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Standard Notes – A notes app with a focus on longevity, portability, and privacy (standardnotes.org)
673 points by mikecarlton on Jan 17, 2017 | hide | past | favorite | 282 comments

Excellent effort! However, it also introduces a _major_ security hole:

The Electron Desktop App simply loads an index.html which points at remote JavaScript. That's crazy dangerous - if that endpoint gets compromised, nothing keeps the attacker from running `rm -rf /` on every user's machine.

I'm a member of the Electron maintainers group and fully realize that this is partly on us for not educating better. Remote code should never run with full privileges - consider using a `webview` instead, which can be sandboxed.

Gotcha, easy fix, will get that out asap. We did this as a way to push out changes quicker since we were still making major improvements often.

Or sign each release with a private key on a machine that's "very protected from the Internet" and only have the Electron app automatically pull the update if the signature can be verified with the public key. Note that the public key should also not be on the web server (try Keybase ... if you don't have it I'll send you an invite).

EDIT: Oops ... see the comment below as apparently Electron supports code signing via certificates.

I think you're not at a point where you should be advertising security as a feature (rather than eventual goal) of your product.

What you found are just bugs. But their main point is indeed security - compared to say simplenote. Here everything is indeed encrypted and they have no way of reading our data

Are they just bugs?

    encryptText(text, key) {
        var keyData = CryptoJS.enc.Hex.parse(key);
        var ivData  = CryptoJS.enc.Hex.parse("");
        var encrypted = CryptoJS.AES.encrypt(text, keyData, { iv: ivData,  mode: CryptoJS.mode.CBC [...]
The basic encryption operation seems to be AES CBC with a constant, reused IV.

Items are encrypted with random keys. No two items are ever encrypted with same key. Thus no need for IV, and makes implementations across platforms simpler.

Is there actually any description of how you're encrypting, how you manage and distribute keys, why you believe this is secure, why you're not using an authenticated mode, etc? "Thus no need for IV" when your desktop client just pulls a minified blob from somewhere is not particularly reassuring.

> What you found are just bugs.

Most security issues are.

Unless you have an extensive background in application security, especially on the stack that you are using (Electron, etc), then don't advertise security as a feature. Let someone else who knows how to crack 'secure' apps decide if your app is secure or not.

As Bruce Schneier famously quipped, anyone can invent a security system that he himself cannot break.

True in some measure of any product in any stage of development.

I'm just getting started with Electron, so forgive me if this is a stupid question, but how is that different from the updates endpoint getting compromised (for apps with auto update enabled)?

That's an excellent question! The auto updater requires your packages to be code-signed, meaning that someone would have to compromise the endpoint _and_ also be able to sign code with your root-trusted certificate.

Oh neat! That makes sense, but I didn't realize it was set up for code signing. Good to know :)

The auto-updater really isn't ready for prime time, sadly. I'd suggest waiting until https://github.com/electron/electron/issues/8106 is resolved before using it in your project.

Subresource Integrity can also help prevent damage from compromised external hosts. It's a good defense against CDNs turning malicious.

Is education the only way around this? Sounds disastrous enough to warrant active policing.

This is a really cool project. I love the spirit of this. I would also mention nvALT has a similar philosophy in terms of file format and supports Markdown and fast searching of notes. Sadly it is closed source and Mac only so it does not have the same overall philosophy (despite the note output being very portable).

I feel this will work for a lot of people, especially less technical users. I have settled on Org and or Markdown, to Dropbox if required sync. Emacs and or any other text editor will just works. That said just taking notes in a consistent place and in a consistent format gets you 80% of the way there. Grep and find still work. I almost always end up back there :)

Org is its own little world, but I know that I can always edit an Org file on any computer with my preferred editor.

I like this trend of back to basics in computing (even if it is running in a web browser on my desktop), its goals are nice.

edit:nvalt is open source. Mac only and as others pointed out not updated too regular but I know people who love it.

nvALT is open-source! It's a fork of Notational Velocity, on the developer's GitHub: https://github.com/ttscoff/nv

That being said, I don't think it's updated too regularly. Brett is working on a complete rewrite of the app (which will be a paid version): http://brettterpstra.com/2015/09/14/an-nvalt-and-more-status...

There's similar support in org-mode, in case you are interested in Emacs or use another platform:


Also deft, if you are not using org-mode.


I use deft after trying a few other alternatives. In the end I realized that I didn't want to learn another tool just for taking notes, so it had to be both something simple and something that integrates with my editor (Emacs or Vim).

Ahh you are right. My apologies :)

Terminal Velocity is cross platform and open source and awesome. https://github.com/vhp/terminal_velocity

Yes, nvalt is Mac only.

