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For continuity of my experiment I felt I should mention that I have migrated from Joplin to Obsidian.
In fact, I migrated about 2 months ago now. So, as far as my journey into building a notetaking system is concerned, I’ve been using Obsidian for almost as long as I used Joplin (which was about 3 months).
I haven’t felt like writing a comparison of these apps, as I did when I moved from OneNote to Joplin. But I do want to point out the 2 main reasons I made the switch to Obsidian.
The Graph #
I saw the graph during my first encounter with Obsidian while I was searching for something to replace OneNote. At the time I decided Obsidian wasn’t for me and I landed on Joplin instead. But that was before I spent time meticulously (and laboriously) linking notes together. The more visually-orientated part of me was eventually lured back to Obsidian by the idea of “just seeing the graph for my notes…”
For a brief period of time, I tried to convince myself I would be happy with loading the occasional export from Joplin into Obsidian to browse the graph. But that was brief. With Obsidian installed, I obviously had to explore the whole app a little more… and I didn’t take long to convince myself to migrate.
Linking Notes #
Again I was aware of Obsidian’s (superior) way of linking notes from my first encounter with it. I even mentioned Obsidian in my comparison blog post under wiki-style links.
I gave Joplin a fair chance at being my notetaking app of choice. As I continued reading into the world of Zettelkasten, I repeatedly encountered the key concept of linking your notes. I often saw the same set of app recommendations, praised for their linking abilities. They would sometimes include Obsidian, so it continued to lurk in the back of my mind. But I kept dismissing any thoughts of trying other apps. “Joplin can link notes so I’m all good”, I thought.
I found discussion of improving the note linking process on the Joplin forums so I held out hope for something being implemented soon. A few updates came out while I used Joplin, but none included any changes around linking. Unfortunately note linking in Joplin still does not appear to have changed. But hey, like many open source projects, it has an abundance of feature requests, but the developer has limited time. You can’t expect every request to make it into the app.
As I mentioned before, I gave in and installed Obsidian to “just have a look at the graph”. That led to playing around with other features too, of course. So after 2 months of enthusiastic Joplin-based notetaking I was taking my first serious look at another app. And I got a taste of how much better the note linking experience is. Less than a week later I was planning how to migrate all my notes from Joplin.
Other Obsidian Features #
While I tested out Obsidian beyond the graph and got a feel for easily adding wiki-style links, I found plenty of other enticing features. I’m going to refrain from getting into them though, or else this post risks becoming a whole lot longer!
I will undoubtedly feel inclined to write about some other aspects of Obsidian in the future though, so worry not, if you didn’t want my rambling to end yet. There’ll be more some day.
Experiment Update #
Well… whenever I write an actual experiment update, Joplin will no longer be in the picture. It’ll be Obsidian.
It’s been almost 6 months since I started this, so I will endeavour to reflect a little on how things are going soon.
In the meantime, if you have any questions, you can find me on Twitter!
Header image from Minecraft