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The 'Share Note for Obsidian' Plugin and Tufte Sidenotes
A new plugin uploads Obsidian themes and CSS snippets to style online shared pages.
I’ve written in the past months about an approach to styling Obsidian notes that allows me to use Tufte-style sidenotes (appearing in the right margin of the document) instead of conventional footnotes (at the end of the documents.
Most recently, I wrote in Obsidian Tufte-style Sidenotes about that implementation by TfTHacker, and I noted one of the limitations: various plugins designed to allow Obsidian users to share pages via online implementations did not incorporate a mechanism to upload Obsidian themes or CSS snippets that enable the sidenotes’ rendering. The good news is that a new plugin, Share Note, by Alan Grainger, has been released, and it does exactly that.
At the time when the first note is being shared via this plugin, the theme and CSS snippets I am using in my Obsidian app are uploaded to the Share Note server. The result is shared Obsidian pages that render sidenotes and other styling just as I see them in my app.
Here’s a typical Obsidian note in my vault, an article by Andy Beckett entitled Post-work - the radical idea of a world without jobs, which can be found on the Guardian. Here’s the note in reading mode, showing the footnotes displayed as sidenotes.
I’ve described the mechanism in earlier writing, but the short version is that TfTHacker devised CSS snippets and other bits of magic in his Cornell Notes implementation so my notes render as shown above.
The markdown for the sidenotes relies on the Obsidian implementation of footnotes. For example, the paragraph with footnote 3 above is this:
==Work is increasingly precarious: more zero-hours or short-term contracts; more self-employed people with erratic incomes; more corporate “restructurings” for those still with actual jobs.== ==As a source of sustainable consumer booms and mass home-ownership – for much of the 20th century, the main successes of mainstream western economic policy – work is discredited daily by our ongoing debt and housing crises.^[The housing crisis and growing financial inequality undermines the primacy of work as a central institution of society.]== For many people, not just the very wealthy, work has become less important financially than inheriting money or owning a home.
And the footnote is of the inline form, which simply includes the text of the footnote reference without numbering.
^[The housing crisis and growing financial inequality undermines the primacy of work as a central institution of society.]
The Share Note plugin
After installing the Share Note plugin, I can create a sharable online version of the note which renders almost exactly like what I see in my Obsidian app. Here’s a screenshot:
Note the small text at the lower right, ‘Share Note for Obsidian’.
You can see the entirety of that note, here. The URL created can be shared with others who have read-only access to the published note. Note: the online note is a copy, and not a link back to the source note. The Share Note implementation allows for republishing a modified source note to the same URL, for updating without breaking links.
I have not tested all features of Share Note, but Grainger states that links to other notes that have also been shared will resolve. This means that readers can click through from one note to another. I have yet to experiment with that, but it could be a means to create so-called digital gardens.
The Bottom Line
Share Note will make a big difference to me since I make extensive use of sidenotes. For example, I will be sharing Share Note versions with subscribers to my Work Futures newsletter and for collaborators on many projects.
Perhaps in some wonderful future version of this or other plugins, the note might be editable, or at least support the ability for others to make comments on these shared notes. Fingers crossed.
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