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Last post Author Topic: I'm thinking of going primitive, with discursion into zettelkasten  (Read 222091 times)

Dormouse

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Re: I'm thinking of going primitive, with discursion into zettelkasten
« Reply #1100 on: April 10, 2022, 04:08 AM »
Visual Studio Code
Electron?
Forgot: it cannot be electron-based.

Dormouse

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Re: I'm thinking of going primitive, with discursion into zettelkasten
« Reply #1101 on: April 12, 2022, 03:09 PM »
My planned workflows atm:-

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

The plan was to make Workflowy central, but it has always felt clunky - particularly the shift from the outline to the writing. I tested writing in Workflowy, but it's not designed for it and never felt smooth. The big question was what exactly ought to be done in Workflowy and how would it be transmitted to the writing program.

I decided to try iA Writer. I'd had it a while but never seen that it was worth using. Maybe my revisit was triggered by reading multiple Ulysses Vs iA Writer reviews (usually won by Ulysses). The big selling point for iA Writer was that the Windows version was very functional, it has Android and iOS apps, as well as Mac, and it is a purpose designed writing program that has been going for nearly twenty years. And indeed it works okay, and appearance is very similar to Inspire Writer, though not quite as good to my mind. And it is pure local file rather than a database, so interoperability with other programs should be straightforward; it hides hashtags in output (v.good!). And, being a standrd markdown editor (multimarkdown), it works with YAML, which Inspire Writer doesn't.

Which makes it obvious to put the section details into YAML format in Workflowy bullets notes, and thence, via OPML, into markdown notes. The YAML approach requires using individual notes rather than a single long document since front matter has to be at the front. But splitting at headings is easy enough. The iA Writer method to combine segments into a document is simply to drag the files into a document file. Preview is a check to see that it is combining as wanted. And iA Writer works as cosily with Word as Inspire Writer, which ticks my other essential box. A secondary benefit is that the files are always available to any other markdown editor I might choose to use, including Inspire Writer.

Dormouse

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Re: I'm thinking of going primitive, with discursion into zettelkasten
« Reply #1102 on: April 12, 2022, 03:15 PM »
A stray thought that occurred to me is that I'm surprised that no writing program has tried to use the same trick as Obsidian by defining all the contents of a folder as a project/document. It could keep a small database about the project in the folder and have a separate folder elsewhere which contains information from all projects. This would make it easy to calculate words per day etc across all projects, sequence fo files in a project etc etc. And no need for the program to be designed as a database hidden from other programs.

Dormouse

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Re: I'm thinking of going primitive, with discursion into zettelkasten
« Reply #1103 on: April 12, 2022, 05:23 PM »
appearance is very similar to Inspire Writer, though not quite as good
I've learned that one of the attractions of IW's appearance was its use of the often denigrated Droid Sans Mono font. I find it very easy to read. Suits my eyes. So I have switched to using it in many programs now, when I have the option to set a font.

Dormouse

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Re: I'm thinking of going primitive, with discursion into zettelkasten
« Reply #1104 on: April 18, 2022, 04:58 AM »
felt clunky - particularly the shift from the outline to the writing
obvious to put the section details into YAML format in Workflowy bullets
Possibly not clunky, but unnecessary friction. So I've given that up. I did try alternative approaches but they clunked too.
And, anyway, it's as easy to use the information in native Workflowy as it is to use in a YAML or other adjunct of the writing file.

So now that's what I'll do. Creating, devising, planning, organising in mindmap, kanban and outline. (In the main that's just a single OPML mediated export from Mindomo to workflowy.)
First draft writing in IW and/or iAW.
Then editing, rewriting & the multiple & etcs in Word.

I'm trying to get this right because I'm just starting a huge project, and messing about in the future will be time consuming.

My personal view is that Word has progressed right down the food chain. I don't like it for first draft writing yet, but it wouldn't take much for that to happen. Markdown syntax is a pita and can only do what I want by adding HTML.

Many programs that claim to use Markdown are actually databases. Roam, Amplenote, Trello, Logseq etc
Obsidian is fundamentally files, but supplemented by many small databases.
docx is just a database in a file

This post is interesting describing abandoning the PKM tools he had presumably been very keen on at one point.

