Why I felt compelled, sadly, to abandon Obsidian

For the foreseeable future I’ve settled on Craft as my primary note taking and KM application. I like Craft so this is hardly a burden but I am disappointed. For all of the reasons that have been pointed out by others (I’ll not repeat them here), I wanted to make Obsidian my default note taking and KM app. I watched videos, installed plugins, migrated notes to Obsidian, and more.

I ran into two problems that I could not resolve. That could be due to a lack of knowledge on my part but I think they are intrinsic to the app.

First, writing in Obsidian when one needs to include links is a visual mess. This interrupts the flow of writing and thinking.
Second, copying and pasting from Obsidian to other apps, e.g., Apple Mail, does not keep the rendering. An example was a short article containing footnotes created with an Obsidian plugin. The footnotes were not retained properly when I pasted the article in Apple Mail for my EA.

I share this only out of curiosity. Surely these same issues arise with others yet they continue to use and enjoy Obsidian. Am I missing something fundamental with how I should have been using Obsidian?


Interesting. I’m not a hardcore Obsidian user; do Markdown reference links not work? (ii.com: Links and Footnotes in Markdown)

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Doesn’t support embedded links like Apple Notes?

Notes screenshot:

Screen Shot 2021-06-12 at 11.26.07 AM

Following along here for the past couple years with your continuing search for perfect workspaces, I’d suggest Craft is going to spark more joy for you than a barebones, nuts and bolts environment like Obsidian. Horse for courses.

Regardless, the best way to copy links is to use a URL shortener such as Bitly – one of many choice – and the best way to do that is with an action in Popclip. That URL in your message is part of all tha garbage Amazon adds to URLs to track you. The fact that Amazon barfs out massive URLs like the one in the example has nothing to do with Obsidian; it’s merely your choice of data, which even Craft has to deal with.

Obsidian, in my view, is a stand-alone environment. It’s not a place to be writing text to add to other apps. That’s a good job for Drafts, I would suggest. It’s helpful to meet software where it is, not where one imagines it is.


Obsidian provides a plain text editor. Notes (and Craft) is not.

Yes, Obsidian supports reference links and inline links. But Mail does not support either.


The best tool I’ve found for turning markdown into email message is Drafts (though I haven’t specifically tested footnotes in it). If you wanted to give Obsidian another shot you could try pasting the markdown text into Drafts and then using Drafts’ markdown mail action.

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Definitely use the apps that work best for you. I’ve been trying out Obsidian and have found it lacking for other reasons.

But if you want a good way to render almost any Markdown for exporting to PDF, pasting as rich text (eg, in Mail or Gmail), etc., you won’t do better than Brett Terpstra’s Marked 2.


For extracting rich text from Obsidian, I just open the preview view and copy-and-paste from that. That’s what I always do in Markdown editors. There are fancier ways, but I find my way to be simplest.

Sometimes I don’t like Obsidian’s preview formatting, in which case I first copy the markdown text to Drafts, and use that app’s preview.

I do not find including links to be a problem — but then again, I’m not including vomitacious-long links like yours! (I’m not criticizing you — if you need those links, there’s nothing you can do about that.)


I concur. Notwithstanding what my posts may seem to indicate, I have not actually made that many changes in my workflow for the last couple of years. The primary areas where I’ve gone back and forth has been between note taking and writing apps (AN, Craft, Scrivener and Obsidian) email apps (Spark vs Mail) and to a lesser extent task managers (OF vs Things). I’ve gone back and forth a bit with Scrivener vs using markdown applications like Ulysses and most recently Obsidian.

I have struggled mainly out of a desire to accomplish two things:

  1. Operate as much as possible with plain text and MD
  2. Avoiding subscriptions as much as possible.

I was mostly settled in my workflow until all of the excitement/hype around KM apps like Obsidian came along. Obsidian is plain text/MD and does not require a subscription. Ulysses is a subscription. Craft is Jason and has a subscription, hence my temptation to focus on the Obsidian for while. Unfortunately, the limitations of Obsidian are counter-productive for my use cases.

I will also add that the MPUs forum is a fun temptation—it is my only “SM” platform. I suppose as long as I’m getting my work done, and I am, it is okay to experiment. But, there is a limit and I’ve pretty much reach it for my purpose. I’m certain that if I did not check this forum so often and stopped listening to MPU that I’d experiment far less! :slight_smile: But, I have learned a great deal from the experimentation and that knowledge serves me well.

That said, I believe that Scrivener, Craft, OF, Apple Mail and Drafts (for quick capture) are the best apps for my needs.


That is exactly what I was doing but footnotes lost all links and when pasting into Apple Mail to my EA, all text hyperlinks to resources and documents were also lost leaving in their place long URLs—basically, a mess. :slight_smile:

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How do you solve the lock-in/futureproofing problem? That’s probably the main factor that caused me to sadly, abandon Craft.


I heard good things about the app but have not used it. But at this point I don’t have the inclination to try yet another app and to switch back and forth between apps to get the result I want. :slight_smile:

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It exports beautifully to markdown so I don’t see any problem whatsoever.

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When I tried it all of its “links” were of a “craftdocs://” format, using a non-human-readable UUID. And obviously the document that I just exported didn’t have any indicator of what its UUID was.

Is there a way that you’ve found around this? Otherwise it feels like the exported data is going to require a bunch of re-linking in whatever app it lands in.

I might be wrong on that, but I think they moved away from those craft:// links, and they have standard https:// now.

Yes, but then I have to remember to export, and think about which things need exporting and which things should remain in Craft.

These are small decisions but they are additional decisions nonetheless.

When I say “when I tried it”, I mean “this weekend”. :slight_smile: I would expect some sort of way of tying the data together on the local filesystem, without needing to have the app installed - or a way to at least know which UUID each document was assigned. Otherwise the data isn’t “portable” in a useful way, as the linking is effectively part and parcel of the data.

I may not be understanding your question but I just did an export text to markdown to test both external and internal links in Craft. I opened the document in both Drafts and iA Writer. The internal links opened in Craft as I would expect and the external links in the browser. This is what I would expect.

One has several export options for MD.

I don’t believe there is a way to preserve links in an export to MD that would link one MD file to another outside of Craft. I don’t think Obsidian does this either.

I also see that but I think that is true (thought I may well be mistaken) for most any editor that uses internal links. It is also true of DEVONThink. I suspect that only utilities like Hook get around this but I’ve never used it.

For my needs, Craft is working well.

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