My Ideal Writing Tool 2: Electric Boogaloo

So a while ago I wrote a post bemoaning what I felt was a lack of writing tools that truly fit my workflow. However, I have recently found one that finally feels right to me. It is called Dendron and it has helped me immensely. It is a hierarchal note taking tool, that also allows easy linking to other notes and other content that you put into it. It has the ability to add metadata to the notes using something called Frontmatter. It is built on top of VS Code so it feels comfortable for me to hop into it to write, and perhaps most importantly it is built on a directory of local markdown files.

This last feature is increasingly important to me as I see a variety of cloud services shut down, or sunset old products. An open source note taking tool that works on widely accepted file types is built with longevity in mind, and for writing projects, and especially for research I want that long last ability.

Features I am still missing:

  • Better mobile editing experience: Because it is text files, I use Gitlab to track them, and so can edit and refer to them while on the go, but it does lose the ability to easily follow links
  • Automatic citation generation: I would love to write a script where I could add metadata to a file, and then when I link to it on ‘chapter’ documents, I would be able to automatically generate a citation
  • Automatic generation of ‘final’ products. Scrivener and other tools provide ways to take your text with all of your footnotes, and endnotes and everything and ‘finish’ it down to a variety of formats. This lacks that.

This tool has a bit of a learning curve, but despite that it was deeply integrated into my workflow within the space of a single day.

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