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Rewriting my over-engineered CLI in Rust: Motivation

This is Part 1 in Building a CLI in Rust Series


I like to experiment with new languages and frameworks. But I am pretty bad at finding a viable use case as a side project to test them out. It is often advised that the best thing to work on is to figure out the problems in your workflow and devise a solution. Nowadays, it is to remove any friction from my writing workflow.

I use Obsidian for almost all of my creative note-taking. Any programming-related stuff, exploration, and research goes into the Obsidian. At one point, I also wanted to integrate my writing workflow into Obsidian. It is the place I keep all my “knowledge”. It would be pretty easy to connect the dots in there, right?

Premature optimization

Having this workflow is a double-edged sword. Writing in Obsidian is an enjoyable experience, but the side of me that likes to build a system and optimize it took over at some point and wrote a CLI called lazydraft just to easily copy and paste files between my vault and my website content folder.

This tool worked initially. But looking back, I realised I could’ve planned its design much better. First, the API surface I initially created is bloated, and the main functionality is lost among all the non-trivial commands. This is the current command list that It supports:

LazyDraft Command List

The second thing is that the tool itself is called lazydraft, but it has an internal draft command to access the actual functionality. That command list is also bloated.

Draft Command List


I want to write more on my website and use Obsidian to do it. Removing the friction between my note-taking and publishing medium is a small optimization I could live without now. However, this is an opportunity to hit several birds with one stone.

  • I will simplify the API surface of the tool and make it more usable for myself.
  • I will rewrite the tool in Rust, a multi-paradigm programming language that I wanted to try for a long time. This project is small enough that I can finish and large enough that I will get my hands dirty to learn the basics of the language.
  • I will publish the new version using HomeBrew. Remembering that workflow for future side projects might be a good investment.
  • I plan this as a writing series to experiment with this type of content and find my rhythm in writing.

So here we are. This post is the first in Building a CLI in Rust series. In the next post, I plan to focus on research for the Rust version of the tool and come up with a leaner API.

Cover Image: Photo by Shelby Miller on Unsplash