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Last post Author Topic: I'm thinking of going primitive, with discursion into zettelkasten  (Read 231357 times)

BGM

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Re: I'm thinking of going primitive, with discursion into zettelkasten
« Reply #1075 on: February 24, 2022, 02:47 PM »
Wow, Dormouse, thanks for the analysis. 
So far, I have not been pleased enough with any of the markdown editors I've tried so far.  Whilst I really appreciate everything saved in text and therefore fetchable from other programs, I don't like switching between editing directly and in markdown.  I just don't care about markdown, I guess.  I'm pretty happy with TreeDBNotes, although it needs some improvements and needs some promise for the future, but it's still working well for me.  I'll keep an eye out for anything new and interesting, though.

Dormouse

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Re: I'm thinking of going primitive, with discursion into zettelkasten
« Reply #1076 on: February 24, 2022, 03:18 PM »
I just don't care about markdown,
I don't either.
Actually, that's not true. I actively dislike markdown.
I really appreciate everything saved in text
Indeed. Plaintext is a good idea - though not for everything - but the implementations are poor.
I have not been pleased enough with any of the markdown editors I've tried so far
The key word in this is enough. With sufficient incentive, you'll just accept whichever seems best.
I'm pretty happy with TreeDBNotes
And that's why
although it needs some improvements and needs some promise for the future, but it's still working well for me.
That's where the problem lies. I doubt you will see any new programs coming in using rich text unless they are word processors. The Rightnotes, Scriveners etc will hang on while they can, but rich text is unfashionable and higher cost in terms of computer resources. The best you can hope for is that TreeDBnotes carries on working, and the next best is that you find a markdown editor where you never need to see the markdown and don't need to know how it works. That's true for Inspire Writer in that it's easier just to use traditional shortcuts for most things, and the markdown itself is semi-hidden. But what it can do is limited by what markdown can do. It has the best interface with Word that I've seen in a markdown editor.

For me, Inspire Writer ticks many work in progress boxes, and I don't need it for long-term storage. Works seamlessly with markdown files (though I need some awareness of any syntax differences) and works pretty well with Word. Maybe even writing notes. It's a long way from perfect - I'd like a pop-out edit pane, OPML import/export and customisable shortcuts and syntax. Even a bit of theme tweaking. As well as the folding and other things I have mentioned already.
I think all editors will have to improve their management of emojis, but I'm sure that will come in due course.

Dormouse

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Enter Enter
« Reply #1077 on: February 24, 2022, 05:06 PM »
I like my main workflow to be efficient. I am used to producing a new paragraph by typing Enter. I have been neutral about whether that paragraph is actually a paragraph (as in Word and other word processors, Scrivener etc) or a long single plaintext line as in most markdown editors; all I need is to be able to see my paragraphs as separate and distinct
 ...
Now I know that some apparently happily go Enter, Enter to achieve the blank line required to define a markdown paragraph, but I know I will never be one of them.

The particular issue I had is that a Workflowy bug tends to concatenate note text that is not in separate paragraphs.

Now, I'm hoping I have a proper solution.
Using Clavier+, I have programmed the Enter key to produce Enter Enter when the Num Lock key is off. Most of the time I either want normal behaviour OR I want the double Enter. So it's not much of a problem for me to switch between the behaviours. This massively simplifies my work with Workflowy and other programs like markdown editors. I'd prefer that they allowed editing of their shortcuts, but this works.
« Last Edit: February 24, 2022, 05:24 PM by Dormouse »

Target

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Re: I'm thinking of going primitive, with discursion into zettelkasten
« Reply #1078 on: February 24, 2022, 05:53 PM »
don't want to be rude, but please stop renaming discussions

Your new titles show no continuity or relevance to the original title and make people think there's a new thread

If you want/need to continue a discussion, by all means do so, but leave the title intact so people can follow if they're interested (ie people that are interested won't necessarily recognise your new title as a continuation of an existing thread, and those that aren't will waste time reading irrelevant posts)

Dormouse

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Re: I'm thinking of going primitive, with discursion into zettelkasten
« Reply #1079 on: February 24, 2022, 06:20 PM »
Your new titles show no continuity or relevance to the original title and make people think there's a new thread
This is presumably about the way it shows on the post page.
In practice, it's a thread with sub-threads. There's continuity but also a variety of issues. There's an advantage in seeing sub-threads when you're on the thread page and are interested only in some issues. I'm reluctant to lose that. Maybe I can change it to something like Primitive - sub-thread so everyone knows where they are.
I never look at the page that just shows post titles, so it never occurs to me that anyone is misled.

