Dev Research, A Zettelkasten


A new old way to take notes and research.

I've recently discovered the ZettelKasten Method (opens in a new tab) for researching and taking notes.

I first heard about it when I signed up for Roam Research (opens in a new tab) a note taking tool for networked thought who's popularity1 is skyrocketing.

I got in right before the servers crashed and they had to make Roam and invite only beta. It was free then2 and I just didn't get it. People talked about the Zettelkasten Method or Second Brain method by Tiago Forte, but I'd never heard of either of them, and when I research both, the one that stuck with me was the Zettelkasten Method.

Foam Research to the Rescue

There have been offshoots of Roam, some free, some paid, and it's not hard to understand why. The buzz around Roam is real.

I've looked at several different free alternatives to Roam even though I am a paying customer and in either a Reddit or newsletter post I found Foam (opens in a new tab).

According to the docs:

[Foam is]...a personal knowledge management and sharing system for VSCode

It's dead simple to setup, comes with its own extensions, and as you can see here, looks and feels like Roam, only in VSCode.

Just a way to connect the dots

Basically, this method is a way to collect information, link it together, to help you think more creatively.

I've published my Foam bubbles on GitHub Pages. It's called Dev Research, Road to Software Engineering Competence, A Zettelkasten (opens in a new tab). You can keep up with updates when you visit this blog as there is a link to Dev Research in the navigation of this site.


  1. And detractors. The whole #RoamCult thing is offputting, as well as the CEO, who seems almost Messianic to some observers.

  2. A bit too expensive for me at the moment at $15/mo, $165/yr. Thinking about signing up for a year and see where that takes me.

© tiff