March 22nd, 2021

Why I Moved from Obsidian to Craft

I know that many people started following my YouTube Channel because I was talking about Obsidian only to find that I've now moved to Craft. Today we're going to talk about the main reasons why I've made this move because moving software tools is so expensive. In fact, it's so expensive I'm not going to recommend any of you make the move with me unless you have a clear case about why you'll recoup the cost quickly.

Why Craft

Most of the research and writing that I do is done via an iPad Pro 12.9". Yes I have a nice Mac, and now a brand new M1 Air but I enjoy the experience of working on writing projects on my iPad more than doing the same work on macOS. If iPadOS is your main platform then there are two issues with Obsidian.

First, it doesn't have a native iPad application. Second, the iPad application they've talked about is more a "companion" than a full fledged app where all the features in the desktop version of Obsidian are available in a native iPad way.

I don't care that it hides it's markdown syntax and you can't see the raw text you're inputting. I don't care that it's not a modal editor and that you can see your images directly inline. I don't miss Vim key bindings, even though I use Vim for my code editing. All of those things are nice in Obsidian, but they don't make a difference to me.

So there was one big reason I moved, iPad support. Outside of that Craft had all the other features I needed. It has backlinking, embeddable images, block level linking. I like the way you can embed pages without them creating a new "page" in the main database.

I Miss Some Obsidian Features Though

While I'm happy with my change to Craft, there are a few things I miss from Obsidian.

I miss having #tags to use as a status marker. Instead I have to make sure that I file my Books to Read in a folder that marks the status of the note.

Craft also has issues when it comes to moving notes into a new folder when you're viewing the note. The best workaround I've found is to edit the note slightly and then go to your All Documents folder which will have it sorted to the top of the folder because you edited it. Then you can dray it to the new location.

I miss compound searches like Obsidian has. In fact, Craft could use better search all around. It needs a way to return all the results for a given search term instead of the "best" matches it currently shows you.

Finally, I loved how Obsidian did it's window splitting. In all likelihood I loved this because it's how Vim works. Craft does as good a job as most macOS apps. On the iPad front, it does better than many iPad apps, because it has keyboard commands to spawn new windows. I'd still love to see it work like Obsidian and Vim do.

So, that's why I changed and a bit about what I missed. Like I said, unless you work mostly on an iPad for your research and writing I don't think there is a compelling reason to choose Craft over Obsidian. Choose the tool that works for you, and then make sure you don't just follow the new and shiny application because you'll never settle in to anything.