If you are on Windows, I highly recommend ResophNotes. It isn't open source, but it's excellent software very much in the spirit of nvalt. I've combined ResophNotes with Autohotkey and Merlin Mann's notes taxonomy and it's a killer combination for me.

I use a cross-platform clone called nvPy on my primary machine, it's a pretty adequate substitute.

That looks pretty great. I've been looking for a simple (from a UI perspective) tk application to learn from and I think nvPy fits my needs nicely. Thanks!

A made a simple clone (https://github.com/wincent/corpus) of nvALT in JavaScript because it was easier for me to make an app from the ground up in Electron than it was to hack on a foreign Objective-C codebase (a little out of practice). I wouldn't recommend that anybody actually use it though because it is far from complete, albeit good enough for me to use it every day.

Interesting! I had a similar thoughts, but didn't want to start from scratch (I include Electron in this definition). Instead, I went with implementing it as a Atom package to leverage its community and other text-editing features. See https://github.com/viddo/atom-textual-velocity

Thanks for sharing, I enjoy reading your code.

My bad! I havent used it in a while :)

nvALT has always been open source. It has to be -- it's based off of Notational Velocity, which is GPLv3.

Zim[0] (open source) has a lot of these features. It saves your notes as plain markdown files, but has a WYSIWYG editor. You can link between notes. Add pictures, formatting, etc.

There is also a huge number of extensions, back when I was doing math stuff I used the LaTeX one pretty often. Another useful one is the calculator extension, which can evaluate simple expressions like 3 * 5 =.

Since it's just plain markdown files, you can save to Dropbox, git, NFS, or anything else really. There's even a built-in plugin to automatically commit to git periodically (useful for standalone notebooks, since you don't really want to be opening git manually).

I've yet to find anything better, although I do wish it had better support for "anonymous" notes. That is, notes that I don't really feel like organizing or naming.

[0] http://www.zim-wiki.org/index.html

Zim is great. The only thing it is lacking is something like Evernote clipper.

Evernote clipper (or "save this page as a note") is the only thing keeping me on that platform.

Looks like a potential opportunity to use something like node-unfluff [0] to scrape page content. Pull request anyone?

[0]: https://github.com/ageitgey/node-unfluff

Zim does have support for embedding images, or links to other files/websites.

Zim has support for embedded images, but not Web clipping.

OneNote has it too.

The OneNote clipper felt a little lacking and sometimes buggy for me. The Evernote clipper really shines in how smooth everything works.

Related, here's a post by the author [1] about Evernote which sheds light on why he went about making this. Interesting read.

[1] https://medium.com/@mobitar/evernote-is-what-happens-when-yo...

Interesting is one word for that, given the main thesis that venture capital is universally to blame for the failure of centralized things we rely upon (with zero evidence to support this assertion), and that building another centralized service with less functionality is somehow the better answer. Speaking personally, I completely rely upon PDFs and images and things accompanying my notes because of the nature of the work I do (I have about 4,700 pages of research and almost a gigabyte of imagery all tied together in a Scrivener project for a single piece of work, for example), and the frozen feature set so proudly advertised smacks of "people need to take notes exactly the way I do," which is an immediate turn-off for me. That it's taken further and somewhat arrogantly called "standard" notes really chills me on liking this product at all, given that it completely and intentionally omits useful things to a lot of people -- including me. Then there are extensions, of course, pushing out all the useful features to extensions which will work even less over time.

Maybe some people will like this, but the motivations and decisions just seem ill thought out so far, particularly when it's "VC is going to kill Evernote, so you should rely upon a hostname I personally administer instead and you get exactly what I give you" as the main call to action when I go to the page.

I agree. I spent quite a few years working in Digital Preservation, and what we found is that as evil as you paint them, a big corporation with lots of money will outlast an individual with pure motivations. That's why we can still read DOC files today.

Speaking realistically, investing your personal data in this project is currently a much greater risk than using Evernote.

> Speaking realistically, investing your personal data in this project is currently a much greater risk than using Evernote.

I fail to see any risk in investing your personal data in this project. According to the website you can simply output your data to a text file:

  - [..]
  - exporting all data as a human readable file
  - [..]
(I have no stake in this app, but personally use vimwiki and thus have all my notes in markdown text files anyway)

The app doesn't work without an active web connection -- it's just an empty shell. So if the website goes down, I've still lost my data unless I back it up in advance.

I'll bet that .txt files (which is what I currently use to store notes) will outlast .doc

Great read. Nothing new but it's important to put the spotlight in the cause of the rot of this industry.

I don't agree with the author much. Ok, Windows Evernote client is a bit bloated, I agree, but I can still immediately enter new note and immediately search notes via a shortcut. And there is a normal windows listview where I can see a lot of notes at once.

