What makes AnyType more appealing than Obsidian? If you switched from Obsidian, what is it like?

I looked at AnyType briefly but I’m sticking to Obsidian since it has a large plugin ecosystem and does direct file storage. I looked this up and didn’t find answers for why users switched from Obsidian, other than native databases like Notion has.

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Hi there @GolDonMomotaro
I have posted about why I didn’t continue with using Obsidian here:

I played for three weeks with Obsidian.
On the one hand, I was impressed! This programme really is immensely powerful! But somehow I couldn’t really get to grips with using it.
I also didn’t like the look of the user interface.
And all too often, when pasting copied texts, I found that the Markdown interpreter interpreted characters contained in the text as control characters for text formatting, which required a lot of reworking.

Then I came across Anytype at the beginning of November.
Although the programme has significantly fewer features than Obsidian, as well as all sorts of “oddities” in its operation, I liked it better straight away.

I then made a few bug reports here in the forum and hey - the team really cares about getting the bugs out! As a user, you’re not left helpless if you have a problem (I don’t know what it’s like at Obsidian). In general, I’m afraid of programmes with quirks that nobody cares about and where you can never expect a remedy.

The fact that you can reach the programmers here and that they really care was a big plus point, which encouraged me to keep working with the app and to accept the many little quirks for the time being, in the expectation that things will improve soon.

In fact, it didn’t take too long at all. Since the beginning of November, there have been two major updates and two or three minor ones.
The number of bugs and annoyances has decreased significantly. In addition, the last major update added a few powerful features that previously made me look enviously at Obsidian.
For example, the support of Mermaid.
I don’t need Mermaid very often, but having to do without it completely would have been quite painful.
This eliminates a major disadvantage compared to Obsidian.
I’m also really excited about the new feature of being able to embed YouTube videos directly!
This can be incredibly practical, for example if you make notes about knots or mushrooms and can watch them again directly in the note without having to go to YouTube first.
I use this very new feature often per day.

Presumably Obsidian can do all that too (and much more).
But with Anytype, I was able to manage all my data in a meaningful way for the first time, and this in an operating environment that is somehow “addictive”!
It’s now my most used programme and I’m trying to do more and more tasks with it.

Obsidian has a major advantage when it comes to the file system.
Everything there is based on text files, which could be read with any other programme if necessary. The files are also available in a clear, lean structure.
With Anytype, on the other hand, it would probably be impossible to find and view certain notes without the app.
However, this disadvantage is also an advantage when you think about data security.

I think the two biggest plus points of Anytype are:

  1. the slick layout, the whole “look and feel” (although it took me a long time to really get to grips with using it).
  2. This forum and the fact that the team takes good care of maintenance and further development.

For the future, I am optimistic that very big things will be added.
Perhaps a kind of messenger, directly integrated. Or even e-mail. And more. Networked spaces …
I foresee something like a forum software, only without a web browser, but integrated directly into Anytype.
I have a hunch that something is emerging here that will soon be widely accepted everywhere, like the smartphone once was. Or like e-mail and web browsers before it.
Other software manufacturers will copy concepts that will soon become reality here first.

Obsidian is great, no question - at least if you like it.
But I couldn’t like it. I don’t know exactly why.
Obsidian is like a beautiful and wise woman that you admire on the one hand. But at the same time you know that her character wouldn’t suit you at all.

Anytype on the other hand, is like a woman which has a lower “level of education”. She can do less. But she’s so sweet!
And you know that education can also be caught up on.
Some months more, or even a year and Anytype will be capable to do all things I’m longing for, to use in in my office and getting rid of my hated Lexware Faktura.
If this happens, I can’t any reason anymore, for giving Obsidian just a look!

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I didn’t use Obsidian very much and my comments are solely focused on the underlying applications and not so much on the platform or system (Anytype I am exploring for specific use cases, mainly working on some fiction writing projects I am exploring, most of my notes are in a private git repo of markdown files integrated into neovim for me personally and project notes I keep in project repos having long since discovered that works best for me).

Obsidian runs on Electron, which is cool in that it means that it definitely works on Linux which I use exclusively and have for well over the point I could ever go back to paying for something I can customize less, but a lot of things work on Linux and aren’t the slow, painful bloat that having electron running a (not very) stripped down instance of Chrome browser all the time that is what electron essentially is and why applications built with it use the web standards (HTML, CSS, JS. Apps commonly use React or Vue, blah blah blah). When it comes to interacting with Authy. this is fine as I use the app then close it and things are fine and Google is not creeping too hard. Yet note editors tend to just always be open for me, so quickly the open Chrome instance becomes onerous and electron is prone to memory leaks.

Whereas the hipster devs behind Anytype used Rust, which even when doing something like electron + React is still a lot faster after its initial compile event (one of the perks compiled languages offer, as opposed to scripting languages that need to call transpilers either in a build process or dynamically) so I don’t even need to trip as the Anytype Linux client works like a charm, stays much lighter on system resources and doesn’t mean needing Chrome installed (I use Firefox for a reason). So that’s why it was my first choice over Obsidian or Notion, which both run on electron last I checked with Obsidian requiring a somewhat dated one at that.

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I started with Obsidian myself. If you’re happy with Obsidian, stay with it. People who have both the skills and time to invest in Obsidian can make great use of it, shaping it to their specialized needs.

I stopped using Obsidian because I didn’t have the time or coding skills to make it as great as it could be. Also, I didn’t like the reliance on plugins for core features, and found myself spending too much time just making things work.

Re: plugins- Anytype will open up the API in the next three months, so we’ll probably see community plugins show up after that.

Re: Storage- The last Anytype update (0.37) introduced local-only storage. Though, frankly, that is a point in favor of Obsidian: I love how straightforward the folders look on the hard drive with .md files for each object.

The bottom line is that both are great, and both have things to work on, and an important question is where they will be in the future. I believe that with the introduction of a few essential features, due in the coming months, Anytype will be a powerful tool accessible to anybody. Something a colleague or friend with no particular computer skills can install and operate without frustration. Obsidian will likely be a very versatile tool accessible to people who can write their own code and who have a strong opinion on Rust (or even know what that is.)

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Obsidian is great but it has 2 problems for me

  • it is difficult to set up synchronization among devices (especially with mobile devices)
  • its license forces you to pay if you store anything from your work and license is expensive for a notes app.

I miss its simplicity in Anytype, especially for searching, which is really poor in Anytype right now IMO.

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Anytype uses electron as a framework for the desktop applications just like Obsidian (and hundreds of other apps these days…) [GitHub Link]

And where do the “hipster” developers behind Anytype use Rust? The core libraries are almost all written in Go.

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For me, it was assigning types and collections.

In Obsidian, to create a table or list of pages automatically embedded in a page, you had to use something like the Obsidian Dataview plugin, script an SQL-like query, and it would render when you opened the note. This had a huge drawback, in that it didn’t actually create links between the objects, it just renders them on a page.

With AnyType collections you can create an embedded collection and create new objects right from the source page, or link the destination page to the collection. This was a game changer for my workflow when creating daily notes, notes for recurring project meetings, or tables of other objects. So, creating something like an Agile lightweight issue tracker is really easy with AnyType compared to Obsidian for the way I work :laughing:

Another thing is the number of features supported natively. I got frustrated that most of the useful advanced Obsidian features are commuinity plugins, and sometimes they just stop being maintained/are deprecated when Obsidian changes. Things like Kanbans etc are all natively supported by AnyType