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2022-01-15: Dataview Optimizations, Live Preview for Mobile, & Community Talks

Browse plugins by category, sync & publish alternatives, & more Zotero tricks. Plus, are you a consultant? Help me help you find clients!

Eleanor Konik
Eleanor Konik
11 min read

In The Community

  • Obsidian is up for the Golden Kitty Award at ProductHunt for Obsidian Mobile. Go vote — and check out the other top contenders, because there's some interesting software being developed and shared over there.
  • Alexander Rink has been doing performance benchmarks of different "tools for thought." The results for Obsidian "blew away the competition up to a factor of more than 100." Make sure to read the comments! There's an excellent discussion (featuring plugin dev extraordinaire @pjeby) about how to get Obsidian to be able to do all the "outliner" and "block" functionality. Pjeby is very knowledgeable about stuff that not everyone realizes is possible in Obsidian. This comment thread also gives a neat look "under the hood" of how hard Licat has worked to make Obsidian so performant.  Some of the key points have been migrated to the Obsidian forum for posterity.
  • The AppStories podcast has been doing an in-depth series on Obsidian, and I particularly enjoyed the discussion in Part 3 about cleaning up no-longer-used plugins and taking a moment to think about how you're using your tools (and what potential conflicts might have snuck into your workflow). Incidentally, here's a discussion about which Tools for Thought & productivity podcasts are worth a listen.
  • The plugins by category list in the Obsidian Hub has far surpassed what I can personally maintain for the Roundup's plugins page, so I took that down. I highly recommend perusing the Hub's plugin list.
  • The Obsidian Community talks are leveraging the new Discord events features. You can find out more about the upcoming talks about plugins that won Obsidian October (today) and themes that won Obsidian October (tomorrow) on Discord.
  • There's a new Discord thread for sharing ideas of what Obsidian merchandise you'd consider buying. Leah made some beautiful T-shirt/mug mockups if you'd like to get a sneak peek.

Obsidian Updates

  • Live Preview has come to the Insider build for Mobile. The only announcement I was able to find was in  Discord.

Plugin News

New in Community Plugins

These plugins went through code review and are now available in Obsidian's plugin list.

  • Import Foundry VTT journal entries by @farling42 Imports your journal entries from Foundry virtual tabletop worlds into Obsidian, which should be useful for the tabletop role playing game (TTRPG) users (of which we've been getting a lot more of!)
  • TimeStamper by @Gru80 lets users insert customized time/date stamps into their notes, which should be useful for people who like to take a lot of timestamped meeting and lecture notes. Note that the Natural Language Dates allows for similar functionality. You can format your date as a timestamp, or set up a hotkey for inserting date or time.

Pending (as of Friday morning)

Note: Not all new plugins are 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. Note, though, that this is not as safe as waiting for them to go through code review.

  • Enhanced Live Preview Features by @mirnovov brings some link behaviors from reading view into live preview mode, i.e. you can click a link to open it without holding down ctrl/cmd. There are some other features, but that's the main one.
  • Sortable by @alexandru-dinu lets you sort tables by different columns, like Wikipedia. If you use dataview tables or any tables at all, I highly recommend this.
  • Pinboard Sync by @Automatt syncs Pinboard.in links with Daily Notes
  • Wordle by @dbarenholz will let you play Wordle from inside an Obsidian view. You can also share your results in the new Discord thread in the #off-topic channel.
  • 13th Age Statblocks by @ben is another TTPRG plugin. It lets users render 13th Age statblocks in Obsidian.
  • The Notes Publish Plugin uses Airtable and something like Netlify to  publish your notes. It's one of many "alternate publish methods," including this guide for how to use Netlify and Zola to make a static site from your Obsidian notes.
  • Obsidian Tweaks changes some hotkey behaviors, most notably adding more intuitive toggling behavior for things like italics, copying lines, and toggling headers. Some features are similar to the Smarter Markdown Hotkeys plugin. It supports Live Preview & Mobile.
  • PARA Shortcuts by @gOATiful has some helpful commands to setup and manage your knowledge using the PARA method.
  • Siteswap by @tdresser is designed to help jugglers visualize juggling patterns.
  • Phrasebank by @viktorbezdek adds shortcodes with various pre-written phrases to improve quality and productivity of your writing, similar to an espanso package.

Updates

  • Dataview 0.4.22 got a huge performance update. Make sure you update and then restart Obsidian (you should honestly always restart obsidian after updating your plugins).
  • Templater 1.9.11 now has autocompletion of modules and function names when you type tp. — the templater docs also got a big update.
  • Various Complements v.4.1.0  added a "suggest with alias" option. This plugin, by the way, is basically an autocomplete tool that pops up automatically. Currently, it works for single words and filenames, but there's an open issue for support for longer phrases. I saw settings for Japanese and Arabic in addition to the default.
  • The indentation guides plugin now supports adding guides to lists in reading modes.
  • Admonitions v6.8.0 adds a new type of non-code block admonitions based on the Microsoft Document Syntax for blockquotes.
  • Obsidian Git v1.20.0 lets users open files (and file history) on github, get a diff view, add a folder tree view to the sidebar, and allow multiline commit messages in the sidebar.
  • The Pomodoro plugin got some updates and bugfixes, including support for a log file.
  • Key Promoter (which helps you learn hotkeys) now has statistics on your most used buttons and hotkeys, and descriptions of actions (which is useful for presentations!)
  • The co-citations for graph analysis got updated so that it renders previews into markdown, and has outline support which allows outliner-style queries. The release notes in Discord are really useful.
  • Typewriter Scroll now supports Live Preview.