On the contrary, this is like a web application optimized for tablet converted to a windows app. Frankly the list of notes looks horrible on desktop.

Anyway, I look forward to this project, and it could be successful in the end, similar way the Visual Studio Code is. Good luck.

With a lot of notes and lists in Google Keep, I always wonder when Google will kill it like Reader. So, I'm really behind projects like this focusing on openness and durability. I hope it's a success!

I do academic research as a grad student and it's very reassuring to know that if my office doesn't burn down or get ransacked, that my pen-and-paper research notebooks will be there for reference to see what I did on a past project. It was an exceptionally cool experience when visiting the NRAO[1] Archives[2] to pick up and read 70+ year old research notebooks from pioneering astronomers. It seems like it would take a great deal of vigilance to make digital notes endure for that long.

However, digital notes are useful, especially for brain dumping something quickly, so I've settled on vimwiki[3] in a git repository. They're just markdown utf-8 textfiles in a folder hierarchy, and I figure vim and vimscript extensions are pretty darn future proof. It's also useful when traveling and being given a guest Linux work station to use that it doesn't require admin privileges to get working: just git clone the vimwiki repo into ~/.vim and clone the notes repo.

[1] https://www.nrao.edu

[2] https://www.nrao.edu/archives/

[3] https://github.com/vimwiki/vimwiki

My principle, maybe my only, problem with paper is appending to notes I've already closed by opening new notes after them. I realize there are methods like the bullet journal's that address this, but they've felt clumsy to me. Did you notice any particularly effective nonlinear note taking style being used by these astronomers?

You know, you would think for something as basic as writing down what you're doing there would be an optimized way passed down like some sort of tribal knowledge. But from having asked around, the note taking process spans the entire spectrum from old school big research notebooks, collated three ring binders, instances of mediawiki, evernote, to just a bunch of .txt files scattered throughout their filesystem. However Evernote is probably the most common--being able to easily copy-paste plots and images seems to ease a big pain point.

For paper notes, I know exactly what you're talking about. I think such a non-linear problem can be solved with different note taking methods as "short, medium, and long-term storage". I find my research notebook useful as a dated "what am I doing right now", free-form input useful for equations and diagrams, and short term to-do lists (which are more useful for outlining the steps needed to actually get something done). However, it's not very easy to lookup info by topic and it's time consuming to write out detailed explanations in long-hand. I haven't had much luck with the bullet journal system or similar because it's just hard to keep those indices up to date. At this point I find it most useful to type up the "cooked" knowledge into vimwiki at various points. These semi-fully formed digital notes can then be used as the building blocks for the "long-term storage" of more durable works like journal articles or papers.

(this made me smile; I worked at NRAO for ten years.)

Quiver is another awesome note taking app, native and superfast on macOS:

http://happenapps.com https://github.com/HappenApps/Quiver/wiki/Getting-Started

And 10.8 MB on OS X. This thing - 115 MB. And Quiver has far more functionality. I get the multiplatform thing, but Electron >_<

Been using it for about a year, and like it. But switching off because it doesnt sync with anything and I cant use it on my Android.

Quiver is awesome, but I really need something that works on Windows and Linux as well. I'd be fine with using different apps if they all used the qvnotebook format, but as far as I know, nothing but Quiver uses that, and I don't want to have an export/import step.

Love Quiver but I really need an iOS client!

What's wrong with good old notepad.exe and *.txt files? Notepad (nano, ed, other lightweight editors) has a quality that this doesn't: unstructured text. When writing I don't want to think about metadata, I just want to write, not think about titles, tags, etc. One could probably infer a title based on the first line. I think forcing structured data input is the wrong approach and it is better to use NLP or other methods of inference.

On a technical level, this seems to be a desktop web app which is overkill for a simple text editor. Compare its performance to notepad.exe which ran fine on machines from decades ago.

That's pretty much what I do, except using UltraEdit as the editor. Virtually everything I've needed to make notes on over the last 22 years are in a folder hierarchy of flat text files. Over the years I've tried HTML, DOC, WRI (Word pad), but find TXT is the best for longevity.

All data is stored on several USB keys that are backed up in several places. Private files are stored in a truecrypt volume. Encryption and media are easily changed if that becomes necessary and technology changes.

My collection currently holds 1508 files from Feb 1995 to today, in around 100 categories. For searching, I use the old ZTree, usually finds what I want in seconds.

I would like to do something similar but I would like markdown support and the ability to link to other documents/media.

Any ideas, hn experts?

Where there's demand for privacy and security, notepad falls short, as you cannot password-protect your notes. This is part of what Standard Notes addresses. If you don't need it, then that's fine. I use Dynalist for my notes.

