559: Research Apps



(Complete sentence Discourse, leave me alone.)


Just finished listening and happy that some area has gotten excitement back into the area.

Unfortunately, DTP is now not able to get Twitter Feeds automatically uploaded into it and I have contacted the DTP Forum and they indicated that Twitter has changed some of their infrastructure that now prevents this from happening and they will try to reinstate this feature in the future. I am able to get these Twitter feeds in my RSS Reader News Explorer so let’s home DTP is able to get back Twitter feeds.

I do like Obsidian’s graphing capability better and given the Web App operation of Roam I will focus on using Obsidian instead of Roam.

Obsidian’s team seems to be a husband/wife team but I think they have other developers behind the scenes and they have been long developing a previous app still in active develop called Dynalist which is an Outlining app.

Having files on your own computer is a good thing

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I think one thing omitted from the podcast is that the gardeners use apps like Roam and Obsidian.


  • Librarians - DEVONthink
  • Architects - Notion
  • Gardeners - Roam

I put this question over at the automators as well, but I’m wondering if anyone has managed to pull off @MacSparky 's approach to sync DTTG each night? I am a heavy Devonthink user, but the syncing issue is one of the reasons I am often frustrated with DTTG. Thanks!

Thanks for this episode, it was fascinating. It’s convinced me that I only need DT, as the others don’t fit my needs at all and I am trying to only have one reference store for everything. They all seem like interesting projects and it was great to hear about the experiences with all the tools.


This is a good question for the DEVONthink forum, where techniques to synchronize with DEVONthink to Go is one of the more common topics.

Yep, will poke around there too. Only mentioned here and automators because it has been discussed several times on the podcasts.

Looks that way looking at the Obsidian About page. That is Guido (the author of Python) with the husband in the first picture. Probably from a time where they were both working for Dropbox.

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Very good episode. At some point I will take another run at using Obsidian in conjunction with DevonThink. I’ve been using internal links in DevonThink more, and for the past week or so I’ve been working with a daily note.

I have been doing more writing in DevonThink over the past week or so as well. The Markdown editor is something I’ve needed to get used to – unlike, say, Drafts or iA Writer, the Markdown editor does not display styles. It’s all plain text. You have to use a Preview pane to see the styles. I’ve requested styled markdown several times and Devon Technologies is just not interested in implementing it. I’m learning to work their way.

BTW, tip for @MacSparky: You mentioned using code syntax – ` – to indicate comments in text That is a great tip – but MultiMarkdown has its own commenting syntax: <-- this is a comment-->. That highlights your comment in nice, bright yellow – just the way I like it. If you set your Drafts syntax to MultiMarkdown, that works nicely.


I’m using Obsidian and loving it, but I definitely wouldn’t describe it as Maclike. I can see how @MacSparky could come to that conclusion compared to a web app like Roam, but compared to a native AppKit app, it’s Electron underpinnings stand out like a sore thumb. It has hardly any menus, it doesn’t use macOS style help, the preferences may pop up when you hit ⌘-, but it’s not a macOS style window.

None of this is a dealbreaker for me. Like I said, I’m using Obsidian and I love it, but I wouldn’t want people to go in expecting a more Maclike experience and be disappointed.


Unfortunately, since Gruber’s original Markdown spec didn’t include comments, everyone seems to have their own incompatible take on it. Ulysses uses ++comment++ for inline comments or %% at the beginning of the line for full line comments. CriticMarkup uses {>>comment<<}. The one that, in theory, should work everywhere is to just use an HTML comment <!–comment–>, because according to the spec, HTML code in a Markdown doc just gets treated as straight HTML. However, there are some markdown parsrers that manage to mess that up as well.


I used to use size as a determining factor whether to get onboard, but it proved to be a wrong metric as MPU states with Drafts. The most important aspect of a small team is that they keep healthy and out of harms way.

I personally find small teams more responsive as shown in both Drafts and Obsidian’s update frequency. Probably they do not have to deal with politics and can focus on their strengths of code development


No I cannot get it to work. Just get a shortcut error when I wake up!

Is there a special trick to get the shortcut to work @MacSparky ?!

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Some more Obsidian hype info for those curious:

Mobile compatibility

Folks interested in Obsidian who are keen to have an iOS option should look at @metzgereduard’s NotePlan 3, currently in beta. It’s what I use. It has built-in support for the same [[wikilinks]] format Obsidian uses, plus a bunch of other neat features to boot. (Great URL schemes, for instance!) I have used both in tandem for a few weeks and it works fabulously.

Alternatively, you can improve 1Writer compatibility by enabling relative links in Obsidian’s preferences (existing links will need to be manually changed) though this comes with some tradeoffs.

Automation on macOS

I keep a collection of the automations folks have made for working with Obsidian here on the Obsidian forums. They’re mostly based on Keyboard Maestro and Alfred.

Also, the latest Insider edition of Obsidian has a command to copy the URL scheme—sorry @MacSparky but your macro’s been sherlocked! (The latest update also includes a new search URL scheme command.)


The third-party plugin API was just launched today. Expect to see more customizability soon!

Small development team

And yes, Erica and Shida (Obsidian’s devs) are a developer couple, and they’re the full dev team behind the app. They are lovely people! If it’s any indication of their capabilities as a development team: they actually welcomed their first kiddo earlier this year, amidst the launch of Obsidian (and they launched backlinking on Dynalist recently, too!). The development pace is awe inspiring.


For the first time since my initial purchase in 2016, I’m not renewing my Tinderbox update subscription.
Sunk costs be damned.
I have spent about $400 on it and Bernstein’s books, and probably used it 20 hours.
I know a lot of people use and love it, but to me it’s just a weird creaky old program with a bad interface and bizarre attempts at automation.


How interesting about Noteplan and Obsidian compatibility.

Standards work! Imagine that!

Pricing for Noteplan starts at $5/mo. and I am unclear whether it’s billed in monthly or yearly increments. It’s in beta now, and I don’t know if you can get free access until it ships.

According to their website it’s $6.99/mo billed monthly or $4.99/mo billed yearly.

I have tried to pay Eduard but the payment is not enabled in the beta, heh. So I suppose it is a sort of free trial until 3 is fully launched!

Edit: I’ve been meaning to write up how I use NotePlan and Obsidian (and DEVONthink and…) together… someday soon, maybe? I’ll link it here whenever it happens.


Yup. I should clean my glasses or I woulda seen that.