Both Roam and Obsidian present a map or graph of pages and their links, displaying a these ideas in a constellation of relationships. As I mentioned at the start of this post, no tool is perfect. To avoid the trap of paralysis by analysis, I gave myself two weeks to find a solution. The human brain is non-linear: we jump from idea to idea, all the time. What do I mean by this? For me, this proved irritating, as I often clicked and clicked and clicked a on document in preview mode before remembering to switch to edit mode. In Insider build v0.9.5, Obsidian launched block references How does this work, and how does it stack up against competitor apps like Roam Research? a second brain . As a result, even if you learn the basics from Roam tutorials, you’ll feel very much at home the first time you launch Obsidian. Recently, there have been new bidirectional linking apps that were introduced. Pages are made up of blocks. Roam allows focus at the block level; Obsidian allows focus at the page level. Roam Research is unapologetically a web-first app. In lieu of categories and folders, both Roam and Obsidian represent notes as nodes on a graph. Again, both it and Roam are great. How do you know which one is right for you? Medical Information Medical Advice Hard Questions This Or That Questions Spaced Repetition Loaded Question Simple Camera Knowledge Management Music Beats. I’ve also come up with my own structure for documenting notes — inspired by, but not bound by, Tiago Forte’s PARA concepts — and organizing those notes in ways that spur creativity and action. You can also choose whether you want the graph to include or suppress nodes associated with daily pages. Controls in a tool strip along the far left of the app window vary based on the number of plug-ins installed. Obsidian’s developers position this a competitive advantage, saying, “cloud services can shut down, get bought, or change privacy policy any day.”. I simply don't have the trust for him and his team that others do, Being a desktop app, it feels more responsive and smooth to use. PS: The dislikes must be coming from Roam cultists. In my experience, Roam has proven more reliable and more convenient to use. I’m looking forward to learning more about Roam. Back on my original “Snowpiercer” note, in addition to the impressions I recorded, I’ll see two automatically generated lists. With Obsidian, you could save notes to a cloud-synced folder. Mark McElroy: lives in Mississippi | is blogging again | is author of a dozen books | works as a professional storyteller | has a husband | is working on a novel | is an engaging public speaker | lost fifty pounds in 2017 | is a little obsessed with pizza. In a very short time, I’m already seeing ways Roam can assist with writing everything from blog posts to video scripts. The linkages in Roam encourage me to see this material in surprising contexts. I can, reluctantly, live without an outliner. Feel free to drop me a line via twitter (@markmcelroy) or via email at Obsidian’s notes are as secure as your local computer is — at least until you sync them using a cloud service. Thankfully, that's super easy to do with the keyboard (see it in action in this image). (Obsidian’ Random Note plug-in offers this functionality. Also available for macOS, Linux (AppImage), Linux (Snap), and Linux (Flatpak). Obsidian md is ranked 1st while Roam Research is ranked 4th As you consider Roam or Obsidian, weigh how you feel about context switching. If you don’t care to think about it at all, Roam might be the better option. Unlike Roam, Obsidian’s view of document is modal; for each open window, the user must choose whether he or she wants to be in preview or edit mode. Slant is powered by a community that helps you make informed decisions. Zim. I’m aware that these are just baby steps. Let's go! As I understand it, Roam currently takes an “all or nothing” approach to sharing and collaboration. Here’s the Deal. While you’re likely to have criteria of your own, reflecting on the factors I considered might help you make the decision that’s right for you. When I first pasted a link to a tweet into Obsidian, it appeared as a link, rendered in tiny grey text. Unfortunately, this interaction is limited to creating new or editing existing notes. In fact, Roam’s ability to gather and organize research made writing this very post much easier. As always, storing sensitive data in the cloud gives me pause. Both Roam and Obsidian support that, but Obsidian feels a little safer to use to me. 218 7 . Written By Akshay Padmakumar. I’m tired of shoving notes into anything boxes (and never seeing them again). Roam has a decent export option, but the formatting is a bit of a pain to deal with in other tools, Last, it's a bit to cult-ish for some folks — a lot of Connor's tweets (founder & CEO) strike me as odd. Each of these windows can display multiple views of the same document, multiple different documents, or any combination of these. (When my two-week trial ended, I had zero buyer’s regret associated with ponying up my $15.00 per month.) (If you’re not sure, be sure to use the thirty-one day free trial before signing up.) Zettlr. I live in a rural area, so I occasionally wander into regions without cellular data coverage. But Obsidian