Markdown Export: Link to nested Documents

RemNote has incredible useful concepts and I would be keen to start using it, but one thing still keeps me way from using and recommending it to others. I can’t export my data with the full meaning, because the automatically available link functionality inside the RemNote webapp gets lost during export - I feel locked in. The concept of the flat markdown export is not fully functional for me, though at the same time it’s essential to me for the use of RemNote.

Example. In the webapp, when you sort Documents into each other via the left sidebar, a directory structure is created. Then in the main view you have icons in front of the Document names or folder names that live in this folder / document you are looking at, currently.
Please see the screenshots and RemNote Export appended for better understanding.

Here the exported markdown files:

By clicking those icons in front of document / folder names that work as links (see pictures above), you are going to the document / folder that is named right after the icon (the main view changes to this document).
This means you automatically have documents / folders linked that live inside a folder.
But when you export markdown, there’s no link!
To have the link in markdown export you have to create it in the webapp before, explicitely.

1. Maybe you don’t want extra clutter in your webapp for just to have links in markdown. Maybe you want the contents of the webapp as clearly defined as they already are without extra clutter.
2. There seems to be no simple way to just make a link out of the document / folder name in the web app. In the webapp itself it also would not make a lot of sense since the icon in front of the name represents the link, already.
3. You could create a extra Rem Reference, but probably this is not want you want, since it’s doubled / redundant content then.

So it seems, the straight forward solution for this would be automatically generated links during the markdown export - named from the folder / document names in the webapp and linked to the same destination the icon in front of that name links to (in markdown just a link where there was the name before) - since the icon itself is not present in markdown to represent the link. This would make sense at least for the export option ‘Documents are exported in the way they appear in RemNote, potentially with some children hidden’ because you have not all the contents in one markdown document then and rely on links to reach the other contents. An extra option for export to automatically generate markdown links or not would also be possible, then you would have total control what happens during export. I think this should be easy and fast to realize, since the link destinations itself are already available within the icons in the RemNote webapp.

This might sound like a feature request and maybe it is, but for me the absense of these links in markdown looks like a conceptional bug, because functionality is lost during export for no good reason, since both markdown and the webapp are supporting links. And to change my contents in the webapp just to have this link functionality in markdown seems not to be a good solution since I like my webapp contents as they are. Since it is crucial to me to own my data it is also crucial to me to be able to export my links out of the webapp, since they are part of my data. A unlinked exported document structure would not be worth much - ‘owning your data’ this way would be a fake. So I really would need this functionality to start serious and sustainable working on projects in RemNote.

Thanks for reading.

Do you know of any examples of apps with a linked document structure where the markdown exports do preserve the links?

RemNote does preserve links during export - but only explicitely defined links. This do other apps as well, e.g. Joplin.
The thing with RemNote is, that is does define links implicitely - and those links are not exported - what makes the entire concept useless for export and you are locked in with your data - same old story.

Regarding exporting in general: I agree with you that the export options of RemNote could be more powerful and/or flexible.

But I would not say your data is “locked in”: You can very easily get a JSON dump of your data containing all information from your knowledge base (excluding media files like images and pdfs to make backup and importing easier). Any person with some coding experience can transform this to any format of their liking, including flat markdown, LaTeX → pdf, docx or a static website. The problems here are:

  • It is not obvious how some advanced RemNote features like portals are mapped to static text. Should you duplicate the content? Or add a bunch of links in its place? (Portals can contain multiple rem.)
  • There are too many different formats people like. Should bullet points be preserved or flattened out? Generate one file per top-level rem or per document? Should the references be replaced with text when exporting for publication?

Maybe this space should be first explored by plugins and once there is a good idea of how things should work or which options are useful it could be incorporated as a built-in option.

Regarding your suggestion: I think there is a misconception here: The document/folder icons you are referring to as “links” are just differently shaped bullet points. And like every bullet point, clicking it zooms you into that part of the hierarchy. You can see that by clicking into the “Projects” rem (the title in your second screenshot) and /Zoom Into Rem.

IIRC RemNote’s default markdown exporter does not generate one file per hierarchy/top-level rem but splits a hierarchy on document/folder rems (which are just normal rems with a different bullet point) and generates one file per document. Here I highlighted each document/folder which would end up as separate file/folder in the export:

This does not make your suggestion wrong (I think it’s a good idea to have some kind of link/marker where a document was placed.) I’m just saying that the current solution is valid as well when interpreting the hierarchy as an actual folder/document structure, especially if considering folders that do not have any extra content like the Projects folder above. It just is a folder in the export containing a bunch of files and other folders.


@hannesfrank, thanks for extensive answer and the nice visualisation :slight_smile:

Of course, feeling ‘locked-in’ is discussable and subjective. If you feel at home in a prison, you’ll not have the feeling of being locked-in :wink: Only when you need to get out, you’ll have the experience that you can’t. I can’t and I know it. So I will not get in, until I can.
So what you miss depends on your needs. I need a proper markdown export. Where links are in RemNote, even implicit links, there should be links in markdown. I would experience this as ‘proper’.

