Foam as My Content Engine
Photo by https://unsplash.com/@isaacquesada
Foam is a personal knowledge management and sharing system inspired by Roam Research, built on Visual Studio Code and GitHub. -- https://foambubble.github.io/foam/
That's the official statement, but here is a secret: Foam isn't a thing (yet). It's just a curated selection of Visual Studio Code extensions that gives us a fun way to collect and link our thoughts.
I like to think of Foam as the "come back" of the personal wiki; except, you will get more from it if it's public. So that is my goal, an area where I collect and share my thoughts publically.
I chose Foam because...
If any of the following resonates with you, please give Foam a try.
- I want to be in an immediate productive state when I'm taking notes. I spend a lot of my day in Visual Studio Code (VSCode) already, I am comfortable with the tooling; the extensions ecosystem; my workflows.
- I should never have to think about the file structure that sits underneath all my content. I want to use a flat-file structure to organize everything in my head. It still exists, but it is version controlled through
gitand will live on even if I give up using Foam.
- I want my content to be the principal thing. No config files at the project root. I don't want people who look at my repository to go "Oh! That's a Foam project" or "That's an 11ty project" or "That's a Gatsby project" or "That's a Hugo project".
- I gave up on blogging. When you create your blog you enter into a contract with yourself that you have to have meaningful "evergreen" posts that visitors will find useful. You feel like you have to post because that's the very nature of blogs. But when you are not an inspired writer, or a writer at all, this is daunting. I've reset my blog over and over for decades. Since I had my first FTP access to "my place on the web" in 1997. I simply do not have what it takes to blog. But! I always take notes. Now I'm just doing it publically. [aside: I was lucky to retrieve a lot of that content... it was bad, it should remain buried 😅]
- I am not a taxonomist. Categorizing content is not my thing. Blogging platforms by default expect you to apply some kind of taxonomy to the bit of content you are writing. Is it a "page", "blog", "node", "custom node", "custom post type". It layers on top of that the option to tag it and if you don't that's fine. It asks you to assign it to a category and if you don't that is not fine. It lands in "Uncategorized" displaying to the world that you don't care deeply enough about your content. Absolute "blue shirt" 👕.
- I simply want to open my editor and write content my way. I want to establish how they link or don't link. I would like notes that are only titles and no content. I would like notes that only have one word as the content.
- I need something ridiculously easy to publish with. I hate friction. I strongly dislike slow DB queries and slow web-based admin interfaces. I need to be able to drop my content into something like "Pandoc", "Marked", "Rehype" and see a collection of interconnected thoughts. I should be able to publish it with most of the many static site generators out there without feeling lock-in.
- BONUS: Grammarly. I need this!
Visual Studio Code with the Foam recommended plugins tick so many of these boxes. This content did not have to go through countless checks. It took me all about 20-30mins to write and publish. If I made mistakes, sure, I'll own it. But its published!