also allows you to open multiple notes, plus you can move them around and lay them out however you prefer (see the screenshot above), Obsidian's graph view is a lot nicer to use as well, I grew to appreciate Roam's bulleted approach, but it's nice to work in regular markdown in Obsidian. That said: portability alone is not the only factor to consider when deciding how you feel about where an app stores your notes. Obsidian is great if you have large screens and atomic short notes. While this may or may not be the case, I get the impression Obsidian has been developed with an eye toward cloning Roam’s feature set in a free, open-source application. Both problems can be mitigated by responsible practices. Believers pick up some additional perks and effectively pay $8.33 per month. (They promise not to peek without permission unless law enforcement comes knocking.). Just like Roam Research and RemNote, Obsidian allows you to "tend to your notes like a gardener", thanks to the way they are displayed in your own knowledge graph. I haven’t been playing around with Roam. Blocks can be indented, making them subordinate to unindented blocks above them; once this is done, subordinate blocks can be collapsed into or expanded from their parents with a single click. A right-hand pane displays a list of linked and unlinked (but potentially related) documents. Second: I’d like Roam to be able to present me with a random note on demand. I Asked Roam Research, “What Do I Want?” The Results Devastated Me. Post author By Justin DiRose; Post date July 8, 2020; Roam Research and Obsidian are similar apps, but have very different features and implementations. That said: be aware that Roam does offer a scholarship program, providing discounts or free service to full-time researchers, people under twenty-two, or those “experiencing significant financial distress.”. Here’s the Deal. At the time of this writing, I’ve been using Roam daily for about a month. Unlike Word, Ulysses allows me to break down a long document into a series of short sheets. A second, pale blue editing pane, capable of displaying blocks, pages, and their associated links, appears on the right whenever a link is shift-clicked. If you enjoy tweaking settings until an interface is just right, both Roam and Obsidian will indulge you. Any note in your collection can be connected to any other (or to many others). Because there’s no iOS app, Obsidian users on iPhones and iPads must use a third-party editor (like iAWriter or 1Writer) to interact with their notes. Everything I needed to write this post came together without the usual last-minute sifting and searching. If you want a clean, minimalist look from the get-go and have little interest in arcane configuration, Roam might be the better choice. Your second brain should work the same. I want a tool that supports easy linking and the ability to reference notes or blocks in other places. If you’re a budget-conscious person, might be the better choice. A tabbed left-hand pane can display either a list of folders and documents or the search field. As a frequent brainstormer, I know that considering random input can be a powerful practice for shifting context and resetting perspective. In case they can help you, here are the ones I referred to the most during my two-week survey. I’m going to have to give that a shot. It actually ended up leading me to switch my digital gardening from Bear to Obsidian! Free / paid . Introducing . I'm not interested in sharing all my thoughts/research/notes (apart from what I put in a newsletter or publish to my blog) so multiplayer Roam is not for me, and I'm not interested in complex features like mermaid charts or tables or pomodoro timers in my Zettelkasten. But every day, I come across new functionality. The structures I’m using to record thoughts in Roam enhance my memory of the material I read, listen to, and study. For example: on my “Snowpiercer” note, the list of unlinked references displays every other time I’ve used the word “Snowpiercer” without creating a link. ), is currently available for Windows, MacOS, and Linux. CGamesPlay 11 days ago. In Roam, the basic unit of thought is the block. Roam Research, by default, offers a simple, uncluttered presentation of content. If you become what the #roamcult refers to as a “believer,” you can sign up for five years of service for $500.00. And to avoid losing productivity to endless dithering, I agreed to pick a solution and stick with it for a minimum of one year. reply . Export your Roam content (I did that regularly and added it to a Git repo on my computer), I would open the Zip file of exported content from Roam and move it all to a location where the repo is located, I also made that directory the location Obsidian used (it simply requires a folder store markdown files), Then open Obsidian and review your fresh content from Roam, You have to trust the folks at Roam a whole lot to put all your most important thoughts into a tool that only works when it's syncing with their servers, Just considering usability, waiting for your graph to load can be frustrating in some scenarios (especially on mobile devices), Some folks have also been put off by Roam's approach to security, The Roam team also appears to focus a lot