I used to think that once I have collected and organized these great ideas, I will be better thinker and produce better results.
I was wrong.
...
notes are useless after some time. I either forget about them, or I don’t know why I wrote them in the first place.
I find most of the notes I wrote a few years ago pretty useless for the current me
the idea that notes are used to store information (knowledge) for a long term is misguided. There is no permanent storing or organizing of knowledge. Knowledge is highly transient stuff.
I need to think of myself as writer than a knowledge worker


I've never been in the same position he was in as far as collecting thousands of notes is concnerned. I have fewer; they all had, and retain, a potential use; and I'm well aware that stuff I have apparently abandoned can suddenly return as active work - but the reversion to rich text is.

« Last Edit: April 18, 2022, 06:19 AM by Dormouse »

Dormouse

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Re: I'm thinking of going primitive, with discursion into zettelkasten
« Reply #1105 on: April 19, 2022, 04:57 PM »
First draft writing in IW and/or iAW.
Since it imports and exports OPML natively, I thou8ght I ought to have another look at Scrivener.
Was going well, apart from the complexity (manageable because I know it), and then it crashed the PC. It crashes very, very rarely, so I won't even look at it again for a while.

One thing I noticed when I was comparing the same text, pasted in, was how different they all looked. And my preferences weren't 100% consistent.

Dormouse

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Re: I'm thinking of going primitive, with discursion into zettelkasten
« Reply #1106 on: April 20, 2022, 01:42 PM »
Another revision after playing around more. I'm about to start a huge project, so I want the workflow to be as right as possible before I start because changing things around later might be time consuming.

Programs:
Inspire Writer - the nicest environment to write in from my personal point of view. But hit a clunk when I saw it didn't treat HTML comments as comments and just exported them into Word. Ulysses has similar issues apparently, and according to David Hewson also breaks front matter in external files. idk if IW does that, but it has made me wary about relying on it - there's already the issues with idiosyncratic markdown and useful features being in the database. I don't believe it plays as nicely with other programs as I need.
iA Writer - a nice enough writing environment, but it's pretty hardline and rigid. Works okay with other programs. No WYSIWYG mode. Available on all platforms.
Word - it's not a lightweight text entry program, but it is to my mind much more useable than it used to be for writing, and no need to look at previews to estimate how a document will look in Word. Definitely the one to use once I have finished first draft, and not impossible before that. And, of coure, I could use Wordpad as my lightweight data entry program, excepting the lack of dark mode :( . But then there are the other lighter word processors - and Atlantis does have many writer oriented features.
Pure Writer (Android) - this is my favourite writing program on Android. I may need to remember to change the default setting to txt instead of md.

One of the big issues with this project is that I want a clear idea of the whitespace on pages as I am writing, and markdown is particularly poor for this. Specifically I need to see paragraph indents as I write and this requires new lines being paragraphs.
I tried looking at other programs like Typora (probably not out of it, though it has no specifically useful features), and I know Typora can do this. But when I pasted example markdown text, it didn't pick up all the paragraphs that needed indenting. It did pick the missing ones  as lines, which is more that iA Writer did. Markdown quirks and incompatibilities are extraordinarily irritating. I don't know about it keeping things safe for the long-term, because it's not great at passing them from one program to another. For a project his size, I need everything to run predicably and reliably.

Database or files?
Strong preference for files. Willing to accept database for a given period. But not minded to trust IW's database for this project. I'm not familiar enough with it, I've seen a few glitches in its interactions with other programs and its Ulysses syntax is eccentric. Interoperability is not a strength of databases.

Markdown or Rich Text?
This wasn't a question until recently - it was markdown of course. But markdown's not very interoperable, as I'm finding. You can shift from one program to another simply enough - it's just a few changes, and all is done - but constant switching between one program and another is a very different beast. `I'd assumed that I would settle on one program to use, and I very nearly did - more than once, but always there were little glitches - like the paragraph indent of iAW appearing only in the preview pane (in Pure Writer, they appear in the edit pane, but not in the preview pane, which strikes me as the more correct behaviour; I don't need indents exported, other programs will have their own settings). Minor but it will always niggle.
I haven't decided, but I'm starting to veer towards rich text. I know that works.

