New Roam-like application appeared: Logseq

Maybe you already know it. I’ve just discovered Logseq (Github page) and it has some interesting and inspiring feature:

  • block reference (just like Roam - I hope it will be implemented in Obsidian, too)
  • macros autocomplete (later, now, doing, to-do, tip, warning, today, current time, quote,page embed, block embed, etc)

It also claims to be open-source in the future.

I hope those feature will be implemented in Obsidian, too.

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I think with Roam raising a bunch of money and getting so much hype it’s only natural that clones will begin to appear. While they’re competing in the same space I see Roam and Obsidian as very different products and Obsidian gels with me a lot more.

I think the obvious potential is for competitors to challenge Roam on price, unpicking the features and architecture is relatively straightforward so I imagine people might go after that. Roam @$5 a month is lot more compelling to people than at $15…

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Remember that the $15 is for 3 graphs. Anyone with 2 friends and only needing one graph would pay $5, half that if they were students or had low income.
Roam has plenty of scope to compete on price if it ever needs to.

But probably they will always be playing catch up. Roam has more development money than current competitors.

None of this is an issue for Obsidian, which is, as you say, a very different product.

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I’d pay $15 a month in a heartbeat for the Roam functionality - IF it was in my files and not in a web browser.

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Yes. If a database in the cloud were the only option, I’d try to work out what I could do with it, just as I do with OneNote, Evernote et al.
But that would be only a fraction of what I hope to achieve with Obsidian.

I think many of Roam’s features work best with databases, but if it were doing it with files and charging $15 I’d have to think carefully about whether I’d select it instead of Obsidian (assuming that were a similar price).

I have rarely seen any project that claimed to “be open-source in the future” that actually became that.

Rarely is not equal to never.

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Of course, Obsidian is quite different and more promising.

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Could you elaborate on the differences? Or maybe there is already a comparison somewhere?

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I’ve been really wanting a Roam-esque outliner experience to compliment Obsidian.

In my workflow, I use Obsidian as a hyper-curated high-signal workspace where I can crystalize my best ideas. I love the mindstate that Obsidian puts me in, but I was missing the fast, fluid nature of an outliner, especially Roam, with it’s focus on daily logging. I find it to be such a streamlined flow, but I just can’t get past the questionable aspects of it (price, lock-in, privacy, personalities, etc)…

I tried Dynalist, Workflowy, Roam and a few others… None of them have felt right for various reasons. I love the UI and experience of Dynalist and Workflowy, but the frictionless nature of the daily pages in Roam is a key ingredient that was missing.

Well I just discovered Logseq, which at first glance feels like a Roam clone, but underneath the hood it is an open-source outliner that shares the same values and guiding principles as Obsidian: Local storage and markdown files!

You can choose to either host your Logseq vault in a folder on your local machine, just like Obsidian, or you can host it in a private github repo.

You can actually open up your Logseq vault inside of Obsidian and view everything from there! The outlines are formatted in markdown headings - First level bullet is #, second level is ##, and so on… A local, markdown, plaintext outliner that rivals Roam and integrates with Obsidian. Awesome.

At present, it’s browser based, but desktop and mobile apps are in the pipeline.

I’m finding the combination of Logseq + Obsidian to be a match made in heaven.

I use Logseq for my ongoing scratchpad, fleeting ideas, and messy desk style workspace.

I use Obsidian for crystalizing my thoughts into coherent, valuable and sharable evergreen notes.

I originally wanted to have one app to rule them all, but Im actually liking this separation as it helps to optimize those different activities… Im free to make a mess and not worry about structure in Logseq, and with that impulse out of my system I am more inspired and prepared to approach Obsidian with more thoughtfulness, cleanliness and deliberation.

I allow for noise in Logseq, while curating nothing but signal in Obsidian.

