31 Native Workspace


Be able to use Dendron without initializing a code workspace. These will be henceforth referred to as Native Workspaces (Private).


Currently, Dendron only works if you open Dendron to a dendron.code-workspace folder.

This causes the following issues and limitations:

  • new users are often confused when they open up a Dendron folder but are unable to make use of Dendron functionality because they haven't opened into the workspace
  • users have to have a dedicated VSCode workspace open for Dendron and are unable to make use of Dendron inside their existing projects
  • this is a tight coupling between VSCode and Dendron and makes it harder to build alternative clients and frontends for Dendron


Instead of relying on dendron.code.workspace, have the presence of a dendron.yml file be enough for Dendron to instantiate a workspace.


The startup process is described here.

On startup, Dendron will look at all workspace folders and look for the presence of dendron.yml


Part of this work has already been done and is described here.

Remaining work:

  • currently an error on initialization with where workspaceFile is undefined

  • we have watcher functions (eg. fileWatcher) that rely on the VSCode implementation of a filewatcher in order to update files

  • remove flag that currently gates Native Workspace (Private) to only activate in dev mode

  • achieve feature parity between code workspace and native workspace

  • update plugin tests to be able to test in code workspace

    • NOTE: this will be a big undertaking, recommend doing this incrementally

      • initially, create a test harness that can easily run native workspace test
      • slowly migrate existing tests to new test harness on a week by week/just in time basis
    • should be written according to BDD style

      suite("GIVEN Native Wowkrspace", () => {
          describe("WHEN initialized with a single vault", () => {
              describe("AND WHEN a link is copied", () => {
                  test("THEN return the copied link", () => {
                      runWithWorkspace({type: NATIVE,  ..., onInit: () => {


Native Workspace

A vault that is initialized from dendron.yml instead of dendron.code-workspace

Code Workspace

A vault that is initialized from dendron.code-workspace