16-Oct-21: Logseq 0.4.4 Release, To Do Management, New Plugins and Themes, Obsidian Usage

This week the devs were hard at work and provided us with a couple of new releases. We also have several items of discussion on the usage of Logseq, but before we get started, did you know that on the 16th October, we had other important events, such as:

  • 1962 – Cuban Missile Crisis begins as JFK is shown photos confirming the presence of Soviet missiles in Cuba
  • 1978 – Polish Cardinal Karol Wojtyla elected Pope John Paul II
  • 1998 – Former Chilean dictator General Augusto Pinochet is arrested in London on a Spanish warrant requesting his extradition on murder charges
  • 2021 – Just shy of one month since LogseqWeekly was up and running 🙂

Let’s get down to business.

Releases

0.4.3

Following the official release of 0.4.3 the following new additions were added

  • Left sidebar
  • Rename a page by clicking its title instead of having to click the three dots and rename.
  • Right click page title for more commands
  • Improvements to editing notes through keyboard shortcuts and more intuitive actions
  • Can now copy multiple block references
  • Fix to the case sensitive titles.
  • DWIM (do what I mean) for Enter key when editing. Context-awareness of Enter key makes editing easier.

For those wondering what DWIM does:

0.4.4

Following the official release of 0.4.3 a few performance issues and bugs were discovered so 0.4.4 was released. Not only did this improve speed, it also squashed a few other bugs:

  • Can’t open graph on Linux
  • Performance degradation issue. The speed of Logseq took a bit of a hit in 0.4.3 but this seems to have been fixed in 0.4.4
  • A favourite page would no longer be considered a favourite when renaming the page – this has thankfully been fixed.
  • Improvement to the Undo process with additional steps (inserting new block)
  • Recent pages was not working
  • Url can include { and } now

Download the latest version from here.

Workflows

To-Do Tasks

  • @Williamstr presented us with a very interesting conundrum in relation to to-do tasks. They posed the following question: “What do you do to organize the ever growing list of to-dos? Yeah I know, just finish the tasks…. 😁 as for now I query the to-dos for each project page, which I write on the journal pages, But all the breadcrumbs etc makes it messy. I am thinking about reorganizing the to-dos on each project page by copy from each query, but this is currently not all thought through. So how do you manage? Any tips?”
  • @tylerwince provided us with a few very cool solutions to deal with to-dos which are spread over multiple pages by using a query like so:
#+BEGIN_QUERY
{:title "Main Tasks"
      :query [:find (pull ?b [*])
              :where
              [?b :block/marker ?marker]
              [(contains? #{"LATER" "TODO" "NOW" "DOING" "WAITING"} ?marker)]]
 :breadcrumb-show? false
 :result-transform (fn [result]
                        (sort-by (fn [h]
                                   (get h :block/created-at)) result))
:collapsed? true
 }
#+END_QUERY
  • Alternatively, if you would like the to-do page to return something that looks like this:
  • You can use the query located here. Thanks @tylerwince, now we can have our to-dos in a visible, neat and useful manner.

Work and Personal Daily Journal Pages

  • @Tryhaard is interested in knowing, “is there any way I can have a work journal and a personal one? I don’t think so but wanted to make sure. The only way to achieve this would be to use two vaults, right?”
  • Although I like having a bit of separation in my personal life and my work life, I think having everything on one graph allows for much more connectivity of notes and concepts. This is especially as so much of my work seems to overlap in my personal interests so it makes sense to have everything in one place.
  • The solution to the question that I could think of was to “have the first block as [[personal]] and write your notes indented beneath that. And then do the same for [[work]]. When you then click on either personal or work you will see your notes in the linked section split day by day.”
  • If anyone has any other alternatives, please do let us know.

Logseq vs/& Obsidian

  • @Nightlight started an interesting discussion with the following question: “For people who’ve used both logseq/roam style block outliners and obsidian, any thoughts to share on how your optimal workflow evolved for each? I’ve used Roam for a while and I’m planning to move to Logseq or Obsidian, and trying to think about how the Obsidian workflow might be different” They add: “One of the biggest differences to me seems to be the presence of a folder/file hierarchy in Obsidian, and a file explorer: this is good if your notes naturally follow a tree hierarchy and you know where a given note is in this hierarchy, then it’s easier to find it this way than by searching for the note and having to remember its name, or even worse creating your own hierarchy using links”

The following great responses were provided by fellow users of either/both apps:

