Back to Joplin after a few weeks with Obsidian

I just came back yesterday to Joplin after spending a few weeks with Obsidian, and I thought sharing my experience might be helpful to others who think of making this same trip.
First of all you have to keep in mind that for my usage, tags and structured notes hierarchy are the most important things for me. I also started using the Zettlekasten method with that last trip, with a slight modification to fit my need.

Why I chose to try Obsidian in the fist place?

Just because it kept my notes on my hard drive, so I don't have to worry about any app going away. It is a tempting feautre, nobody can deny that.
However, this could be true only if all the contents of your ntoes (including they way they link to other notes, and the tags) will remain applicaiton independent.

Why I came back to Joplin?

  1. Obsidian search doesn't allow you to use wild cards (*) in search for tags, you have to insert the full tag name (in my case it can be 10 words or more), but in Joplin its a normal thing to do.
  2. Tags could be a mess very easily. to clarify this consider the following tags:
    grandfather/children/grandchildren
    father/children
    If I want to insert any of these in Obsidian I have to remember the start of the path
    But in Joplin I just type 'chi' and I have both tags to chose from .. thanks @Laurent and all hte other team members for this
  3. This might be a mistake from me, but several times as I type, if I indent the text unintentionally it becomes a block code.. this was a nightmare for me several times, to return the editing to the normal mode
  4. Of course having your notes on your hard drive in your folder is the safest way to keep them on the long run. However, as I mentioned before, this is conditioned by their contents being available and menaingful when the app that created them is gone for any reason. On the other hand Open Source is more trust worthy in general, in terms of remaining there and not changing policy any time in the future. The only thing you have to worry about is the OS changes. And this, from my experience with Windows is not a big issue. I have programs from the lae 1990s that still work perfectly.

Obsidian has more features than Joplin, nobody can deny that. but most of these features are community plugins so may be some great programmers can create ones witht he same ideas here in Joplin. Besides note all of them are useful to all people, most of them are plusses not musts, some are even just cosmetics (like a daily note, or chess board).
I'm used to write down my thoughts and impressions about these experiences. When I returned to some of the notes I wrote during that period I discovered that the way Obsidian handles tags was an annoying issue for me from the very beginning. I'm saying this despite Obsidian have a hierarchical taggings system and Joplin doesn't . I gave @Laurent a headache two or three times here in the forum about the need for this feature, but now, after my experience, I have to appologise.. it was not really a big issue, what is more important is that I can be sure 100% that my tags are consistent, and I can search them using wild cards.

The only feature I might ask for- and it is not a deal breaker in any way - is an RTL plugin, Obsidian has one (community made).
Update
I just forgot to mention that some Obsidian users use Joplin as a bridge when migrating from Evernote to Obsidian, because the latter doesn't have Import/Export features yet.

It's good to be back..home :slight_smile:

14 Likes

Did you link between notes? The backlink feature seems intriguing to me. I did see that someone developed a backlink plugin for Joplin however.

yes, backlinks plugin exists in Joplin for a while now. Besides, Obsidian still lacks essential features, like import/export and combining notes.

Update: I went back again to Obsidian and used it for a long while and liked it more than Joplin. However, for other reasons (change of workflow), I'm using something else now.
I just got a like to this post that I forgot about for a while, so I thought it would be just fair to add my new take on both apps, in case someone wants to evaluate both before deciding to work with any of them. Please note that I stopped using Joplin over two months ago, and Obsidian couple of weeks ago. So what you are about to read refers to those timestamps.
Joplin is great in encryption and security, quick response to bugs reports and fast fixing. And it is open source and free of course. For lots of people, including me, it was the best Evernote alternative, especially with its hierarchical notebooks structure (the biggest flaw of Evernote for lots of people), which was the idea behind creating Joplin after all. It annoyed me, however, in the following areas: a) synchronization is super slow when installing it on a new device, and sometimes doesn't work perfectly (cloud services are to blame). b) Impossible to export your notes - even to Markdown - while keeping the attachments in sync, or even putting them in a folder and giving them meaningful titles, so one can add them later to their respective notes (this is the price of encryption and security.. ok, understood). c) No multiwindow (using an external editor is a workaround but not practical, at least for me).
Obsidian apps (both desktop and mobile apps) are also free like Joplin, but synching through their servers is for a small monthly fee. You can, however, sync thorugh any cloud the way you do with any folders, since the notes are kept in your file system, not in the app's database. It has what I missed in Joplin: a) your notes are on your hard drive as files in folders, not lockedin, so you are safe even if the application crashes or ceases to exist. b) hierarchical tags (a feature long-gone from Joplin and nobody knows if/when it'll come back). c) multiwindows is the default. d) the best pdf viewer I've worked with till now. e) a wealth of plugins (but might not be as secure as Joplin's ones. I'm not an expert in that area). f) it can handle more notes and tags ( 2000+ and 2500+ respectively) without any lag, while Joplin started to lag at less number of notes and tags (1200 and 850 respectively). Also I tried to put all my ebooks library in Obsidian's vault (70+GB of pdfs), after a few seconds starting up, it worked smoothly. But just to be fair, I've read contradicting testimonials about the maximum capacity of Joplin.
This was just my experience and take on both. Not intended to discuss it in any way, as I already left both apps for good as I said, so kindly understand if I don't respond to any comment. But of course the forum members can discuss whatever they want, with the usual respect of others' views of course.

9 Likes

So which software you chose instead?

Scrivener.