Outliner mode (similar to Logseq, Roam, Dynalist)

Logseq implements a roam-like outliner mode, all backed by regular markdown files. It would be cool if Obsidian could do the same

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I’ll just post this thread here: Logseq and Obsidian.md Colaboration Projects - Feature Requests - Logseq

In particular @tienson’s response :wink:

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A Logseq and Obsidian collaboration / integration would be awesome! But until then, I’m just hoping for some basic outlining improvements to make it more usable for me during ideation (mainly… stick to bullet mode, better tabbing, and drag & drop section capability).

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You beat me to it… was gonna post that thread in the forum here…

Tl;dr - the logseq dev said they would support and donate to anyone who would write a logseq-integrated outliner plugin for obsidian :raised_hands:

Also, the Obsidian devs have stated many times that they will not implement an outliner in core, so this thread should probably be moved to the plugins forum.

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Related: Treat a selected folder in File Explorer as a note in edit/preview window - #4 by brian23498324

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I think an argument can be made to have this as a core plugin.

I thought I posted something about this on the forum, can’t seem to find it now…
Found it (https://forum.obsidian.md/t/fully-transclude-backlinks

/325/64?u=mabdallay) Although this is in relation to backlinks, my request for an outliner core plugin is the same — A more inclusive design for all! :slight_smile:

As others have noted, some things are already possible either directly or via css and shortcuts. It’s likely that we will add more shorcuts to make folding/unfolding faster.

A full blown outliner (with the relative data structure) is probably better developed as plugin.

I am gonna move this to plugins and open a FR for indent/unindent. (there was already one)

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Any thought of a Dynalist “like” plugin - something to allow the power of an outline “inside” of a given note/document. Given the developer’s background with Dynalist, maybe some code could be reused?

I could see a plugin to embed a Dynalist view, but would much rather have a way of dealing with outlines inside of the existing app - one of my issues with Dynalist is the “cloud nature” - I prefer local, under my control, in my git repository.

Just a thought - sorry if I’m late to the game.

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I agree this would be great :slight_smile:

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In my opinion, the possibility to have it would attract some people to the community

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An outliner plugin for Obsidian would be great. Right now I am using Dynalist, but I prefer local storage for my outline.

I would like to know if there are more people interested in this, so that this could motivate developers to make an outliner plugin with functionality like Dynalist / Workflowy.

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moo.do is an outliner app that uses local storage in addition to cloud storage. It has many more features than Dynalist, but can be a bit buggy. IMO, the features compensate for the bugs

I’d like at least a way to import from Dynalist to Obsidian.

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I also would like a way of dealing with outlines inside the core app! However I found that the developer (Erica) did say that they do not want to do that. A quote from Erica:

Once we reach 1.0 and people can write plugins, there might be developers who make Obsidian into a functional outliner by adding metadata to your plain text, but that’s not something we want to do in the core app.
Dynalist & Obsidian - 📣Announcements - Dynalist Forum

I found a few similar topics about people wanting outliner functionality:

Let’s hope someone will develop an outliner plugin for Obsidian.

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I can see this happening in two non mutually exclusive ways:

  • Outliner notes, in which the plug-in stores one giant master list. The UI would feed on it, hiding all the metadata.
  • Outliner blocks. Similar to the above, but with the content and metadata embedded inside a regular note. This one would depend on the WYSIWYM editor for a manageable experience.
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I have a few questions:

  1. Which would be the simplest to develop and maintain? Outliner notes or outliner blocks?

  2. What outliner features does the first version need for most users?

  3. Do we have to wait for Obsidian’s WYSIWYG editor to start developing an WYSIWYG outline plugin?

In our age when cloud services can shut down, get bought, or change privacy policy any day, the last thing you want is proprietary formats and data lock-in.
From https://obsidian.md/ under ‘Forever’

  1. Would it be possible to export outlines to txt or opml without metadata?

Currently I use Dynalist every day. One outline document is 2,3 MB in opml and 1,5 MB in txt format. I do experience performance issues with this document, maybe because the size.

  1. If outliner notes would be the way to go, what would be the size limit?

  2. If outliner blocks would be the way to go, what would be the size limit?

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There are people around here that are infinitely more qualified than me to answer these questions, but here are my very humble opinions:

Outliner notes, I think. The plugin would have a whole file just for itself, with no risk of ever getting it ruined by an improper edit on the embedded content.

I know what I would like: infinite nesting, hoisting, compatibility with Obsidian’s wikilinks and block reference.

Probably not. Anyway, I think a plain text outliner would be a minimum viable product.

I’ve seen outliner exports relying on nothing but indentation or very simple syntax, so metadata shouldn’t be a dealbreaker. As for OPML, it is indeed a standard, but a pain for readability.

I don’t think 2 MB is an insane amount of text. But then again, the devs should be able to give you a clearer answer.

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The same is true for me the other way around. I think that there are people who are more qualified than me to ask these questions. Since I have limited experience with Obsidian.

I would use Obsidian more if an outliner plugin is available. Especially if the outline plugin would support wikilinks / [[connections]] and block references.

Even without connections and block references an outliner plugin would be valuable since you can choose yourself if the data leaves your computer or not. One of my issues with Dynalist is the “cloud nature” - I prefer local, under my control.

Importing from Dynalist
If outliner notes would be supported, would importing go like this?

  1. The user will download a back-up from Dynalist
  2. The user will open and copy each txt document while keeping the indentation
  3. The user will copy the outlines into Obsidian notes

We need these basic features:

Basics

  • Infinite nesting
  • Hoisting
  • Save current view for next time automatically. If you come back to the outline the next time, it would look exactly the same as if you left it. If you left it when it was hoisted, and you return to the outline it will still be hoisted/zoomed.

Also

  • Compatibility with [[connections]] / wikilinks
  • Compatibility with block references
  • Possibility to change keyboard shortcuts
  • Set list density

Keyboard shortcuts

  • indent = tab
  • unindent = ⇧Tab
  • Expand/collapse = ⌘.
  • Zoom in = ⌘]
  • Zoom out = ⌘[
  • Delete item ⌘⇧⌫
  • Move item = ⌘⇧M
  • Swap with previous = ⌘↑
  • Swap with next = ⌘↓
  • Select item = ⌘A
    (The shortcuts are the same as in Dynalist, I don’t know if these interfere with current Obsidian shortcuts.)

Would this be a good start?

I have basic html and css knowledge but I gues that’s not enough to build an outliner plugin for Obsidian. Who can help to build an outliner plugin for Obsidian?

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Logseq is a new plaintext md outliner that I’m using alongside obsidian… I wonder if the outliner plugin could be some sort of integration or lite version of logseq? That would be amazing…

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logseq looks amazing, @andyfreeland I’ll give it a try, how do you make it work together with Obsidian? Do you open logseq files in Obisidian, or do you use them separetly? Thanks!