Graphing drafts, and other visualisations

Is anyone still interested in graphing connections between drafts?

I’m still not fully convinced by the value of graphing connections between my notes; I’m not sure that the aesthetically appealing nature of a good knowledge graph warrants the effort it takes to make one. Still, I’d been meaning to experiment further.

Sketched this out today…

It’s very vanilla. Displays one level of links from the current draft. Next challenge is to get recursive, and to determine a rough number of layers that might make such a network graph useful.

@martinpacker @Andreas_Haberle: how far did you get with your respective efforts? Anyone else doing anything like this?

Maybe it’s not all about networks?

Aside from network graphs, I’ve been thinking about alternative ways to visualise relationships between drafts that might yield more value. I’m thinking that a timeline might be useful, and I’ve got a working action here:

It’s based on visjs (and is heavily indebted to @FlohGro’s search action). I’m not 100% about the way the timeline renders in the preview window, and the timeline can be a little squirrelly to navigate at times, but it works…

Thoughts welcomed.


Hi Jacob!

I think I got bored of it. :slight_smile: Certainly it didn’t stick.

Probably because the only thing I really cross link is blog posts I’m drafting.

I think I was attracted to the job-textual prettiness of a diagram.

What’s missing is good examples where useful inferences were drawn from the diagrams. It’s more instinctive to me to think tag clouds or word clouds are things one can draw useful inferences from.

But, my experiments were fun to do… :slight_smile:

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:wave: 100% agree! Graphs look appealing, but likewise, I haven’t personally derived much practical value from them (having experimented with a few other apps that offer graphing). There’s something intriguing about being able to see/sense how one idea might connect to another in unexpected ways, but I’m not sure graphing is the best solution for me. Still open to other perspectives, and I can imagine how people who invest more in explicitly linking their notes might derive more value from network graphs of those connections, but glad to know I’m not the only one thinking this way.

Still, like you say, the experiments are fun.

Iiiiiiinteresting…. :thinking: :nerd_face:


If your goal is to experiment with graphing, you may want to take advantage of Obsidian’s graphing capability, which is very strong.

Obsidian is free for personal use and works with locally maintained .md files. You can export a number of Drafts drafts to a folder, creating files with the .md suffix. Then, create an Obsidian vault based on that folder. Obsidian uses the [[ ]] method of designating links, so links created in Drafts are recognized.

Once the folder is open in Obsidian you can create a graph encompassing the entire folder, or select a specific file and open a “local graph” showing links extending outward from that file to whatever depth you choose.

Within a few minutes you should be able to determine whether graphing is useful or not. I believe it is and therefore now use Drafts as a means of creating content for Obsidian, which I think is a strategy that plays to both applications’ strengths.

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Thanks for the pointers!

I should have said— I’ve experimented with Roam, Obsidian, Logseq and even Taio (plus a few others) as graph enabled note-making/knowledge management tools. Still haven’t really grokked the value of graph, so either I just haven’t pushed enough linked content into any of those trial efforts, or maybe it just doesn’t suit the way I think/work. Still, the graph action I’ve shared has been a fun intellectual challenge, and I figured I’d share it to see if it sparked anything for anyone else.

Also, I do think there’s some value in discussing alternatives for visualising and facilitating serendipitous connections between notes beyond the currently popular network graph paradigm (like the timeline, for example), though maybe that’s a conversation to hold in a dedicated PKM space… :nerd_face:

If graphing works for you, have you seen Infranodus? I’ve been meaning to experiment with that as well…

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The point I came to is “this is nice and pretty but provides little value to me In Production - so I wouldn’t choose software based on this feature”.

To me, as Obsidian was mentioned, the only value over Drafts is direct file support. My mind isn’t made up as to whether that matters to me - as I store completed blog posts in flat files but notes stay in Drafts.


Hi @jsamlarose as Martin I got lost in too many topics.
Like the Zettelkasten


Strangely I am taking a strage road and experiment with paper versions of a Zettelkasten - totally retro I know - but learning and thinking might still be more effektive on paper.

