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How I handle my notes with symbolic links

johnnhoj profile image John Cheng ・2 min read

Background

Handling notes has always been tricky for me. Should I use an app or have markdowns in a folder?

Lately, I decided to only use markdowns and have them centralised in a folder called notes while making them accessible in the relevant projects via symbolic links.

Objectives:

  1. Access only project specific notes in VSCode (or any IDE)
  2. Keep a folder containing all of my notes

How-To

Architecture

~
|-- .gitignore_global
|-- Documents/
    |-- notes/
        |-- project_foo/
    |-- project_foo/
        |-- .notes/ (ignore from version control)
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Instructions

The first step is to have the version control ignore the notes in each projects. For example, I decided to have my notes in a .notes folder under each project.

# Create a global gitignore
touch ~/.gitignore_global

# Add the folder that will contain the notes in each project
echo .notes >> ~/.gitignore_global

# Add the global gitignore to the git configurations
git config --global core.excludesfile ~/.gitignore_global
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Now, let's create the folder that will contain all the notes:

# Create the folder where all the notes will be centralised
mkdir ~/Documents/notes
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Finally, let's say we have a project called project_foo. We can now create the folder that will contain the notes and link it:

# Create the folder where the project specific notes will be found
mkdir ~/Documents/notes/project_foo

# Link the project specific notes folder into the project
ln -s ~/Documents/notes/project_foo ~/Documents/project_foo/.notes
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Summary

  • Folder notes contains all the notes
  • Each project has a .notes folder with only related notes and ignored by version control
  • All the notes are synced between the notes folder and the .notes one in each project

Thanks to this architecture, I am now able to access my project's notes in my IDE directly and avoid using another app for that. To add to that, because they are synced in the notes folder, I still have the possibility to open all my notes at once if needed.

Final words

Thank you for reading my first ever blog post and I hope it helps some of you :)

Let me know your thoughts and/or improvements!

Photo by David Travis

Discussion (1)

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hamatti profile image
Juha-Matti Santala

This is such a cool idea! My notes are bit all over the place and I haven't yet found a good solutions that fits my workflow but this seems interesting, I might give it a try.