Why Obsidian?

There are as many answers to the “why” question with Obsidian as there are Obsidian users. For some more insight on this, there are a couple of Mac Power Users episodes where I explain further:

MPU 583 (2021)

MPU 708 (2023)

Video Transcript

As we head into this journey together, you may be asking yourself, why Obsidian? Obsidian is a new breed of text applications. It goes beyond what we've seen before with prior Notes apps.

What I mean is, typically we would have a list of files and we would have them in a folder, and we've always had a hierarchical structure to the way we structure our notes. That makes sense because that's how we did it in the old timey days when we used analog notebooks. You always had a hierarchical organization. It's the only way that made sense.

But Obsidian is a computer application and it thinks about files and their relationships in ways that only computer applications can. What I mean by that is there's no need for a hierarchy. Instead, it can look at the interrelationship between all of your files. This allows you to open up pathways and new ways to think about the information that relates between your notes. You're no longer bound to a folder. Folders still exist and there's good arguments to use them with parts of Obsidian, but that's not the fundamental organizational structure. It's the links. Links allowed you to link your ideas and to develop new trains of thought. It actually turns your notes application into a thinking machine for you.

Now there's a lot more to like about Obsidian. First of all is its architecture. It stores your data on your local drive, so you have control of it at all times. There are ways to sync your data, and I'm gonna cover that in this course, but fundamentally, Obsidian starts out as a folder full of markdown files on your computer. In fact, you're gonna hear me say that so many times in this course that it's going to start feeling like a drinking game.

But Obsidian adds onto that architecture with customizability, and this goes throughout the application, whether it's the way you want things to look on your screen or the way you want the application to work with itself or with other applications, everything in Obsidian is customizable.

It's also dynamic. Obsidian has a small development team in the very best of ways. They are dedicated to making the application evolve and change over time. They're responsive to what the users want, and they continue to make huge improvements with each update. Indeed, throughout the production of this course, we had to make several changes because Obsidian just kept getting better as we were recording it.

And one of my favorite things about Obsidian is this plugin architecture. So not only does the application get better because of the work of developers, but the community can also make third-party plugins. We've got a whole section in this course going over some of my favorites, but you can add features to Obsidian yourself if you wanna write your plugin. If you don't wanna write them yourself, there are thousands to choose from.

And like I said at the beginning, At the end of the day, this is a folder full of markdown files. You own all that data. It's absolutely readable to you. You're never going to lose it. If they shut the application down, there's a lot to love about Obsidian.

And as you get through this course, I think you're going to agree with me. So let's go.

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