One long file or many short?
I haven't decided this. It will depend on how well it works. OPML export from Workflowy isn't really a constraintas it can be exported  in chunks, and it is easy to combine or split files by heading.
I'll start long and go from there.
If I go initial markdown, then I'll use HTML comments to contain section information from Workflowy.

Reflection on journey, Obsidian and all.
In practice, even if I go to rich text for this project, that's not a change of direction. This is just for writing, which I've not been examining in detail. I'd hoped Obsidian would become a good program for writing, but it has gone in the other direction and is increasingly becoming a programmers' (and students) program. I don't trust IW sufficiently, and Ulysses is Mac only. All other markdown editors tick some boxes, but not enough, and while they will all work on the same file, they don't always agree on the syntax. I might still go that way but I'm starting to feel not. I'm likely to go txt and docx. Which is where I have before, from time to time.

For research now, notes etc, it is wikilinks all the way and I'm agnostic whether that's with Workflowy or Obsidian or another PKM app, Not many focus on files unfortunately, so I will have to make the best of what I can find. But the important thing is the files and the folder structure. Or so I tell myself.

And after all that humming and hawing, and playing with the programs again, I'm going to go with Inspire Writer for the writing. The reason is simply that I know I will write more words using it than any alternative. And get them in the right order easier. I'll mitigate the risks of the database (I will use the database rather than external files) with daily exports to md and docx. It's an odd thing, I sit down with it and want to write; I sit down with the others and there are endless temptations to fiddle with the program.

Update - Now feels even odder. I've set Atlantis up to imitate, as best I can, the display settings in IW, using the same font/spacing etc. But it is still not quite the same. Feels heavier and not as easy to read. Nevertheless I've managed to get Atlantis into contender territory.And I'd forgotten Atlantis' blazing speed; other programs struggle to match it, depite being plaintext only: Atlantis is faster loading and working with the docx version of a document than they are with the markdown version. (tested with War and Peace)..
« Last Edit: April 22, 2022, 10:38 AM by Dormouse »

Dormouse

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Re: I'm thinking of going primitive, with discursion into zettelkasten
« Reply #1107 on: April 23, 2022, 04:38 PM »
I thought I ought to test size of the different formats, to see how much extra space docx would take.
Thought the simplest method was simply to use the exports from Inspire Writer. I sed a 21,500 word file.

Results:
docx      55kb
rtf        128kb
md       117kb
txt        231kb
More or less the reverse of expectation, but does show that the docx size burden is a non-issue for what I do.

The other observation is that Word understood the exported headings, but Atlantis didn't.
I saved the docx from Word and it moved up to 78kb; Saved it as docx from Atlantis and it remained at 55kb, saved it as RTF and it became 122kb.
I added a few headings in Atlantis, and Word understood those. So looks to be an issue in Atlantis understanding headings created in other programs.
I checked again by adding a couple of headings in Word itself. Atlantis recognised one but not the other.

I thought I'd test again by exporting from Typora. It produced an md file at 118kb, and a docx file at 58kb.
So similar results to Inspire Writer, and suggesting that IW wasn't simply doing peculiar things.

Only conclusion seems to be that docx actually produces smaller file sizes than md, at least for the type of files that I produce (simple text files, with virtually no formatting). The files took longer to generate, so maybe there's compression involved in producing the docx files. I've no idea. The results are completely the reverse of what I expected and I'm still not sure I believe them. Still, the results do suggest that I won't be losing disk spaace by workig with docx. I have no idea at all why txt was twice as big as the other plaintext formats.

Addendum: Atlantis devs wanted to look at docx files where it failed to recognise headins. I'd deleted them. I made some more test files and Atlantis worked flawlessly. I might dig back through versions, but I might also not spend the iime and wait until I encounter a problem in real life - it's the type of situation where I'd expect devs to come up with a quick fix. So I don't regard this as an issue any more.



« Last Edit: April 25, 2022, 05:30 AM by Dormouse »

Ath

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Re: I'm thinking of going primitive, with discursion into zettelkasten
« Reply #1108 on: April 24, 2022, 02:21 AM »
That's a somewhat unfair comparison, as docx is a compressed container format (you can view the contents using a tool like 7-zip), where the other 3 are uncompressed. If you compress those files to f.e. zip files, the figures will be more comparable. And most likely docx will then be the largest, but also contain the most elaborate mark-up/formatting data.