[1] - https://dynalist.io

On Windows, there's EFS and NTFS ACLs for privacy (and BitLocker, of course). For portable encryption you can use 7-Zip with encrypted archives, and as a bonus: 7-Zip's archive manager lets you edit text files in-place (well, it does extract and recompress them when you're done, but the UX is such you don't need to mess around with file management yourself).

I use my own notepad app - ScratchPad[1] - to solve a similar problem with a slightly different emphasis.

I wasn't concerned with privacy, but very concerned with longevity, portability, and history. My app auto-saves every few seconds, and records a log of the diff. The log tracks the entire edit history of the file, so you can follow the evolution of the document, undo changes, whatever.

Logged revisions also effectively ends up as a text collapsing function - just keep the first line or so of a block of text and delete the remainder, and then when you want to open up that block of text again, just scroll back in the history.

I've been using it for years on Windows and Linux. I haven't yet had a need to port it to OS X. I keep my notes in Dropbox for distribution and so I can access them on my phone. If the text file is edited out of sync with the log, the next time the file is opened inside scratchpad, it simply records a diff between the new state and the expected state from the log.

The format is just plain text. No fancy formatting. It's set up to use Dina, as that's my default font on all my systems.

[1] https://github.com/barrkel/scratch

Nice - I was about to rewrite a sticky note thing I have been using (saves to DropBox, too), but I have forked yours and will start from there instead.

Reminds me of Simple Note, which I've been using ever since Evernote became slow and bloated (https://simplenote.com/).

Bear App (http://www.bear-writer.com) is pretty neat too - it has Markdown support and uses iCloud Sync, which is probably the best part of Apple's Notes app.

I on the other hand find Bear horrible. You are completely locking yourself into their system and if you stop paying the monthly fee, you even loose the ability to sync your things to your phone or Mac.

On top of that, I find their organization features not very good. The ability to tag notes seems neat at first but it can become very messy very fast. Completely freeform tagging requires a lot of discipline to not get out of hand, nested tags make this even more difficult. This is especially true for a notes app that is supposed to last you over many many years and possibly hold thousands of notes at some point.

I personally bought Ulysses and use that as my notes taking app for text-only documents, and Apple Notes for short-lived image related notes.

Ulysses is interesting, but what justifies its high purchase cost (the Mac app costs over 60 CAD)?

It's more a full blown, fully customizable writing app targeted at writers. Using it only for notes is probably not doing it justice.

In any way, my point is, I personally rather pay a price and own the piece of software than renting an app. In the case of Ulysses, I can still use the same version that I currently own in 10 years even if the company behind it goes out of business (given it will still run on our machines that we use at that point) + updates until the next paid upgrade (if that happens). I am not locked into a sync solution and can freely switch from iCloud to Dropbox to <other folder sync technology> to make it future proof.

Bear on the other hand is even more uncertain. Sure, the subscription is helping the developer to keep the app running but once I stop paying that, I will loose crucial features. Also a subscription doesn't guarantee that something unexpected will happen to Shinyfrog (the company behind it).

I own, use, and enjoy Ulysses, but I wouldn't buy it at its current price.

Edit: It's fantastic software, but I wish it handled images as simply as Quiver.

I agree. If inlining images would be as easy as in Bear, I would be very very happy. As it stands, I have to preview my document to see the images

It's neat, but only if you live completely inside the Apple ecosystem.

Have started using and has become my daily driver (for notes and lite GTD work). The developers also actively engage with the community over at reddit.com/r/bearapp

After being a heavy SimpleNote user I finally migrated to Onenote. Simplenote is excellent for basic notetaking but having used Onenote I'm spoiled by it's ability to search within images. This is a lifesaver if you have to quickly search for a scanned receipt or a screenshot.

Found myself in a similar situation with Wunderlist slowing down over the past year. Found Taskcade (http://www.taskcade.com) to be a good alternative, but it is web only right now.

Does this do reminders?

I don't think it does yet. But there's an extension system built for Standard Notes so 3rd party can add.

I like the broad idea, and I appreciate their making this open, but this design leaves me cold. It's basically a Notational Velocity with central servers and one of those clumsy toggle-to-preview Markdown interfaces.

Between stuff like this and Workflowy, I think there'd be a market for a cloud-based version of org-mode with nice, non-Emacsy front ends that supported the key org-mode capabilities.

But that will take forever to make. Even for the key subsets, because org is huge. And if you use the spreadsheets, forget it.

And some stuff, like babel (which is probably important to devs), depends on other emacs packages...

Well, there are already a several org-mode parsers[0]. Some of them are quite good too.

0. http://orgmode.org/worg/org-tools/

is it really that important for a non-emacs client to support 100% of org's features?

