Obsidian May Be Redundant for My Workflow

I may conclude that Obsidian is redundant for my needs. I use DEVONthink extensively and can import or index my research files. I don’t do a lot of “linking my thinking.” I read through research and make summaries of key concepts and data points and identify specific quotes I want to use. I use the research for writing and presentations. On the rare occasions I want to backlink to research or my summaries, I can do so easily in DEVONthink. I haven’t made a final decision but I’m leaning toward using DEVONthink exclusively for my research work and deleting Obsidian.


I am slowly (very slowly) making my way through Kourosh Dini’s Smartnotes with Devonthink for this reason, so am also interested in views on this issue.

Sort of have the feeling it is better to settle on one “thing” and work with it rather than jumping on to the next new thing and the next new thing …


I’ve read Dini’s book and it has a lot of valuable stuff in it. Yet, as much as I try, I can never get DEVONthink to work as a notes solution. There’s just enough friction to the notetaking experience that I don’t use it.

I love DEVONthink but I think it really works best for me as long-term storage and an archive of potentially useful information to refer back to.

For active notetaking, I have recently re-engaged with Agenda for work meeting notes, and Logseq for thought capture/PKM. I’ve fallen out of love with Craft as they seem to be pivoting towards the “pretty work documents” market.

I tried Obsidian, and disliked it immensely.


Same here. Enjoyed the book but can’t do notes in DT. Have gone from Roam to Obsidian and currently impressed with Logseq. Obsidian for me also had just enough friction to annoy me…

same experience for me, I can just not see myself DT3 or DTTG as my daily use for note taking or bullet journal, too much friction and mental resistance.

I am also very impressed with Logseq but the issue of iCloud file sync (may be just me) stop me to use it as the main driver. I entered a new page or a new block on one Mac would not appear on the other Mac or iPad for a few hours. I am now back to Obsidian using it’s own sync , it just work. I am so frustrated with iCloud sync that it ruins a lot of my Apple experience

I also have had to go back to using DEVONthink as I had a new role assigned to me that requires me to search lots of different types of files (left by the old person in charge).

I tried Finder, but it wasn’t enough and I have indexed the files in DT, where the search has proven to be indispensable. Obsidian was amazing while I was teaching as it allowed me to link classes and students but I’ve since all but given up teaching as I’ve too many other things to do at work, and I’ve found I need to search files and presentations more and more.

Unfortunately, none of my colleagues use Markdown and I need to be able to store and process complex spreadsheets and presentations, and have them fully searchable.

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I think you can use dropbox or your service of choice. I’ve gone for iCloud, fingers crossed!

I set a new field within the Inspector of DT3, where I could place the links to related informations.

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not sure how to use Dropbox on iPad , can I ?

I’ve had exactly the same thoughts a number of times. I’ve made sure that if Obsidian were ever to fold, I could move my vaults into DT without a hitch (a good exit strategy for most app matters to me – another reason why I use virtually no plug-ins as I have no need for Obsidian to be my one-app for all aspects of computing life).

I even trial this every now and then (procrastination activity!?). I think I’d experience some of the ‘friction’ cited above, but could work around this in various ways too. A few weeks of working just in DT would probably eliminate this friction soon. So why haven’t I moved already (not least since my Obsidian notes are already heavily linked to DT files by x-link)? I don’t even have Obsidian sync but I do use DT2G, so it would also make sense from that perspective (access on iPad). Maybe my best reason is that I love Obsidian’s flexibility with layouts and I’ve saved a number of ‘workspaces’ where I relate relevant notes in the single app window. I know DT offer workspaces (which I also use) but they don’t seem as light-weight. The other thing is that DT’s inspector windows (where all the linking info lives) are way more powerful, but therefore also way more cluttered, and I am forever tabbing around the little icons on top, not quite able to remember which contains which information:

Screenshot 2022-07-13 at 12.32.41

Let me know how you get on, and I’d love to read you’ve been successful!

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I should clarify. As I have written elsewhere, I use Apple Notes for all of my work related notes. As far as research notes go, I’m experimenting with iA Writer and Drafts for that purpose, saving them in my research folder, and then indexing them in DEVONthink where I can subsequently link them if I wish to do so. As I said, I’m still experimenting. I agree, DEVONthink is not a good note taking app though it is adequate on the Mac.

Sadly I think you are right at the moment, icloud only for ios, anything goes for desktop

Of course you can use Dropbox on a iPad, just like you can use Google Drive, OneDrive, etc. Just go to the App Store and download the app

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But you will not be able to access the files from Obsidian. It has something to due with the File Provider API, either restrictions or (more likely) Dropbox has not fully implemented it.

My bad and thanks for clarifying. I missed the point of connecting Obsidian to a cloud service :-1:t3:. I don’t like Markdown so haven’t used Obsidian yet.

I think, if you’re just using core Obsidian, there are probably better apps out there.

Obsidian’s extensibility, however, is inimitable. In fact, it’s that very extensibility that makes dealing with “app friction” so easy in Obsidian.

Let’s face it: app friction is basically inescapable, unless your ways of working fit perfectly with the design theory of a given app. Without extensibility, app friction typically leads to app jumping. With extensibility, however, you can sometimes find ways to tweak settings or take advantage of additional features without jumping ship.

How many times over the years did I love an app only to wish for one thing to be different? I guess I’m the princess in The Princess and the Pea: sensitive to the tiniest of discomforts. And like all fables, the stories of each app and I always ended the same way: a feature request sent into some abyssal morass, to be implemented sometime after the heat death of the universe.

Obsidian has almost always given me the ability to find the pea and get a good night’s sleep. :slight_smile:

But, if anyone finds an app without peas (i.e., that fits them perfectly out of the gate): (1) stick with it and (2) I’m a little jealous!


This is precisely what I’ve experienced. For my needs I’ve decided a minimalist approach combined with a “good enough” mindset/adjustment is the way to go. I find I must resist the temptation to use a friction point(s) as an excuse to use a different app. As you note, every app has its friction points based on each user’s needs and preference. I found this to be the case with Obsidian as an electron app. Thus, I’ve decided to “settle” and minimize the number of apps I use.


I am just using the core Obsidian, except for the calendar plugin. I get lost when I look at plugins and not sure I need it. Where it excels over everything else for me is that everything is plain text. I am not locked into any one app and I can move my data easily. It might not be the best program, but I love that side of it.

I use DT for everything else.

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NotePlan is a beautiful native Mac app with its own built-in calendar and reminder integration. It’s all Markdown, too. It is an improvement on Obsidian+Calendar plugin. Some consider NotePlan expensive, but you get iOS and Mac apps and (knock wood) flawless syncing all for one price. NotePlan is the poster child for “you get what you pay for”.


NotePlan is very intriguing to me and I have tried it. I just struggle to get accustomed to the bullet journal orientation. I may not have given it enough time. You are correct, it checks off most of my boxes and would be in some ways better than Apple Notes for my purposes. That said, I think I’ll just stick with Apple Notes.