsidian is closed.

Obsidian can't export to markdown because it doesn't contain the notes in the first place. The files have an independent existence and can be edited using any program at any time.

I don't understand the point of that distinction. They don't need to be exported because they're *already* markdown, aren't they?

- Oshyan

I think the distinction is that there is no need to export.  With Roam, you're at their mercy if something happens to the service, which iss one of the reasons that I prefer to work on local plain text files.
Roam's markdown is in a database.

The other point is that Obsidian takes no ownership of the files,  even when it's running and the vault is open. Many programs lock a file when it has been opened.

Bet: transclusion will prove so useful that Markdown syntax will be extended for it. Hopefully in a standardized way. NetCommonMark (Net as in networked notes) on the horizon?
I'm not convinced. Too many blatantly obvious needs have never been addressed.
Obsidian is likely to be resistant to going far out on a limb, syntax-wise. Wikilinks are a growing standard in programs that use them, and Obsidian would probably go with a transclusion syntax if the other programs did too.

It's a fast moving space, I think there will be many more developments over the next few years.

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