What would your ideal mobile PKM app look like?

@death.au: thanks a lot for creating this thread, and thanks to everyone who participated. There’s so much good feedback that we’ll be sure to refer back to when planning out our mobile app.

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I’d like to be able to organize, make connections, and generally play around in my notes while I’m waiting for a doctor or if I’m just killing a few minutes in between calls. I don’t have the time to do real writing. But I do have the time to dip into an app and do some high level bonsai maintenance.

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I know I might be in the minority, but I’d like to be able to get notifications for things like due dates, etc. Maybe even if we get some kind of SRMS plugin, it could prompt me via notification.

For myself there is a pretty big difference in needs between pad and phone. I need to be able to work on the ipad with full functionality. On the phone a simple quick capture would be fine.

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Guy I really hope you will enable to use custom CSS… if I have 2 different looks in computer and in mobile it is not going to work. I have highly customized CSS and switching between different themes will just lead to confusion.

I also want to stress that customization of Obsidian is one of most important feature. You should build the mobile app with this in your mind. I will bet there isn’t one app in Apple store with this ability. Not saying about any note-taking apps…

You are doing great work! Thank you for all!

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For the phone:

  • Speed is critical
  • Quick capture of anything into a dedicated space in the vault is core
  • Powerful search is a must for me
  • Sync with a custom (meaning private) vault
    For the pad:
    As much as possible from the desktop edition as I use my iPad as a substitute for my Mac quite often. On the other hand, this is something that can be built up gradually.
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I may be missing something here, but…my sense of the feelings in this thread is that folks who want instant entry to Obsidian for urgent thoughts already have that in the Apple ecosphere on the iPhone with 1Writer or iAWriter to name just two apps that already interact well with Obsidian. On the other hand, there is no app for the iPad that can fully interact with the myriad other things (too numerous to list) Obsidian offers on the Mac. And yes, I’m aware of ‘helper’ apps (Jump, etc) that facilitate connections via WiFi between Mac and iPad. But for a purely business, growth and sustainable future, I selfishly hope the Devs focus on the iPad. If they do, my iPad Pro will be thankful.

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Agree with this! 1Writer is actually a fairly good solution for capturing ideas — I sync to my vault with Dropbox — but it doesn’t do well for exploring ideas on my iPad. I’ve come to love the Local Graph view to see connections as I’m entering stuff, and miss that when I’m not at my laptop.

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My ideal mobile PKM would be Drafts, with a new face, previews, actions and workspaces branded for Obsidian. I think y’all might collaborate with agiletortoise, and wind up with a mature, high powered mobile app real fast. He has been dealing with issues like iPhone configuration for years. (I use Drafts on Mac and IPad, not iPhone.) And I can’t imagine Greg being uninterested. A markdown editor with enormous number of scripted actions, connecting with most anything, Drafts can be very complex. Limited to Obsidian use, it could be much simpler, but still offer easy extensibility.

Note that Drafts is now freemium: free for most, but 29/year for high end features. But given what promises to be land office business for a mobile Obsidian, I’m sure arrangements would be easy.

Of course, a similar option exists for lots of editors. My argument for Drafts is that it is very mature, v25 or so, and was designed as a markdown editor for capturing and doing things with text—sending text to other apps, previewing different flavors of markdown, and so on. So close already to what Obsidian needs, Obsidian/Drafts could be configured very quickly by agiletortoise. Adding and modifying existing actions and so on must be quicker than developing new.

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This for me is the primary reason for a mobile version. Typing on a mobile has always been clunky, even with SwiftKey swipe.
But the idea of pruning and refining, really appeals to me, especially using otherwise unproductive time standing in lines and in waiting areas. Thank you.

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I have moved from seated desktop work with a keyboard to ergonomic, reclined, comfortable, idyllic work. I have a Pixel Slate wrapped in a comfortable grippy silicone cover, resting on a narrow firm cushion on my abdomen. And I am hooked. For most of my work, I get by fine with voice recognition and don’t mind having to make the occasional correction.

