Early Release of Self Contained Vaults

Dendron's mission is to help humans organize, find, and work with any amount of knowledge. We've shipped many features last year that got us closer to this goal -- some of our favorites include note traits, block references, file links, integration with other tools, and advanced note refactoring.

While we've made significant improvements to the note taking process, our underlying mechanism for managing notes (vaults and workspaces) stood out as a point of confusion for both new and existing users.

As a refresher - a Dendron Vault is a collection of notes and assets inside a folder. A workspace is a collection of vaults. Vaults can't function without workspaces so sharing a vault still required that the recipient setup their own workspace. In addition, Dendron workspaces are related but not equivalent to VSCode workspaces but there was enough overlap that it was hard to figure out the difference.

We started addressing this issue with Workspace Vaults. This made it possible to share Dendron without any additional setup but was a special case that required manual configuration. Today, we are introducing self contained vaults which removes the distinction between vaults and workspaces and radically simplifies the management and sharing of notes in Dendron.

Self contained vaults

Self Contained Vaults contain all the information needed to manage, edit, and publish notes without the need for a workspace (in fact, we are deprecating and removing the workspace altogether moving forward). What this means for you:

  • You can copy or sync your vaults across devices and have them just work without additional configuration
  • You can publish or share any vault by itself or as a collection.

Note that these usecases are already possible today but currently require many extra steps as well as bespoke configuration to get working. With self contained vaults that's no longer the case, and you can sync, share, and publish with confidence.

What's different about self contained vaults?

In technical terms, we made a few changes to how vaults are set up and laid out:

  • Self contained vaults include dendron.yml and dendron.code-workspace files, which makes it possible to open or publish any individual vault.
  • Notes in self contained vaults are stored inside a notes folder, which makes the folder view cleaner and makes it possible to add a README.md at the top level for services like GitHub.
  • When you add a new vault while using self contained vaults, the vault will be placed under the dependencies folder with a consistent naming scheme. This will make vaults easier to reuse in the future.

Can I use self contained vaults?

Yes! Right now we are rolling out self contained vaults to a portion of new Dendron users, and we'll be expanding that portion over the next few weeks. We'll then roll this feature out for everyone, and provide a way for existing users to migrate their existing setups.

If you'd like to try it out in a new workspace, you can follow the self contained vaults configuration to enable the feature then create a new workspace. Otherwise follow these instructions to migrate existing vaults manually, or stay tuned for when we release a new doctor command which can migrate your vaults automatically.

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