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2022-01-01: Recipe Importing, Linking to Aliases, & Semantic Search

New daily notes templates, personal knowledge management guides, and new sync alternatives.

Eleanor Konik
Eleanor Konik
8 min read

In The Community

Obsidian Updates

Insider builds v0.13.15, v0.13.16 & v0.13.17 added fun features like:

  • Edit mode now supports headings in lists (which allows better interoperability with programs like Logseq).
  • Switching between files will now keep the undo/redo history for the last 20 files, unless the file was changed externally. Not available for the legacy editor.
  • Improved behavior when pressing Enter in lists and blockquotes.

along with a bunch of bug fixes!

Plugin News

New in the Community List

  • Advanced Slides by @MSzturc  lets users create markdown-based presentations in Obsidian. They can be printed, have justified content, and more! If you installed this previously, make sure to check out the 1.2.0 update, which has a bunch of bugfixes.
  • TagFolder by @vrtmrz  will show tags in a folder-like manner.
  • Obsidian Graphviz by @QAMichaelPeng   lets uses render Graphviz Diagrams.

Pending (as of Friday morning)

Note: Most of these plugins are not yet available in the community list yet, as they need to go through code review first. You can manually install plugins that aren't in the community list yet by using the Beta Reviewer's Auto-update Tool (BRAT). Note, though, that this is not as safe as waiting for them to go through code review.

  • Rant-Lang by @lanice  lets users use a code block with the rant type, in which you can enter a Rant program. The program is then compiled and executed with Rant, and the result shown in the Obsidian preview mode.
  • Import Foundry VTT journal entries by @farling42  imports your journal entries from your selected Foundry virtual table-top.
  • Tomorrow's Daily Note by @frankolson   is an obsidian plugin that creates tomorrow's daily note for preemptive planning.
  • Indentation Guides by @mgmeyers   adds vertical lines to the editor denoting indentation level of lists and other content.
  • TimeStamper by @Gru80  lets users insert customized time/date stamp, similar to the natural language dates plugin's functionality.
  • Wrap with shortcuts by @manic  will wrap let users create a hotkey to wrap selected text in custom tags, for example <u> or <aside>.
  • Native Scrollbars by @mgmeyers  enables native OS scrollbars throughout obsidian
  • Plaintext by @dbarenholz  lets users open specified files as plaintext (RAW mode).
  • Text-to-Speech Plugin by @brainoverflow98  is a simple text-to-speech plugin which uses the Chromium's SpeechSynthesis API.

Beta

Note: these plugins have not yet been submitted for code review, and are being made available primarily for testing purposes.

  • The cooklang importer brings us one step closer to Obsidian becoming a fully featured recipe manager. The developer hopes to one day improve the parser and merge the functionality into the "main" cooklang plugin, but I've been using it. It's definitely an improvement over importing manually. I look forward to our community & the cooklang community one day sharing recipes between us in an open protocol sort of way. I personally feel that there's huge potential here to compete with more expensive recipe (& shopping list) databases like plan2eat and paprika.
  • You can also do plain text accounting thanks to the Ledger plugin, which just entered early beta.
  • You can now import a JSON file and handlebars template to create a series of notes inside a named folder in your vault.
  • Coalescer allows you to easily merge files, links, and tags with each other to better organize your vault.
  • Remotely Save supports mobile (especially iOS) to share notes between local device and S3, Dropbox, webdav, (OneDrive coming soon).
  • You can combine Templater  and the new Auto Linker plugin to have all of your filenames be prefixed with timestamps but all of your wikilinks be formatted with just the [[words from the title]] because it will link directly to the alias (which templater can create). I just started using it so that I can link to [[2021.02.01 Bugs are cool]] using a  programmatically created alias, [[Bugs are cool newsletter]] for example, and there are other similar uses-cases folks might find handy as long as you don't tend to use the same alias for multiple files. I'm personally finding this very useful when I'm annotating things in non-obsidian programs and don't have access to the quick switcher but do want to "link" to a particular file I remember the name of but not the number of... but am relying on numbers in the filename for sorting. Here's a demo and further discussion about this.

Updates

  • The outliner plugin, link favicons plugin, Image in Editor and LanguageTool plugins now support Live Preview and the new editor.
  • AnkiBridge 0.4.0 got better handling of multiple note types and allows for configuration of cloze deletion.
  • Reading Time added a command to get the reading time of selected text.
  • The Longform developer checked in; they're working on updates for Compile and are working on a big refactor to set up some future projects.
  • Dice Roller can now replace the note content with the result for all roller types, including section, table and tag rollers.
  • Big calendar supports adding event ✉️  in Calendar View now.
  • Copy Publish URL now  supports opening the current note's Git commit history on GitHub, which enables convenient way for everyone who uses git for backups to access the full version history of a note.