Anyways, just wanted to share that, as Im quite excited about this find, and Im sure others here will be as well :slight_smile:

Enjoy :zap:

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Thanks for sharing this. I also came from Roam, mostly fed up with data loss, lack of transparency and poor support, but also missing the outliner experience. Since these became my breaking points, I wanted to ask if you have heard/experienced any data loss on Logseq (as opposed to Roam, Logseq clearly states the project is in alpha and the potential of files becoming corrupted), and if so, how was the support you/folks received?
I like the idea of a two-tool workflow, but I am not willing to lose data. After only one month using Obsidian and being part of the community, it is clear to me the gaps from Roam as an outliner will soon begin to be bridged.

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I’ve only been using Logseq for a few days, and based on my experience and research I haven’t heard of any particular examples of data loss, but I do know that it was only a few days ago that the dev announced that the local file system is now considered “stable”.

I believe there were some instances of data corruption in the past, none of which i can cite at the moment, but something important to consider is that since you are either hosting your files via github or local storage, you have full control over everything. So if you just make a daily backup of your logseq vault, then theres really nothing to worry about. Just like with Obsidian, you can reinstate a backed up vault by opening the folder.

Ive found the editor to be a little glitchy at times, definitely not as smooth as Roam yet, but the foundation is solid and I feel really good about supporting this app. I think its headed in the right direction.

The fact that i control the files and can manage my own backups really makes it viable even though its still in a very early alpha stage. I’ve had a few glitches happen where things wont edit quite right or sometimes highlights arent editable, but a refresh usually fixes it.

If you join the logseq discord or read their twitter, you’ll see that the dev is a really great guy and his openness and clear communication is a breath of fresh air. He is very upfront about the current shortcomings, and alpha status.

Im really hoping that this app takes off :slight_smile:

As for your last comment about Obsidian, I agree - it probably wont be long until we see an outliner mode plugin show up. The fact that Logseq is based on local markdown files shows that this is more than possible, and it would be crazy to me if Obsidian didn’t end up with similar features as Logseq/Roam - albeit lighter weight. Personally, i dont need any of the advanced stuff - I mostly just use it as a simple outliner with [[links]] and a streamlined daily mind log.

If I could just do my outlining in Obsidian’s daily notes, then I’d probably just go all in on Obsidian and drop the need for anything else. We’ll see what happens :slight_smile:

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One of the Logseq team members here, thanks for checking us out!

Ive found the editor to be a little glitchy at times, definitely not as smooth as Roam yet, but the foundation is solid and I feel really good about supporting this app. I think its headed in the right direction.

We’re definitely still in alpha stage, but we’re actively working to improve! Also, you’ll be happy to know that we’re working exclusively on editor stability for the next few weeks, expect vast improvements on that front!

Feel free to send us any feedback and let us know if we can improve your Obsidian + Logseq workflow!

Truly an exciting time in PKM!

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Hey @andotvu thanks so much for your comment. You and the rest of the team have done an incredible job and I’m really stoked for the future of Logseq. It means a lot that you took the time to comment here.

I totally understand that you’re in alpha, and these little glitches and inconsistencies are part of the process. There hasn’t been anything significant enough to deter my usage of Logseq, and I happily cancelled my Roam subscription within a few days of finding you :slight_smile:

I am eagerly looking forward to the day your desktop and mobile apps are ready, as that will definitely complete my workflow. I think the only annoyance I have with logseq so far is that every time I open a new logseq tab, I have to click two buttons to allow editing priveleges. While that’s ultimately not a big deal, and once its open its good - it does interrupt the flow. Fortunately your desktop app will solve that problem!

As for Obsidian + Logseq workflow, I think the only thing that could use improvement would probably be the development of a plugin that can import or read Logseq notes in a more comfortable format in Obsidian. Right now, they are displayed as nested headings… It would be amazing to be able to convert everything to bulleted lists in Obsidian, or something thats not only heading based. I don’t know or understand the technical limitations, but I love being able to open my logseq notes in Obsidian, yet am not in love with the fact that they are all in heading format.

Thanks again… Looking forward to the future of logseq :slight_smile:

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Possibly a stupid question but how do define an ‘outliner’ ? Can you not do in obsidian with nesting ?