Target

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Re: I'm thinking of going primitive, with discursion into zettelkasten
« Reply #1080 on: February 24, 2022, 08:00 PM »
no problem

FWIW I generally look at the active topics list to see what's new, and that's what I see....

Dormouse

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Re: I'm thinking of going primitive, with discursion into zettelkasten
« Reply #1081 on: February 25, 2022, 04:20 AM »
I do see that's an issue.

I look at the thread titles on the Discussion page (specifically usually only General Software Discussion), and then I notice post titles when I'm there. Even doing this post there's the topic but a separate Subject title for the post - which is what I edit because it always has the Topic Title as default. I don't think the Forum should even show Post Titles as Topic Titles since it is clearly designed to separate them.

As I said I'd like to keep editing post tiles sometimes to indicate the subject. I can see many people knowing they don't have any interest in x or y even though they like following z in the thread. Possibly a few variants - "going primitive ... post title" or "going primitive zettelkasten ... post title" & etc if ever needed. Hopefully that will leave everyone knowing where they are.

When I post on a topic that I don't think is part of this thread's process, I do post it separately.

wraith808

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Re: I'm thinking of going primitive, with discursion into zettelkasten
« Reply #1082 on: February 25, 2022, 07:20 AM »
Though I use VS Code (and Sublime Text, though vanishingly as VS Code has gotten better), the one I really like lately is Deepdwn. I'll have to try to give an overview of why when I get a chance.

Dormouse

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Re: I'm thinking of going primitive, with discursion into zettelkasten
« Reply #1083 on: February 25, 2022, 08:55 AM »
I'll have to try to give an overview of why when I get a chance.
Please.
I don't mind no WYSIWYG.
I don't need wikilinks in every program, though thinking the syntax is something else could be a problem.
I assume it's particularly good at something to make you like it.

Dormouse

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Re: I'm thinking of going primitive, with discursion into zettelkasten
« Reply #1084 on: February 28, 2022, 05:10 PM »
While I was working with IW, I noticed that I had copied a web page to IW and was immediately, automatically highlighting. ??? Why? IW was for writing not research. So I thought I needed to understand this. It's something I've had to make myself deliberately do usually.

Question 1 is about the highlighting. And comments.

IW's highlighting isn't great, and not especially easy to do. Also rather glaring. Pasting in to IW is easy though. It doesn't transfer to markdown, so exporting highlights means exporting to docx. So why then was I highlighting automatically here, when I haven't been in the apps I'd intended for the purpose? (That is Obsidian mainly.)

I tested options in the programs I am using (I'm sure there will be better out there), using a clip form the web. Looking at highlighting and comments. Word and Workflowy were great. OneNote was good. Obsidian was workable. But there was a general problem in exporting the highlighted text to other formats and programs; ultimately the highlighting was best done in the program where it would be used.

Comments on individual programs:
Spoiler
Obsidian

Ordinary highlighting using mouse is a pain. I'd need left hand for the == but that's not a convenient part of the keyboard to reach.

The colour highlighter works okay, but is a slowish and deliberate process. Workable but not smooth.

Comments can be added fairly easily

OneNote

Web clipping and highlighting is good. Comment boxes can be added. Pretty effective for this part of the operation.

Workflowy

Highlighting is easy and good. But I couldn't find a way of exporting it. Easy to paste into outline (note doesn't work well). Very good for comments.

Word

Highlighting and annotating etc is superb. But highlighting doesn't transfer to markdown if converted through Typora (not surprising since markdown doesn't have colour, and presumably Typora doesn't want to make assumptions about highlight syntax.

