Zettelkasten, Roam, Obsidian, RemNote, Notion and Cong does not work as expected

it sounds like a good news!

I’ve never actually used this feature, largely because it’s not save-able as an overview. I don’t want to use it as a one off, instead I’d like to use it regularly to look at all notes in projects for, say, a particular client, or to do with business development.

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Saw a lot of tools passing by on the subject of creativity with notes, but missed a discussion on The Archive of Zettelkasten.de. It’s txt-base, although it reads/writes Markdown files. I am testing it at the moment, but miss iPhone and iPad apps. Same goes for Obsidian, but at least that’s in the planning there.

Thanks a lot for your current conclusion, Olaf. That’s a great post and describes very good what I try to achieve for my note management.

A few days ago I stumbled across the following new Service from Zendesk https://hypernotes.zenkit.com. I just started to play around with it and it already looks very promising. It seems to be a closed system at the moment (unlike Obsidian) but offers quite a lot of the functionality you described above. I am not sure yet, if it will replace Obsidian for me.

Thanks for such detailed post, never before have I seen mentions of all these apps in one place)

I’m working on a similar project, but the main app view is Mindmap. I posted my thoughts about what I named thinking spaces and the reason why we put mindmap at the facade of our service.

Hope it’ll be interesting for you.

Looking for your feedback.

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Obsidian Mobile is in closed Beta. Nice, but not polished.

Hi Everyone. I am glad this thread has received so much attention, even @mekentosj referring to it on several occassions.

With Agenda Version 13 we are another step closer to what the PKM enthusiasts get excited about with their RemNote, Roam, Obsidian & Co (new apps arriving almost daily at the moment). The upcoming autocompletion features will be a big step as well. Can’t wait to see this! PS: While I watch the PKM space closely, I am still happy with my Agenda + DevonThink setup.

Remember a key idea behind the Zettelkasten-PKM revival are atomic notes. In Agenda, I very much like that I can see and edit several notes at the same time.
The white space between notes is quite large, which is due to the horizontal space occupied by the cog wheel. I am already quite happy but I imagine that one could always tweek things to better handle and overviewing several/many short notes.

Another thing that is much appeciated in the PKM world are collapsalbe blocks inside a note. E.g. things under a heading, lists etc. For outlining, this would be really useful.

Happy note taking everyone!


This thread definitely continues to see awesome contributions! You’ll also be happy to know it was a big driver for me to push the latest video we just pushed, one that I wanted to do for a long time and in which I try to explain the philosophies behind Agenda. Why we make such a point of it to be date-focused, but also why in general taking notes and finding a good app (without it necessarily being Agenda) can make such a big difference in making you feel organized and in control. How it can really be an extension of your thought process and creativity. Enjoy!


Great video, Alex! :+1:t2: Please, go ahead in explaining the philosophy behind Agenda in the next videos; it sounds more and more interesting…

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To me, the video and the explanations to the philosophy of Agenda are suggesting that it does not really want to address the PKM community (note taking to support research, knowledge synthesis). While there is an element of hype, I do think that this field is generating some interesting ideas. The key elements are atomic notes, and therefore handling many short notes, overviewing them. The collapsing of elements inside notes, autocompletion for various aspects, transclusion, the in situ search and display of other related notes are something I am sure will influence the note taking app market in general.

I think there are two answers to this, the shorter one is probably “agreed”. We don’t have an interest in shifting Agenda towards a different role or more niche use case, that wouldn’t make sense to us. Like we say in the video, we think a lot of people just need a note taking tool to begin with, and that’s of much more interest to us.

The longer answer is a bit more subtle, as I mentioned above already, I think a comment like this still places too much focus on tools IMHO. A bit like saying if your app doesn’t support Gantt charts, then you cannot do project planning with it. Which is of course bogus as I use Agenda to plan everything about Agenda (very meta :slight_smile:). Yes, you’d probably not use it for those kind of planning exercises that need exact, multi-team, detailed timelines, but that’s just a specific subarea of project planning that the majority of people never need. Plus, there’s also a strong element of what fits your way of thinking and working, i.e. if you think in timelines, then you’d want such a tool 100%, but if you don’t it’s quite easy to get in the way.

I feel saying that if a tool doesn’t support feature A, B and C, and therefore it cannot support research or knowledge synthesis is more a matter of how strict you define those terms, which has a place, but is a bit of an 'academic` exercise.

I guess where we perhaps come together is that I see it a bit as Formula 1, which is perhaps cutting edge and super focused on a specific niche/goal, but which creates technology that might ultimately end up in the regular street cars that most of us use.

But note that integrating those technologies doesn’t suddenly make your street car part of formula 1, like how adding autocompletion and more overview options doesn’t suddenly make Agenda the best ever tool for the PKM community I’d say (although this seems to be part of what is creating the hype). I guess that brings me back to the shorter answer :smiley:

I understand what you are saying, but … :slight_smile: The whole purpose for my investigation from which I reported was to identify those core elements that the PKM community is offering as essential or being to the core of what they do. I left out all the other fancy bits (e.g graph representation) and deliberately focussed on those ideas that fit well to Agenda’s general use, i.e. handing, overviewing several notes at the same time, organising elements within notes, and searching for or linking with elements within and between other notes. This are things that are not part of the specialised or niche group, these are elements that exist in Outliners (folding) or long text apps (e.g. corkboard in Srivener).

