A beginner question about Joplin (I'm coming from Obsidian)

Hi there!

I am thinking in to migrate to Joplin (I use Obsidian currently), both due to the features I saw and to the fact it's an open source software.

But I am always very afraid of data continuity. I mean, while on Obsidian all my data is stored as simple text files (.md). I noticed that Joplin does stores all notes in a database.

My question is (and please sorry if this is a "dumb" question): if I need to move in the future to another software will the "database" thing be an impeditive? I mean, once all data is inside an unique database file (instead the "one note per .md file" we have on Obsidian) there will be problems regarding this and/or the situation will be a bit more complicated?

Thanks in advance and sorry for the trouble.

@ewsg welcome to the forum.

Joplin stores all your notes on your computer. The notes are stored in a sqlite database in the configuration folder for the software. However at any time you can export some or all your notes and there are several options. Two of these options are "MD - Markdown" and "MD - Markdown + Front Matter".

The reason Joplin uses Markdown and has these export options is to ensure that a user's data is not tied up in some proprietary format that is difficult to move elsewhere.

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Hi,

Great! Thanks for the welcoming and for the informations. :slight_smile:

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@dpoulton is absolutely right when it comes to longevity and portability of your data, but there's an obstacle concerning attachments such as pictures embedded in notes (linked to notes would be a better term). Joplin 'eats up' all your notes, incorporating them in its database - and digests all attachments by renaming them with random identifiers and putting them in a separate folder called "resources".

It's this point (at least) which can cause concern in terms of portability and standardization. However, I wouldn't know of any other viable standard (except for HTML) that can preserve the note-attachment relationship in a meaningful way. I wonder how other apps for similar purposes handle the issue (including Obsidian).

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Joplin "eating up" notes into a database and "digesting" attachments gives the impression that it is a one-way process with your data ending mixed up forever in the "bowels" of Joplin :slight_smile: . It's not, it's just how Joplin keeps track of notes and note changes, enables it to be searchable, enables it to sync across devices and it's not one-way.

Blockquote
dpoulton is absolutely right when it comes to longevity and portability of your data, but there's an obstacle concerning attachments such as pictures embedded in notes (linked to notes would be a better term). Joplin 'eats up' all your notes, incorporating them in its database - and digests all attachments by renaming them with random identifiers and putting them in a separate folder called "resources". It's this point (at least) which can cause concern in terms of portability and standardization. However, I wouldn't know of any other viable standard (except for HTML) that can preserve the note-attachment relationship in a meaningful way. I wonder how other apps for similar purposes handle the issue (including Obsidian).

Hi!

So, currently with Obsidian I know that it stores images, for example, inside simple folders, in its original formats. Well, I have previously configured it to create subfolders for each image attachment, and it has been working fine.

But you've mentioned that Joplin stores images inside the database. I also noticed I can simply open the database file (with Kate, for example) as if it would a simple txt file. So regarding the images I would lost this "feature", right? But once we can export all our notes into several formats, maybe this could be covered. I think. :slight_smile:

No, Joplin stores the images / attachments in a "resources" folder that is found in the same folder as the database file.

image

You can, or you open in a SQLite DB browser and explore or query it like any other database.

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Ah, understood. That's great. No problem for me regarding this. :slight_smile:

Sorry, I forgot to read this:

dpoulton
You can, or you open in a SQLite DB browser and explore or query it like any other database.

That's really great! Just favourited it! Thank you very much!

Joplin supports HTML notes too. However, even when doing so, the resources are still saved separately (instead of, for example, self-containing everything with Base64 encoding), so it's not really much different than the default Markdown notes.

Understood. This works perfectly for me, no problem.

Thank you very much.

Thanks for clarification! I think that Joplin does all it can to adhere to open formats (within the boundaries of the chosen framework, I'm tempted to add). It's just a different approach than Obsidian's (or say notebooksapp.com) which operate on a given set of files and folders (and leave it untouched - which is the point).

With Joplin you just cannot browse through your resources directory (or through your notes outside the app) - with one notable exception that @dpoulton pointed out: You can access the SQLite database with any tool you choose - thumbs up for open standards!

This approach of a standardized search index has its downsides as well: I wonder how many users of mobile devices have their database included in a cloud backup of that particular device - in an open format which compromises privacy (including encryption keys). But that's not Joplin's fault after all...

However, imho there is a serious problem with attachments: the original filename is lost and replaced by a cryptic GUID. This stops me from moving from evernote to joplin.

What do you mean by "lost", where do you expect to see the filename? When you export to Markdown or HTML, it will use the filename because it makes sense in this case. However when displayed within the app, it doesn't since there's no use for it, unless I'm missing something

So the exported attachments get the original filenames back? In that case it's completely ok of course :slightly_smiling_face:
There is a misunderstanding on the evernote forum that the original attachment filenames are lost for ever, once imported in joplin.

Yes they are back on export. Also if you simply attach a file to a note, the filename is preserved, again so that it can be used in contexts where it makes sense such as export. If you check the database you will see a "filename" column for resources and that's where we store that info

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