So good, if docx is final saved form.
(Otherwise best for document parts to be saved to markdown and then use the colour highlighter - but that's no so good for productivity.)

Atlantis

Just to check whether it is better than Word.

About the same. Slightly better highlighting, worse commenting.

Databases might be the key

I saw the potential power of using duplicate, split and merge when going through this note-taking part of the research process. Obsidian can do this (though I think it is clunky) and it feels as if it's something databases might be much better at.

I noticed IW doing a lot of the visual part of this in the Library (outline) rather than in the files.

Comment on individual programs:
Spoiler
Inspire Writer

Very quick and easy.

Obsidian

Duplicating a file is easy.

Splitting isn't. Really needs the Note Refactor plugin and using named h1-h3 headings. And having set up a folder for them to be put into (else they become lost). Maybe they could all be named split and automated with text expansion.

Merging files again works, but seems slightly clunky.

Workflowy

Splitting is quite easy because everything is in blocks. Merging too. And duplicating is instant. Manual rather than automatic though - which has advantages and disadvantages.

OneNote

No splitting etc. Can be achieved manually. But not the best workflow; wouldn't be efficient at all. Noticed that splitting was one of the Gem additions, so not an uncommon issue.

Word

Splitting apparently possible, but extremely cumbersome. If it were to be done, probably best done in IW first followed by highlighting etc in Word if colours are needed. 

Overall conclusions

Images always had to be handled manually. No major difference between the programs.

I was surprised that IW was probably the best for overall efficiency and productivity. Duplicating, merging and splitting probably best in class. Highlighting works and exports to docx. Comments fine. By far the best export options overall.

Obsidian will do all the jobs to a reasonable standard, but is much slower and less inviting to use.

Word and Workflowy are good in their ways. Workflowy good across the board, but export options are very limited. Word less good at document management than I had anticipated.

Dormouse

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Re: I'm thinking of going primitive, with discursion into zettelkasten
« Reply #1085 on: March 01, 2022, 05:34 AM »
Obsidian ... less inviting to use.
Workable but not smooth.
seems slightly clunky
Heading sizing has been re-done - ... I have tried adding some CSS overrides to avoid old themes from screwing it up, but ...
... Please report .. issues to the theme developer though.

The final quote is from the Obsidian developer in the forum, responding to a report that h1 headings had become gargantuan in the latest update. I think it sums up many of the issues that make Obsidian problematic for productive use. Things can change suddenly (it is still in beta, after all), sometimes break and that most users' workflow depends on a large number of developers, not all of whom are entirely up-to-date. Good program for fiddling, very responsive and flexible for programmers, but not the greatest for maintaining a smooth and productive workflow especially for the non-technically minded.

The contrast with IW is stark. In some ways that program is limited and rigidly not configurable. But everything is part of the whole and seems, so far, to be very reliable.

Dormouse

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Re: I'm thinking of going primitive; new writing workflows plan
« Reply #1086 on: March 04, 2022, 04:41 AM »
When I found IW, I was really just looking for a better writing front end to cover me for markdown and rich text workflows. Turns out that it will be used further into the backend too.

My planned workflows atm:-

1. Mindomo > Workflowy > Inspire Writer > Word
2. Inspire Writer > Workflowy > Inspire Writer
3. Inspire Writer > Word > Inspire Writer

Programs involved:
Planning and Development - Mindomo, Workflowy, Inspire Writer
Writing - Inspire Writer, maybe some in Workflowy
Editing - Word, Inspire Writer

Storage formats - markdown, docx, OPML

General support program - Typora

I don't know about related note-taking and research. I'm sure wiki-links, backlinks, and tags will be core components, but haven't worked out a plan yet.

Though I have switched my newish formal zettelkasten project from Obsidian to Workflowy.  It lacks the nice Ctrl-hover that made Obsidian very fast when it came to position a new page; but that was only needed because the MOC with links was required to maintain folgezettel. Workflowy has folgezettel automatically, and the notes are immediately visible anyway.

