Using Panda to edit Obsidian Notes

Hi there! I’m new here :slight_smile:

I’ve just downloaded Panda, and I found the look and feel amazing. I used to be a Bear subscriber, but I switched to Obsidian some time ago because I need more organizational features (mainly backlinks). But I miss Bear. There is nothing like a native app. Besides I enjoy writing in Bear more than in Craft or Ulysses for instance. This is why I’m considering moving back to Bear as soon as the backlinks feature is released. In the meantime, I intend to use Panda to edit Obsidian notes, opening Obsidian only to create new notes and use its more advanced organizational features. Do you think this practice is too risky? Any advice? Many thanks in advance!

3 Likes

I am in the same situation; as far as I know, there is no share-option on Mac that let me input text in Obsidian; therefore I use Bear now, but the problem is: no support for external images syntax like ! [] (url) . If this will be available in Bear 2.0, than I take a new subscription to Bear !

In Obsidian I can copy/paste html-text from a website and it integrates the images thanks to the ![])(url) syntax.

1 Like

No doubt writing in Bear (Panda) is a wonderful experience, unmatched by many note-taking apps. And using Panda to edit Obsidian notes works great if you don’t require auto-completion of tags or backlinks (e.g. using Panda for long-form or non-linkable content).

The big “risk” has to do with the incompatibility between many Obsidian features and Bear (Panda). So depending on which features you’re using in Obsidian, you may run into quite a bit of trouble if you are planning to eventually move all your Obsidian notes back into Bear 2.0 (Bear w/ Panda).

For instance, as of today, any Obsidian notes that use standard markdown images - e.g. ![](remote_image_path_url) - will not only not work in Panda, but will continue not working in Bear 2.0. I’d love to see Shiny Frog support remote images, but there are two reasons they may not do this: (1) it’s quite hard to implement in their custom editor. And (2) it could potentially hinder their business model.

Tags and standard backlinks in Obsidian (regular note-to-note links) will port just fine into Bear 2.0. However, backlinks to paragraphs within notes (ie. transcluded blocks) or even links to headings within notes will not work in Bear. At least, not until Shiny Frog implements a custom Obsidian importer that parses Obsidian’s custom referencing schema.

Any embedded PDFs, which function beautifully in Obsidian, will not in Bear/Panda (other than as a clickable link to an external PDF file). And ditto for any embedded Youtube clips, which again, function just fine in Obsidian but will simply appear as a non-clickable html embed in Bear/Panda.

But if you have no need for embedded images, PDFs, or video clips within your notes, and you’re only using standard note-to-note links - then you should have no issue using Panda today to edit your Obsidian notes (or any other .md files) and Bear 2.0 once it’s ready.

1 Like

Thank you for your reply! Attachments are not relevant on my system. However, I do use block references and references to headings. This is why I’m adapting my system, converting those references into note-to-note links. It’s a huge amount of work, but it’s worth it because I’ll have a portable system working perfectly in Bear (provided Bear includes backlinks in the future), Craft, Obsidian, Roam, Logseq… A lot of people talk about notes portability, but they forget that the value of notes is in their connections. We lose all portability whenever these connections don’t work outside of a specific software.

1 Like

How has this setup been working for you? I feel exactly the same way - I want backlinks but the UX of Bear. I’ve tried Roam and Obsidian (which I think is close), and nowadays am on reflect.app (simple design and linked notes). But I still use Bear for all my fiction / creative writing. Nothing beats writing in Bear/Panda!

My experiment was a complete failure. I’ve discovered that I need something like the Obsidian quick switcher more than I need backlinks. In my daily work, I need to alternate quickly among many notes. I’m always searching for notes without closing the note I’m working on. As Bear offers the possibility of opening notes in new windows, I’ve tried to import all my notes to Bear and just given up on Panda until is officially released. However, it turns out that Bear is not good enough for my work, because the regular search is not the same as a quick switcher, and opening new notes without closing the current one is painful. This is why, unfortunately, I had to move on. Now I’m using Craft. Its quick open feature is even better than the Obsidian quick switcher, and it’s very easy to work with many tabs even on an iPad. I miss the experience of writing in Bear. I don’t like blocks. But Bear doesn’t intend to become a more sophisticated app. It’s good for simpler notes and workflows.

2 Likes

Thanks for sharing your experience. Makes sense. I once tried a script that generated backlinks for Bear, worked OK. There is also Alfred hot key scripts to quick switch in Bear.

But they’re not quite the same. Have heard good things about Craft.

1 Like

One of my reasons for leaving Obsidian is how much I enjoy working on the iPad. So Alfred is not a good solution for me. But thanks for the tip!

1 Like

Totally get that. I LOVE writing on Bear with my iPad. It feels so much more focused. Then I can switch to drawing too!

1 Like

A few things to consider: you will be hard-pressed to find a system that has a better note organizational infrastructure (and architecture) than Obsidian. And you’ll be even harder-pressed to find a better writing experience than Bear. All of which you’ve probably gathered by now.

