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2021.09.18: Better Workspace Features & LaTeX-style PDF export styling

You can kind of hack together a way to get Obsidian into a browser now, and Drafts on iOS has new Obsidian integration options.

Eleanor Konik
Eleanor Konik
5 min read

In The Community

  • @SlRvb and @mikeschmitz will be showcasing how they use Obsidian for journaling today at 3pm EST (roughly 7 hours after you get this email). There's more information in Discord.
  • The Kanban plugin is looking for community help keeping the documentation up to date, so if you have any workflow tutorials (like this German-language one) or such you'd like to add, you can submit a pull request to the GitHub repository.

Obsidian Updates

v0.12.16 is out for Insiders!

  • You can now undo closing a pane.
  • Core now supports copying a code block in preview mode.
  • Empty panes will be removed on startup if the plugin that created it has been uninstalled or disabled.
  • {{date}} and {{time}} will now work with the core daily notes and zettelkasten prefixer plugins. Previously you needed to add the format, for example {{date:YYYY-MM-DD}}
  • Creating new files from in note composer will now show an error if it contains illegal characters.
  • You can now use Ctrl/Cmd+click or middle-click the icon or the command palette item to open daily note/new zettelkasten in a new pane

Developers

  • There is now access to the following bundled libraries: PDF.js, Mermaid, Prism, MathJax. Each library does things a bit differently but Obsidian now exposes functions to load them if they weren’t loaded already: loadPdfJs, loadMermaid, loadPrism, loadMathJax.
  • request can now set HTTP headers.

Plugin News

New

  • Blue Pill is a plugin designed to rename files from numerical UUIDs to a new file name based on the first header.
  • Simple Embeds will allow twitter cards and youtube links to render in preview.
  • Workspaces Plus comes with some nice features for making workspaces easier to work with, and includes handy features like auto-saving workspaces on switching, status bar indicators to let you visually see which workspace you're working in, etc. Here's how Josh Duffney uses Workspaces if you're looking for a use-case example.
  • This plugin lets you add commands to the right click menu
  • The copy command makes the "make a copy" command available to the command palette and file menu. Shoutout to the dev for reading my mind because I was just lamenting the lack of this on Wednesday.

Updates

  • Kanban is now out of beta with v1.0.0. Lanes are scrollable, cards can contain newlines, the input fields supports markdown editing, block embeds are supported, and there are some more action buttons functionality. Note: may contain breaking changes for some themes (but I haven't heard much chatter about this so you'll probably be fine).
  • Pane Relief has a hotfix to support the new Insider build (0.12.16); please be sure to update Pane Relief before upgrading to 0.12.16 and close any orphan panes! The developer, @pjeby, says that if you don't, you "run the risk of Obsidian hanging at restart (due to the auto-closing panes thing that was added in 0.12.16)."
  • Dice Roller 6.0.0 had a major backend update that should speed things up, and you can modify and condition dicerolls, i.e. create formulas and variables. More details in the Readme!
  • Image in Editor can render mermaid diagrams in transclusions in the editor. Which should give you an idea of the complexities WYSIWYG mode faces — and by the way, WYSIWYG mode has been moved to the "In Progress" section of the Obsidian Roadmap.
  • The Linter plugin allows for footnotes to be moved and reindexed, which is useful for concatenation i.e. with the longform plugin, and also will reformat tags with hashtags in YAML frontmatter to be correct, i.e. removes the hashtag.
  • v1.11.0 of Obsidian Git comes to us from the incredibly tenacious @Vinadon (who has faced some truly demoralizing struggles developing this plugin) and features support for initializing new repos and selecting upstream branches for pushing and pulling from.
  • Users of the Folder Note plugin should be aware that most of the features have been migrated to the Folder Note Core: check out the migration guide.
  • Dictionary 2.18.0 lets you override the language for an individual note by noting the preferred language in the YAML.

Betas

  • Text Transporter is currently rapidly iterating through beta testing (aka will require manual install) and @TFTHacker is looking for testers to help put it through its paces before code review. It's an Obsidian riff off of his Roam workflow, and offers a bunch of features, including replace a link with its original text, slinging text around, bookmarks, quick capture, and more.

Feature Requests

  • People used to IDEs like Visual Studio Code would love it if it were possible to "tab out" of markup instead of needing to use the arrow key.
  • Is it possible to assign a hotkey to readable line width? I know there have been times when I really wanted this, too, especially when dealing with tables.

Appearance

  • The LaTeX inspired CSS Snippet for PDFs is designed to help with page breaks, automatically number headings, and more.
  • The ITS Theme had an update that reduces the filesize by moving icons to an external snippet and some new Style Settings toggles.
  • Yin and Yang theme got an update to change the darkness value of the base color that should help with reflective screens.

Ancillary Code

  • the Web Clipper bookmarklet from @kepano has some more features, like removal of illegal characters and variables for tagging things more easily.
  • @Ckain figured out how to get Obsidian as a dockerfile to use Obsidian in a browser (Discord link). I understand about half of the instructions but I feel like this is an incredible thing for developers who want to access their Obsidian notes from a locked down computer at work, so if you know what "docker file" and "container" and "reverse proxies" mean, check this out! If you don't, this is an advanced option, please don't try just yet.

Guides

Discussions

In The Wild

Every now and then someone shares a link to a popular outlet "discovering" Obsidian and writing about it and I'm never sure about adding it to the Roundup because I'm never sure if it's teaching us anything — we already know about Obsidian — but ultimately, I think it's fun to see what "new users" are saying about Obsidian and it's kind of neat to see my niche notetaking tool mentioned "in the wild" so maybe you feel the same way.

Ancillary Tools

  • Drafts v28 for iOS makes it possible to grant permissions to additional folders outside the Drafts App Sandbox their release notes specifically mention that it should now be easier to integrate it with Obsidian.

Housekeeping

  • I think I sorted the database problems. I haven't had time to sit down and write a postmortem but suffice it to say that without the support of this community (especially moderator @Leah and her incredible excel skills) I would probably still be deep in database hell. For those curious about the topline result, I managed to salvage most of the Roundup database but had to wipe the Iceberg back to nothing, and I'm not totally convinced that some of the weirder problems we ran into won't recur, but I'm hopeful that things should be alright going forward. Thanks for all your kind words during a dark time 💚

Eleanor Konik

Professionally, I teach pre-teens about ancient civilizations. In my downtime, I enjoy combining storytelling with my love of sharing obscure history and science.