Dormouse

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Re: I'm thinking of going primitive, with discursion into zettelkasten
« Reply #1109 on: April 24, 2022, 03:07 AM »
It's not unfair from my point of view since the programs using the MD and txt files don't zip them when saving. And I'm not going to add an extra process to my workflow.

It came as a surprise to me since I'm used to seeing my word processor files as quite large.

Ath

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Re: I'm thinking of going primitive, with discursion into zettelkasten
« Reply #1110 on: April 24, 2022, 05:58 AM »
But with current (low) prices for storage, why does it matter?

Dormouse

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Re: I'm thinking of going primitive, with discursion into zettelkasten
« Reply #1111 on: April 24, 2022, 01:21 PM »
But with current (low) prices for storage, why does it matter?
Doesn't matter much. I was looking for reasons not to put more emphasis on docx and expected file size to be much larger as it's one of the justifications for plaintext I've come across frequently in fora for markdown apps. I remembered it being bigger myself. Half expected docx to be MB with the plaintext just being a few kb.

Storage price may be down but bandwidth and transfer can be an issue. Used to be a huge one for me.

The other side of it is computing power. Which is an issue on mobile. Loads more stuff in docx files and compressing and opening adds more load.

My current plan is to save the updated file every day,  date stamp in file name, and keep them all indefinitely.  I have versions,  but see this as different. So all the files will add up in the end, even if the individual files are small. They will also be backed up locally and cloud.


Dormouse

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Re: I'm thinking of going primitive, with discursion into zettelkasten
« Reply #1112 on: April 25, 2022, 05:25 AM »
After quite a bit of testing what works and what doesn't work, I have arrived at a Plan A for writing.

Creation, Planning, Development - Mindmap, Kanban, Outline (Mindomo, Workflowy enabled by OPML). I find trying to write much in a Workflowy note too high friction (the text is faded and hard for me to read), so I'll do the ad hoc writing in iA Writer which I find simple enough.

Actual writing and early stages of editing - Inspire Writer and Atlantis. I have them set up to look very similar. I'm leaving the possibility of writing in Atlantis open. It has projects, combining and splitting files and one of the better implementations of an outline view (works fast & good visually) - the Outline in Word, while effective, still feels like an afterthought. In the later, pure docx, stage of editing, I'll also use Word.

David Hewson describes writing a book as like combining small tiles into a mosaic. I agree, but I'm a big-endian not a little-endian (usage derived directly from Jonathan Swift, not computing). I like being secure in the big picture with the tiles deriving from that. I see Scrivener as a little-endian program which always seems to focus my attention on the smallest elements); Atlantis is a big-endian (you can use many small files in a project and join them later, but it's not convenient; easier to work with the outline view imho); Inspire Writer/Ulysses is somewhere in the middle - little is easy, but the big view is always easy to see, and can work with big documents using headings (though it's not great for that). At the first draft stage, this Ulysses design feels easier to work with; we'll see - easy enough to just do more of the writing in Atlantis.

Dormouse

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Re: I'm thinking of going primitive, with discursion into zettelkasten
« Reply #1113 on: May 02, 2022, 11:31 AM »
I thought I'd noticed a new post in this thread, but apparently not.

But having move from thinking it an issue for some people but not me, to encountering frictions that meant it is an issue for me, I have reached  the point of seeing it as a set of deeply weird incompatibilities. What I do now is check out evry program I use in detail to see how they manage it.

Typora and MarkEdit have Enter=New Paragraph in WYSIWYG mode, but not source. So, if you type half the document in WYSIWYG and half in source, then the behaviour of the Enter key changes halfway through.

Being a database program, Inspire Writer doesn't have to commit until export. At that point, export to docx has Enter=New Paragraph, while export to txt, rtf, md has Enter=New Line. Working with an external md file produces the latter behaviour in the file itself, but the former for docx AND for the appearance onscreen. It makes it a decent conversion/export to docx option for md files written in other programs.

urlwolf

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Re: I'm thinking of going primitive, with discursion into zettelkasten
« Reply #1114 on: May 04, 2022, 09:07 AM »
looks like logseq is making really fast progress. I'm amazed at what this team can do. Obsidian has a good community that pumps out plugins, and some look very interesting, like this one https://github.com/kevboh/longform that could be an alternative to scrivener.

