For our Thursday Tech Talk on April 8th, 2021, we were joined by Tienson Qin, creator of LogSeq. LogSeq is "a privacy-first, open-source platform for knowledge sharing and management".

The first fun surprise is that Tienson used LogSeq itself for the presentation. You can find the content on Tienson's page.

The long-term goal is to help children and more people to connect their thoughts with the past and the future


LogSeq was started in February 2020. Not as a "clone" of anything, but inspired by TiddlyWiki, Emacs Org mode, Roam Research, and more.

The logo is very basic – and the community is working on some upgraded designs – but it's meant to represent footprints in the sand: the marks you make in your life, gathering and sharing knowledge.

Supports both Markdown and Org-mode formats in the browser. You don't have to learn Emacs and you can still have all of the power of Org mode.

Doesn't quite have all of the features of Org mode implemented...yet! [1]

Tienson showed us the File System Access API: currently a Chrome only browser API that allows for reading and writing from local file systems. This means being able to mix and match editing files in Emacs, with LogSeq editing files from the browser, or any combination.

LogSeq is written in ClojureScript, plus OCaml and DataScript, because Tienson didn't have any JavaScript experience but did have lots of experience with Clojure:

We got lots of demos of the query system. Uses DataScript for "raw" queries, as well as some built in LogSeq query syntax. Everything is customizable by the user, and editable from directly within LogSeq itself.

Tienson is working on this full time, and has a small team of other developers working on it too. There are 111 contributors on Open Collective, and LogSeq also supports two of their downstream dependencies:

  • excalidraw: a virtual whiteboard for sketching hand-drawn like diagrams
  • babashka: a native scripting environment for Clojure

It was very inspiring to hear from Tienson. Several times he referenced sharing knowledge and making it available to his daughter, and making LogSeq open source, privacy preserving, and available for years to come.

As part of the final wrap up, a LogSeq user Hilary mainly just wanted to say thanks to Tienson, which was awesome to hear:

No questions here, I just wanted to say that I’ve been using logseq for a while now and I love it - I’m not much of a developer, just a normal user keeping track of a lot of meetings, tasks, notes, and writing projects for work - and wanted to say thanks, Tienson, you are doing an awesome job.

We're definitely interested in seeing if we can add Fission webnative support for LogSeq, so that files can be synced and optionally encrypted, without having to have a Github account.


[1] We had some discussion live around how long Emacs has been around. 1976 was when Emacs created, Emacs Lisp came along in 1985, and Org mode started relatively recently in 2003 "out of frustration over the user interface of the Emacs Outline mode".

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