Dynalist & Obsidian

Hi Dynalisters!

As many of you have heard, for the past few months we have been working on the side on a new thing called Obsidian. Obsidian public beta was launched two days ago, and we figure we should let you guys know about it too.

Obsidian is quite different from Dynalist, as it’s a knowledge base that’s works on top of a local folder of Markdown files. It’s also not an outliner (as in you can’t zoom, expand, or collapse). The use case of Obsidian is more about deliberately writing down and revisiting notes, more than quick and friction-less brainstorming and capturing. Obsidian values connections more, whereas Dynalist values structures more.

If you’re interested in Obsidian, feel free to check it out! Its use case does overlap with Dynalist a bit, but not much, and we’ve heard many people having successes with using both for different purposes. As for Dynalist, we will develop and maintain it as usual; we don’t expect much to change.

If you have any questions, feel free to reach us via either our forum or the email!

Mandatory link to the blog post: https://blog.dynalist.io/obsidian/


ah! its all making sense now. i saw this mentioned on hackernews and tried it out. first thing i thought is they are after ripping the icons straight from dynalist! or maybe dynalist uses some open source icon set? dark theme by default, the ctrl+o document finder, i thought to myself they definitely used dynalist at some point!

lol anyway, this looks really good. ive been planning to use markdown and folders to organise some things for a while now but i havnt been able to find any editors that suits my needs. notable was the closest but it forces you to use tags instead of folders so i gave up on the idea but it looks like i might finally be able to get started on that again. youve even added a command palette! i have a soft spot for them after using sublime text for so long :smiley:


Congratulations on the new venture! Cheers! :smile:


This has great promise. I find that Dynalist is irreplaceable as a working tool during the day. But I do need something to store information at the end of the day.

So far, that has been Evernote, but Obsidian seems a lot lighter and more flexible.

But with Evernote and in my experiments with Roam, I’ve been able to create links with Dynalist through URLs. I haven’t seen mention of a web app that might enable that in the Obsidian road map. Can you see that being possible?

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as a paying Dynalist customer i’d personally prefer more frequent Dynalist updates and new features added there, but i can understand the itch and wish you good luck with O.

i will try it out for sure.


Haha that’s so funny! Your intuitions are definitely right :laughing:

It’s possible, but because Obsidian is based on an offline folder of Markdown files, a web app would require Obsidian Sync to function, which is an end-to-end encrypted sync service (not available yet). Not sure how many people who care about local storage and manage their own sync are interested in a web app, but if there’s a need, that’s definitely a possibility.


I wonder if there would be a workaround where the Markdown files are hosted on a personal Drive or Dropbox account. The trick would be to easily extract the url and associate the file with the Obsidian app.

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This has some nice features, which I was hoping for in Dynalist at some point.

So as a paying customer, I will ask the question: will any of these features (Backlinks mainly), ever be part of Dynalist?



scrolling issue when clicking back.

There’s edit fields here, but i can’t see them:

The fields are black border black background on a black field. Maybe visible on your high-contrast-black monitor, but not mine.

Same here:

I can see 3 words, and that there are 3 indistinct icons.

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Want it too!
Backlinks is even available on quickdynalist by api.


I there any way to either port over dynalist work into obsidian? Seconding the desire for backlinks in Dynalist


If you export your lists with the - indentation style and put them into .md files, they would show up in Obsidian, but it will show up as a plain list in Obsidian though.

There’s no need to “migrate” to Obsidian if Dynalist is working fine for you – there’s absolutely no plans to shut down Dynalist, just want to make sure that’s clearly communicated. :slight_smile:

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to me, it feels like dynalist is missing the backlinking and offline features of obsidian and Obsidian is missing the outlining features of dynalist… so we end up with 2 products which are nearly there but feel incomplete, instead of one rule-them-all note-taking software.
So are you planning to make dynalist and obsidian converge in the future or will you maintain two different set of features ?
maybe some people prefer to have multiple notetaking/secondbrain/pkm sofwares, I know I would rather use one feature rich software that has great outlining features + backlinking + offline mode.
Not interested in Roam because of the price and the cult thing, notion is too slow, currently evaluating RemNote and Obsidian, but dynalist import is incomplete/requires reworking in both apps, plus missing android features.


First things first: good luck with Obsidian, it looks like an really interesting tool! I’m a big fan of using Markdown for all kinds of stuff and also keen on privacy. So the idea of a knowledge tool that uses simple Markdown notes that you keep local ownershop of is really cool.

My whole life is in Dynalist and for task orientated data and structured data/knowledge I can’t see any advantage in changing. Also with the clipper, email-in and drag and dropping of files features in Dynalist it’s great at “grabbing” data for you to store, organise and use.

But I can also see from a creative thinking perspective imposing a hierarchy on your ideas/notes is somewhat limiting. So I get that just linking from note to note without worrying about “organising” them has many advantages.

I guess I’ll be “having a play” with Obsidian over the next week or so to see if and how it might fit in my workflow.

If nothing else I think it will prompt me to use tags and internal links more in Dynalist. At the moment I don’t use tags as much as I ought and it rarely occurs to me to use an internal link.


There’s a lot more different about Obsidian that it doesn’t make sense to merge the products. Obsidian is an offline tool for making and organizing notes in a format that guarantees for future usability as well as privacy.

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to each his own I guess… I’d rather not use dynalist for outlining and obsidian for pkm, I would prefer a single centralized knowledge vault. I just think it’s weird that they went with another paradigm at the core. Roam is appealing to me because it’s an outliner at its core. RemNote is also based on outlining with parent/children, etc
in current 0.6.7 form, Obsidian is a markdown note-taking app with some transclusion/backlinking features (lacking context) that has some incomplete outlining features, and I found that strange coming from the devs of Dynalist (the best outliner around). It wouldn’t bother me so much if they were not the guys behind dynalist, that’s all I’m saying. :slight_smile:


An outliner needs a database to back it up. Otherwise bullet points or paragraphs cannot be referenced uniquely, and collapsed/zoom state cannot be saved. Much of the outliner power is lost. For PKM you want longevity, so plain text is the core value. Obsidian is built in the assumption that Obsidian might go away someday, and at that time you can still have all your stuff in a recognizable form. We started with desktop apps because (1) they can read local files and (2) once you download something, it will work as long as your operating system allows it to.

If we can somehow magically make plain text work with outlining we’d certainly love that, but right now it’s a trade-off between portability and power.

This thread might help clarify this point a bit: https://twitter.com/zettlr/status/1269347287832109057

Of course, if you do not care about whether your data lives in plain text form, Obsidian is not for you, so I understand why you won’t find it appealing.

Once we reach 1.0 and people can write plugins, there might be developers who make Obsidian into a functional outliner by adding metadata to your plain text, but that’s not something we want to do in the core app.


That confirms my sense of Obsidian as an Evernote replacement. I would never use Dynalist for long-term storage of information. It’s like a bench that needs to be regularly cleaned in order to function well. That said, it would be great to eventually to have a web version of Obsidian so it would have a comparable accessibility as Evernote.

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Hi Erica,

thanks for the clarifications and making it clear that outlining is not part of your roadmap. Is there any document/thread that states your vision for Obsidian aside from the website homepage and the trello roadmap ? Even without adding complete outlining to Obsidian, would you still consider adding folding in the preview pane in the near future ?

Mindforger (Github link to doc) (it is also an offline/local md editor with some backlinking and autolinking features) can turn markdown sections into outlining. you can’t link to a specific section in a note but it is still useful to get an overview of the content.
I’ll probably stick with Mindforger+Dynalist for now but I hope Obsidian will grow to be a viable replacement.

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