I think Obsidian will remain a code editor at heart, with clunky features and a constant risk of workflows breaking - at least for the next few years. That doesn't make it something I can afford to rely on when I need smooth workflows. I think in 5-10 years time, it will either have improved massively, morphed into something else or be in terminal decline; atm I'm not confident that the first option is the most likely.

Workflowy has the requisite wiki-links, backlinks and tags but is an online database. That's okay for 95% of what I need. But I haven't checked out what it can do in this regard. It seems to be in active development, so hard to be too definitive about planning its use - it could get better (or worse); so far the newer features seem pretty well implemented.

Though I have switched my newish formal zettelkasten project from Obsidian to Workflowy
In fact, it's becoming my research/writing hub. I'd started by also having my small number of tasks etc there too (better to only use one program I thought), but I struggled to cope with that. Moved those to Dynalist (so that's no longer deprecated). Odd the way our minds work. What ought to be most efficient turns out simply irritating.

What Inspire Writer does it does okay. But no wiki-links, a limited tag system, limited search and no auto-complete. It could never be more than a small contributor to a system centred in another program.

Most of the other programs I have looked at in the PKM space are some way behind Obsidian, but I'm sure there will be more to come. The hybrid database/files model operated by Ulysses and IW has the potential to be very powerful.
« Last Edit: March 06, 2022, 05:29 PM by Dormouse »

Dormouse

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Re: I'm thinking of going primitive, with discursion into zettelkasten
« Reply #1087 on: March 05, 2022, 09:07 AM »
I need smooth workflows
IW ... is limited and rigidly not configurable. But everything is part of the whole and seems, so far, to be very reliable.

so when I found this quote
I also like how picky the developers of both apps are. Neither of them just add every requested feature. It needs to fit tightly into their app’s workflow.
In a Review comparing Ulysses with Bear I thought "Exactly!"
There are times when I'm happy to play and learn, but others when I need to get things done. Most writing is getting things done. Research too, but not quite such a high proportion of the time.

The problem with smooth workflow apps is that they are very very good if they match your workflow, but can be close to useless if they don't. But most of the newer PKM apps I've tried are in the very rough category (I'll except Amplenote, which simply didn't meet my needs). Obsidian used to be far smoother than most, but hasn't been the same since the move to CodeMirror 6 and Live Preview and the plugin explosion.

Also
The resurgence of Workflowy development seems to be associated with an increase in the number of developers from 2 to 14. Some in Ukraine.

And Also
Brandon Sanderson apparently does his outlining (he's a heavy outliner) AND writing entirely in Word. Maybe in a single long document?Story Bible in WikidPad. I'm okay with a very long document in a plaintext format, but I'd worry about a huge tome entirely in Word. Though I assume he has much more powerful computers that I have.



Dormouse

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Re: I'm thinking of going primitive, with discursion into zettelkasten
« Reply #1088 on: March 05, 2022, 07:00 PM »
I'm okay with a very long document in a plaintext format, but I'd worry about a huge tome entirely in Word.
Doesn't seem like a problem. Tested it with War and Peace. No complex formatting etc, but it was only just over 2MB and pretty snappy. Perfectly manageable. Broke it once ("not responding"), but I was trying.

Briefly tested setting Word up for writing since it is so so long since I've used it like that, and it's not so bad. Had to change (set up) a few shortcuts - but I'm not big on shortcuts most of the time, so minor for me. Outlining flexibility - shifting lines, paragraphs etc - better than most programs (actually as good as any), which is very different to what I remember.  Word/paragraph/page counts good - though I don't think there's a session counter. Entirely practical tbh. Extremely configurable in some ways, and not at all in others.

Okay, it won't compete with WikidPad for Sanderson's Story Bible; or with the wiki-linking PKM apps for research and linking (I don't see how Sanderson's setup could be as good as one with incorporated wiki-links). Doesn't compete with Inspire Writer/Ulysses/Scrivener for writing in multiple projects. Don't believe there's a typewriter mode. But still much better than I had expected. And everything co-operates with it.

rjbull

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Re: I'm thinking of going primitive, with discursion into zettelkasten
« Reply #1089 on: March 14, 2022, 06:45 PM »
For what very little it may be worth, the Zufuliu fork of Notepad2 now does Markdown, but not I think WYSIWYG.

