March 28, 2021•572 words
I work on many projects and need to keep track of more information than I can actually remember. This habit has grown to a point where it leads to actual problems:
In case of projects im working on, it may lead to unintended knowledge-hirarchies,
generally it may render me unreliable ("sorry, I totally forgot about X") or slow ("shit, i didn't write that down, now I gotta research it again"), both of which im not a fan of. So join me on my journey to solve those problems!
All the small things, the small ideas and thoughts that wont be relevant in the long term still need a place. Standardnotes helped me unifying all my different private notes from an actual book, Simplenote, Keep, OneNote and a Git repo.
Standardnotes' excellent reliability and ease of use makes it perfect for collecting all the things and thoughts. With some tags it can be quickly organized quite well. Listed is a great minimal blogging platform tightly integrated with it, which is very neat.
Problems with Standardnotes (and Listed)
- Both are quite linear spaces, and I'd love a nonlinear space with bidirectional linking.
- I write markdown on my computers, because its fast. And for the most part Standardnotes is fine, but im used to HedgeDoc + Sublime bindings, which (for bigger projects) leads to me working in an actual file with another editor and then copy/pasting its contents.
- The export/backup of standardnotes does not resemble my tag structure AT ALL, which sucks.
- As my notebox is growing, it becomes more visible to me that Standardnotes is not great for everything and excels at its most basic form: quick notes with crossplatform e2ee sync.
Looking for a Zettelkasten
I want plain text files that I can version control with git and throw in remote repos, one for private and one for public stuff.
A quick search lead me to Obsidian MD which works on top of a folder full of markdown files. Sync is e2ee and with mobile apps in the pipeline its exactly what I want and DAMN, I just love graphs. 🤤
However, while it looked great at a first glance, within a few minutes it was clear to me that in my case, Obsidian is not the way to go. It's closed source, handles multiple workspaces with muliple windows instead of a unified browser and its idea of a Zettelkasten seems to put the identifier in the filename, which imho is working against a simple navigation. 😐
Enter Zettlr. This is an awesome, activly maintained open source project ticking all the boxes. It just works the way I expect a digital Zettelkasten to work. Awesome! 🎉
Writing on the run
If we ever reach a post-corona situation in Germany, Id like to use my Zettelkästen on my mobile device as well. Luckily theres GitJournal, which is built with compatibility in mind, most notably obsidian. While its backlinks work a little bit different to zettlr, its generally looking very promising. And it is, unlike obsidian, actually open source. It even supports multiple repos. Awesome! ✨
I'll continue using standardnotes for quick notes and Listed for blogging.
However: I'll move everything with more permanent importance to plain markdown files in (remote) git repos fed into Zettlr and GitJournal. One of those is my wiki which I'll fill in the next days as im transitioning.