@dormouse, I definitely understand what you are going through with so many tools. I spent the last two days doing some similar search, and I even considered going down to paper zettelkasten. I'm probably moving away from amplenote and into logseq, but starting my zettel from scratch there. Oh, and I now read on an ereader (Onyx air note 2), which adds a lot of constraints.

Where do you publish what you write?

urlwolf

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Re: I'm thinking of going primitive, with discursion into zettelkasten
« Reply #1115 on: May 04, 2022, 10:51 AM »
Aryan here kills it explaining how to go from outlines (your workflowy use case) to focus mode (your AIwriter use case, including typewriter experience) with logseq:
https://www.youtube....aYSbvGgLo9s&t=1s

I thought of you. This might skip one step in your process.
You can highlight in multiple colors with a plugin. And add comments (like in the review part of word's track changes or gdocs 'suggestion' modes) with this plugin: https://github.com/v...plugin-comment-block

I stopped looking at logseq for about a year. Oh my, have they made progress. This company is a rocket. They have something very unique.

Dormouse

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Re: I'm thinking of going primitive, with discursion into zettelkasten
« Reply #1116 on: May 04, 2022, 03:13 PM »
Oh, and I now read on an ereader (Onyx air note 2), which adds a lot of constraints.
I have a Boox too. But it's not my main reader (or writer). It's for when light conditions - or my eyes - require e-ink and I need a bigger scale than a kindle or need to be able to use a wider range of programs and functions. I tried using Obsidian on it; it works, but not well enough to be especially productive, and I've largely given up using the mobile versions of Obsidian anyway.

Just bought a bluetooth mechanical keyboard (I type faster/bettr on a mechanical) and so far I only have it paired with laptop, Samsung tablet and phone. Maybe I'll use it with the Boox sometime (midsummer most likely), but only when the other options don't work with the light.
« Last Edit: May 04, 2022, 04:19 PM by Dormouse »

Dormouse

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Re: I'm thinking of going primitive, with discursion into zettelkasten
« Reply #1117 on: May 04, 2022, 03:24 PM »
some look very interesting, like this one https://github.com/kevboh/longform that could be an alternative to scrivener.
Yes. To a very limited extent. In terms of usability, I find it nowhere near Scrivener - and Scrivener's not great (for me). I'll admit that I've not checked recent plugin upgrades, but it was not designed around export. Personally, I think it would have been better designed around working with a single markdown file, using headers for chapters, scenes etc instead of a convoluted process to connect smaller notes.

The kanban plugin can be quite useful too.

My biggest issue with using them is that they don't have all the features I need and they're not polished or designed for effective low-friction working. If they continue to be developed for long enough (I'm sceptical) then they might get there, but they seem a long way off yet.

Dormouse

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Re: I'm thinking of going primitive, with discursion into zettelkasten
« Reply #1118 on: May 04, 2022, 03:49 PM »
Where do you publish what you write?
I have worn, and wear, many hats but the short answer is that, in one way or another, I have always had publishers.

Although most pieces have have a restricted circulation and aren't accessible to the public (just about the opposite of a blog). Might require storytelling, but most hasn't been fiction. I suspect that most writers are like me in writing in specialised non-fiction niches. All my writing is print, or digital print equivalent, none is on the web.

After reading Alito's opinion in the news, I recognised his whole process as being same as any other writer - drafting, revising, receiving comments; and a very careful use of words; I expect he sees himself as a lawyer rather than a writer because he only has one niche but he has to have a writer's skill set - most judges do. Many excellent writers of fiction have also been lawyers (I assume they think of themselves as lawyers write fiction on the side); most fiction writers have to earn their money at something else to live (somehow translated in some writing circles to not being proper writers) because it's difficult to generate much income from fiction unless you are also, and principally, a marketer or have someone who does it for you. So there's a question about identity; personally, I'm happy to describe them all as writers, but probably not professional writers, unless Alito identifies as a writer.

But those who write in many (paid) niches I would describe as professional writers. I think this describes many people. And I suspect that most write, have written, or will write, fiction but not as their main activity because it's too hard to generat a sufficient reliable income. My income depends on delivering MSS

My new project is is fiction of a type I haven't tackled previously and I don't know what I'll do about publishing that. I have the luxury of not needing to make money with it, so I'm under no pressure apart from actually producing the words.