It runs Chrome OS, in tablet mode which means touch screen, but I can create a Linux partition and have done so to install Obsidian. But that Linux partition doesn’t work in tablet mode. So to use obsidian I would have to plug in a keyboard. That means having to sit up instead of sit back. I think Obsidian and any software developer has to decide whether they want the sit back market. It’s going to become an increasingly dominant part of the market, especially with kids, people learning, and those who are never going to be command-line technology users.

I know zip about programming, but would it be possible to port Obsidian as an electron app? I think that is the solution that would let me use it in tablet mode. A pop-up window with markdown commands would be lovely as well. My needs would be simple. Not everybody wants to learn programming commands, even as simple as those in markdown.

*Edit: I was misinformed by something I read which suggested that electron apps worked better in Chrome OS under tablet mode. My mistake.

From what I know, Obsidian is an Electron application, or at least that’s the core framework that it is built upon. Just my 2 cents.

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I haven’t used ChromeOS in a while but…you can force desktop mode in ChromeOS and activate the keyboard. Or activate the on-screen Linux keyboard.

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I know zip about programming, but Obsidian is an Electron app. How that helps, I don’t know.

Thank you! But I take it that option still wouldn’t provide a microphone button that would allow voice recognition. And voice recognition still isn’t programmable to allow markdown commands (actually I am befuddled by how unpredictable voice recognition is. In some apps it’s better than others, on some days but not others it recognizes grammatical things like semicolons, it is finicky, at least in the Google environment).

  • “The reason a right click works in VS Code is that it is an electron app, which is based on chromium. Chromium has excellent touch support (think android etc). The support is built in manually and doesn’t come from some toolkit, thus you’ll see some behaviour differences between GTK3 apps and electron/chromium apps…”
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That is the explanation I have seen so far. I thank-you.

A sketching option would be absolutely huge for me in a PKM app.

As a visual artist (mainly in filmmaking and photography at the moment), I get a lot out of diagrams and visuals. I haven’t been using sketching nearly as much since I began using the Zettelkasten method but I’d love to see a lightweight option for it in the official Obsidian app.

I’d also love to see a Zettelkasten prefixer built-in as with the Obsidian desktop app. Especially when sharing links/items to the app from Safari, YouTube, Airr, ec. That’d be huge for making source/literature notes on the go.

A graph view on mobile would also be huge for showing people how great Obsidian is while on the go! It’s very conceptual and sometimes hard to explain to people not already seeped in PKM.

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Thinking of things phones do well:

  • Integration with shortcuts and Siri
  • Integration with photos and image capture if possible. A native capture button for photos or video would be great.
  • On the computer, it is all about keyboard shortcuts and keeping hands on keys. On mobile, I like to drag and drop and tap more than use keys. I would like features that highlight this. I would like it to be like Drafts with action buttons. Since it is hard to move files and work with folder on mobile, I’d like it to prompt me and ask where a new note goes (I might be one of the few who still uses lots of folders). I would have button sets like one set for making tables, one set for moving text and so on. It would be nice to highlight and drag sentences or blocks of text.
  • I would have force touch or whatever it is now called be like cmd open.
  • Maybe random notes could be location based. Like last time or 3 times ago when you visited here.
  • I think I would enjoy using mobile or probably an iPad to refactor and link notes if there were interesting ways to drag and drop or good gestures to split files. I would have a few notes up and circling a section of one note with an Apple Pencil and dragging the pencil to another note and linking them.
  • This goes for mobile and desktop (maybe this can already be done with CSS), but I’d like to make different notes different colors like we can do in graph view. But I’d love if all my source notes were one colors and my project notes were another color.

How I’d use them -
Computer: Heavy research with lots of shortcuts and script automations
Phone: Quick capture with image integration and shortcuts automations
Tablet: Light research (or on the go in the future), Refactoring Notes, Reviewing Notes, Linking Notes

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