Implementation of series of notes in pathway arrangement à la VUE would be a killer feature

New to Obsidian. Absolutely amazed at seeing how professional and talented developers and contributors to Obsidian are.

Searched the forum for something like this but did not find it, so here it goes:

I would like to suggest the implementation of a functionality that allows the user to select a random series of notes, mark them altogether with a special tag (please notice “altogether” and “special”) so that they form a purposely defined series of thoughts or ideas called pathway, a feature that could be possibly implemented à la Visual Understanding Environment (VUE) https://vue.tufts.edu/features/

Once part of a pathway (which could be saved with a name for future reference), the series can be used to be read or presented in the order assigned on that pathway. This would be of course independent of the notes creation dates or any form of sorting. The series of notes would honor their correspondent order or position on the pathway they belong to.

This is entirely different from a timeline or other forms of arrangements.

Use case or problem

Study a series or thoughts arranged in a way that would be only meaningful if they follow a predefined order, also useful for presentation purpose.

Proposed solution

I am not a developer, but have a vague idea that this could be possibly accomplished either natively or by means of a plugin.

Current workaround (optional)

None at present.

Related feature requests (optional)

Not aware of any.

3 Likes

It’s definitely a promising idea.

Here’s a good relevant link worth checking out: Paths for Notes Connection

Thanks.

Have you considered just using a tag sequence, e.g. #my-series/1, #my-series/2, etc? Tags like that appear in the tag pane as an expandable tree. And #my-series could actually be something like #art/history/2021-presentation/. If it’s too much to type, you can just go through and put temporary tags on like #series/1 etc. and then use the Tag Wrangler plugin to rename #series to #art/history/2021-presentation and all the child tags will be renamed as well.

One thing I’m planning for the next major release of Tag Wrangler is the ability to have a click on a unique tag in the tag pane (i.e. one with only one occurrence in the KB) jump directly to that note, without needing to pass through search. That would make stepping through the marked notes in that series very easy, as you would just click on each one in the tag pane in series.

Indeed, once your series was created, you could wrangle the tags to create a presentation outline right in the tag pane, even creating subsections and changing the tag names to give some titling.

Hm. Now I’m tempted to use this approach for some things myself. :wink:

1 Like

I feel like this would just be a “pathway” note that embeds each of the notes in that path? ie. you create a new “pathway” note and then drag and drop the notes from the explorer insert the links. You can then you can add/edit/re-order as much as you like, write connecting content between the embedded notes, and create as many pathways as you need?

If this approach doesn’t tick the box of what youre trying to achieve (and I feel like I am missing something here), then it’s at least a workaround for it :slight_smile:

PS This plugin New Plugin: Journey - Find the story between your notes might also be of interest to you, although it’s “pathway” is via the note links rather than user selected notes

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Yeah, I probably have tags too much on the brain right now. TBH I was just coming back here to post that it would actually be easier to just drop links into a note. :wink:

That being said, the “drop links into a note” thing could use some work. In particular, if you drop it into a list it ought to make a new list item for each link (so you don’t have to keep switching back to the keyboard), and there ought to be a way to select multiple notes in the file explorer without having to first de-select the note you’re currently on.

But even with those limitations, it’s probably a better workflow than the tag thing, as you can just pin the “pathway” note and leave another pane unpinned, then click on the links in it and they’ll go to the unpinned pane.

1 Like

I like what you are getting at.

I previously had a similar idea to do that with a sequence of note’s content rather than simply their links. But perhaps you were also considering that as well. Here’s the link although @ryanjamurphy ends up explaining it much better than I was able to and @d00b adds a cool twist where it adds the content as transclusion rather than snagging the content from the note directly. Link: Note Combo-Linker

Thanks.

I value your ideas guys and see them as an approximation of the request.

If I understood correctly your propositions would fall into the category of a workaround, which is a good step forward.

I have the impression that the best idea should take both the propositions of pjeby and of ShaneNZ into account. We could refine it a little bit more though. Let’s just try to grasp a couple of keywords in the original post and the whole idea would mature faster. The key points should lead us to something that should be present in the feature request: automation, that is, to a minimal effort approach. That’s the reason why selection rather that writing is preferred. Obsidian belongs to the era of AI and it does many things pretty well. Also, if we focus on how easy VUE accomplishes the functionality of pathways we would get to the point easily. You enter a name for a pathway, then drag and drop the notes to it. VUE allows to change the order of each note (node) whenever you want, remove particular notes from it and add any others. Many pathways can coexist on the same vault (map in VUE). You can see a Youtube video on how VUE handles pathways.

VUE is now open source and moved to GitHub as can be seen here.

Oh, I should have said that I-d-as post offers some clues worth consideration, embracing the idea of gathering a sequence of note’s content rather than simply their links. Thanks I-d-as. That also should be an integral part of the feature.

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Oh man, this would make my life so much easier! I just imported my Day One journals into my vault—some 3,500 entries—and all of the tags in the YAML look like “journal/my-subject”. It would be great to batch rename those to get the pesky “journal” prefix out of there, but every time I try to run Tag Wrangler it tells me 0 files were modified. Do you know why that might be the case? Is it the YAML?

Sample header below, along with a screenshot of the error message:

---
Creation Date: 2014-09-04 12:38:01-07:00
Timezone: America/Los_Angeles
Location: 8435 SE Holgate Blvd, Portland, OR, United States
GPS: 45.49026870727539, -122.57520294189453
Tags: journal/coffee, journal/log
---

Screen Shot 2021-02-25 at 06.09.20

It sounds like what’s being described here is essentially the Folgezettel concept from Luhmann’s Zettelkasten method. This could be an interesting feature. But I would want it to work natively in Markdown as much as possible so the capability is portable if I need to move away from Obsidian later.

One possible way this could be addressed is to base it around an outline note that follows a specific naming convention / location / whatever. Then it is doing nothing more than adding a visual capability on top of an existing Markdown file.

I already use sequential structured outline notes in some cases, for example:

- [[Note 1]]
- [[Note 2]]
  - [[Note 2.1 (branch from 2)]]
- [[Note 3]]
...

Comments could also be added and made visible in the pathway, and encoded using a convention perhaps like this:

- [[Note 1]]
  - Visible comment on Note 1
- [[Note 2]]
  - Visible comment on Note 2
  - [[Note 2.1 (branch from 2)]]
- [[Note 3]]
...

If Obsidian maintained these special Markdown files in a separate folder then we would always have the sequences encoded natively in Markdown to fall back on anytime later.

Counterpoint: Encoding the pathway in JSON in an Obsidian-controlled directory outside the vault ensures users won’t tamper with the Markdown and break the functionality. If Obsidian offered an export function that exports the JSON to Markdown that could work well too.

It looks like this was a tag wrangler bug, as it required the tags field to be named “tag” or “tags” (lowercase), even though Obsidian handles it case-insensitively. I’ve released a fix in Tag Wrangler 0.3.1, so hopefully it should work for you now.

(By the way, in future if you (or anyone else) needs help with a Tag Wrangler problem, it’s best to open an issue on Github, since I’ll get a notification from that, whereas I only visit these forums intermittently. Same goes for all my plugins, really.)

1 Like

I like this and I want this. :slight_smile: