This page is a collection of nice things that people have said about Dendron. If you want to add to it, feel free to add it using the
Edit link on the bottom of the page or messaging kevin at firstname.lastname@example.org 🙏
I've been using OneNote for some years in a state of mild, but perceptible dissatisfaction as I garnered suppressed resentment to WYSIWYG editors. Editing in OneNote always felt loose and sloppy--I could never get my notes to look consistent and I could never tell which styles apply where (copy-pasting brings source styles into OneNote and sometimes they mess with line spacing which is very annoying to fix). Hating your note-taking tool does not lead to better productivity, but I kept telling myself there was a PEBCAK and made fewer and fewer notes.
Someone suggested I should use Joplin as a more secure alternative to OneNote, and there I went down the rabbit hole of note-taking apps. Keeping notes in Markdown wasn't a new concept to me, but didn't pay much attention to it before trying out Joplin. It was a step up from OneNote, but it turned out there are so many good note-taking apps that I needed to take notes:
- Boost Note
- em (not released)
- Markdown Notes for VS Code (VSCode)
- Notational Velocity
- Quoll Writer
- Roam Research
- Standard Notes
- VS Note (VSCode)
- VSCode Foam Bubble Extension (VSCode)
- VsCode Memo (VSCode)
- Zim - A Desktop Wiki
I have tried some of them; read and looked at screenshots of the rest. Almost all the apps, expect for some like TiddlyWiki, felt eerily the same, as if each one was a feature subset of some mysterious Perfect Note-Taking App. Endless variety of an ice cream store with a gazillion flavours.
When I first stumbled upon Dendron (I landed on the wiki, and not the main site), I dismissed it as something extremely technical and niche; when I later decide to try it out of desperation as I got stuck in a mire of indecision as to which of the note-taking apps I should adopt, I couldn't figure out how to create a note (I had to watch a video to understand); when I read about hierarchies and uber-fast lookups, I was hooked.
Still am. Hope to stay.
P.S.: Now, whenever I write code and not notes in VSCode, I still keep mashing Ctrl + L instead of Ctrl + P.
- Aleksey Rowan
Once you start using Dendron you never look back. Saving all the files in one folder is incredibly liberating, fast and efficient. Try it for a few days and you will see. Getting your thoughts and information down into a hierarchy is so quick and easy. I am loving the experience. (I have only been using Dendron for a few days now. And it is a game changer for me. CTL + L is your friend.)
- Ben Vautier, Co-Founder
After trying all the big and little names in building a personal knowledge base, Dendron was the right fit of features, philosophy, and velocity. Dendron checks all the boxes you're looking for in a knowledge management system.
- Brent Anderson, Software Engineer
Dendron stood out to me after a good explanation from the founder, the dot notation hierarchies is a unique approach to appeal to both camps of freeform and rigid hierarchical organization of information. It's a very powerful concept I've barely scratched the surface with but see application opportunities in a variety of more rigid contexts such as business, and government.
- Bryan Jenks, Information Technology Associate, Covered California, @tallguyjenks (Private)
I've been using Dendron exclusively for my daily journal and notetaking since last week. Now that I've learned about PARA and figured out the hierarchy that best works for me, I'm absolutely loving it! It's making me feel better about getting things out of my head and organized in a way so that I can easily find them again. While it took me a couple of days to figure out the best workflow and transfer my past notes, I'm now moving faster and able to create, update, and find notes quickly.
- Chris J Mears, Software Engineer, Carevoyance, @chrisjm (Private)
Dendron has given me the opportunity to have a one-stop place for all my notes, random thoughts and project planning right where i feel at home - in VSCode. To anyone feeling overwhelmed by planning and structuring everything from the start: just don't. Simply start noting down things that are important to you and patterns will emerge. Refactoring is easy.
Kevin is such a welcoming and open-minded guy and his professionalism and transparency in handling Dendron impressed me greatly. 9 out of 10 feature suggestions i had after using Dendron for a while, he already had in mind or even planned for a milestone.
I use Dendron mostly to manage multiple projects to keep track of meeting notes, TODOs, planned features and sharing all of this with my colleagues.
- Chris Na, Tinkerer/Software Architect
There is a learning curve to getting to know Dendron, but I find it a little like Excel - once you are in and tame the beast, it is hard to get out.
- Ed, Accountant
As one of the cofounder of The Productivists and a note taking tool hunter, I found it hard to control myself to not get my hand dirty in front of new shiny tools. I was frequently changing my tools without a fixed workflow in the early days of stepping into the productivity and note taking world, it is just great to see that so many cool guys are building tools to make knowledge management a pleasure and more efficient. I met Dendron at the time that I was in a chaos state using different note taking apps like Roam, Obsidian, Evernote, etc and had been sticking with it for a couple months now. I have also tried other tools meanwhile as well but eventually I always turn my head back to Dendron.
- open source
- build your own workflow
- write, store and publish
- good community and support
- cool guys in the core team
which suits my taste (a lot). So to speak, working my notes inside dendron is a pleasure as well. Dislike other note taking apps, in Dendron both hierarchy and linking is provided and you can combine them according to your likings. Referencing to this article from Nesslabs, Dendron fits both Gardeners and Librarians by combining the power of hierarchy, linking and publishing. Garderners can just ignore the hierarchy and do the linking while Librarians can focus on the hierarchy through the naming of the notes with each hierarchy separated by periods
C-llookup feature is absolutely great too. If you are in between both categories (like me), then Dendron is definitely your first choice for hybrid workflows.
