Alternatives to Obsidian for basic PKM (Craft? Ulysses?)

How are you organizing your notes in Drafts, Robert? I don’t use it because once in a while I need to store images or PDFs too, and Drafts is plain text exclusively, but I am curious.

I actually don’t know yet😀. I’m following this and other discussions because I want to find a good solution. As I understand it, Obsidian is Plain Text as well and will simply take a link to an image file. But it can display that file, which Drafts can’t. Maybe I could get away with Drafts containing links to image files.
This is an interesting discussion about Drafts as a Zettelkasten on the Drafts Forum.

I almost exclusively write within Drafts (except long form) and already most of my notes of all kinds are in there. Only not structured very well. But stuff that’s collected from outside, like images or links or PDFs are in various places like Apple Notes, depending on their purpose.

So either I decide to go all in with a multi media capable notes app like Notion or the above mentioned Notebooks which looks nice. Or I go all in with a text based system and simply link to files in a cloud. Which, as far as I understand, is what Obsidian does as well, only with intergrated preview of those files?
What turns me towards Drafts is that I already know and use it and have a base of stuff in there that has at least some meta data and sense and I could just develop from there instead of setting it up all new in a new app. And it evolves so fast, maybe the handling of images will be much better soon and than I put all that effort somewhere else …

The copyright is in the text. If I create a new translation of a work, the text is new and different from the original and anyone else’s translation. I can therefore claim copyright of that translation of that text.

That being so, I can see why someone might choose to offer a different translation of the Bible, simply so they can charge you to buy it.

Even if I ue the original text (or a translation in the public domain), I could charge you for downloading the file, as a simple service charge.

Nope. That’s a matter of case law. The
new" image is a derivative work; some or possibly all the rights adhere to the original work. You’d have to go to court, And that’s why it gets tricky. Because there are some baseline punitive fees for registered copyrights if the court decides rights have been infringed, plus court fees and attorney costs. And tgen digital stuff has a whole other set of fees and laws.

IANAL, but I’ve researched for attorneys on copyright cases and been an expert witness. I’ve also licensed a lot of IP.

It’s just better to ask, first. It’s often free for personal use, especially if you are willing to sign a statement about not publishing or distributing.

It’s a heck of a lot of work to translate. Which MSS.? Which prior edition? Do you need to license it first? What are you emending? Why and how?

I ended up using Eaglefiler to index the Obsidian Vault and use that to search, seems working well. Details in this post


By the screenshots it seems a little dated. I would give it a try, only to confirm. Or, in a longer way: if you like that older release, then you’ll like the newer one. But if you happen to not like the older version, you should try the newer one.

Don’t know if the older version has the killer feature (that is a small one-time payment) that allows you to set a custom iCloud location for your files, putting it on par with the Desktop version.

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Yes, for what you’ve got in EagleFiler you don’t need a third-party search app. EF offers a capable and flexible search facility itself.


They have a MacOS trial version on their site.

I have used Notebooks for quite a few years, and really like it. I tend to use it as I would a notebook. I will start a book on a subject area and the throw everything into it: text files, picture, pdfs or whatever I find.

It has become the place I store “base” information.Sometimes I will make notes that go into Obsidian or use the information for a presentation or document.

Some notebooks I leave open, others I will export as a PDF or ebook for archiving.

It does have a plist file for every book/sub book but you can hide those so finder doesn’t pick them up.



I tried Notebooks a couple of years ago and really liked the functionality and pricing model. However I had a lot of problems with duplicate files appearing following sync. I was syncing over dropbox.

Has the sync improved in later versions?

I haven’t had any problems syncing my’s files using Dropbox. However, I’m not using it as my “everything box”—I use it much like @Nick does, i.e., a place to put the notes, documents, and images that I need while working on a specific project.

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So you use Notebooks and Obsidian parallel? I would prefer to find one solution for everything. What does Obsidian do, that Notebooks can’t do for you?

I also use Notebooks and Obsidian (and Devonthink) in parallel. I point all three apps at an organized hierarchy of Finder folders synced to Dropbox. My “one solution for everything” for projects that involve research, note-taking, writing, and thinking IS that set of Finder folders. (DTP is my solution for administrative record-keeping.) Each app gives me a different lens for looking at and working with those files, and each has some unique tools, too.

For instance, I usually begin a note in Obsidian because its daily note and template functionality make it easy to fire up exactly the kind of note I want. Its plug-ins sometimes give me an easy way to do something with a note that’s harder (or even impossible) in either Notebooks or DTP.

I find Notebooks a better place for reading, writing, and reviewing source materials than either Obsidian or Devonthink, especially on iOS. One advantage Notebooks has over Obsidian in this regard is that it provides visibility to every type of file I may have put in the base folder and will open them in the appropriate app when asked if it can’t handle that file type natively.


That’s an interesting approach, thanks!

Never thought about exporting entire Notebooks folders as PDFs or ebooks before…thank you.

It is my impression that the desire that some have to use a single application to handle one’s “knowledge management” is a façade cast to protect themselves from confronting the reality that they actually want to use 7 different programs to handle documents with, in spite of the fact that they can use just one, but every application provides a myriad of different ways to look at certain documents for different reasons.

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So true. NotePlan and EagleFiler meet my needs, but I still would like to find a way to bring TaskPaper back into my workflow. And now you’ve got me interested in adding Notenik!


Drafts is my go-to notes system, not just for capture but also long term storage. I’ve used a few actions and a custom syntax to build out a workspace that suits me well with inline tags, “block level” filtering, note templates and more, and I’m not too concerned about the fact that Drafts isn’t designed for media files (though it can display images in previews)— in most cases I’m happy enough to link out to resources elsewhere and keep my notes primarily as text. You are not alone. :slight_smile:

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I‘m currently trying to figure out how to link to external files (on iOS). I had expected that to be trivial, but I seem to miss something. How do you get the link to a file? Help welcome. All I find are highly sophisticated workarounds that are beyond my scope, while this should probably be a simple task!?

A few thoughts:

  • For, I used to use this shortcut:

  • The shortcut requires Toolbox Pro, but makes it relatively easy to select a file and get a URL for it on i(Pad)OS. I set the shortcut up while thinking about the four apps I might have typically copied file URLs into, but you can cut most of the steps down if you’re only focusing on Drafts.
  • You can easily combine a shortcut like the one above with a Drafts action to trigger that shortcut, so you don’t have to leave Drafts. This way, you could also remove the manual paste step.
  • If you want to get fancy, you can adjust you syntax definition in order to make those file share links more easily legible. For example, my syntax definition allows me to link to iThoughts maps with the syntax “[[map:Name of map here]]”, or link to tag searches with the syntax [[r#:tag here]] and a few other things besides. Shouldn’t be too difficult to set something up so that [[file:Name of file]] actively points to a file. I haven’t used that Files URL shortcut because mostly, I link to iThoughts maps and tasks/projects in GoodTask, which I’ve wired into my syntax definition.
  • Alternatively: Drafts has offered file/folder bookmarks for a while now. If you’re not already familiar with that functionality, I’ve got a drafts action that reads the contents of a folder and offers a filterable menu so you can select a file within that folder and produce a link for it (pasted at the cursor in the currently active draft). If that might be useful, let me know and I’ll share (you’d have to adjust it for your own usage, obvs).

Sounds useful! I‘d be happy if you share it!