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New Plugin: Note Link Graph UI

Hey all,

A few days ago I was tempted to download Obsidian to get the graph UI they offer but I couldn't make myself move off Free Software like Joplin. So I'd like to share the early version of a plugin I'm working on to bring a graph UI to Joplin!

I know many other people are interested in the Zettelkasten system or want to visual links in their second brain and I'm hoping you all can help me improve this plugin to give Joplin full support for these systems.

Help wanted: Check out the issues I've filed on Github, help me fix color schemes, or file Issues for any bugs you encounter (I'm sure there are a ton, I've just started this plugin myself). I'm a back end developer so this D3/JS stuff is like pulling out my own teeth. Any help would be appreciated haha



Whoa dude! That's crazy cool hahahah. This plugin system rocks

But yeah, love the concept, first time I'm seeing it. Thanks for making this

That looks great! If you want to set the colours according to the current theme, you might be able to use these CSS variables: Creating a table of content plugin | Joplin

Otherwise each theme has an "appearance" property which can either be "light" or "dark", which you could use and theme your view accordingly. I'm not sure that property is exposed anywhere though but if you need access to it let me know.

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Awesome, thanks for this pointer @laurent, and thanks for the great app and plugin system! I've updated the plugin with proper theme support.

How does one get the plugin into the Joplin Plugin search functionality? Just send a PR here: GitHub - joplin/plugins: Joplin official plugin repository ? I'll go ahead and cut a release now

No need, just run npm publish and the rest is automated (you do need to be signed in to npm though).


Thanks @CalebJohn. I just published to npm so I assume it should show up in the Joplin Plugin search eventually.


Looks like it's up already. Nice work!

Joplin is great and I use it extensively. But Obsidian has many functions that make it a better choice for a Zettelkasten. These include the "[[ā€¦]]" notation (known as "wikilinks") for the rapid insertion (and creation) of links, auto-completion of those links, automatic generation of backlinks, and the ability to create a dashboard by dividing the Obsidian window into panels.

You said, "I was tempted to download Obsidian to get the graph UI they offer but I couldn't make myself move off Free Software like Joplin." You are mistaken, Obsidian is free and always will be. Like Joplin, it has an enthusiastic community that develops powerful plugins.

If you are interested in having Obsidian host your notes on their server you would have to pay for that. But if you use Dropbox or similar hosting platform, you don't need a paided hosting solution. If you wish to turn your massively linked set of (Zettelkasten) notes into a website so that other people can access your Zettelkasten online, then Obsidian provides "Obsidian Publish" to fill that need. This function is of course external to Obsidian, therefore you can choose to pay their subscription fee for internet publishing. But for all comparable functions to Joplin, Obsidian is free.

Joplin runs on mobile devices, which is an advantage it has compared to Obsidian. Obsidian's roadmap contains mobile versions, but that apparently will not be implemented in the near future.

All in all both Joplin and Obsidian are great solutions for effective (and free) note taking. They differ in the specific problems they aim to solve. However, each can be "bent" to solve almost any note taking problem.

As an aside, it is important to me to heavily link Joplin notes. I hope Joplin will adapt the wikilinks approach to make note linking more rapid and flexible, This will move Joplin closer to becoming a Zettelkasten solution. The Bear notes app used to use a similar method to Joplin to link notes. A year ago they added wikilinks, which greatly improved its ability to handle Zettelkasten notes. I hope Joplin does the same.

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There are a couple of plugins released in recent weeks that cover these two aspects - easy link creation and backlinks.


Wow, I'll have to check out those recent plugins! They would be a big improvement in the way I use Joplin. Thanks for letting me know!

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The pace of plugin development in recent weeks has been dizzying. @laurent unleashed the hounds with the plugin architecture, and it's paying off.


It's possible I just don't know how to use it, but when I download the jpl file through Joplin it just shows a blank page:

Yeah there are definitely some serious bugs. For one, it requires Joplin 1.7.0+, so make sure you have the pre-release version. I would recommend installing it via the Joplin Plugin settings page by searching in the box (no need to manually download any jpl files)

I'm adding a "redraw" button now as a work around because sometime it does get "stuck" and won't redraw properly. You can open up options or some other full-screen window then go back to your note to force it to redraw

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Quick Links provides rapid insertion and auto-completion of links with a @@ notation that I've found extremely useful. There is also Backlinks, mentioned above, that does as its name suggests.

Obsidian is "free" as in cost (for now at least, they could change their terms of service or privacy policy at any time and for any reason), but it's not "free" as in freedom or open source. I could be mistaken about it not being open source, but I searched their website and Github account and couldn't find the Obsidian source code anywhere

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Thanks for letting me know, I had installed it by searching in Joplin but for some reason I simply couldn't get it to work on 1.7.4. But by upgrading to 1.7.10 and then manually forcing a redraw as you said fixed it.

This is fantastic. When combined with the quick links plugin, Joplin now beats the pants off of any other note taking software out there.

Do you know if it would be possible to "pop out" the graph into a separate window?

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Not sure if it's possible but I filed an issue on Github for tracking. I have only spent a few days working on this Joplin plugin so I'm not sure what all is possible with the plugin system yet.

And I agree! Quick Links is outstanding and I'm finding the graph view to be very interesting - it has me sorting and combining some writing ideas together in a satisfying way.


this is amazing, thank you for making it. after the last update it works like a charm.

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Thanks for clarifying the situation with the Joplin plugins. I'm looking forward to installing and using these new plugins, including your graphic one. They will improve the way I use Joplin.

I assumed that Obsidian would be open source because they, like Joplin, have an active community of people working on plugins. It is hard to see why people would devote so much time and effort to a product that might change their agreement with their users. But if it is not open source, then the risk of spending my time entering data and linking notes would go up. Somewhere I read that the Obsidian people said their app would always be free. But I guess that's not a certainty if the product is not licenced as open source.

Thanks for providing a plugin that will be very valuable to Joplin users!

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For anyone wondering, Obsidian is definitely not open source. And the founders have no interest in making it open source (they've said as much publicly), despite some of the users urging them to do so.