23-Oct-21: Logseq 0.4.5 (Pre)Release, New+Hiring Devs, Permanent Notes, Annotations, Obsidian and Logseq Set-up

No new releases as such this week from the team (albeit we do have a cool pre-release) but still lots of news to convey on the weeks events and discussions. Today also marks the two-week countdown from when we will be relocating from London to Dubai to start a new adventure. After spending most of my life in the UK, this will be a change but removal is booked, flights are booked and rent notice is coming to an end – no turning back now and only onwards and (hopefully) upwards we go.

With my sob story out of the way, let’s press on to the important stuff.

Releases

(Pre-Release) 0.4.5

The pre-release of 0.4.5 adds more functionality to the All Pages section of Logseq as well as a few other goodies.

  • All pages support batch delete, search, journals filter and remove orphaned pages
  • Persist right sidebar state
  • custom.js support. I am not too sure what this does by but the ever friendly @Tylerwince mentions “opportunity to port some basic roam/js functionality to Logseq now”
  • Improve properties inserting workflow
  • Both Copy as and Export page should be fast now
  • Marking task from “Now” to “Done” lost tracking time duration data
  • Time tracking for now->later on repeated task
  • Time tracking support seconds now
  • Logbook related issues
  • Smooth transition for left sidebar
  • Make DWIM optional

I love the new enhancement on the All pages, which looks like the below and allows for a lot more functionality and usage. Thank you so much Logseq team for segregating the daily journal pages and enabling us to see them or not.

In terms of the “Remove Orphaned Pages” this will remove the pages that satisfy both:

  1. There’s no other page that mentions this page
  2. The page is empty.

@Tylerwince, came up with a great suggestion that once pressed the Remove Orphaned Pages button, have Logseq give us a view of what will be deleted with a second confirmation option. This should be implemented soon.

Download the pre-release from here.

Logseq News

  • @leugrady joined the Logseq team as a full-time developer. “I was a researcher in material science and technology, and have been a Logseq user for academic use for almost one year. I do really love it! I’ve contributed some features to the core codes, and as a team member from now on, I will focus on the workflow and user experience in academic.”
    • Great addition by the team and looking forward to seeing what he can do
  • Slower releases and responses as the team is looking to grow further because they are hiring some great talents!
    • Shame for the slower releases, but looking forward to finding out more on this as could push Logseq one big step up.
  • In addition to the above, they are looking for others to join, so if you are a Clojure or Rust dev, be sure to get in touch with Logseq here.

Workflows

Permanent Note

1 – Take highlights using Hypothes.is

2 – Import highlights into Logseq

The above can be achieved by using the handy Hypothesis.io plugin developed by @c6p.

3 – For each highlight, I created a timestamped note in my own words. This is my understanding of the highlight.

4 – Extract my timestamped note into a Summary page:

5 – Created a Permanent Note and referred to my summary note in Related Notes:

I was not clear about a few things but I’m getting more comfortable with the flow. The easiest part is to get to the Summary section (it takes time but I’ve clarity on what to do). PNs are hard for me. It took a fair bit of effort to create one and I’m not sure how frequently I’ll be able to create them but they do make a huge difference in clarifying my thoughts.

I really like the workflow from going to reading an article to having your own notes, whilst maintaining the original thoughts of the reader for future reference.

Getting Started with Logseq

  • A few questions this week have been around what to do to get started and I think @LarryK summed it up perfectly: “I dorked around with different ways of using Logseq at first. Then I settled on what I feel is the most natural way to use it. Use the daily journal page to capture notes and thoughts through the day, remembering to tag things to make them easy to resurface later on. Use separate pages to organize ongoing things — documentation plans, story bibles, a series of blog posts, the outline of the paper or article you’re writing, or the treehouse you’re building for your wild child… you get the idea. Logseq is one of those apps that will let you use it the way you want, though — my way is multi-layered: journaling, outlining/task management, pseudo-Wiki”
  • Basically, get started and find your rhythm.