Publishing notes is a pleasure as well (finally) by managed publishing and you can directly publish your notes after hosting them on github (of course you can make it private too I think) instead of rewriting them and publish them as a website. Everyone can build their second brain or wiki.
I store everything in Dendron now and I know it's secure and they're simply plain text markdown files so no one knows (and cares) if I store anything personal or not. Although Dendron is not perfect (yet) and have some room of improvement, it suits my needs personally and these issues will eventually be solved by cool guys in the team or in the open source community.
If you think Dendron is interesting, just give it a try and start building your second brain.
That's all I want to say and I apologize for the profanity in the title if you feel offended. This is my first time writing testimonial btw, thanks and feel free to let me know if it's too lengthy lol @kevins8 (Private).
Jack, Student and Researcher
Hierarchies [are] such a game changer, and is simultaneously what put me off trying Dendron (I really wanted to try the "flat hierarchy with just links" concept) and later drew me in again. I just couldn't organise myself with a flat structure and ended up spreading notes out. I think the key thing that changed my perspective was the ease of restructuring hierarchies, it gives you the confidence to just write, safe in the knowledge that you can just restructure it later
- Luke Carrier, Site Reliability Engineer
The hierarchical nature is what made settle with Dendron after many failed attempts to build a personal knowledge base with other softwares. I loved it so much that I decided it was finally time to contribute to an open source project. I can tell you that the dev community is also very welcoming.
- Mark Hyunik Choi, Software Engineer
I've been using Dendron for a few months now and I'm hugely impressed. It's a great idea and Kevin's developing new features for it all the time. It has an active, engaged community and is growing rapidly. I really appreciate the open philosophy behind it, having got stuck in far too many proprietary note-taking systems in the past. I'm using it not only to organise my private notes but to publish on the internet (https://iaq.matthewbellringer.com) and to collaborate with others.
There's a bit of a learning curve, but if you're used to VS Code and Markdown it's not too steep. It's very easy to get started though, like any tool, you'll want to dedicate a bit of time to getting the most out of it.
- Matthew Bellringer, Social Innovationist and Founder, Meaningbit LTD.
I started taking organised notes in 1993. I had read 'Lila' by Robert Pirsing and 'The Tao of Physics' by Fritjof Capra, both of whom used index card systems to organise those books. I've never stopped taking notes since 1993. I may have a few thousand more notes than @kevins8 (Private).
I've used apps - everything from Filemaker Pro, to Mark Bernstein's excellent Tinderbox, to DevonThink, to Tiddlywiki, to ones i've written myself, and dozens more, including the latest batch of 'tools for thought'.
Given my volume of notes over decades, I know a bit about the cul-de-sacs knowledge systems run into. I use new knowledge apps to see how they feel, but mostly studiously avoid getting stuck into complex systems and closed silos. I'm allergic to apps that are too limited for my volume and density of knowledge. I can't use Roam. I can almost use logseq. I can use dendron.
Kevin hid a copy of Vannevar Bush's 'As We May Think' in the dendron codebase. It's definitely true that the original vision of the hyperweb is back: something is changing today - a new level of literacy or a higher level of knowledge is emerging, and language, logic, and code are merging. This isn't the late 90's, no company is going to 'win'. Instead, a few pioneers are going to build a bridge to a new level of thought for networked humanity.
Dendron stands apart from the pack. Kevin is on to something. Excited to see where he leads.
- Myles Byrne, Semantic Web Developer
Here's my perspective as a full-time college librarian who's also a humanities grad student & journal editor:
I was interested in Obsidian briefly before choosing Dendron. The biggest factors for choosing Dendron are the hierarchical structure, the multiple vaults, and the many existing VS Code extensions.
Hierarchies make a lot more sense to my brain. And some of the research I've glanced at suggests it is better for PKM than tags or other free-form structures.
Having multiple vaults made me comfortable jumping fully into Dendron. I currently have 3 separate vaults: one for my daily life & work as a librarian/journal editor, a second for my dissertation-related things, and a third that my wife & I will soon start syncing on our separate computers. I'll eventually make a fourth for notes I'll publish on my website—but this is the start of the semester, and I have to avoid that kind of exciting but time-intensive project at the moment! I appreciate that references will work between these vaults—but I don't need to worry about accidentally sharing a note with a link to "project.kitchen-plumbing-disaster" with my dissertation advisor, or flood my wife's computer with my reading notes and dissertation idea fragments. This fundamental separation lets me feel comfortable using one tool for all these disparate domains.
Having the full range of existing VS Code extensions for things like Pandoc, BibTeX, or Zotero, plus web development, means that I don't need to hope that someone else involved with Obsidian, Foam, etc will make a plug-in that does what I need for an edge case use. Dendron plugs into a much larger pool of people, many of whose are doing academic and web-related work. I don't do much with data analysis, but I imagine it would be nice to use VS Code tools for Python or R in the same program one uses for academic writing.
- Ryan, Librarian
Dendron is awesome. Each day the simple things are getting easier
- Tom Diaz MD, Researcher/Technologist
The last time I felt excited about learning a tool like this was when I started learning vim... it has never stopped and I suspect my usage of this tool will evolve similarly.
- Tyler Nieman, Software engineeer/Illustrator