  • @mattcat “For me it’s more about outliner w block refs versus full page writing/formatting without. The file tree issue (for me) is a bit secondary, because even though inconvenient, I can still use a file window to manage the files when needed”
  • @rambo_lava100 “obsidian has large number of community plugins” – this is very true and some of the Obsidian Plugins are just, WOW. Hopefully the plugins list for Logseq will also grow.
  • @cilue “I think it’s a matter of preference. Do you want to use an outliner which is built around blocks or do you prefer a note taking app. The reason I use both obsidian and logseq is that from Obsidian I use the readwise plugin, the anki plugin, the mobile app and their graph view is way better. But once all this is also in Logseq I might fully go over to Logseq. For me it’s best of both worlds.” I completely agree here. It is really a matter of where you feel most comfortable and where writing your notes feels like home. If you are spending more time beautifying your notes or working on a system as opposed to using the tool to take your notes, something is not quite right.
  • @McNutty blows us out of the water with
    • In my opinion, the main difference is that when you are using an “Outliner” (as compared to a “Note-taker”), you can use the block hierarchy you create while outlining. The hierarchy means something. An outline creates a parent-child-relationship between a node/block/bullet and its nested nodes/blocks/bullets. Childs “inherit” information from their parent. This relationship can then be used in various queries and filters.
    • I think of outlining as creating “context” for information. A child-node belongs the “context” of its parent node, whatever that might be. It “inherits” the information of the parent. This gives the user a way of structuring information. In a pure note-taker, the only “context” is the page, and all parent-child relationships between nodes in pages is purely “presentational”, and can not be used/taken advantage of. There is no concept of “inheritance” between blocks. For example, Obsidian happens to use the word “context” for block references, but there it only means the adjacent lines. There exists no concept of a “parent”-context in Obsidian (although to be fair, when it comes to block references, Logseq does not yet take advantage of the parent-child relationship either like Roam does. Hopefully this is forthcoming)
    • For some people (like me), outlining comes very naturally. I always think in “contexts”, and outliners helps me express that. I find that I use outliners as thinking tools first and foremost, and only secondly as a reference tools. I work in computer science, and I also produce very little long-form writing, but instead work a lot with repetitive structured information. For people geared differently, or with different needs, the added complexity of outliners probably might not be needed or even desired. So from my perspective I wouldn’t say that outlining “smoothens the note-taking process”, but that might depend on what you mean by that.
  • @Luke [[white999]] leave us with a thought provoking “The draw to Obsidian for me is the bigger user base. You can’t disregard when choosing an app that you intend to use long term, that the more users an app has, the bigger demand for it to be supported. More eyes looking at bugs and giving feedback. More community attention, more content to consume, more tutorials and more plugins, etc. obviously the fact that obsidian has a mobile app and better performance is important. But those are things which Logseq can get better at in the short term. One thing not so much in the devs control is having a critical mass of users that justifies making Logseq the best software it can be”

What I love about the Discord and the Logseq community is the openness to the thoughts raised and the level of quality in the responses provided. It seems that there is certainly no right/correct way to go, and it is a matter of preference whether you use one or the other tool, or both.

Footnotes

  • For those wondering whether Footnotes can be used in Logseq (and how to use them), you can simply type:
    • Markdown footnote [^1] is great
    • [^1]: yeah, here is the footnote definition
  • This should return the following

Notes Structure

  • Next week, we will tackle the following question by @Denaro “How you write? Let’s say you’re writing about a book today and then about an article or just your thoughts. Did you write all in the journal divided by titles or something like that or did you create pages in the journal for each thing and then write? If you do a different thing pls tell me, glad to hear what you do” and a few more topics.

Plugins / Themes

We have a few new releases and additions to the plugins and themes available in the Marketplace

  • Extract text – The extract text by @Sid P is now available on the marketplace. This plugin allows us to extract bold and highlighted text from a block and all its nested blocks.
  • Mindmap by vipzhicheng has been updated to allow for:
    • Add a close button to right top and hidden by default
    • Add a block property mark-map-cut:: N to cut text length
    • Show collapsed state the same with Logseq by default, use mark-map-collapsed:: extend to show all
    • Fix local image lightbox not work on Windows.
  • Logseq Toolbox by @TankCool. This cool plugin allows us to add some useful utilities to Logseq such as the below:

Thank You

As always, thank you so much for taking the time to read through the latest iteration of Logseq weekly. I hope that you find the content useful and that it gives you some food for thought.