Here is a weird idea… slashlinks! The hashtag of links!
A /slashlink is a shortcut for linking to a local note that works like a #hashtag or @mention.
I’ve been playing with slashlinks in my latest Subconscious prototypes, and I like how simple they make it to reference other notes.
More examples of slashlinks:
Here is a /slashlink in some text. A few more: /evolution /requisite-variety /DesignPatterns /journal/2021-10-09
The gist is a slash, followed by any sequence of letters, numbers, dashes, underscores, and slashes. Slashlinks can't include spaces. It is considered good practice to use dashes - instead. Also, slashlinks are case-insensitive so /Evolution and /evolution reference the same thing. Feel free to write whatever looks better to you.
Slashlinks are something I’m experimenting with as part of Subtext, a simple markup language for note-taking. Subtext aims to be barely there. Just the tiniest bit of structure on top of plain text.
Subtext is for note-taking (not publishing or presentation).
Subtext represents block-oriented documents as line-oriented markup.
Subtext is simple to write, simple to read, simple to parse.
One thing I like about slashlinks is that we’ve seen similar markup like #hashtags and @mentions gain popular acceptance in products like Twitter, Instagram, Slack, Microsoft Teams, Discord, etc. They are so simple that writing them feels more like writing a phone number, and less like writing code.
The simplicity and uniformity of slashlinks has other benefits:
You can search for a /slashlink with Spotlight or grep, and your search results will essentially be a list of backlinks.
Slashlinks can be used as a slug, ID, or primary key in a database.
It is unambiguous what resource you are referencing.
Parsing slashlinks can be done with a simple regular expression.
The Slashlink RFC also introduces a simple markup for linking URLs… no markup! Subtext will detect any http URLs, and automatically link them.
Here's a url https://example.com.
For exotic protocols, like ipfs:, dat:, or doi:, you can wrap the URL in angle brackets.
An unusual URL <ipfs://asdasdfasdfasdfasdfasdf>.
This just feels right to me.
I’m test-driving this iteration of Subtext in Subconscious prototypes right now, and I think I like it? It makes note-taking feel like Twitter.