I think there are two distinct ways to offer a web version:
The notes stay local and the web app asks for permission to read the write to the local filesystem. No user data is ever uploaded to the cloud. This is a pure replacement of the Obsidian executable. This is similar to a web app like vscode.dev.
The web app gets its data from the cloud. This is similar to a web app like Evernote Web or Notion.
Personally, I am looking for Option 1. But Option 2. is likely what most people ask for when they ask for a web app.
I understand Obsidian is based on Electron, which means it’s already written using web technologies. So Options 1. is probably not than far. Take a look at the File Syetem Access API
What are the benefits of Option 1 over an executable?
- not requiring any executable to be installed.
- Security: this is as secure as the browser, which means much more than any executable installed on the OS with broad permission of reading the entire file system. notably, Obsidian is based on Electron, so it’s embedded chromium is probably never truly up to date, therefore subject to security vulnerabilities.
Option 1 would solve the Chromebook use case, assuming users are using Google Drive to sync their notes.
if Obsidian was open source, I’d be glad to contribute.
I also believe Option 1 is the way to go. +1 for that
This is not possible, at least at the moment. The new Browser file API is bare bone and lacks many features the provided by Electron (Node’s FS API). Obsidian functionality can’t be implemented on top of it.
What about using Obsidian Sync instead? It is extremely expensive, but could be a solution, maybe? Or do you think it might also be possible to use git for syncing in a browser-version of Obsidian? There are a number of projects which allow sync to git within the browser, if I’m not mistaken. Of course, I don’t know if that would work for electron/Obsidian.
+1 to this idea. I’d pay significantly more for Obsidian Sync (as an add on to the Sync subscription perhaps? This would also make the sync subscription much more attractive to me vs just using iCloud) if it came with the ability to run Obsidian in the browser/web directly hooked up to the vault on Obsidian Sync servers.
- This solves the corporate install issue
- More ways to access is always better (ex: if I am on my wife’s iPad, much less friction to go to the web app vs set up the app just so I can save a web note or something). All the data is already on Obsidians server if I am using Sync!
- Folks who are principally opposed to having the app on the web due to privacy concerns need not worry; if the data backend is coming from Obsidian Sync, they wouldn’t be impacted at all since they would also have been opposed to using the Sync feature anyway
- Could E2E be preserved if there was some sort of device onboarding process where an authenticated device provided a key to the device wanting to access via web? That would be still a bit of friction but solve some of the use cases mentioned upthread.
Signed up just to say I would love a web app. I spent the last 6 months getting really used to keeping my notes in Obsidian and now that is essentially gone as I cannot install onto my new corporate laptop at my new job.
I signed up as well just to say that. It would be great to have a web solution, where the vault is placed at onedrive, google drive etc. So you can work on your vault from work. My work is very restricted regardingen installing software, so Obsidian is not an option, which is sad, because in worklift Obsidan can make a huge difference. So please look in to it - thanks.
Another +1. I can install on work devices, but I don’t want to mix personal and work. I run personal apps in a browser for this reason.
On the subject of E2E encryption, surely it wouldn’t be necessary to download the whole database from sync? the client running in the browser would just need the keys to decrypt the data. See how e.g. Proton Mail works.
The crucial difference is that ProtonMail works on one email at a time, Obsidian manages your whole vault at once. To make linked/unlinked mention work (and be up to date).
Protonmail also has plaintext access to the email’s metadata (recipients, subject), that facilitates some of their operations. Obsidian Sync does not have access to file’s metadata (filename, attributes)
i presume desktop obsidian makes ad hoc calls to perform those tasks, it doesn’t keep the whole vault in memory?
a solution would be to decrypt and download a metadata cache/index of some sort. but it’s a complex problem to be sure, and lots of effort to overcome.
Also signed up to say I would love a (even a simplified) web version. Main reason - to be able to access from work.
This is really the only downside of Obsidian for me at the moment.
I don’t think it will happen anytime soon.
@ariehen Can you add some reasons or even quotes? That’s a statement that needs some more than just that
I’m new to Obsidian and very impressed - but quite disappointed that it doesn’t have a web interface. Not sure what to do.
It’s kind’of ironic that the app and plugins are built with web technologies, the content is web friendly, and yet it the web is the only platform it doesn’t support.
My preference would be for a full normal cloud based implementation. This means the E2E encryption would become optional. Users who want cloud based access would have to turn it off.
I care very much about security but I think E2E is overrated. In choosing to use Obsidian I am putting my trust and faith in Obsidian inc. whether they implement E2E or not. There are, of course, still some advantages to E2E (in case they get hacked) so E2E makes sense as long as they are not providing any server side functionality, but I would not have a problem opting to turn it off in exchange for new functionality.
I’m not very knowledgeable about web apps but isn’t obsidian made similarly to a website and wouldn’t that make it somewhat easy to make it a web application?
Not saying you are wrong, but somehow Notesnook and Standard Notes manage to have a fully E2EE vault that supports text, images, lists and all the other things while still offering web clients.
Likewise. I was thinking since Obsidian was based on VS Code it can also build something like hosted UI version like Github Codespaces and Google IDX, and provides it as hosted version with pay membership, or self-hosted with licensing fees etc.
Oops I made an uneducated guess. Thanks for clarifying @Dor. Is there anywhere to see source code? Being an early user I am surprised that Obsidian didn’t built upon VS Code since the app feels very similar to vs-code and runs so well from day one!