You can still always open complicated org files in emacs if you really need to, but that shouldn't stop people from attempting to develop a lighter client alternative that's more convenient for the browser or mobile, for example.

Even just using a subset of orgs features, it can still be significantly more powerful than just plain old markdown. Most of my org notes would be ok to edit with nothing more complicated than the labels+tags+checkboxes+tables features. Would be mildly annoying to manually update a few things here and there, but it'd still be far better than nothing.

>is it really that important for a non-emacs client to support 100% of org's features?

No. Even babel's not really necessary.

But even implementing a broad subset might be hard. However, there is already rudimentary support for the org format outside org, so it may not be that bad.

Something along these lines is what I'm imagining. I'll have to poke at it.

Agreed, I think there is room for improvements and the design leaves me cold. I found https://www.taskcade.com to be a good alternative to Workflowy, but it lacks native mobile right now.

> What I write is important to me. I want to be able to read it fifty years from now. A hundred years from now. So where do I go? Apple Notes? Google? Other private, short-lived, growth-oriented companies? No. What we need is something that focuses on durability and not growth.

I know HN is for the tech crowd, but can I suggest something so simple it sounds stupid? If you want to read your notes 50 years from now use a pen and paper. Go ahead, downvote away. Yes, you won't be able to index them and search them and yadda yadda yadda but you're writing _notes_, not full-fledged documents.

What is a note? "A brief record of facts, topics, or thoughts, written down as an aid to memory." according to Google.

I keep a small Moleskine notebook and a pen with me to write down notes and ideas. James Altucher uses a waiter's pad. It works just fine. I know it's a radical thing to say but technology isn't always the solution to our problems.

>> I want to be able to read it fifty years from now ...

> Yes, you won't be able to index them ...

The availability of old information is strongly related to the ability to index it. Your notes from ten years ago may be physically there, but how long is it going to take to find what you need?

I use pen and paper all the time but only for ephemera. Its advantage is that I'm not constrained by having to write pure text and I have a 2d surface, but once the thoughts are down and concrete the important bits are transcribed into my org-mode file, which even allows me to transcribe diagrams and math faithfully. I've read Altucher's words on using a waiter's pad and he says the same thing -- it's for ephemera. I've seen the way many people use physical notes and it's largely the same thing. The ones that do use paper as long-term storage have a separate set of notes just for that, and transcribe from short-term to long-term anyway, at which point the other liabilities of paper come into play.

Paper is heavy, and takes space. Over the years I've amassed a copious amount of notes that haven't yet been digitized. Without exaggerating, they're enough to fill a suitcase. That kind of mass is an anchor, and when I move I get to make a decision: bring them, or leave them in storage. Notes I can't get at might as well not exist.

My ideas, understanding of things also evolve over time, and if my notes are to be faithful to that they should allow the same mutability. Even if I want to preserve the history of the evolution, I'll want to be able to insert the new things where they make sense -- a new consequence here, a parenthetical that amends the previous thought there.

Paper worked well for persistence when that was all we had, but we have much better now.

> I've read Altucher's words on using a waiter's pad and he says the same thing -- it's for ephemera. I've seen the way many people use physical notes and it's largely the same thing.

My thoughts exactly. When I think of notes, grocery lists and todo lists come to mind. In my opinion, the function of note taking is comparable to RAM. It's short-term and ephemeral. Notes may contribute to a long-term document that should absolutely be digitized, but storing the notes themselves defeats their purpose in my view.

Gotcha. Your quote at the top regarding long-term storage had me thinking in that direction (the long-term stuff is still "notes" to me).

Come on. I know I'm supposed to avoid needless hostility on HN...ok...

No, I won't be able to search them, nor will they sync, nor will they be there when I lose my notebook. Or it gets wet, or when I forget it, and I sure as Schmidt won't be able to read them in 50 years, because the only thing I have that is that old is my physical body.

I don't know about you, but keeping any paperwork for over ~5 years is a chore: it requires keeping several filing cabinets to even have a chance at keeping track of things.

The other major benefit of having them digital is having them searchable.

Some people like to take their notes digitally. It's a tradeoff, and there is no wrong side.

People who like digital notes might benefit from this system. Pen and paper is a commonly used alternative, even amongst the HN crowd, but there's no need to shout down a product that might help people because you take notes differently.

Yes, there is no wrong side. I'm not even directly commenting on the product itself. I'm merely expressing an alternative viewpoint that doesn't get discussed much around here. The view that often times, technology solves one problem and creates two more in its place.

Notes are supposed to be brief records to _aid memory_, not critically important documents. For this purpose, pen and paper should be good enough in my point of view. For anything more serious, I would absolutely agree that "longevity, portability, and privacy" are much more important. However, for this use case I don't believe technology adds very much value. Depends on your definition of a "note" I guess.