So basically,

  • what about folding of elements within notes?

  • viewing and editing multiple short notes simultaneously?

Alex, thank you for taking the time to respond to this question…….again. You guys have built a beautiful, extremely functional app, no question about that. I’ve subscribed from the “beginning”, and used it extensively. The development has been remarkable. Maybe the decisions you made in the past regarding the structure of the app does not lend itself to incorporate the features folks desire to make it more like Obsidian/Roam. Or maybe it’s just your desire or intention to keep Agenda on your track. Whatever, I respect both of you for engaging your subscribers for that. However, here comes the ‘But’, my needs are becoming more closely aligned with the features currently available in Obsidian. I still use Agenda for the things that suit me and it does BEST in class. But I’m still working with Obsidian for those things it does ‘best’ (IMHO). I wish your answer could be different, but I see no reason to end my subscription, for what that’s worth. And, please keep up the great work. Who knows what the future may hold. :wink:

@olaf.wolkenhauer I think it’s no secret we have auto-completion, more viewing options, improved search, and even things like collapsable-subsections all on our wish list and they have been from pretty much back in 2018 when we launched the 1.0, well before the “hype” :wink:. You’ll find confirmation of this in many threads on this forum and I’m pretty sure they’ll eventually make it into the app.

I think what’s important to note though is that we’re not adding these because we feel we need to address a particular use case or field, we add these because we feel they further empower the users of Agenda.

And again, the fact that it isn’t there now is simply because we’re a small team, not because we have no interest. Of course that can mean that some, perhaps like @daveb08 states, will find it takes too long and move to other tools as some of these features might be exactly what he needs. That’s fair and that’s fine, and perhaps exactly why we focus on Agenda’s way of doing things and making it better, rather than following a certain hype or copying others as that’s a game you’re always going to loose anyway.

Most important, at least that’s what the video is focused on, is to convince people that a note-taking tool is something that they can and probably should use. From there it’s a matter of finding the one that fits for you, and thank god there are so many out there that there should be one for everyone. I also believe that the flip side is that for every person you gain by consciously going in one direction, some will drop off on the other side. That’s the most tricky balancing act we have to play.

But for us it’s much more satisfying to see someone go from nothing or little, to much more organized and feeling in control using Agenda, than to try to pull users from advanced tools like Obsidian to Agenda by copying over more certain features. Even if it means that some of those new-to-note-taking users will ultimately become power users better served by those tools and leaving Agenda behind.

One of the main points I already underlined on this thread is that @olaf.wolkenhauer focuses on an idea of conceptual maps for fixing thinking processes in note-taking. In my view, the Agenda is more concentrated on connecting thinking processes with an operative acting. My understanding is that the @mekentosj’s video minimally shows this keeping a simple modality of explanation to reach a broader range of users. I can understand why Agenda doesn’t want to follow the path of being an exclusive creator of conceptual maps. It would reduce the possibility of the app being used mainly by researchers, academics, or other activities based on thinking processes. In that case, the app’s flexibility and capacity to be adapted to the personal needs of different users would be limited, I am afraid.

No, I was trying to identify elements from the PKM apps, that would fit a general purpose note taking app (eg folding for outlining, and relating notes - in the simplest case, seeing more than one at the time. These are not even new things.

I like what Obsidian does but I use Agenda and DevonThink … for reasons. No need to explain that I like Agenda, otherwise I would not invest the time here. I can realise with Agenda several things, so it offers me more than other apps (linking note taking with calendar and reminders), and the ease of taking notes and the beautiful design. Well, now I said what I like anyway.

So my point has been that at the core of the various PKM apps are a few “simple” ideas that would be good in any other app. Folding would help with outlining and the other ideas help with overview a collection of short notes. That’s it, in my view :wink: For those who want knowledge graphs etc, they will enjoy those apps (which so far fail with the “getting things done” and “organize your life and work”.

So, in the end, we both agree that Agenda offers more possibilities than the PKM Apps… :wink: (Even if, you say, “at the core of the various PKM apps are a few simple ideas that would be good in any other app”)

Well, that seems like a ‘leap’ to me, but then you weren’t addressing me!

If I were to learn a language, or studying something like medicine, RemNote would my choice for a PKM app, that does support spaced repetition fir learning in a better way than flashcards or the Anki app.

I am not convinced that dumping everything that goes through my mind to then mine that data (in m case also rubbish :wink: makes sense for me. So, this Roam and Obsidian idea is not for me and while the graphs of links look nice, my trials with it, did not work out for me.

In addition to managing projects and my life, I also collect ideas, that I like to turn into something more meaningful at some stage. So, I am keen to collect and oversee a collection of notes, edit several of them in the same context. This is where Agenda could tick in future even more boxes.

For collecting and keeping things (of any kind) I have DevonThink but taking/typing and editing notes in there, across devices falls short of the Agenda experience (and also does not allow the calendar and reminders integration in such an elegant way).

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