Contextual Sidecar in Obsidian

As I’ve mentioned on here before, I use Obsidian a lot. One thing that I’ve really come to like as of late is the meta-bind plugin. This let’s you add items to your notes that edit the frontmatter metadata, as well as buttons to execute actions, and special-purpose “views” of the data in your notes.

One of the most common types of notes I use is a meeting-notes template. (This is a link to the current version, but I try to keep that repo sorta up to date.) I have places for attendees as well as TODOs. What I was finding was that I often wanted to update the attendees from within the page, but my notes got really long and I had to scroll around etc. Another thing that I’ve been doing is adding “person” entries, so that the meeting attendees link to pages of notes I keep on those people.

What I realized I needed was a way to keep the meta-bind inputs and actions visible at all times, even when I’m down in the page. So I decided to write a plugin that would find a contextually-appropriate sidecar file and keep it open in the panel to the right. After a couple weeks of iterating on the specifics, it’s now in the Obsidian Community Plugin list, and it’s available in source code at matthewturk/obsidian-sidecar-panel.

This lets me add a panel that is queried from a sidecar-panel entry in the frontmatter, a set of tag mappings, or a default sidecar file. For my meetings, I now have a button to spin up a modal-form to make a new person entry, a button for a new todo, a list of the attendees (which I can add to right there!) and a view of all the previous TODOs for the people currently attending the meeting. You can see that panel here.

Give it a shot, if you like!

Matthew Turk
Matthew Turk
Assistant Professor of Information Sciences

I am interested in the intersection of data analysis, visualization and open source in the sciences.