>Depends on your definition of a "note" I guess.

Hugely. I write a lot on paper because I'm not always with a good typing device, but I'm happiest when I can write it in my rocketbook. It works with a simple app to handle syncing the paper with multiple digital services/tags. Not fully searchable but still kinda neat.

In the HN crowd, I wonder how many notes still start off on paper, but are then transcribed into digital.

Well, paper, yes, but usually not pen. These days, it's better to use printers to put more substantial and important information on paper. That way, we get the digital benefits of searching, organizing, mass storage in tiny space, unlimited and free mass duplication, and so on, while still being able to print multiple copies anywhere on demand in order to produce redundant hard copies with extreme archival durability (provided you do some research on archival paper and printer ink/toner).

Of course, if you love using an elegant pen for the esthetics and freedom of it (okay, hard to argue with that), then do anything important on fine, archival, loose paper with a beautiful, pigmented (not dye) ink, and scan and OCR it to once again maximize its usefulness and longevity.

You can bind such paper into a beautiful notebook after writing and scanning.

I took a lot of notes on pen and paper during my studies, but after a decade of moving around (including different countries) I have none of them left. On the other hand, I still have the diary I typed on a Mac as kid in the early 90s. Today I frequently wish I had taken notes in some electronic form rather than on paper.

There is definitely a need for something like Standard Notes. I regularly look for electronic note taking solutions that I can trust to survive a lifetime (local files, no cloud, open format, etc.) with a modern feature set (embedded media, links, etc.), but have not found a solution that I'm happy with. For years I've been using TiddlyWiki[0], and while it has worked fine it is not perfect.


In fact Evernote has been advertising handwritten text indexing for quite a while: https://blog.evernote.com/blog/2015/06/23/6-ways-evernote-em... This is one of many tiny little things why people still stay with it.

I thought down-voting was for bad behavior, not disagreement. Paper notepads and daily calendars are very popular on Kickstarter. Paper is not a valid idea?

I think we're all thoroughly aware of the pen and paper option. What would the quality of discussion here be if the threads were filled with obvious comments that provided no new insight?

My needs for searching through my notes isn't 'yada yada'. And attempting to justify it by using a single dictionary definition, isn't logic, it's wordplay. My definition of notes is any piece of information that I may need at short notice that is easier to jot down than to google.

I don't / wouldn't do that simply because my handwriting pushes the boundaries of the word 'atrocious'. I'd imagine others who spend the majority of their time using computers are in the same boat.

Downvoted. I use penn and paper all the time and prefer it to note taking apps. Your comment isnt helpful for people looking for a digital solution.

I intended my comment to start a dialogue on problems that don't necessarily need technical solutions. I think the KISS principle applies here.

Requiring to have them on your person for use is a gigantic "yadda yadda"

I have settled on Google Keep for my note-taking, for ease of use and durability. I like that Standard Notes is similar, but adds privacy and the option for self-hosting. Being open source and extensible is a bonus!

I love Google Keep but I wonder when they will kill it. When Google Apps aren't directly monetized it makes me worry (Wave, Reader, etc).

That's my thought exactly. I was shocked when they updated it December 16th last year! Maybe there was other updates last year too, but year, totally amazed they've let this little beauty last so long.

Same thoughts here, but if there are enough Keep users on Android, Google will likely try pushing some mobile subscriptions to upgrade.

I like Google Keep as well, but I can only really use it for "simple" notes that I take while mobile. The lack of any kind of formatting system is a detriment I think.

Also, the UI on desktop is pretty poor. A native mac app would be a huge boost.


It's a shame there is no public Keep API to play with. I would write the app myself!

I used to like Keep as well, but I needed something that would work offline, even trello wasn't an option. I ended up writing my own version of a todo manager (in a language I wanted to learn). A very simple and basic version, it even has an API and a cli client!!


I use google keep as a todo/planning app and VSCode with Markdown extension as a note taking app.

I found Google Keep much too basic. Now I'm using Google Docs and I'm fairly happy.

Some of the features I like about it:

  Formatting support
  Edit history
  Android App
  Good web interface
  Syncs perfectly between platforms with simultaneous editing
  Google is unlikely to disappear with my data anytime soon, and has been good about letting you take your data with Google Takeout
And some things I don't like:

  My own Cloud/NSA paranoia
  no end-to-end encryption AFAIK
  Android app sometimes slow to open a note for editing

I use Google Keep. But I plan to move off of it after I accidentaly removed part of the note and noticed then that there is no undo at all. Even notepad.exe has 3 step undo, so that is totally unacceptable.

I want to use Google Keep but it's a lot slower (on a mac) as compared to using markdown notes saved locally and accessed using nvalt or atom

For ones like me that never heard about AppImage before (shame on me), you just need to "chmod a+x file.AppImage", then execute as a normal (./) [0].