« Last Edit: May 06, 2022, 02:35 PM by Dormouse »

Dormouse

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Re: I'm thinking of going primitive, with discursion into zettelkasten
« Reply #1119 on: May 04, 2022, 04:16 PM »
I stopped looking at logseq for about a year. Oh my, have they made progress. This company is a rocket. They have something very unique.
True, I've had a go with it a few times. I stay in touch. My main problem is that I simply haven't taken to it. Like Obsidian, there are many friction points and I feel it is, in general, rougher around the edges. But mostly it simply doesn't feel comfortable.
I don't like writing in it at all.
Other issues I've found and read about are that it can be quite slow and the outliner design is restrictive. Good maybe for zettelkasten.
I'm sure it can be tweaked to suit me better, but I when I ask myself whether that would be time well spent, I doubt it. But with its development speed, all that could change quickly. I will watch the videos you recommended.

I'd describe Scrivener as functional but rather complex and clunky, Ulysses/IW as functional and quite polished but simpler, and Obsidian/Logseq as too unpolished to use professionally. Small things are always being tweaked (ie changed) and I find that too disruptive -apart from the high friction parts of the workflow.

Aspects of Workflowy are quite high friction too, but the quick switch between outline and kanban views suits me perfectly. If it would only sort out the notes to make them a good environment for writing, I could see me spending most of my time using it. For now, IW works, Atlantis works - I'll see what works best in the end, switching between them is easy enough.

Still undecided about research. Obsidian probably best overall for now, but I keep my eyes on everything else too.

Dormouse

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Re: I'm thinking of going primitive, with discursion into zettelkasten
« Reply #1120 on: May 04, 2022, 05:33 PM »
I'm probably moving away from amplenote and into logseq,
Any particular reason for moving from Amplenote, or is it purely the attraction of Logseq?

Dormouse

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Re: I'm thinking of going primitive, with discursion into zettelkasten
« Reply #1121 on: May 05, 2022, 06:55 AM »
I will watch the videos you recommended.
Have looked. My issue mostly is the same as I have with Obsidian which is that using the features is relatively high friction and dependent on support of plugins which may or not be maintained into the future and the whole program is likely to shift and evolve in ways I might not want. As with Obsidian, I'm sure it will be much enhanced in 2 or 3 years time.

I tested document mode when I last used Logseq. Dynalist has something similar. A similar effect can be achieved in Obsidian using the block dragging plugin. I've even checked out writing in Workflowy bullets, with a document view in another program. I've not been persuaded by any of them. I always found friction in some part of the process: when is all said and done, the bullets remain bullets even when they are hidden. In theory, it ought to be extremely useful in the same way that Workflowy's kanban/outline view switch is, but I found it cumbersome and not hugely useful in practice.

I've not checked out the focus mode from the plugin. I can't actually remember checking any of the focus modes in Obsidian, and the typewriter mode only for a moment. What all these programs ignore, is that it's not the feature's existence that matters but how much it enhances a user's productive workflow. I don't love iA Writer's focus mode, but it is simple to use and robust (personally I'd add a focus of  x number of lines above and below the typewriter position, with x being easily changed), but I'm also not tempted to use iAW for long-form writing; I know how I coujld do it, but I think there are better ways for me.

I didn't check out the colour highlighting. Mostly because it works through HTML and CSS. Some of this is a conclusion that docx is always likely to be smoother and more robust than markdown+CSS+HTML as well as being easier to convert into any format I'm likely to use; (this particular comment is not against markdown/plaintext but adding CSS & HTML complexities to it). I stopped using the Obsidian plugin, because it was a little long-winded and intruded into my process, as well. I think the Logseq one works through slash commands which wouldn't suit my workflow either.

Dormouse

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Re: I'm thinking of going primitive, with discursion into zettelkasten
« Reply #1122 on: May 08, 2022, 11:21 AM »
I now read on an ereader (Onyx air note 2),
In case you haven't seen it, this thread on the Obsidian forum is still going. Quite a lot of Boox users there.


Dormouse

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Re: I'm thinking of going primitive; Obsidian Writing Plugins
« Reply #1123 on: May 09, 2022, 09:15 PM »
I revisited the current state of the Obsidian plugins &etc that relate to writing while I was 'watching' the Kentucky Derby on internet TV. I made a few notes; then thought it was worth posting them here.

