Obsidian: Understanding its Core Design Principles

The Obsidian Application

It all started in 2020

  • Data will be local-first and plaintext
  • Links will be first-class citizens
  • The application will be extendable by others
  • The application will be optimized for performance
  • and will have powerful search capabilities

Data will be local-first

  • Performance: editing and processing local files is something modern computers do efficiently and fast.
  • Flexibility: since the files are local on your disk, you can use any other text file editing programs on your computer to edit them. You are not limited to Obsidian.
  • Security and privacy: since your data is not stored in the cloud, you can keep highly confidential and sensitive information in your Obsidian notes.

Data will be plaintext

Links will be first-class citizens

Extensibility: the application will be extendable by others

  • Themes for changing the colors and layout of the program
  • Customization of the keyboard and how it interacts with the program
  • Ability to add new features via plugins

Secondary design principles

Speed: the application will be optimized for performance

Powerful search capabilities

Few other things

Review of these principles

  • Data will be local-first and plaintext
  • Links will be first-class citizens
  • The application will be extendable by others
  • The application will be optimized for performance
  • and will have powerful search capabilities

What is the value proposition for us as users?

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