I’ve been trying out a lot of different programs to take notes in the last few months, each with it’s pros and cons. Since I don’t like cloud-only solutions nor closed systems that won’t let me export my data in case I want to switch to another program, Notion was off the table.
So far, Obsidian is my favorite. It’s simple to use, nothing too fancy and it uses Markdown which is easy to export. I’ve been synchronising it using Syncthing and it worked flawlessly. The only problem for me is that the folder structure gets a bit convoluted after enough notes are added.
I’ve also tried Joplin, which is nice but it doesn’t have anything that Obsidian doesn’t. Also tried LogSeq which takes a different approach at organising notes and is a bit more like Notion.
Finally, I tried AnyType, which came out a few weeks ago. It’s by far the editor with the most features out of the ones that I’ve mentioned, and it’s a lot more like Notion as well. I still can’t decide whether I prefer the simplicity of Obsidian which is just a bunch of folders with markdown or the feature-richness of anytype.
What are your thoughts?
Obsidian has and probably always will be my go to in this regard. I take so many notes on my phone/tablet/desktop that paying for sync is just outright worth it. THAT aside if you don’t want to hold on to your own data and you are cool with a cloud SaaS solutions Notion has yet to be dethroned by anything in my opinion. I use notion and work and its never really let us down from a knowledge base and general incident note taking solution. I tried anytype for personal use and it just really made me want to use notion/obsidian. I think the hill here is migration of data and your workflow style. I already have such a good workflow with Notion and Obsidian that learning a new thing to brain dump is kind of overwhelming. Of course, all of this is my personal opinion and preference, but these tools are personal like that. So, its whatever works for you.
I use Obsidian and Craft. I love Obsidian, however, most of my work uses Craft.
I primarily take notes on my Android phone. I use the Notes app for NextCloud and I have NextCloud installed on my home server.
I’m primarily using mdbook for more structured and long-form notes. Mdbook is a very simple static site generator and it uses plain markdown files. I commit and push the markdown files in a Git repository (on my Gitea instance). For writing the notes, I just use my Text Editor of Choice (Emacs). I only write on my laptop to that is not a problem. The generated static site is accessible everywhere including Phone. One nice thing about mdbook is that the Notes are also accessible directly through the Git hosting like Github or Gitea interfaces as mdbook supports using links to markdown files directly.
For the short-form fleeting notes, these are mostly some random thoughts, reminders or small stuff, I’m using Memos. It is a simple Twitter-style Webapp with 3rd Party apps for iOS, Mac and Android. It is delightful and easy to use.
I really like Logseq which is free and open source and also privacy conscious. I have my own Nextcloud server that I use to sync files across my devices and I use FolderSync to sync the Logseq folder from Nextcloud to Mobile every 15 min (could be set to 5 min but I think its battery consuming). Logseq mobile should be able to fetch the Logseq folder from Nextcloud, but it didn’t work with the version I had (have to try again to see if it is fixed).
The only features it would lack for me is collaboration which is planned.
The way I organise stuff in Logseq is by adding a page(s) for the subjects to anything that what I am writing that is related and I use hierarchy (like this: [[recipe/sauce/mayonaise]]). That way, everything is worth to note because it can easily be found. I use a graph for general knowledge that could be shared and I use a different graph for more personal stuff. I also use Todo list plugin to be able to see a list of Todos quickly, emoji picker to add emojis (also works with pages with the icon:: atribute) and some more. I also use alias for pages that are important enough and could be named many ways and also use shorter names. For instance: alias:: Tutorial, tuto, man.
Sometimes I use Doom Emacs to edit Logseq .md files (especially for anything related to coding). I haven’t tried org mode but it is also something very popular for taking notes (for emacs user).
I’m intrigued by Logseq, I always liked outliners, but I never really understood Logseq’s preference for block linking. The docs talk about writing anything and everything in the daily journals, and then linking individual blocks into other documents for organization. This just sounds like a lot of overhead to me, as I generally write lists centered around a single topic anyway.
Also, I thought Logseq’s files were not human-editable, because of all of the cross referencing. What is your experience in editing .md files? If it came down to it, I’m curious how hard it would be to recover notes if all you had were the files.
I haven’t edited files heavily but a simple re-indexing of the graph would solve problems. I’ve only added text without reference (just basic notes). In case there’s a problem, I know that re-indexing would work because Logseq folders are really easy to move around and that’s one thing I like . I can sync it across devices without breaking anything and the device is in charge of indexing new files.
Logseq can take .md files outside of the folder. Files can be sorted in a folder structure which I tried but stopped anyway since I just use Logseq to reach notes and Logseq isn’t super user friendly about sorting files in folder (yet). I recall using folder shortcut to another location where .md files were but I think I stopped doing that because it was easier to rewrite them in Logseq (they were just .md files I created before discovering Logseq) and also because folder shortcut doesn’t sync through Nextcloud. It is also possible to reference a file in Logseq but I prefer having an asset copy to prevent broken links.
Memos looks really interesting. I’ve been stuck with Apple Notes / Trello for stuff like this. Thanks for the suggestion.
So I tried out Memos and uh… it’s a real sandbox experience. Do you have any suggestions on how best to use it? Perhaps a list of recommended tags?