The challenge with any block editor (e.g. Craft) or outliner (e.g. Logseq, Roam) is that they aren’t built for free-form writing and editing (yet). They are designed for capturing and connecting blocks. Just try selecting the last sentence of one paragraph and the first sentence of the next and you’ll see what I mean - it can’t be done. That certainly doesn’t make those tools bad - in fact, they are each excellent in their own right. But if you are looking for a wonderful, free-form writing and editing environment that supports paragraphs AND bullets, then you’ll be disappointed with the current versions of Craft, Logseq, Roam, et. al.

One final point: if you care about security and privacy with the above-mentioned desired writing experience, then once again you’ll be hard-pressed to find something better than Obsidian (without plugins) and Bear.

1 Like

The block structure is not an issue for me because I try to make atomic notes. Ideally, the content of my notes should not exceed one paragraph. By the way, this is why I need an easy way to work with multiple notes simultaneously. Multiple windows are not ideal for that.

Thank you so much for sharing your experience. Like with other types of applications, this note-taking-apps-quest is frustrating. Tons of notes scattered around on tons of apps with not many decent solutions in sight.

I have tried Bear a long time ago and given up on it because it didn’t have the internal links feature, folders, and lacked support for RTL languages. After a long search to find the ultimate note taking app I gave up and settled on Apple Notes for a while. Then I decided to give Evernote a chance but realized after a while that I was actually paying too much money for too little. This was frustrating because I had imported most of my notes to it. I found myself back to Apple Notes.

Eventually after finding out about the ‘Zettelkasten Method’ I adopted Obsidian as my main note taking platform. It has internal links, folders, and the nice graph feature, and with a plug-in I can use RTL on my Mac. Recently an iOS app came out but it doesn’t support the RTL plug-in nor templates. Given that Obsidian is improving I have hope that all features on the Mac will eventually be adopted on iOS/iPadOS.

Now I checked out Bear again to see if things have changed, and like you I love the smooth editing experience on Bear/Panda. Panda is also an optimistic move towards full support for RTL. I too want to use it for writing long notes without necessarily using the internal link feature and then “import” them into Obsidian.

One thing I noticed is that while a link such as (www.google.com) would work in Panda, it doesn’t work in Obsidian and I would have to write it as in (https://google.com) for it to work.

So far, Obsidian remains my main note taking app, and I am waiting for Panda to come out in full version so that I can use it as my secondary quick notes app, because Obsidian is not necessarily suitable for taking quick notes.

1 Like

Thank you for commenting :slight_smile: I don’t want to go back to Obsidian. I’m trying hard not to. Everybody praises Obsidian plugins and customizability, but I hate to depend on so many third-party solutions. Above all, most themes and plugins have some issues. They are mostly amateur work in progress. And there are compatibility issues between plugins and between themes and plugins. Devs love Obsidian but as a final consumer unwilling to learn code, I think it’s a nightmare. This is why I was using Craft: a native and more professional app. However, a couple of days ago, I had to make a not-so-complex search, and it returned mistakenly empty. Well, if I can’t trust the search, I can’t trust the software. Bear was able to find the result I was searching for. Bear search is still inferior to Obsidian, but maybe it’s enough for me. Now I’m trying to get used to working with multiple windows. Multiple tabs would be so much better. I also hope they keep improving their search so that I don’t have to go back to the ugliness of Obsidian :slight_smile:

2 Likes

:grin: :face_with_hand_over_mouth:

Agree, Obsidian is not pretty. And I think given that it has been developed with JavaScript and hence aims to be cross-platform, the ‘concessions’ to achieve compatibility are showing. But as you say, Devs love it because it aims to satisfy the needs of the technical audience and not necessarily the less technical ones. I also agree on the plug-ins and themes issue in Obsidian. Wasn’t it for the need to write in a RTL language I wouldn’t even have used that plug-in which BTW doesn’t work in iPad.

This is why I root for Panda. And if it for whatever reason would also add the graph and folders options, well, then bye-bye Obsidian as my main platform to store hundreds of notes. As for writing fresh stuff, its definitely Panda from now on.

I had downloaded Craft a few days ago but haven’t tried it out yet. After reading you feedback on it I won’t waste my time with it as search is very important to me. Thank you! :+1:t4:

1 Like

With the public release of Obsidian with Live Preview (WYSIWYG), I’m gonna give it another try.

I don’t believe Obsidian design issues have something to do with the lack of live preview. Compare Obsidian without live preview to Ulysses or Bear. They need to hire a designer to rebuild all their UI/UX. Otherwise, Obsidian will always have the look and feel of an open-source app… with or without a live preview.

I understand.
I use the Hider plugin, that makes it much more clean and panda like.

But they definitely need to design it from ground up, which I don’t think will happen.

Agree. Above all, I don’t like to have to go find a third-party solution for this kind of issue. For instance, data view tables look terrible in my notes by going beyond the page width. The minimal theme solves that problem since yesterday… with a plugin and instructions that I have to read on Github since I’m not a programmer. I’m tired of that.