Obsidian vs. Craft vs. Roam

MacSparky makes the case for Obsidian

I’ve been happily using Craft for weeks now–but lock-in and lack of compatibility with DevonThink worries me.

On the other hand, Obsidian’s missing mobile applications seems like a big obstacle. My insomnia makes working on the iPad important to me.

(Yes, insomnia. Maybe I’ll explain another time.)

@MacSparky, how do you work around Obsidian’s lack of iPhone and iPad apps? @ryanjamurphy, you had a workaround using NotePlan–are you still using that? Anybody else found a satisfactory solution?

I should check the Obsidian forums for updates on this.

David says the Obsidian mobile apps are coming very soon now. That would be lovely, but today is not that day, and I have learned never to make software decisions based on capabilities that are “coming soon.”

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Craft has a data ownership manifesto that’s very encouraging. They’re working on moving to Markdown files, and open source format converters.


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I have stopped using NotePlan as of yesterday, when v0.0.1 of the iOS apps hit TestFlight. (The moderators of the Obsidian community are the lucky folks who get to find the data loss bugs in the early stages of Obsidian testing…) I think the beta test will open to more users in the coming days/weeks according to the levels of their Catalyst membership scheme.

To raise expectations, the team has removed “lightweight” from the description of the iOS app on the roadmap.

To temper expectations, the build is still based on the same tech stack the desktop app is built on. Don’t expect Craft-level use of all iOS features.

To raise expectations, it seems like mobile plugins might be somewhat possible.

To limit expectations, this is always a good practice:

never to make software decisions based on capabilities that are “coming soon.”

Sorry for the :roller_coaster:!


Very encouraging indeed, though my heart can’t stand the excitement!

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1Writer works as a stand-in for the upcoming Obsidian iOS app. It works pretty well, but it doesn’t have back linking that works outside of the folder. You can make the [[links]] and it’ll work once you get back to your Mac.


I would agree about being careful about promises that would “come soon” in the field of software, but Obsidian really is the exception you can trust. They have, without fault, delivered on all their promises for the past year, and more. I am 100% confident everything they say they want to do, they will deliver.


How would you ‘quess’ :wink: sync would work ‘best’ with Obsidian Mac\iDevice…CloudKit, iCloud or Obsidian Sync? I’ve been holding off on Obsidian Sync subscription until now.

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Is Obsidian sync – currently $48/year USD – going to be required in order to use Obsidian iOS? For users without Sync subscriptions, will Obsidian iOS not work with vaults stored in iCloud or Dropbox?

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The devs want to support as many third party sync engines as they can. iCloud will most probably be on the list, Dropbox too. But it all depends as to what iOS allows, as we know. The devs absolutely do not want the users to be forced to rely to their sync service, but it is unknown whether they will have a choice depending on the APIs available.

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Can you point to where this was discussed by Erica or Shida? I see this post from Erica, but I read this as saying the mobile app only works with local folders.

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I read that on the Supporter Discord channel :slightly_smiling_face:


@Daveb08 @anon41602260 It looks like CloudKit-backed iCloud Drive (using an Obsidian folder in iCloud Drive) and Obsidian Sync from launch. Those two are already options in the alpha, anyway.

Not sure what the plan is for other sync services. Lots of people want them. The key problem in my opinion is that Big Sync Inc. (Dropbox, OneDrive, etc.) doesn’t support iOS File Provider APIs, so apps need to build their own integrations. Doing special development for each sync provider doesn’t seem to be necessary on Android…


Thank you, @ryanjamurphy – that’s OK news for me. I have no issue with CloudKit – I’m using DEVONthink 3’s CloudKit sync already, and my Obsidian vaults have always been in iCloud.



I seriously can’t wait!

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I’ve decided to put Craft aside for a bit and see if how I like Obsidian. Hopefully once I’ve given Obsidian a good workout–and after already having done so with Craft–I’ll be able to easily decide between the two.

Obsidian vs. Craft vs. Roam is the new OmniFocus vs. Things.


Sitting here now looking at Obsidian on the iPad Pro, in side-by-side view, dragging in text and taking notes on a book in the other pane, syncing down seamlessly to the same vault open on the Mac.

This is fun!


That is/was a big issue for me too. But so far in my testbed system what I’m finding is that Ic an index my Obsidian vault in DevonThink and that gets me 98% of what I need.

In practice I do not tend to do much linking and note finalization in iOS. I tend to do initial notes on paper and pen and then type when I am back at my main computer so the lack of a clean and easy mobile app input system is not proving the obstacle that i thought it would be.

Sync will be an issue for me as I will only use my own WebDAV sync. OTOH I can sync via Devonthink using my existing system and indexing the Obsidian vault. At least it;s working so far.

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Love Obsidian but challenge is DEVONthink where I have tonnes of documents, notes and preference to use DEVONthink item links instead of wiki links. That kind of stopped me continuing with Obsidian. If only ability to easily access & paste item links in Obsidian.

I have a macro for making a nice markdown linked list of selected DEVONthink items. I’ll try to share it tomorrow!

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That would be great. Cheers.