The recently-released Notezilla 9 can do Markdown, and now has hyperlinks that point from one sticky note to another.  I don't know if you can collapse a group of linked notes into a single document.

Dormouse

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Re: I'm thinking of going primitive, with discursion into zettelkasten
« Reply #1090 on: March 14, 2022, 07:28 PM »
I don't know if you can collapse a group of linked notes into a single document.
You can, but it's convoluted at best, and all options on a menu don't do the same thing. I wouldn't regard it as practical. Unless there's something about it I haven't discovered.

Works well if you want an HTML file.

Dormouse

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Re: I'm thinking of going primitive, with discursion into zettelkasten
« Reply #1091 on: March 14, 2022, 08:38 PM »
I very much agree with the sentiment behind a recent comment on a a post on the Workflowy Blog

I would always vote for full LaTeX, markdown is very simple, but of course very limited ...
the majority do prefer clean simple formatting and WYSIWYG. Also, most people, including myself, abandon software even if it is functional, when it is not pleasing the eyes, you must "like" to work with it, otherwise you will not be productive.

So while I always like more formatting options ..., I am more inclined towards the concepts of block editors (like Notion, Nimbus, Craft ... and all the clones)

In the end, if you need to be productive, comfort and workflow is everything.

Also made me reflect on why markdown is a very poor match for me.
  • For the vast majority of the time I use no formatting or markup at all. Just paragraph and line breaks.
  • Since moving back to working in single large documents, I use headings - but once I pass h3 I find counting #s irritating; even html is better.
  • For the final document, I need underline and italics, rarely bold.
  • When reviewing, I also need colour (text and highlight) and strikethrough.
  • When publishing, I often need to control pagination.
Markdown doesn't tick these boxes at all. (It is compatible with but unnecessary for the first.)
Simple tables are possible, but it's not very good at them.

So we have variants. And most markdown editors go further adding extensions and scattering html in the file (underline being the most common). So if markdown is a bad fit, why not the more widely understood docx (which for me was always a txt/docx combo)

The most recent version of Obsidian (0.14 insiders only atm) effectively sherlocks the admonitions plugin. The admonitions/callouts are simple to write and potentially useful. They're not exactly incompatible with other markdown editors, but they don't work in them either.
« Last Edit: March 14, 2022, 08:55 PM by Dormouse »

Dormouse

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Re: I'm thinking of going primitive, with discursion into zettelkasten
« Reply #1092 on: March 15, 2022, 12:39 PM »
Came across novelWriter in my peregrinations. Also on GitHub
Looks promising but not ready for prime time yet (the only Export I could find was 'bulld novel project' on the tools menu). Though I've only had a quick look.

What I found interesting were the issues he's grappling with. Markdown compatibility vs usability; markdown Vs rich text; database Vs files.
I'm not sure if the program is built around a database - he's contemplating json for the next version - but the text files themselves seem to be hidden to avoid users editing them externally, potentially mucking up project data.
Since my markdown format allows for comments and commands, that regular markdown does not, I'm not sure how to preserve this in case of an export/import of the same project.
Other than that, it seems to utilise a standard two-pane markdown editor.
Decent focus and full screen modes + typewriter scrolling. Good stats.

otoh, some of the syntax choices strike me as odd. **=bold; _=underline. This is an awkward subset of the markdown spec. Most apps using **bold will use *italic which is easier to use and remember. There's an unnumbered heading level - not a bad idea in itself, but ##! Is pretty idiosyncratic. I'm not sure that all these choices have been deeply thought through.