Betas

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

  • Here's a floating outline plugin that was prototyped. It's still in progress, but looks promising!
  • There's an awesome new citations plugin in process that was discussed extensively on Discord. It lets users import all literature notes in one go, works off of inline and footnote references, has new citation fields, and allows for bibliography style referencing. Academics are highly encouraged to check this out.
  • Task Collector 0.6.3 is now available via BRAT. It can now run commands that mark all tasks (complete, cancel, or reset) in all modes, handle moment formats, and has a toggle to remove checkboxes when moving tasks. 0.6.4 has a modal popup and a few breaking changes.
  • The memos plugin has a tag suggester and a new settings button. It also has a dark theme and custom colors.
  • Multi Select will enable you to write a dataviewJS query to narrow the list of links (based on your own criteria), then select the ones that you want to include in your current note with some formatting capabilities.
  • TTRPG Statblocks v2.4.0 has a new text layout block type, the ability to render markdown inside of the blocks, and improved CSS handlers.
  • Here's some exciting Breadcrumbs x Juggl interoperability that's currently in beta. Here's the announcement on Discord. Breadcrumbs has a thread in the #plugins-advanced channel of Discord, by the way, if you'd like to learn more about it.

For Developers

Feature Requests

Appearance

  • Here's a new cite syntax that doesn't involve a bunch of HTML. It comes in snippet form but also is "core" in Sanctum, ITS and Shimmering Focus (at least).
  • @viticci came up with a system to save rich links and display them as an interactive grid with thumbnail previews. It seems like it makes for an awesome dashboard.
  • Cybertron got a facelift — Nick commissioned Cecilia May (creator of the award-winning Primary theme) to create the LYT Mode theme.
  • Minimal 4.4 moved to SCSS, got a rewrite of all the documentation, and has very nice support for movie and tv show dashboards.
  • Shimmering Focus v1.603 added a ton of features including built-in styling for supercharged links, gutter indicators for unresolved links, a new css-only admonitions, and some other fancy features.
  • Ebullientworks removed the corner blockquote icon, got rid of strikethroughs for some data-task values in live preview (yaaay!) and truncates long folder names.
  • Spectrum v1.1.1 got some bugfixes and lets users toggle titlebar text.
  • Sanctum v0.6.0 got a bunch of print support, and supports the use of  >>> for paraphrases. There are also a bunch of new style settings, and some UI tweaks.
  • ITS Theme has new Live Preview and Style Settings updates. It also has improved styling for slides, Cooklang, Fantasy Calendar, and Admonitions.

Ancillary Code

Guides

Discussions

Ancillary Tools

Housekeeping

We're starting to see more startup CEOs and small companies asking for referrals to expert business consultants for Obsidian usage. I'm considering putting together a list of people willing to be contacted about this, probably to be hosted on the hub. If this is something you'd be interested in doing, please reach out and let me know.

You may have noticed the slightly new format of the Roundup's plugins section.  It turns out many people don't like rolling beta plugins and prefer to wait for them to enter into the "official store," but were having trouble getting alerts when that actually happened. As such, I'm experimenting with separating those out into two different lists. You might see the same plugins pop up twice in a row because one week they've been submitted and a later week they've passed code review.

This was made possible by the generous coding skills of my fellow moderators @argentum and @tzhou, who took pity on me and created scripts to collate some information coming from Github and some critical channels in Discord like the starboard and updates channels. This lets me focus on things that require a human touch, like dredging up interesting conversations on Twitter!

It definitely didn't mean that I spent less overall time on the Roundup 🤣

💚
If you'd like to support my work (and potentially fund the purchase of a new iPad so I can try out some of the nifty iPad workflows I've been reading about!), you can sign up for a membership (thanks to those of you who already have!) or make a one-time donation via ko-fi. 

In more personal news, my son just started daycare. To celebrate, I'm getting ready for a major refactor of my vault to bring some of my older files in line with my newly developed "best practices." If there's anything you'd like me to write an article about or host a community talk for, let me know. I'll have my hands in the guts of my system, so it's a good time to showcase what I used to do, what I do now, and why  I'm changing it.

I'll try to set aside time for more writing about knowledge management if there's interest. Mostly I default to focusing on writing about obscure history and science over on my fiction + research newsletter, but I'm pretty open to answering questions about Obsidian if you have any.

Eleanor Konik

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