After several months of using Craft and Obsidian in parallel, I’ve firmly committed to Obsidian. While I’m not fond of an Electron app., the advantages of Obsidian are worth the trade-off of abandoning a beautifully designed native app like Craft. I have a lot of reasons for this decision, but here are a few:
Plain text using markdown is infinitely flexible giving one a vast array of options for how to create, manage, store, publish, and share text.
I can use many apps to work with the text outside of Obsidian.
I can access my files through Finder or the Files App without depending on Obsidian for doing so.
All of my writing is future proofed.
Syncing and storage takes less space, is fast, and less prone to errors and lost data.
The custom plug-ins continuously expand Obsidian’s feature set making it possible to customize it to fit one’s unique workflow needs and preferences.
Craft’s sub/pages and cards are exported as separate files creating a situation where these files are missing the context in which they were originally created.
Writing in a block-based system like Craft’s is tedious.
So, I have officially joined the Obsidian fan club.
I want to get into Obsidian and see if it work for me, but this one looks cumbersome!
I have jumped through all the various writing apps. The last 2-3 months I have been jumping back and forth between Ulysses and Craft.
There is only one feature that Evernote had that I truly miss that no other writing app has added yet for some reason.
The ability to pinch and zoom on your note, while having the text size auto-adjust. I struggle with the possibility of going back to Evernote just for this. But DevonThink is my archive now.
The other apps don’t cut it and I end up squinting a lot when trying to give sermon to see my iPad or iPhone. I don’t want to enlarge the text size, (I tried), because then the workflow gets disrupted across devices.
I found exporting an Obsidian doc to PDF solves that problem for me. On the Mac you can use the Pandoc plug-in to convert to a PDF, which will allow one to pinch and zoom. On the iPad, I use iA Writer to access the file and export to PDF (the Pandoc plug-in does not work on the mobile version of Obsidian). It works great. A few extra clicks but only takes 2-3 minutes at max. I hope this helps.
I also found the Obsdn-Dark-Rmx theme to produce a great rendering for exporting or printing.
(Sorry, had to edit this because I had conflated pinch and zoom with Cmd+ usage and made a mistake. I think I have it right now…)
Pinch and zoom does work to increase or decrease text size in Obsidian on a Mac. With iPadOS and a keyboard you can select the note text and use Cmd+ or Cmd- to increase and decrease text size. If you use Cmd+ or Cmd- in a note on a Mac that increases/decreases all text in the app, not just the note text. Hope that helps!
Different strokes for different folks. I too have been spending some time setting up my workflows in each of these apps. Both are excellent - hard choice. Today I resolved to work in Craft instead of Obsidian. I manage about 25 projects, keeping track of docs/links/people and some todos for each. I like how the pages I create in Craft look - working on my stuff appeals to me more because of it. The power of Obsidian is substantial. Working in it helped some ideas gel for me about how I could deploy a more straightforward linking system in Craft, so when I came back to it I felt more assured about how I wanted to use its capabilities. I could see myself spending endless hours messing about with Obsidian’s core and external plugins and data views. Totally cool, but more than I need at the moment. I might feel differently if I were working towards a large research archive or a real second brain notes space, but for managing a relatively simple set of work areas, Craft suits me well. I’m also grateful for the ability to share readily and export in so many different formats.
I completely agree with this point, it was the reason I tried Obsidian as an alternative in the first place.
Then, I realized how much more flexible having the markdown files is as I can process them with any app on my Mac. Having everything in one place makes finding and working with notes so much easier and I like the Obsidian interface - it doesn’t impede working and is extremely customizable.
I’ve also high hopes for the future. The pace of development and community around the app is exceptional.
I agree it can be distracting and ugly but I limit my use of md. I use headers and some links in writing (most links are reserved for research files). Being careful to use md judiciously limits the “ugly”.
As I said in my post, it is a trade off. Craft is certainly a much nicer application but writing articles in a block-based system is tedious and frustrating and Obsidian has more flexibility. I was particularly troubled by how Craft exports sub-pages/cards, as noted above.
That said, Craft is a great application and pleasure to use (except for writing articles) but I’ve determined that though I don’t “enjoy” an Electron app., it meets my needs.
That could be a temptation depending on one’s interests and inclinations but I actually don’t struggle with that. I don’t need data views and once I’ve installed and settle on my plug-ins, which I’ve largely done, I don’t mess with them. The same goes for themes. I have two that I use and that its it. So, now with everything set up; I just get to work.
I use color to help me. For example, I have configured the emphasis to be red.
And I have also made ==double equal== into a yellow highlight. You’d be surprised how simple tweaks as these two made the MD text attractive and easy to read.
I use Marked 2 to convert Obsidian documents to PDF. I open the document I want to convert in Marked 2, hit the keyboard shortcut for the export drawer, select “PDF Continuous,” select the desired destination folder, et voilà—a nicely formatted PDF. I’ve set my default Marked 2 style to one that closely matches my Obsidian theme so that my md and pdf documents look more or less the same. (I use the Red Graphite theme in Obsidian and the Bear style in Marked 2.)
Marked 2 will convert markdown files to other formats as well, though not as many as Pandoc. If all you need are the basics, though—html, pdf, docx, rtf/rtfd, odt, opml—it’s easy to do in Marked 2.