Alternative to Markdown

Intriguing words, @kartoo! I’m not a fan of Markdown myself, you know. I dropped it five years ago in favor of a linguistic contraption built by my self. But I wouldn’t dare to call that an ideation format. I am very curious to learn about your picture of languages (based on spoken languages, formulas, images, ideograms, mimes, sound or whatever) that could transfer what’s in your brain to a machine. Do such languages already exist (and can you identify them for us), or do you have any intuitions in which direction to go to achieve such a language?

Great way to start a discussion.

My way of looking at notetaking is the scrapbooking way. Search the net for some awesome scrapbooks, to me they are an awesome example of note taking, humanly and it is expressive. A scrapbook also showcases the soul behind it (something MD format can't do). I also feel like some recent concepts of modern note taking like mindmaps, kanbans etc are abstracted derivates of scrapbooking.

Lets say mindmaps are great way of note taking and we develop an application for mindmaps (such great softwares exists already) because we think so too. The problem with this approach is that mindmaps are great only when a mind map is needed, I do not want to take all my notes as mindmaps. This can be said for MD as well. I love MD for simplicity and portability but I do not want to MD all day and all night, I want to MD only when I need it. To me Markdown limits creativity because it is enforcing structure constantly. Structure is good but only when needed by the author. That was the basic premise in my reply to the previous topic.

Maybe the next step in note taking

  • It does not enforce structure

  • It offers hierarchy as one of the ways to recommend relationship

  • Time based browsing of notes. Like timeline of events

  • It offers flat file systems as one of the ways to look at the notebook

  • It offers a freeform canvas as a page (basic example BasKet Note Pads - Wikipedia)

  • it offers auto generated linked maps (interactive, Trilium has a basic implementation of it)

  • It offers various text based formats (md txt html image board etc etc)

  • Variable sized zoomable grid structure in pages when needed (tables+++++)

  • Wiki like linking and page generation

  • Folders can also have their own page content

  • Indenting support :slight_smile: Markdown, hello??? Markdown already has another way for pre formatted text. Why did the designers think indent should also be preformatted text? This is why I have serious questions about MD, this particular area feels so flimsy to me.

I could add more but this short list could be enough to progress the conversation. I am sure every notetaker has her own dream list.


May I summarize your exposé as “a fusion of many already realized techniques”? It makes clear why I’m hopping from one app to the other, even from one device to another. “Hopping” is not always the same as “dropping”, BTW.

What is the beau ideal? Should all those approaches be put together into one monolithic app, or should apps cooperate in a better way? Cooperating autonomously or living in some kind of reservation? Last week I read an article about the super-app WeChat, that seems to be capable of including many other apps, and very successful in doing so.

I had quite forgotten this article, but this week I was (day)dreaming about a model inspired (I thought) by OneNote, where you can embed an Excel sheet in a page, container, or table cell (a spreadsheet could possibly be a nice replacement of native MD tables). I imagined a canvas not very different from what we find in Joplin, with the ability to place vivaria on it the same way as we embed images. A vivarium is no more than a place where some data with a link to a particular brownie (a mini-app) can live. It’s a rectangular space that shows the data (text, graphics, video) as presented by the brownie. It can be shrunk or magnified, and the brownie can be activated, so that he can do his work in a pop-up window or even on the spot. Hmmm… SOA, mashup, isn’t this old stuff? So far for my little phantasy. Now I’m writing this down, I remember that WeChat article again. Anyway, this could be a future for Joplin.

Let’s try another track. Autonomous apps working together. My current frustration is the lack of support by OSs to connect apps by more intelligent or manageable hyperlinks. Currently, they are easily broken. I have a collection of classic TiddlyWikis. I’ve stored them all together in a common folder Dropbox\Memorialen\, so that I can refer from one to the other by relative addresses (no such thing in Joplin). It also works on Un*x platforms. For my personal universum outside this folder I can refer to intermediate Shortcuts — also stored somewhere under Dropbox\Memorialen\. This enables collective modifying them when some structural changes occur (like P:\village\ becoming Q:\city\borough\). Oh, that’s Windows-only technique… Damn!

At the moment, I wouldn’t know (possibly due to my newbiness) how to refer from the outside world to a specific Joplin note.Edit: @laurent has just explained how to do it. I’m not sure whether this solution can be reproduced in a universal way on all OSs, but it’s something to experiment with.

Okay, enough for this evening (about 21:15 CET). I conclude with this link. No, correction: you must have a look at TreeSheets. It’s a hierarchical spreadsheet, i.e. tables nested within table cells. It was both a delightful (the concept) and saddening (the doubtful prospect of a bright future) acquaintance for me at the same time. In my case, the dealbreakers were the lack of rich text support within a cell, and my worrying about the future. And I’m not so sure if the daily operating would be as smooth as taking notes in Joplin. OTOH, it’s free, and the learning curve is not as steep as TheBrain’s.

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Hmmm… I’m afraid I was too eager for good news yesterday. I have low expectations this route would lead to success. What I had in mind was the following ideal.

Suppose I have an HTML file called Architecture with a link (or whatever kind of control) ‘Joplin’ referring to the note ‘Architecture’ in my notebook ‘MetaJoplin’. Clicking on it should start Joplin if it isn’t already running, and then show the desired note. On any desktop. And if I click a second link ‘Amsterdam’ referring to the note ‘Architecture’ in the notebook ‘Amsterdam’, I want to get that one.

Automatically starting up Joplin is not a strong need in this scenario, for my part.