I do think the future for programs like these is a hybrid database/files design. Obsidian started by selling itself as local files only, which is still true - but only up to the point where it also keeps databases including data on the files - and not just metadata.
« Last Edit: March 15, 2022, 05:36 PM by Dormouse »

Dormouse

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Re: I'm thinking of going primitive, with discursion into zettelkasten
« Reply #1093 on: March 16, 2022, 07:26 PM »
The admonitions/callouts are simple to write and potentially useful.
Because they are customisable, and foldable, and very popular, I thought I'd have a little play with this as a possibly useful way of adding notes and comments to documents. Certainly I can see many ways in which I could use them.
And customise for my particular purposes at the time - whether that be research or editing.

Then I thought there's other ways of achieving those effects more easily.
1. General comments can be done simply as a wikilink to another file  - the hover will have the comment.
2. Particular comments in families can be done as headings. Use an emoji for the heading and that's all that shows on the page when it's folded. Faster and more flexible. And the size of the emoji can be set with this syntax <span style="font-size: 250%;">emoji<span>
And, if there's a need to have the foldable comment in a quote block, that just takes one > on the next foldable line anyway.
And very fast to do with a text expander.

That actually suits me much better.
2022-03-17_00-29-29.pngI'm thinking of going primitive, with discursion into zettelkasten
Instead of
2022-03-17_00-31-17.pngI'm thinking of going primitive, with discursion into zettelkasten

Another advantage of this system is that it works in Word and Workflowy via OPML.

« Last Edit: March 17, 2022, 10:14 AM by Dormouse »

urlwolf

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Re: I'm thinking of going primitive, with discursion into zettelkasten
« Reply #1094 on: March 20, 2022, 03:31 PM »
Did anyone find an editor that keeps versioning per sentence? That is, you can go to old versions of every sentence.
I think roam has that, but I dislike roam. Something simpler would be best. Native ideal. IntelliJ IDEs have local versions of changes for every file, but it's humongous.

Dormouse

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Re: I'm thinking of going primitive, with discursion into zettelkasten
« Reply #1095 on: March 20, 2022, 04:43 PM »
an editor that keeps versioning per sentence? That is, you can go to old versions of every sentence.
I think roam has that, but I dislike roam
So basically  an editor that saves in blocks and keeps versions of each block? (Assuming sentence effectively = block.)

It's not something I've ever looked for, so I don't know. but I assume it would have to be an editor with a database.
I'm afraid nothing immediately springs to my mind as likely. Apart, as you say from Roam. And presumably Roam clones either have it or aspire to it, since blocks are a key feature.

urlwolf

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Re: I'm thinking of going primitive, with discursion into zettelkasten
« Reply #1096 on: March 21, 2022, 05:18 AM »
Logseq doesn't seem to have versioning per block. Which other of the clones does? Roam is expensive for just this feature...

urlwolf

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Re: I'm thinking of going primitive, with discursion into zettelkasten
« Reply #1097 on: April 01, 2022, 10:13 AM »
One fantastic perk of SMF forums is that you can use 'js disabled' browsers such as netsurf to browse. The typing latency on netsurf is like nothing I've experienced before. And it's tempting to use as a notetaker

urlwolf

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Re: I'm thinking of going primitive, with discursion into zettelkasten
« Reply #1098 on: April 09, 2022, 07:19 PM »
I'm looking for a text editor that does auto-completion for markdown links (that is, filenames) in the same project? This must exist, but I haven't found it.

You know how in notetakinng webapps like amplenote, roam etc (also obsidian) you can type '[[' and get a list of notes in the same folder to link to? I want that in a text editor. Tried plenty, couldn't find it. Must be linux.

The reason I want this is because I've found gemini: protocol and I want to publish a digital garden (zettelkasten) there. You link constantly when writing in a zettelkasten, so without that functionality I can't work.

Forgot: it cannot be electron-based. I want fast typing latency.

wraith808

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Re: I'm thinking of going primitive, with discursion into zettelkasten
« Reply #1099 on: April 09, 2022, 08:52 PM »
I'm looking for a text editor that does auto-completion for markdown links (that is, filenames) in the same project? This must exist, but I haven't found it.

Visual Studio Code with the Foam Extensions does this. I have it running currently.