These past few weeks have been very tiring, and I had to work a few more hours than expected. But I also took the time to research tools like Foam or Obsidian. These tools allow to build and manage knowledge via markdown files and links.
This year, like every year for the last six years, I’ve been trying to organize my thoughts and generate something out of them—either this newsletter, or my blog, or even documents that can be shared at work.
But this time, I think I’ve found what I’ve been looking for. Given the rise of note-taking apps supporting backlinks (or wiki-links), like Roam, or even iA Writer, Bear notes, or Obsidian. I decided to try out if this manner of using notes was better suited for my style. My style is having many markdown files scattered around, but this time I can link between them more effectively. Allowing me to “view” and understand the relationships and how I’m coming back to specific topics, especially if you connect from your “daily note” and weekly notes, etc.
Now to “actually” produce something, I’ve been investing in lowering the bar from a random markdown file in a repository to a shareable URL. For now, that looks like this:
This effectively allows me to take all the notes I want, and at the end of the day, publish them to GitHub pages, effectively allowing me to reference my notes and share them accordingly.
My previous process involved the similar random markdown notes scattered everywhere, but also copying the contents into a Confluence instance, and trying to figure out why some of the syntax I used only looked good in VSCode or trying to figure out to make something like mermaid work out.
These tools have risen in popularity in the past few months, years(?) perhaps due to the “digital gardening” movement, which is also tied to the “learning in public” training. The idea with digital gardening is that the things put out under your “website” are these seeds that will grow eventually into a more mature understanding of a topic. And thus, it is excellent to publish them often, even in a “draft” state, and keep polishing them over time.
1/ I love the idea of a digital garden! It’s a different way to “build in public.” It’s true that it doesn’t have as much friction as a blog and traveling down the rabbit hole of one can be very interesting. I don’t view it as a blog replacement, but something different. 🧵👇 https://t.co/v4OSpt9ayG— Harley Stagner (@hstagner) June 25, 2021
This is greatly enhanced by the whole wiki-links concepts I mentioned earlier. Keeping linking topics and making a mesh out of what seemed disconnected is powerful in growing your understanding.
As an example, lately, I’ve been researching into the whole “X and code” movement and wanted to try out “diagrams as code” I started with mermaid-js and also structurizr. Then those topics made me research the CLIs that create them and what makes a “good CLI interface.” All while being able to link between these little notes of information. Which I can later reference and follow back the crumbles I left behind.