Getting into Obsidian

I mentioned a couple of days ago that I’d downloaded Obsidian and wanted to try it to see if it could replace Microsoft’s OneNote as my main note-keeping application. I started using it today, and I’m liking it so far.

I created a single vault which I’m planning to use for all my stuff – after doing a bit of searching and reading on the merits of one vault versus multiple vaults. I started making notes and folders and organising things, and it’s all very intuitive and suits my preferred means of organising things in hierarchical folders. I’ve started transferring some things from OneNote, and the folder structure works well. I haven’t done any linking yet, and have just started to apply a few tags, neither of which are available in OneNote (at least on MacOS – I seem to recall using links to other OneNote pages in Windows many years ago). I think they’ll be useful, but I need to get used to them and look for places to apply them to take advantage of their organisational capabilities.

I also turned my vault into a git repository, and pushed it to Github for version-controlled backups. There is an option here to use Obsidian Git, a community plugin which provides Github integration into Obsidian. The issue I have is that I’m not sure exactly what Obsidian Git provides, and if it’s anything I can’t just do on the git command line. Specifically, I was wondering how git would interact with the fact that Obsidian can rename and move files. If I just commit changes in git, will it know that a file has been renamed (thus maintaining its version history), or will it assume the old file was deleted and a new file made with the new name? (A friend of mine tells me that git is smart enough to figure out if a file has been renamed.) Ideally I’d use “git mv”… but if I actually go into the Obsidian vault and do that, will Obsidian know what I’ve done or get confused? Is Obsidian just a viewer/editor layer on top of the vault, and it will show me whatever I do in the vault (using another program like git), or does it need to keep track of changes in there itself? I don’t know.

Ad secondly, does the Obsidian Git plugin just add a bunch of buttons to the Obsidian UI so you can do git operations from the UI rather than from the command line? Or is it actually intercepting Obsidian operations like renaming a note and issuing “git mv” commands and stuff like that? The documentation gives no indication either way. If it’s the former, than I’m just as good using the git command line, since I’m comfortable with that. Anyway, this is a relatively minor issue, which I’m sure will become clearer as I use Obsidian more, and learn by trial and error.

The other thing about today was that it was very rainy. My wife took Scully to work this morning to give me free time to photograph that batch of Irregular Webcomic! strips that I wrote yesterday. After doing that, I went to pick up Scully and go get some lunch, and it was cloudy but I didn’t really expect any rain. However when we got to a shopping area where I planned to grab something to eat, it bucketed down, very heavy rain for about half an hour. I decided to get a table at an Italian place and have pizza for lunch, since it was one of few places where I could sit out of the rain with Scully. It was still raining steadily, though less heavily, when we were done and had to walk back to the car, so we got a bit wet.

And tonight I started the week’s new ethics topic, on UFOs (really more of a critical thinking topic, this one!).

New content today:

4 thoughts on “Getting into Obsidian”

  1. > (A friend of mine tells me that git is smart enough to figure out if a file has been renamed.)

    That is… basically it. Git only stores all snapshots of the repository (in a clever way, without the massive duplication that would entail).

    When you use some commands, it figures out that this version of the repo has a very similar file, but in a different location, than that other version of the repo.

    Actually git mv doesn’t do much in the grand scale of things. It doesn’t matter much how you move files- if they are similar enough, Git will figure it out. But there’s no explicit information about moves.

    1. Okay, that’s good to know! I use git for basic stuff, but I’m definitely no expert on it.

  2. I’ve been using Obsidian for a short while. I like it, but I don’t think I’m using any “advanced” features. I’m just making notes and folders.
    I feel like I’m not really taking advantage of what it can offer, but maybe I just don’t need anything else?

    For backup, I’ve put my vault inside my Dropbox folder. Obsidian auto-saves, and Dropbox auto-syncs, meaning I don’t have to ever remember to hit “Save”. But this setup lacks the version control that yours has.

    From a glance at the obsidian-git you linked, I’d say its biggest feature is automatization. “Automatic vault backup every X minutes”, “Pull changes from remote repository on Obsidian startup”, and so on.
    In your setup, do you have to manually commit and push every time you add something to a note? And manually pull every time if you access from another device? That can get annoying, haha.

    1. Yeah, I’m doing the git commits manually. Which is fine, I’m used to doing that regularly with code.

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