File Management
Bartender allows manual sorting of files in the file explorer. Not yet approved as community plugin (installable via BRAT), but does work and makes it easier to work using shorter notes - makes it more like Scrivener, Ulysses and most other programs. imho, it is more useful than the longform plugin at present (Longform last revised 4 months ago). otoh, when I turned the plugin off, all the files in the vault disappeared from the Obsidian file explorer (still visible on system) and they only reappeared when I restarted it; hasn't worked a few times and I've had to resort to stopping and restarting Obsidian.

File splitting and merging - I don't believe Obsidian has a good solution for merging files, and the splitting plugin (Note Refactor) works, but hasn't been updated for some time and the developer hasn't been active on Github since the middle of last year. There are easy solution for the files outside Obsidian, but I feel that this remains an area of weakness for Obsidian as a writing app, although embeds are a way of constructing long files from shorter ones, and is the method iA Writer uses (although that has an easier way of adding them).

Editable Embeds
The Hover Editor allows linked files and embeds to be edited directly without having to open the original file. This makes it possible to put together a long document from many files using embeds or links, whilst still being able to edit the sections from within the large file.

Word Counts
My preferred option for current file remains the File Info plugin; last updated about 3 months ago, but does everything I need. Better Word Count now works in Live Preview.

Another very useful plugin is Novel Word Count(only just updated). It adds the total word (or page etc) count to every file and folder in the Obsidian File Explorer. Very useful, but the value does come only when writing is done using multiple small files rather than big files with headings.

I don't believe there is a way of working with heading level word counts.

Blocks
There are two main block dragging plugins. The first covers every type of text, but only works in legacy editor, not Live Preview. The second is more recent, works in Live Preview, but thus far only works with lists. There's also a block copy/embed plugin.

Focus Mode
One plugin (Ghost) progressively fades lines the further away from the active line they are but doesn't work in Live Preview (I found this plugin quite useful sometimes, but only when the lines are short). The other hides the side panels and menus (more friction than it's worth for me).

Folding
Natively, Obsidian has the ability to fold headings and lists. The Creases plugin adds a much finer level of control, plus the ability to add creases (folds) wherever you want. I appreciate the potential value of this in very big documents, but haven't needed it myself as yet.

Outliner functionality
Best approached using two plugins (Outliner and Zoom) which are designed to work together. They're functional enough for simple outlining but Zoom now only works in Live Preview.

Colour highlights
The Highlightr works quite well, but has two disadvantages - it's not low friction and the HTML makes the edit pane a pain to read

Appearance
I mostly use the default theme for the simplicity, but the Minimal Theme has grown very impressively with a good set of settings to personalise the appearance without needing to do anything with CSS. Some themes are actively updated but many aren't.

Long-form writing using single file
Sadly (for me), I see very little that helps with this apaart from the folding options. The core Outline plugin, allows headings, with text below, to be moved around. The block embed/link plugin works for the headings and text too.
My impression is that long-form writing purely in Obsidian, would probably work most effectively using sections rather than a whole book or separate scenes/chapters.

One advantage of Obsidian over most writing programs
Is the ability to show a number of files at the same time, particularly if some are placed, hidden or half-hidden in the side panels. That's an extremely flexible arrangement which can be very useful. Most writing apps allow a side note to be triggered, or a program such as Notezilla can be used for multiple notes, but that's not quite the same thing. Obsidian also has the Callouts core plugin which makes it fairly simple to add standardised alerts/comments of different types.

Paragraphs, Lines and Enter
This remains an issue. If someone writes paragraphs only (ie no single new lines within the paragraph), then there may be no effective difference between a line and a paragraph - everything will depend on the settings of the export/conversion process. Depending partly on the use of copy/paste and the settings used within that.

urlwolf

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Re: I'm thinking of going primitive, with discursion into zettelkasten
« Reply #1124 on: May 10, 2022, 01:30 PM »
I'm very happy with logseq so far. Plus neovide, a nvim frontend, that does something really interesting with the cursor (check this: https://youtu.be/Vd5AACp6GG0?t=112) because it has better typing latency. I don't like modal interfaces though. And the many trips to 'esc' are ditracting.