Why I moved away from Craft

I recently moved away from Craft, my primary notes app, to Obsidian. Although I loved Craft's slick user interface, I was hesitant about its proprietary formatting and design elements. After trying out various notes apps, I settled on Obsidian, which had improved since my last attempt at using it.

Why I moved away from Craft
Craft Docs

I had been using Craft as my primary notes app for a year now, and my annual subscription came to an end. So, I had to make a choice, whether I wanted to renew my subscription or shift away to a different notes app. I have enjoyed my time with Craft, but I was not confident if I should continue with it. So for a couple of weeks, I spent time trying out various notes apps to see if there was something that could fit me better.

Whatever notes app I pick, my wife would end up using it too, as we have a space shared between us for all family related notes. This meant that whatever app that I chose, I had to make sure that it was user-friendly and not too complicated. What I loved about Craft was that the user interface was extremely slick, especially on mobile. I have never seen an app designed as well as Craft on the iPad and iPhone. But what kept me thinking to switch away was that Craft had lots of proprietary formatting and design elements, which always made me feel hesitant for the long term. It uses Markdown, but it has so many elements which are not part of Markdown, and that was not good for interoperability. If I ever want to switch away from Craft in the future, I would have to reformat a lot of these notes again to make them usable for a different notes app.

If I look back, I have never used the same notes app for more than a year as new alternatives and innovative apps come up all the time and I keep shifting from one app to another because of that. This time, there were some new apps available like Supernotes, Reflect Notes, Mem, and others. Bear 2.0 was also in the pipeline, with a beta release ready to be tested. But there was an app that I tried along with Craft last year which I wanted to take a look at again, and that was Obsidian.

Last year, when I tried Obsidian, it did not stick with me because of the UI and UX of the app, which by default was terrible. Also, the app did not have Live Preview which meant that I would always see the Markdown syntax which I didn’t like. This time around, Live Preview was added, and I found the best Obsidian theme on the market, called "Minimal". This theme was transformative. It changed the experience of using Obsidian completely, and I loved it. With two of my biggest problems resolved, I gave it a whirl for a few weeks. I exported all my notes into a Vault on Obsidian. What surprised me the most was that, all the themes and extensions worked on the iPhone and iPad as well, and I loved that. No notes app is this powerful, and I felt that I finally had found my new notes app.

But moving away from Craft to Obsidian wasn't easy. As mentioned before, the exported notes from Craft were not exactly in the format that I wanted them to be. The Documents and Pages hierarchy wasn't there anymore, all links between notes were broken and images were exported separately. These were not very hard to fix, but I did have to spend a lot of time reformatting many notes. Even the dates on my journal notes were not a standard notation, and I had to reconfigure it on Obsidian to be able to recognise these notes. But with a bit of effort, I was able to successfully move all my documents into Obsidian. It's been a month since I have moved all the stuff over, and I am happy with it so far. I am wishing to use this for the next year at least before I switch notes apps again, but this time I am hoping that Obsidian is so good, extensible and customisable that I wouldn't need to shift to a different app ever again.