Need a little help wrapping my head around front matter, properties and data view

What I’m trying to do

Now that I have my template correctly set up (i.e. create or open the link with the proper name in the proper location), I’d like to devote some time to setting up my notes to collect (and eventually display) the data I’m trying to keep track of.

My ‘Daily Note’ template includes links to several notes that are basically blank inspection forms for periodic maintenance. Each time I perform an inspection, I need to record a handful of ‘yes/no’ type answers (i.e. “Belts checked for tension?”) and a few numerical data points as well (i.e. “Oil Level: 80%” or “Steering Fluid Pressure: 35psi”).

These checklists serve a couple of purposes. First, they are a step-by-step reminder of the proper procedure to follow when performing the inspection. Second, they serve as a historical reference.

What I’d like to be able to do is view the results in a table or graph, but I’m not quite sure how to set that up. For example, it would be outstanding to be able to see at a glance the “Oil Level” history for a given asset. By “not quite sure how to set it up,” I mean, should I collect the data in the note body? Or should I record it somewhere else?

Note that these inspections are all performed in a small machinery space while using a phone or, occasionally, a tablet - so I don’t think I can use any scripts. Additionally, it’s much easier to complete the inspections using checkboxes and drop-downs than it is to click and type into a form. I can do that, it’s just more of a pain.

Thanks in advance for your input. I’m not looking for a fully baked solution here, just a general idea of where to start Googling to assemble a solution that works for my use case.

I don’t think I’m going to go into all the details, but rather give you some pointer on how I would probably tackle such a scenario.

Data input

For data input, since you want to use checkboxes and dropdowns, I would look into either of the Meta* plugins, that is either Meta bind, Metadata Menu and/or MetaEdit. The two former have been updated lately. All of these add various types of how to change the metadata of your notes/inspection.

Using Meta Bind you could enter various input elements into your notes and link them up to properties to store the values. This would allow for “random” placement within your note depending on how you’d like it to look. I think this plugin also can add menu options for changing values.

Using Metadata Menu you could assign file classes to your notes related to different types of inspections if that’s a case of yours. It provides a more direct interface towards the properties at the top (although it can also work with inline fields). One possible advantage of this plugin, is that you can also build table views of the various file classes, which could provide you with various views of your inspection data (without you needing to know anything about building queries). This views can also be included in canvases, if I remember correctly.

The last MetaEdit I’ve not used, but it seems to touch in some of the same as the other plugins, possibly with more focus on providing menu options.

A final slightly different approach could be to use the Modal form plugin to view/enter data. I’ve not used this plugin either, but it seems promising in the regards that it can present multiple data points with accompanying text here and there. This could possibly be used to help you identify ranges, faults and issue, as you could list the threshold values in the form.

Data validation

I don’t think any of the plugins above can do actual data validation, although the table views of Metadata Menu could have dedicated tables showing only warning or error related values through filtering on various fields.

So my initial thought here would be to possible build either a dataview query to catch them all, or possible to use a dv.view() script within the inspections themselves to list out potensial warnings or errors. Doing it this way would allow to at a glance check a given inspection, and see which red lights are shining, so to speak.


If you values are stored within properties (or inline fields) then graphing plugins such as Charts, Charts view or Tracker could be well worth spending some time on. With various interfaces and output variants, they could all provide different graphs and charts for your viewing pleasure.