Performance

  • Performance of any note taking app is critical and something at the forefront of heavy Logseq users with an eye on the future as there will be nothing worse than having your notes but the system failing to open them due to load times. @Cannibalox presents us with some thoughts and tips:
    • The more bullets = the more time needed to parse and render your files, this is valid for pages, queries, etc so if you really want the best performance:
    • Keep pages under 200-300 bullets, split pages and link (embedding will count in render time). depending on your tolerance and system specs, 400 might be ok (400 bulets is about 2.5s to load for me). in my findings, wait time scales linearly with the number of bullets.
    • Queries that return many results will hurt performance, so either limit the scope of the query or use only a few queries. eg: don’t put 10 queries with lots of results in your daily landing page
    • Lots of long code blocks seem to have a hit on performance
    • The assets folder size was also a factor of perf degradation, but this seems to be less detrimental these days
    • Eventually split the graph/use multiple graphs if you don’t need everything in the same place
  • As a general rule, when a page needs to load more than 400 bullets, the wait time is noticeable for me (that includes the page itself, and also the linked refs, unlinked refs, etc). you can alleviate the issue with some settings like :ref/linked-references-collapsed-threshold (put a lower number, default is 50) and :ref/default-open-blocks-level 1 (to display sub-bullets in collapsed state), these are workarounds, so it’s up to you to determine what should be prioritized between perf and usability. When you have lot of files, linked refs get long very fast and the experience can degrade pretty dramatically.
  • The tagging strategy is also important : if you use very broad tags like book or movie, it’s likely the [[book]] page will take a lot of time to load before you can type, and eventually exhibit heavy input lag. Scope your tags and/or use namespaces.
  • The devs are continuously working on performance and loading improvements with a clear aim of making Logseq survive the test of time and usage.

Annotating Articles

  • In addition to the Hypothesis.io plugin a few other users provided some alternative solutions when annotating online content, such as:
    • @Mattcat uses use a small app called Articles+, for highlighting, adding notes, and can export those as .md from the app. It’s free up to 30 articles per month, and you can archive articles when you’ve processed them. $3 for unlimited articles. Note that it doesn’t do PDFs.
    • @Abhi_shek uses memex for highlighting and annotating articles and then export it to logseq. The memex team recently updated their mobile sync with the desktop app too. Alternatively you can also use the roam highlighter to highlight and export it to Logseq.

Step by Step Guide for Logseq and Obsidian

  • I’m setting up @logseq in combination with @obsdmd as a (potential) alternative to Roam. Why? Because I want to explore more of the Tools for Thought space—and have a space to journal where there are 100% no prying eyes.
  • How to get started combining @logseq and @obsdmd. The first step is obviously to install both Logseq and Obsidian. For Logseq you’ll want to get the desktop app to make this system work
  • First install @logseq in a folder that’s easy to find and sync. In the Logseq folder there will be several other folders created: logseq, journals, and pages. The latter two are important for Obsidian. I’ve created my Logseq graph in my iCloud drive for easy syncing.
  • Next, install @obsdmd. Upon starting the app for the first time, click “Open folder as vault” and select the folder you’ve just created for your Logseq graph. The journals, logseq, and pages folders should now be visible in the file explorer on the left.

  • Before you can start using @logseq and access all of your files in @obsdmd (and vice versa), some Obsidian settings need to be adjusted. Hat tip to “Luhmann” on the Logseq forums for these instructions.
  • To properly manage attachments across @logseq and @obsdmd, make sure you have the following set in the same Files & Links tab:
    • 1) Set the default location for new attachments to “In the folder specified below”
    • 2) Enter assets
  • Obsidian will create the assets folder for you.

  • Now, let’s make @obsdmd play nicely with @logseq’s Daily Notes Page. First, from Obsidian’s settings, enable the Daily Notes plugin from the Core Plugins tab.

  • Next, you’ll want to make sure @logseq and @obsdmd handle the Daily Notes page the same. To do this:
    • 1) Scroll down to the Daily Notes plugin options.
    • 2) Set date format to YYYY_MM_DD
    • 3) The the new file location to: journals

  • The reason I use Logseq is because I like to write in a block-based outliner. Obsidian is different in that it’s a page-based tool. Search the community plugins tab in Obsidian for “Outliner” and “Zoom” to get a Roam-like outlining experience. It’s the 🍒 on top.
  • Finally, close Obsidian and open Logseq to make sure the links to the Daily Notes Page are compatible with Obsidian. Go to the Settings. From the Editor tab, make sure the preferred date format is set to: yyyy_MM_dd. Now any date link you create in Logseq works in Obsidian.

Fantastic work, thanks @rroudt.

Plugins / Themes

  • Paper Theme by the very talented @Daniel Wirtz. Daniel provides us with a beautiful minimal theme, where the page and journal container is elevated from the user interface. Therefore putting it front and centre for a distraction-less writing experience.
  • Daily Reflection by @hkgnp that inserts an iframe from the Daily Reflections @Creighton University that corresponds with the day’s Journal page. It then creates a subsequent block after the iframe to insert personal reflections
  • Habit Tracker by @c6p has been updated to allow for:
    • Add support for inline habit tag besides nesting
    • Add support for custom habit pattern (regex)
    • Breaking: Change default habit marker from Habits to #habit – Set block marker to Habits in settings if you want old behaviour
    • Breaking: Change default habit pattern from Habit – 1,2,3 – Notes to Habit – 1,2,3 – Add your notes after a newline