Links are interesting and valueable


As short as I looked as obsidian I did not get the kick of its graphs - though this might be more interesting in an extensive database.

@Bjb would you be willing to share a screenshot of an obsidian graph that you think valueable.
You max blur the text I only what to see nodes and links.


If you Google “Obsidian graphs images” you can find a number of examples.

The Obsidian graph works for me in a manner analogous to a mind map. An outline and a mind map show the same information, but in a different manner. The mind map representation improves my ability to see relationships.

Similarly, an Obsidian graph allows me to see a dozen or files and their linkages at once. I can move from file to file and watch the graph respond to show different viewpoints.

I don’t doubt that some people can visualize the same information without a graph, but I can not.

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This is a useful perspective. Thanks. Good to get a sense of how this actually works for you. I do maintain mind-maps that serve almost as indexes for notes, tags and search terms, so I can appreciate how valuable it would be to have that kind of functionality generated dynamically from the notes themselves…

Yes— I saw some of your posts about that a while back. How’ve you been getting on? (Feel free to DM if you think that’s too much of a tangent from what’s being discussed here…)

I agree— I’d like to imagine that, the more notes you have in a vault/repository, the more useful that kind of graph visualisation might become. But I wonder if it’s also about what our expectations of such graphs might be?

Like I said in my response to Bjb, I can completely appreciate the mind-map analogy; I’ve just heard so much said about the way some of these apps support the surfacing of unexpected connections between notes that I wondered whether I was missing something more.

What if the reason the graph hasn’t landed for you is that it just doesn’t meet your expectations or implicit requirements? I’m still continuing to explore other complements/alternatives…

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I am still learning mind-maps (on paper)
My wife used them years ago for her diploma studies - they are really astonishing.

After showing her my cool MindNote App she said looks more like two columns of colored lists.


There are two iOS Apps by Tony Byzanz Company both are sadly very old and even discontinued. The get the real rather paper feeling.

I was going to react to “mind map” myself…

… This version of a mind map has the chunks in separate drafts. I see two problems - which I’d like to solve…

  1. Circular dependencies.
  2. How to embed the drafts into one when rendering.

This isn’t meant to be an advert but my mdpre project can solve 2) - except these aren’t files. So it can’t quite. But I think that’s solvable. And I really should teach mdpre to resolve circular dependencies - so 1) is solvable also.

In reality, you don’t want mdpre - as it’s python-based.

My use cases are as follows:

  1. Major case: Lay out a presentation (to be rendered with md2pptx). I never did get a workflow for presentation creation centred on Drafts and I want one.
  2. Minor case: Same but for a blog post, long-form book or article.

And a mind map should get me both use cases - for the occasion stuff doesn’t just pour out of my head already formed. (Or even if it did.)

Mmmm. This is something I haven’t yet found a satisfactory solution for with my current toolset. That’s definitely one point in favour of something like an Obsidian graph.

As in the full text of each draft? I can see how this serves your use cases. Personally, for mapping out the constituent parts of a longer piece of writing, right now I’d just compile everything in an iThoughts map and continue working from there. But if I was looking at a map as something more like what Bjb has outlined (observing relationships between drafts/nodes) I’m not sure I’d find having the full text of each draft in the map to be so useful? Maybe just an excerpt for context on rollover (or single tap, for i(Pad)OS)?

I really do need to look at mdpre more closely. I’m assuming it can run on iOS via something like Pythonista or Pyto?

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@Andreas_Haberle was the one who tried mdpre in Pyto. In fact he raised a GitHub issue I saw today with “Pyto” in the text. I think it’s “vanilla” Python. I run it on Mac and, rarely, on Raspberry Pi. If I could prepare a set of files from tagged drafts I could solve my use case - starting with a tree of inter-linked drafts.

FWIW I raised an issue myself: 13 Detect Circular Dependencies with, among other things, the “hacktoberfest” tag.

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