File over app

Obsidian , Technology
Updated: Mar 21, 2024

Today, we are creating innumerable digital artifacts, but most of these artifacts are out of our control. They are stored on servers, in databases, gated behind an internet connection, and login to a cloud service. Even the files on your hard drive use proprietary formats that make them incompatible with older systems and other tools.

File over app is a philosophy: if you want to create digital artifacts that last, they must be files you can control, in formats that are easy to retrieve and read. Use tools that give you this freedom.

You should want the files you create to be durable, not only for posterity, but also for your future self. You never know when you might want to go back to something you created years or decades ago. Don’t lock your data into a format you can’t retrieve.

I’ve been fascinated by Steph’s philosophy since I starting using Obsidian.

Creating a resilient system of plain-text files, that will stand the test of time, makes a lot of sense. It’s the Rule of least power and the KISS principle all rolled into one – or something like that.

After all, when an app disappears or becomes obsolete, nobody wants their content to disappear along with it.


File over app from Steph Ango.
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