SOFTWARE review post:
I see soooooooo many software suggestions since I last checked here. I just want to make some comments on them.
Seems the big headliner here is Roam Research. I checked it out and it's certainly got some features I like a lot. I absolutely do not like the cloud/service aspect of it. I probably wont use it due to that alone. But the features it has are very very nice. That sidebar stuff, etc. Basically, any feature in these software that offers nice visualizations of how the notes are linked together and/or being able to view multiple notes in some nifty way is the KEY feature for me.
Obsidian. It's cool. The best feature is that visual showing the links in a web like structure. The rest of it is Markdown related editor stuff, common in all of them.
Zettlr. I still use this primarily because, like Dormouse, I like that it just uses my note files and not much else. No cloud. However, it has no cool visualization for the links. I also got into some annoying limitations with the theming of it....specifically, I had an issue where i wanted different elements to be different font sizes, but the line spacing would be the same for all elements and would be the maximum size of any element. so if a header is huge and like 2" high, then ALL the lines would be 2" high. SO that was annoying. The other software like obsidian and Roam etc (most of them) are much better with this.
All these other options I think are quickly adding to many features. they are all cool in a notetaking sense, but how are we supposed to decide?
SO I still want something that works with plain ol md files, and can be imported/exported easily.
But that linking visual is important to me. Ideally, I'd like maybe two different softwares. One, like Zettlr, to manage and edit the content. But another that you can load all the files into and it can show you the links and stuff, I'd like that also. The other features are bloat IMO, like all the programming tools, project management tools, etc. Those are better in separate software, I don't need one software doing everything. That's probably hypocritical coming from me.
IN that sense, what I want did work using Zettlr and Obsidian. I loaded my zettlr files in obsidian and the web links were there, very nice. The problem is this....in zettlr, it file ID is read from that specifically formatted date item that usually is inserted automatically. Then there is a separate "title" that is more descriptive. When that is imported into obsidian, you only see the date number in the web visual, no title. This is rough as the screen is just full of numbers, useless.
The winner is going to be someone like zettlr who is committed to using ONLY md files to create their features. but as you can see, even zettlr is hampered by the unique ID <--> title problem in this fashion, where a proper database would resolve this nicely...however a database would mean now you are outside the md files. Also, dedication to keeping it open and free is an issue also. All these guys want to make money on these (understandable) but that is usually done by making it a cloud/service thing.
vnote...i tried this. very nifty interface. It doesn't appear to be zettel friendly too much, at least nowhere near as zettlr. So it becomes a general purpose note taking software. So i don't think it's a great fit. But i like the interface very much. The GUIs of these things are so beautiful overall, i have to say. Remember back in the 90s? infoselect? ugh...
Mydna...another amazing interface. also not zettel specific, so i don't think it will do what we want. But I love the idea of "cards" and the beautiful way it is presented.
So I still feel i'll continue using zettlr as it doesn't make me nervous about price/cloud/proprietary-stuff. But I'm very jealous of the nifty features in the various other software. I really think someone can come along and offer a SEPARATE software for the visualization of the links of the md files, and that would be perfect. No editing or managing of the files themselves. SO i can be editing something in zettlr and visualize it in something else in another window. That would be great.
The other benefit of this kind of system is that you can open all those md files in other markdown editors if there is something specific you are trying to do. Some editors are better for programming, so you may not want to do that directly in zettlr. But it won't affect your workflow at all because they are just md files.
on a really specific/technical level, the key thing for me is that ID/title issue in zettlr. Whatever the clever solution to that is, that's going to take things to the next level. That means now you have plain text files that can easily be used in any other software that can read them without affecting anything. It's so close right now.