With WYSIWYG, I don’t see that as a limit. If you take a look at the community themes, you can see how much people can achieve with CSS customization. I don’t believe it has anything to do with Markdown – typography can be changed entirely with CSS.
Second, does the use of .md format also doomed Obsidian to miss some advanced features? Like a database?
We have no plans to implement Notion/Airtable-like database functionalities, but that in theory doesn’t prevent plugin authors from turning Markdown tables into databases. A database is in essence a place where you can store and query structured data; you can build one from some sort of data.
Perhaps you can create a format more suitable for Obsidian and compatible with markdown, like: .omd ?
Obsidian already has some syntax that’s custom. I think it’s a misunderstanding that Markdown is a strict standard. Sure, there is CommonMark, GFM, and some variants, but Obsidian’s linking, embedding, image resizing, and block referencing syntax are already custom.
For us, the importance of Markdown is not the set of feature it provides, those can be extended, it’s the plain text nature of the format.
That’s exactly what we’re trying to achieve with Markdown. If you started taking notes 30 years ago with any mainstream software at the time, I don’t believe you can still open any of them, unless it’s plain text. Plain text can operate on its own: you open it, and you can understand it. Word files, for example, are complicated XML files that you cannot make sense of.
I have more than 30 years of note-taking ahead of me, and I don’t trust any of the existing app to still exist at that time. Although Markdown does impose some limitation, I prefer to view it as a trade-off: Markdown strives to be readable and future-proof (because it’s plain text).
This is the trade-off we made for Obsidian, which is why I said I don’t think this would be changed at all. It’s in Obsidian’s DNA. Of course, it’s entirely up to you whether you want to make that trade-off, and we respect that. If you value functionality more than future-proofness, something like Notion or Fibery might work better.