Under The Radar

For Developers

  • getSectionInfo() is now implemented for custom code blocks in Live Preview.
  • Heads up to theme developers: the .list-bullet CSS has been reworked. It will now keep the original character and superimpose the dot using the :after pseudo-element.
  • Debugging Tip via @pseudometa: Name your fonts differently than the font you have installed on your system.
  • Consider adding your thoughts to the pending Best Practices and Tips for Theme Development hub note. Here's a guide for how to do that via github.
  • Here's a discussion about potential API changes caching links and other content that is way too high level for me to understand, but developers should probably be aware of because Modifying the persistent cache is hard but a simple interface for adding custom graph node relationships might be fairly painless to expose.

Appearance

  • Obsidian Nord Enhanced by @AidanGlickman  and Sandstorm by @jaysan0  are new :)
  • Shimmering Focus Version 1.479 has a new preset color scheme (Nord-ish), heading level indicators, built-in css classes, support for the newly updated custom checkboxes snippet, and more.
  • Minimal 4.3 comes with settings for text labels for primary navigation, dataview column trimming, and a maximum width for dataview columns (along with other fixes and improvements). @kepano is looking for translation help, by the way.
  • Sanctum got like four separate updates. It now a new "true black" mode, improved relationship lines in reading & editing views, heading level indicators, some font tweaks, and some bug fixes. Here's the roadmap.
  • Sodalite now supports Live Preview mode.
  • Wyrd 0.3.0 supports live preview and has its own print style now.
  • ITS Theme has a bunch of new style settings and toggles, a new color scheme (Nord), and live preview updates.
  • Here's a list of the code for the default obsidian theme colors, for folks who like the regular theme but just want to change the color from purple to, say, green ;).

Feature Requests

Ancillary Code

Guides

Discussions

  • Someone on Twitter mentioned that they don't think it's possible for obsidian to have "as big a year as 2021."  My take was that there's still a lot of exciting ground to break in the notetaking app space that could revolutionize obsidian the same way that live preview and mobile (and dataview and templater and javalent's plugin suite) were such exciting moments. I invite you all to share what ideas you have for exciting, revolutionary changes Obsidian could bring in 2022, either in Discord or in the Twitter thread (or wherever, really, but I'll be monitoring those two places).
  • There was an interesting twitter thread about the drawbacks of outliners and how the breadcrumbs plugin + atomic notes (or, my contribution, sections) might be more suitable for zettelkasten-style hierarchies.
  • There was a very insightful discussion in Discord about the pros and cons of different workflows for different purposes.
  • Daily Notes templates have been a big discussion topic lately. Here's mediapathic's daily notes template.
  • Here's a nice article about why a user moved away from UUIDs and aggressive automations with their personal knowledge management in order to engage with the subjects they were reading more. Commenter Clemens pointed out that "requiring some manual interaction with information enhances your ability to draw valuable conclusions from it. It’s called disfluency."
  • Here's a good discussion about one vault vs. multiple vaults that I  plan to link to every time it comes up in Discord ;)
  • Here's why you might want to create a knowledge base if you're moving to a new job.
  • There was a wonderful discussion about different ways to structure notes that touches on some insightful reasons (and ways) to "file" notes next to relevant notes, Zettelkasten style.
  • Here's a discussion (complete with nice infographics) about how to get information from various formats (i.e. books, ebooks, pdfs, articles) into Obsidian without duplicating content.

Ancillary Tools

Personal

Thanks to how many of you guys were interested in Refind ("The essence of the web, every morning in your inbox") when it got mentioned because it syncs to Readwise (which syncs to Obsidian), the developer invited me to curate a deep dive into the history of food. I'm pretty stoked about it, and the developer was impressed at how fast I was able to get it written, thanks to my Obsidian notes ;)

Refind's thing is that they try to summarize and offer overviews of things you might be interested in. It's mostly focused on getting machine learning algorithms to find you articles you're likely to enjoy, but there are also hand-curated lists and some interesting database features. I mostly use it for the ability to search a database that's limited to interesting longform articles (i.e. not the SEO dreck I get from most search engines).

Eleanor Konik

I teach (& research) ancient civilizations, then write stories & articles inspired by all eras of history... which involves a fair amount of notetaking ;)