So, I say I need markdown. You say, I can have json. Aehm… thanks :wink:
Ok, json… If it would be convenient to read json, lots of people would do it. But they prefer text, richtext or markdown for reading.
Ok, you say any person with some coding experience could transform it to anything. Yes. Any person with some knowledge and skills could do a lot of things :slight_smile: Yes, I could code on my own. Still strange argumentation to get me buying a coded product, hehe.
But yes, with good will and a reasonable amount of time that I don’t have I could make the effort of writing a json-md converter for RemNote exports. Maybe I do. Maybe other people do as well. Maybe we all could write our own exporters / converters. But wouldn’t it be reasonable to have one basic export tool, instead of having 1000 users writing their own tools? Whats the point then in giving RemNote the money?
And, whats your rough guess, how many users of RemNote have the skills to do that? The majority of RemNote users are coders? I don’t know. If this would be true, the userbase would just be a little bubble. If RemNote would only reach tech-enthusiasts it would be a pity. This cannot be the goal of this product, can it?!

The problems here are:

  • It is not obvious […]
  • There are too many different formats […]

This is a strange argumentation from my perspective. I talk about apples to be exported. You tell it’s a problem to export bananas. Hmmm?
My apples are links - implicit links in RemNote, but still links - one to one source-target-relations. Not portals or other cool magic RemNote stuff. No magic. My apples are the things that exist in RemNote AND Markdown.
You seem to relate other, partially more complex things to the thing I have mentioned. Then you say, that there is no simple solution for it. Then you relate this non-solution back to the thing I was talking about.
Don’t export / convert anything that doesn’t exist in Markdown. You are right, THIS is not simple. That would make no sense, except for some things that we can talk about later. I don’t want to have a RemNote in Markdown. When RemNote would be the same as Markdown in the end, there would be no point in exporting :smiley:
I am not talking about that.

I am not talking about bullet points, either. There are already options and decisions on them. They all are sound and reasonable. I’m fine with that, don’t touch it.

The way over plugins makes total sense for experimental features. A link stays a link. No experiment. No drama :wink: No plugin, please. What kind of surprise do you expect?

Ok, but still a word to the bullet points…
Seems, you are describing the UX metaphor of them in RemNote. Ok, it’s nice to talk about that and how that works in the hierarchy and so on, but in the end you have two records of data called rems. And they are connected. Normally we call such a connection a link or describe it with some kind of link. We can make a buzz out of it and call it zoom, but that doesn’t change the underlying functionalty.

But, to be with you…
I understand that every bullet point zooms, if there is something to zoom.
I am totally fine with the handling and the options of bullet points during the export.
I am totally fine as well what ‘IIRC RemNote’s default markdown exporter’ does - it makes a lot of sense.
I understand your explanation to the inner representation of RemNote, that all paragraphs are rems, either with bullet point or folder/document icon.
It was clear to me and actually desired that on export the hierarchy is splitted only on folder/document rems and I am very happy with how this ends up as separate folder/file in the export.

So, obviously there is a clear difference between bullet points and folder/document icons - else only bullet points would exist.
To make it clear - I was not talking about bullet points it my first post.
I was and I am only talking about folder/document icons - in short ‘icons’.
And I guess it is understandable to call those icons a link, when you label the target rem a document or folder, because the concept RemNote adapts are connections between documents. A well known concept since HTTP. Like links are a well known concept since then. RemNote now calls those snippets rems, ok fine. Other people call them tiddlers. Ok well, I guess you got my point.

Conclusion. Those links should be preserved during export, because the concept of links is also available in markdown and links are the only way to keep this connections between pieces of information that belong together - should be clear to understand.
In short - I love RemNote for having a virtual folder/document concept. In markdown export folder / files are what I want to have. But every sense and meaning of all this is taken away, if it’s not linked after export :wink:

By the way… the Markdown Community is not little. Deliver a nice Markdown editor and you’ll have a lot more users. And the thing is, it all could be done easily without much effort, because most pieces are already in place.

I want to use RemNote. When I write a book or plan a project or make a presentation or create a personal knowledge base, the minds and their meaning belong to me. Meaning is coming out of context. Since Tim Berners Lee did a great job context is reachable via hyperlinks. Flat text documents where the context and therefore the meaning is just somewhere, but not reachable, is just useless. I’ll never ever put all my minds into a system where I cannot get them out again in an fast and easy way.

Can somebody tell me why the title of my topic was changed?
The original title was:
Just 1 Reason to wait using RemNote: data is still locked in - No links in Markdown Export
This title expressed the reason that keeps me away from using RemNote.
The reason is, that links automatically generated in RemNote which are essentiell for navigation between pieces of information are not present any more in Markdown export, what makes the export useless in a semantic way - a serious lock-in experience.
The reason is not:
Markdown Export: Link to nested Documents - the new title.
I find the new title very misleading and inconcrete.
Why there was no way around to keep the old title?

I’d say it’s overall more practical to have the requested feature itself as the title because we are in the feature request category. The old title to me at least seems more fitting for a post in the feedback category, which is more about discussing problems whereas the feature request category is mainly about proposing a new feature.

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