Always curious to hear how others use these great tools - up until now I’ve used my daily journal as a quick note dump with the intention of turning whatever’s needed into evergreen within the same app.

I did like logseq - I think I need an excuse to put it to use :joy:

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An outliner in my view is something that allows infinite nesting of collapsable and zoomable bullets… Also, bullets are drag and drop-able…

While you can do nested bullets in Obsidian, its very basic and the workflow is not anywhere near as fluid as something like Logseq…

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Logseq looks nice - but to be honest, I couldn’t figure out yet what logseq can do that you actually can’t do with obsidian!?

Could you explain your workflow with obsidian and logseq? How do you combine these two? What are your additional benefits?

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@alltagsverstand - Obsidian does not offer the friction-free experience of a daily-notes centric outliner. Yes, Obsidian has daily notes, and yes you can do outlines with bullets, but the experience from a UX perspective just isn’t near as fluid as something like Logseq or Roam.

Obsidian forces me to be slow, thoughtful and methodical with what I create there, which is great for deep thinking and creating atomic/evergreen notes.

But when it comes to thought capture throughout the day, there’s just too much friction.

Logseq doesn’t demand the same level of attention to structure, and gets out of the way so I can just write… More comes out, and the outline/bullet nature of it allows me to think and write in a more micro way.

So I prefer Logseq for capturing and brainstorming - it’s like a workspace.

And I prefer Obsidian for deep thinking and knowledge crystallization.

I let Logseq be messy and noisy, without worrying about structure.

And I am meticulous with Obsidian because it is a thought crystal that I want to last and be useful for the rest of my life. I don’t want any noise or messy notes in Obsidian. The more signal, the better.

I’m not attached to my Logseq database, because all the valuable stuff gets permanently stored in Obsidian. I just prefer Logseq for daily flow and thought capture.

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that’s an impressive workflow. Thanks for sharing it! After getting a better idea of your process.

I’d like to know what’s your process for moving a valuable note from logseq to Obsidian? Do you use logseq as a repo in github, or do you have it linked to a local folder?
Thanks!

Thanks @santi :slight_smile:

I’m still dialing in my workflow but here’s what I’m currently doing…

I use Logseq with a local folder, using their desktop app that is currently in alpha. They have it posted in their discord. Download link here: https://github.com/logseq/logseq/releases/tag/0.0.5.3

It was just released this week, but I’m super impressed so far. Clean and simple.

So, I use Logseqs task functionality as a way to tag ideas I want to bring into obsidian. I use Notion as my task/project manager, so I don’t need logseq for that.

I leave logseq open throughout the day, and am building a habit of constantly writing down fleeting thoughts and notes throughout the day. Anything worthy of permanence gets turned into a todo.

Then I have focused Obsidian sessions where I go into atomic note writing mode and bring over those todo items/ideas, turning them into polished atomic notes.

I’ve experimented with opening up the logseq vault inside obsidian, which works, but the formatting isn’t useful as all bullets in logseq are bested md heading hierarchies. They are working on creating an md bullet option, which would change the game there.

My intention with obsidian is to create a closed system - a polished knowledge crystal that is free of noise and meandering thoughts - nothing but my best thinking, to inspire and facilitate even better thinking… for this reason, I’m not really concerned with a full integration, and I like the contrast of having an app for mind-mess and thought process tracking (logseq) and an app for mind-polish and knowledge crystallization (obsidian).

Alongside those two is Notion, which I’m using as a task/project manager, info database (clipper, articles, books, CRM, habit tracker, etc) and content creation workspace. Basically a life operating system inspired by August Bradley’s PPV system. I do all my writing in Notion as I enjoy the editing experience.

Logseq: Quick capture/Daily notes

Obsidian: Permanent notes/zettelkasten

Notion: Operating System / Content Creation

So yeah, that’s my system and process in a nutshell… it’s still coming together- been a lot of late nights lately getting everything set up :sweat_smile:

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