Looking at Obsidian and the Craft App

I’ve heard from a lot of listeners/readers about the new Craft app and I’ve spent the last few days taking a closer look at it. Craft is one of the growing crop of intelligent notes/thinking apps. It has the ability to make notes both atomic-sized and large. Craft also uses a block text formatting making it easy to move individual blocks around (or even group them). Craft is a competitor in my life with Obsidian. Although the apps are very different.

  • Obsidian is just text. Craft can hold multi-media.

  • Obsidian is just a group of markdown files and entirely in my control. Craft is a closed system (with an export feature) where you must use Craft’s sync back end. (Although Craft has many export features.)

  • Obsidian gives you 100% control over your markdown files and their security. Craft data is stored on Craft servers and not end-to-end encrypted.

  • Craft is a native app. It has the beautiful look of a native app and it runs like a native app. Craft has many additional features that I doubt will ever go to Obsidian. Obsidian is not a native Mac app but instead an electron app. It doesn’t have a lot of the usual Mac niceties and it uses more RAM than a native app would. (That said, Obsidian is the nicest electron app I’ve ever used.)

  • Craft runs on Mac, iPad, and iPhone and your data is available easily on all platforms. Obsidian is a Mac-only app. You can access via iPad using third-party apps, but it is pretty rough.

  • Craft displays in rich text by default while at the same time supporting markdown. Obsidian works in a markdown (but can display rendered rich text easily enough.)

  • Obsidian has a friendly and passionate collection of users and developers behind it. Having spent just a few days in the Craft Slack channel, it appears Craft does too.

My takeaway is that both of these apps are very capable and on the right track. There are real differences between these apps and a good case could be made for either of them. I can see Craft’s appeal, particularly when I want to access and modify data on iPhone or iPad. Another Craft benefit for me would be the ability to embed images without having to link out to an external file. That said, I think Craft’s lack of end-to-end encryption is probably a deal-breaker for me. I say that now, but this is all very much a moving target right now with both apps iterating nearly daily. Fun times for us nerds.