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David's Integrated Research Environment

In an upcoming post, I’ll describe in detail what I’ve called David’s IRE, also known as a Poor Man’s Zettelkasten of the Future. Here are a few snapshots of my gorgeous Vim-based research, note-taking and academic writing environment. Think of a Zettelkasten à la Luhmann meets a Wiki meets Devonthink’s fuzzy finding meets a Scrivener-like writing environment. But 10 times better. And all in free, sustainable plain text, granular version control, and running blazing fast in a 2011 laptop. And never mind bloated Emac’s org-mode: all in (almost) plain-vanilla Vim.

David’s IRE - A Showcase

Here’s the start screen, with recent edited files and some Cow Says wisdom, via Vim-Startify:

IRE's welcome screen.

Here’s how the environment actually looks like. Notice the gorgeous syntax highlighting, structure folding and, on the left, Vim’s spell checker:

The actual IRE.

Bibkey auto-completion from my Zotero bibliography via Vim-Pandoc:


Finally, this is how a PDF looks like:

PDF output.

Or, as a webpage using my note-taking color code:

HTML output.

Or, for more portability, as an Epub file that I can read in my Kindle:

Epub output.

Beautiful LaTeX typography, automatic cross references, TOCs, and figure numeration; and dynamic bibliographies and lists of figures, are all nice and incredibly convenient.

But this is nothing compared to the IRE’s wiki/Zettelkasten functionality, to be shown in a upcoming post. Forget about Evernote or Devonthink: this is like growing a second brain.

Colophon CC BY-SA 2019