on more complex features and eventually, multi-player Roam (sharing your graph with others), And there's idea being future proof — a folder of plain text markdown files can be easily accessed by various tools. Roam’s $15.00 per month subscription raises eyebrows, but I’m in the camp that believes sustainable pricing is vital to the long-term viability of any product or service. In Rom, this could be as simple as creating a persistent page (like the existing TODO page, for example) called “Random.” Whenever visited, the Random page would display a single random block or collection of random blocks. I keep going back and trying Obsidian, but it’s just not there yet and I’m continuing to stick with Roam Research. Fiddle with the graph views in both apps, and decide which approach to illustrating the connections between thoughts feels right to you. It's not a big deal, but how software feels is pretty important to me $0-$89.99/Y. With a simple filter, I can enhance focus and see progress by displaying only the bits and pieces of the work that still need attention. Alternatives to Obsidian for Mac, Windows, Linux, Web, iPhone and more. The biggest one being a less useful block reference system. I visited my “Roam Research” page, browsed linked and unlinked references, pulled relevant material into Ulysses, and then polished it there. (Since I tend to travel with an iPad exclusively, this is a problem for me.). Blocks vs. Clicking any note in the graph highlights its connections. 0. Comparison of Dynalist vs Obsidian md detailed comparison as of 2020 and their Pros/Cons. I can also share that any time invested in exploring Roam is time well-spent. Instead of thinking of an entire chapter — or even an entire page — at once, I can focus on smaller “scraps” (or blocks) of text. A narrow left-hand navigation pane offers a means of switching from database to database and provides access to daily notes, the interactive graph of links, a list of all pages, and a list of shortcuts to favorite pages. In Obsidian, the basic unit of thought is the page. It also makes me feel more confident in the future: if I were to ever stop using Obsidian, my notes are more usable in other places. At one point, after opening and editing a document in iAWriter on my iPad, I found I couldn’t save my changes because the file was still open in Obsidian on my Mac. Panes can be pinned to keep its content or linked together so they can show different views of the same note. The Slant team built an AI & it’s awesome Find the best product instantly. Be aware, too, that both Roam and Obsidian are being developed at a furious pace. 453 156 . This one is a good overview on how and why connected notes are powerful, and how they work in Obsidian. Anyway, those are a few reasons why I chose Obsidian as my PKM tool. Reply. Users create and interact with notes in the browser. Using Notion as a benchmark for optimization, Notion optimizes for curation and organization, while Roam … Roam Research vs. RemNote vs. Obsidian. In the end, only you can decide whether or not access to Roam is worth $180.00 a year. Reply . A syncing service is also planned, but given that Obsidian files sync just fine via Dropbox or iCloud, paying $4.00 per month for this would seem to be less a matter of necessity and more a matter of supporting further development. The first, familiar to anyone who has used a wiki, involves creating a reference link from one note to another. This automatic creation of backlinks is a game-changer, making it easy to form and navigate connections between notes with minimal effort. 453 157 . Users may also apply themes created by members of the Roam community. Obsidian md Review. Obsidian – The Power of Backlinks and the Knowledge Graph – Effective Remote Work – YouTube. Free / paid. After fourteen days of googling, reading blog posts, listening to podcasts, and putting various candidates through their paces, I found only two options I felt could meet my needs: Roam Research and Roam seems ripe for that kind of exploration. By contrast, after installation, Obsidian’s basic feature set requires no internet connectivity at all. But with persistence, I found video like these: The Keep Productive YouTube Channel’s Obsidian: Getting Started, Facts, and Pricing. Even if I never do anything more than stick with daily pages, take great notes, remain intentional about setting links, maintain a habit of scanning for unlinked references, and explore new connections in the knowledge graph … I’ll be earning real and meaningful dividends from my $15.00 per month investment in Roam. We also talked about her light touch productivity workflow. Scanning the graph for a particular node among hundreds of connections grows tedious. When comparing Evernote vs Obsidian md, the Slant community recommends Evernote for most people. Its Introduction to Roam and Getting Started links provide most, if not all, of what a beginner wants to know. First: fuzzy searches. It's super easy to try out with these few steps: So why might Obsidian be a better option? Across many topics. Saved by Cajun Koi. Because Roam stores data in the cloud, questions of privacy arise. Evernote vs Obsidian md. One advantage with Roam is that you can open the url inside of DT and create notes