Some propositions for transforming an awesome app into a PERFECT app

Let me start by saying that I discovered this wonderful app some two weeks ago - and let me honestly say that after trying out a lot of things it looks like obsidian is exactly the app I have been looking for for many years (but never found before)!

Thanks to the developers and also to this lovely and lively community! :slight_smile:

I have been trying dozens of different apps before, each had its great features - but also its shortcomings with a view to my personal workflow. I finally ended up working with a combination of Joplin, Zim desktop wiki and zkn3 (and zotero for my bibliography management). I have recently tried Zettlr, which actually is a very nice app - but in my view misses the zettelkasten idea completely, although it pretends to be a zettelkasten app in the first place: the linking between ideas is somehow much to static in my view and doesn’t do what I expect from a zettelkasten app, namely trigger my brain with unexpected food, connections and relationships. This, however, is what zkn3 does perfectly in my view, why I use this programme for all my scientific stuff for more than 10 years now. Yet, development is stagnating for a couple of years due to other priorities of the original author of the app. What is more, it complicates my workflow by not offering enough possibilities for simple linking-by-writing, by not offering the possibility to define your own keyboard shortcuts for different tasks (you have to use the mouse a lot, which I don’t like as it distracts me horribly from my main task which is writing…), and so on.

What I liked in Zettlr, on the other hand, is the smooth bibliography integration via citeproc.

I configured a couple of things during the last two weeks, and with my individual adaptations obsidian has become a single workspace that can combine all my different methods, information categories and tasks in one single app without them being in the way of each other - yet, they are inter-connectable now! :slight_smile:

When I have some more time during the next weeks I will certainly be happy to share my individual workflow and adaptations here.

This said, some few things that - from my individual perspective - would make obsidian the most perfect app in the world (though - thanks to its configurability, I can already find some workarounds to these things…):

  1. Citation management / bibtex integration → as had already been discussed in several threads here, mainly integrating citeproc like Zettlr does;

  2. Further improving the zettelkasten method: what I really like in zkn3 is the list of all other zettels that are connected to the active zettel via tag - this is the function that stimulated such a lot of new thinking and insights during the last years, discovering connections I had never thought of before; basically I think that zkn3 so far comes closest to Luhmann’s original method of thinking and connecting. Of course, you can click your tags to search for related content; however, this is already an active decision to search for something, it doesn’t hit me upon something I have actually not searched for! I think it maybe shouldn’t be to difficult to offer a list in the right sidebar that by default shows all other notes that share one or more tags with the active note, ideally sorted by the number of tags they share, respectively!? That would be such a cool function! :slight_smile:

  3. Another great function of zkn3 is the possibility to create (temporary) projects - means you define a new project, give it a title and some (sub-) headings and subtopics - and then, via keyboard shortcut or mouse click you can just add an active note to your project. Within the project, you can drag and drop it to the respecting subheading it belongs to. This is somehow similiar to creating MOCs; however, with the project function of zkn3 you can finally export the whole project to different formats (including odt and pdf): it reads the contents of all included notes, puts it under the respective heading - and in the end you have you research paper almost completely written. Would such a kind of function be quite easily possible to realize within obsidian? (And does anybody beside me need/want that at all?)

Thanks again and cheers!


I’m also a new user who has been using Obsidian for a couple of weeks ago after giving up on a stable internet connection to RoamResearch which had replaced Zettlr a few months ago.

I agree Obsidian is soooo close to perfect for my workflow also.

Not sure if you are aware, but Zettlr also has the wonderful project export concept if it would help. I have used this many times with great results. This is an issue for me with Obsidian, but with the ability to just export the files back to Zettlr I’ve been managing. So many hoops to jump through though.

I would also like to have a citation management function since that is a big part of my current work and with Zotero integration that manages all the PDFs would be icing on the cake.

Welcome to the forums and I would definitely like to hear more about your workflows.

Yes, I am aware - but the first thing is that Zettlr in several respects does not really support my working habits and my workflow anyway… The other thing is that in Zettlr projects, you have to move the respective zettl to a (though virtual) project folder - which is not an ideal solution, I think… This is one of the things I mean when I call it kind of “static”…

This is the reason I’m still with zkn3, the random insights you stumble upon by accumulate notes over the years, is so powerful. Do you know if this since has become possible in obsidian?

I am going to archive this and keep the more specific

there are alredy feature requests for the other points

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