Piped Links - Future-proofed or not?

Finally, the [[wiki-link]] has reached the tipping point towards much wider adoption! This is a cause for celebration. Wider adoption = higher likelihood of future-proofed notes.

But what about the Piped Link?

[[longer-note-file-name | short-display-name]]

A piped link displays text that is different from the filename of the linked note. This is very handy and Wikipedia uses them.

Here’s an example: you want to link to the note: “20160519 Benefits of Quality Sleep” but that filename doesn’t flow with your current sentence. That’s where the Piped Link comes to the rescue:

So this:

“That’s an example of why [[20160519 Benefits of Quality Sleep|quality sleep]] is important.”

becomes this:

“That’s an example of why quality sleep is important.”

So, will Piped Links be a reliable, future-proofed syntax we can confidently deploy in our digital libraries?

  • Yes, Piped Links are already safely widespread and using them won’t lock-in your notes.
  • Piped Links are not yet a future-proofed standard, but they likely will be in a couple years.
  • Don’t use Piped Links. They are not a standard and should not be considered future-proofed.

0 voters

We should definitely provide a converter to port this to standard markdown links.

With that said, even if Obsidian isn’t around at some point in the future, it’s still relatively easy to use a regex to convert piped links to either remove the pipe and display text, or convert to standard markdown.

Also wanted to ask: is anyone aware of another app that supports piped links?

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You’re right. And worst-case scenario, the piped link syntax still carries the full filename name right there, so it would just require a little cleanup, but you wouldn’t lose the note it linked to.

I don’t know of another app that supports piped links. Hopefully others do…

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@Licat TiddlyWiki has piped links and I also think you should implement their version of pipe links. How it works is you highlight a text and either press a shortcut or hit a tool bar icon and it allows you to search and select a note to link to.

For my personal workflow this makes sense because I often type out a paragraph then look through it seeing if there are any connections I can make. Then I’d highlight and pipe link it. In Obsidian atm what I have to do is go to the left of the text, auto generate link, then delete the end of the link, add pipe, and then add to end of original text.

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That’s a neat idea. You should put that in Feature Requests

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Zim Wiki uses them, might not be the species of app we are currently concerned with though

On the future-proofing discussion, there are other note-taking apps in beta with similar features, and I think as a community, we should do our best to “spread the word” about these new markdown usages. Obsidian may be able to lead the way in some cases.

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An export mechanism that converts pipe links, and even bracket links in general, would be great at this stage, as it allows far greater interoperability, conversion via Pandoc etc. But I do hope that Obsidian embracing the pipe-link mechanism will influence other developers to adopt it as well since it always irritated me that such a key feature of wiki-linking has been consistently omitted.

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