[0] http://appimage.org/

What's the best format to distribute Linux apps?

We have:

1. Traditional Distorbution packages. If someone want to go that way OpenSuse Build Service. https://build.opensuse.org/

"The openSUSE Build Service is the public instance of the Open Build Service (OBS) used for development of the openSUSE distribution and to offer packages from same source for Fedora, Debian, Ubuntu, SUSE Linux Enterprise and other distributions.." (Possibly MacOS and Windows)

2. Package Formats (I hope it is the future) we have appimage, flatpak (Redhat backed), snap (Ubuntu backed). Containerized solution with the hope of easier portability and better security by sandboxing type solutions.

Personally I think flatpak is the best of breed with appimage a close second. Flatpak and appimage are the most open friendly. Flatpak using individual repositories which I prefer. Snap uses a central location which i also don't like as much.


Anybody's guess.

Seriously, .deb or .rpm is okay, but what users will really want is a proper apt/rpm repository, which is for sure more effort.

I honestly prefer zip or AppImage. Distribution independent, and it's super easy to get auto updating in Electron.

Since an AppImage is just a compressed filesystem, you can also extract its content very similar to a zip file. But you then will miss out on the easy binary delta updates using AppImageUpdate, and have an extra step of unpacking, and will need more storage space.

Seeing this in debian stable would convince me it's likely to be around in ten years (with security updates for the dependencies).

Shorter term, an Ubuntu PPA wouldn't hurt. Other people have other opinions and litmus tests, of course.

Love it so far! I'm going to play around with hosting my own server, looks like the current one is here? https://github.com/standardfile/ruby-server/tree/master

A couple things that could be useful: 1. Add version tags to the git repo, that way I don't have to wonder what's changed between deploys 2. Official standard notes docker image or dockerfile in repo 3. CloudFormation or Terraform template link in the README would really sweet.

Actually... If I can finish up the work I'm actually supposed to be doing I can send you some of this stuff later...

Noticed you're using AWS. Everything looks great, but now that you're getting serious traffic you may want to pre-emptively sign up for business support (if you haven't already), I noticed they give you a free month for the "self-starter" startup pack: https://aws.amazon.com/activate/self-starters/ . I used to work for AWS Support, I'm not affiliated any more, but there is a huge difference in response times, also the chat and phone call options are much faster, and you can really ask about anything not just specific problems (architecture guidance, best practices).

Thanks, now that I know people are using the Ruby server I'll start versioning it. I agree, those items would be great to have. Will definitely try to get to it. In the meantime, feel free to submit a pull request for any of those items and I'll be happy to merge it in.

Seems like this project doesn't offer much at moment except cool name.

I use flat files in markdown since 2010 with Sublime Text with extensions: MarkdownEditing, Table Editor

All power of Sublime Text, Super fast full text search, Full index of all header sections in all files trough Cmd+Shift+R, Full index of all file names trough Cmd+P


$ cd ~/Dropbox/Notes && cloc .

Language | files | blank | comment | code

Markdown | 773 | 21229 | 10 | 67758


All that within Dropbox directory, accessible anywhere.

There was interesting attempts before... http://www.acuriousmix.com/2014/09/03/designing-a-personal-k... https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=8270759

Needs transparent encryption though, so you can push your notes to untrustworthy places. I do that in vim with a Markdown file and the GPG extension for vim. You can just open a .md.gpg file that way.

I've had serious difficulty[1][2][3] with Apple's Notes.app over the past 18 months. So much so that I've written some JXA (Javascript for Automation) code to extract all of my notes to self-contained HTML files.

Now that I have 923 notes in HTML files on my hard drive, I can do whatever I want with them. My current plan is to import them into OneNote because they have good app coverage across platforms and they just released what looks like a pretty solid API that lets you import and export notes.

Maybe I (or somebody else) can write an importer for Standard Notes to make it easy to switch from Apple Notes?

[1] Notes not syncing across devices

[2] Search not working at all on Mac

[3] Moving subfolders of notes in the app makes the notes completely disappear

The file format for Standard Notes is pretty straightforward, wouldn't imagine being too difficult to write an importer: http://standardfile.org/#import-export

The Evernote converter lives in this repo: https://github.com/standardnotes/sntools

If you ever decide to build an importer, feel free to submit a pull request and I'd be happy to merge it.

This is incredible. I was going to pay a developer to create something like this because I wanted its exact features so badly. A note-taking system that works cross platform with local-encryption. I'm too happy right now!

A screenshot or two would be really helpful.

You can access the app without sign up here: https://app.standardnotes.org.