from there. Roam Research killer. As Shu Omi recently illustrated on Twitter, this structure allows your thoughts and ideas to swirl in a volatile mix versus being sectioned off in tight little boxes: Can you guess what I’m trying to say? These led me to I’d like to load those same entries into Roam, link themes and symbols together, and explore them further … but I hesitate to upload such intensely personal data to the cloud. Log in • Sign up. At first, I was disappointed. I’m a writer, author, and media producer, so as I discover applications and process of special interest along these lines, I’ll share what I learn. This is frustrating, but it’s definitely a first-world problem. No dedicated apps exist (yet), so you access Roam Research through a browser. Sep 14. But if you’re accustomed to working in a Markdown editor and switching frequently from editing to preview mode, you might prefer Obsidian. Edits in embedded blocks populate back to all instances where the block is embedded. Roam Research is currently more a service than an app. 40 Recommendations. 189 6 . As part of my effort to go from dabbler to do-er, I’m making a conscious decision to adopt fewer tools and commit more deeply to each. I've been keeping my eye on its development all the months that I've cautiously used Roam. How are People using Roam research? 40 6 . With a right-click of the graph, you can toggle between one of two layouts: Cose (more spherical) or Dagre (flatter and wider). Workflowy. Here are a few other things I like more with Obsidian: Is it all perfect? GO DEEPER with the Obsidian Made Simple cour… Pursuing a life of meaning & depth in all the busyness & noise of our connected world. The thoughtful little touches and frequent innovations delight me. A search employing fuzzy logic, capable of finding near-matches or even synonyms, could be very useful. In this video, we talked about how she uses both Roam and Obsidian in her general thinking to publishing workflow. Filter by license to discover only free or Open Source alternatives. (Hint: #notetaking) I’m trying to come up with a good title for it The larger the project, the harder it was to maintain a vision of the project as a whole. Outside of Obsidian, many of the features that make thought processors so powerful — the links, the graph — have limited functionality or become unavailable. In conversations, I’m sharper. Roam Research Notion vs Roam vs Obsidian. I’ve been on a quest for a personal “thought processor” — one place to put all my notes, journal entries, and research. Free but not open-source. Here are a few other things I like more with Obsidian: Being a desktop app, it feels more responsive and smooth to use. Clever users seem intent on coming up with a solution, but a number commenters in the thread I’ve referenced here seemed to struggle to see the value of a block-based approach. (Double-click to jump to the related page.) I don’t think I’ll ever learn to use every function available to me … but I don’t have to. Now, when I take notes on a YouTube video, I embed it into the top of a page and type my notes beneath it as I watch. Tell us what you’re passionate about to get your personalized feed and help others. More information... People also love … Alternatively, being able to set up a table of associations matching terms to their cognates could greatly expand the value of search, linking, and backlinking. But I’m not just producing more text; I’m producing better structured, more thoughtful text … and sharing it more frequently with others. With that in mind, Dynalist ( is what I'm currently using. Before starting my quest, I set some boundaries. Roam works equally well on my iPhone, iPad, and Mac. In Roam, text is presented as a series of bulleted paragraphs or blocks. 54 Recommendations. Free. If you don’t care to think about it at all, Roam might be the better option. Finally, I’d like to be able to share individual pages (or a collection of pages) from a knowledge graph with the public (and perhaps even invite participation in creating and updating those pages) without having to share the entire graph. Evernote vs Roam Research. Roam’s graph features big nodes that grow as the number of connections increases, making it easier to spot influential ideas or important daily entries. A Metaphysican Looks at Algorithms of Thought. Tried most of them, Bear, DEVONThink, Foam, Quiver, Notion, Obsidian, Org-Mode, Roam, Workflowy, and Zettlr to name a few. If you like, this pane can be split horizontally … or vertically … or both … multiple times. In the question“What is the note taking app for Amazon Alexa? (They can, of course, be copied and pasted, with manually appended links back to a source.). The Obsidian app environment is busier and more complicated. So: lots to learn … and lots to share. This third-party editing strategy can be perilous. (More on this later, in the Accessibility section.). So, it works … but not quite as nicely as Roam. Encountering a random note and considering how it might relate to the question at hand can generate valuable insights. Since there's not a mobile version yet, I'm using it alongside iA Writer and the experience has been great so far. When comparing Roam Research vs Obsidian md, the Slant community recommends Obsidian md for most people. As a result, even though the terms Mr. Lincoln, Abraham Lincoln, and President Lincoln all reference the same individual, Roam sees these as three unique and not necessarily related references. You create these connections in two ways. (Technologies exist, though, that can make Roam look and feel more app-like. Clever users offer extensive tutorials on how to use CSS to customize Roam’s appearance. In addition, more than once, I found myself wrestling with an outline in Obsidian that looked fine in editing view, but that failed to indent properly in preview mode. For all I know, a clever embedded code block might add this functionality. The biggest difference between the two is what they’re designed to optimize for. And that gives away my choice, doesn’t it? Roam Research vs. Obsidian. These days, I write in Ulysses. One result devastated me. Clicking a block selects it and activates it for editing. Panes in Obsidian can be split infinitely and resized, and they make cross-referencing multiple notes a breeze. I took a breath and thought about it. In a recent experiment, I loaded more than a hundred entries from my dream journal into DEVONthink for analysis. It's not a big deal, but how software, Opening multiple notes is more flexible and usable. The result is a kind of enhanced awareness that extends my thinking in broad and unexpected ways. Even in this brief time, Roam’s impact on my life is much broader in scope that I ever anticipated it could be. Here are a few concerns I have or have heard from others: So, if you're like me, you just want a solid tool that performs well to help you write good notes and connect your thinking. Slant is powered by a community that helps you make informed decisions. See all See less. I believe Roam’s decision to make blocks the smallest possible unit of thought make it a superior tool for knowledge work. Exploring the resulting constellation of relationships reveals existing connections and suggests new ones. I hope this post gives you some useful insights as you identify your own best thought processor, and that you’ll be inspired to share with me what you learn along the way. For me, that was the deciding factor between the two apps. Since content is stored locally, it’s always available — provided you have a Mac, Windows, or Linux laptop capable of accessing those files. The syntax is a little clunky and if you embed a block into another note, the content of the embedded block is only visible when you view the preview version of your current note. The second (and, for me, more interesting) list collects all my unlinked references — instances of a word or phrase that match the title of an existing note, but that aren’t yet linked to that note. Filed Under: General. The center pane displays the note currently in use. 2. In this video, we talked about how she uses both Roam and Obsidian in her general thinking to publishing workflow. I’ll disclose more about my process later; for now, I’ll just say that combining Roam’s insights with Ulysses’s text management system has launched a new phase in my life as a writer. Once notes go in, the system should help me link my ideas together, spark insights, and produce something new. Add Question. I'm super excited to see an open source approach to these! In my opinion, the block-based approach to referencing information is clearly superior to a page-based strategy. Each time the user presses Enter, he or she creates a new block, which appears as a bulleted paragraph on the page. More platforms. In Insider build v0.9.5, Obsidian launched block references How does this work, and how does it stack up against competitor apps like Roam Research? Roam gives you the sidebar to open pages alongside the one you're working on. Users may support development by making a one-time donation of $25.00 or more or by purchasing commercial licenses for $50.00 per year. As you consider Roam or Obsidian, weigh how you feel about context switching. Page titles, however, are rendered in a tiny, fine text that can be difficult to read, especially in dark mode. ” Evernote is ranked 12th while Roam Research is ranked 25th. The feature I found to be the best is the "outliner with zoom" from Roam and Workflowy. The first is a list of linked references: all other notes I’ve linked back to this one. I can live without block-level transclusion and queries in Roam. Collaborate with others in real time, or store all your data locally. Obsidian’s graph looks more fragile and spindly, but the animation associated with dragging nodes or zooming in and out is smoother and, to me, more satisfying. Obsidian is a fairly new competitor to Roam Research, with its offline, markdown based application designed to link up your notes - designed and built by the team at Dynalist. Doing so creates a link back to my “Snowpiercer” note, making it easy to jump back to that note for more information. 9. Links go to pages, not to specific blocks within a page. In a recent post, I made an offhand mention that Obsidian might be a better fit for some people than Roam Research. Pages. Because Word struggled with long files, I had to create files for each chapter and use arcane magic to knit them together. Honestly, Obsidian shifted the battle lines.