Very nice. Now all I need is the same thing but for all my photos so my kids can dig through them in 30-50 years time, like I can do with my parents' photos...

GNU MediaGoblin - http://mediagoblin.org/

It would be nice (and I'm looking for somewhere to move all my Flickr photos), but it massively increases the resources required at the back end. Storing a lifetime's worth of typed text is maybe tens or hundreds of megabytes. Many people will generate that much data as photos in an afternoon.

I'm also looking to escape Flickr, and still have yet to find a good self-hosted solution.

I'm also yet to find the perfect photos app. It needs to have:

- self hosted front end with a simple management interface for organising photos into albums, uploading, setting permissions - simple security so you can share only with the people you want to share with, especially simple for older relatives - backend storage should be any cloud hosting system such as on AWS S3, but the data shouldn't be accessible to any one publicly, except via the application, and ideally encrypted at rest.

I really like Google Photos for it's excellent search capabilities. Being able to search for photos with my dog or from a time or specific places is fantastic.

Same here. I'd love a self-hosted Flickr. All the ones I've tried don't even come close. I like Smugmug as far as layout/features and use it too, just wish I could self host it.

Camlistore - https://camlistore.org

From your link :

"Camlistore (Content-Addressable Multi-Layer Indexed Storage) is under active development."

"The latest release is 0.9 ("Astrakhan"), released 2015-12-30."

If you check the actual changes, it does seem like it's under active development: https://camlistore.googlesource.com/camlistore

It is under active development they just haven't released a new version. The preferred way to deploy it via GCE or Scaleway will use the latest dockerized version. They update it from time to time.

I like this idea. It's remarkable how bad the Apple Notes apps are. I'm trying to get started with Standard Notes but running into trouble. Both Standard File servers are down: https://n3.standardnotes.org https://n1.standardnotes.co.uk

Hey, you should go to https://app.standardnotes.org. Those servers are not meant to be visited. You plug those in into the app.

Edit: I should really set up redirects for those.

Purely out of curiosity - what do you find remarkably bad about Apple Notes?

For context, I use Apple Notes frequently but not regularly (~100 notes over four years) and suspect my use is not heavy enough to uncover limitations.

I didn't think it was bad until I realized there was no feature to export your notes.

Hmm, good point, looks like you can export individual notes as PDF, but that's it.

I use the Workflow app on iOS, and I have a feeling it would be relatively trivial to write a workflow that loops through all your notes and writes them all to text files in Dropbox or something else like that. Of course Workflow is a paid app, but it's about the closest you can get to "programming" on iOS without a paid developer account.

Well, the notes are stored as HTML text fields in a SQLite database somewhere in /Library. You could easily write a script to export them directly from there.

I love the idea of this, but I'm not a big fan of Electron apps. Simplenote has worked amazingly for me for a few years now and has a nice native application (yes, I know you can't host your own server)

I want to use this! The UX is giving me some difficulty. First I wondered how to add a tag to a note and eventually discovered that dragging the tag on from the sidebar worked. But now how do I remove the tag?

To delete a tag simply click "File" in the notes list of the selected tag. I've had this question come up before so I think it's time for a clearer way.

That's for deleting a tag, but is it possible to remove a tag from a note? (aka untag a note)

I just noticed today that that isn't working as intended. Will be releasing a revamped tags UI very soon that should make all this easier.

Just writing #tag would be nice... :)

Did you figure out how to delete a tag?

Of course, my question is: why this over Org?

I don't do a ton of notetaking, so it's not super relevant to me (I'm actually largely on pen and paper). But I am curious why this might (or might not) be better.

Is there a good mobile app for editing org mode content?

This is really good: http://www.orgzly.com/

Thanks for posting this! I've found MobileOrg to be unusable.

There is an app. I am uncertain of its quality.

So that might be a reason.

I use Dropbox Paper for my note taking, it has nice formatting options - although I am acutely aware that Dropbox could drop it at any moment, so something like this suddenly becomes very attractive.

I started using Dropbox for notes too, except I ended up just creating a folder structure of Markdown files in Sublime. I figured Sublime was a good way to go because it is already always open for work stuff and it's got decent searching capability.

For mobile (more for reading, not creating), I use MarkdownX (free) which integrates nicely with the Android Dropbox app.

For clipping links into my notes on desktop, I use a Chrome extension called "Copy as Markdown" which creates a nicely formatted link for my notes.

Note that you can export a single Paper doc, or all the Paper docs you've created:


Dropbox Paper has a decent web UI but its iOS app was 116 MB. By comparison, the actual Dropbox iOS client is at 88 MB.

Sorry about that :( We're going to significantly reduce it soon.

Very cool. I left Evernote last month after many years of pro use. I was spinning around and around but ended-up just (last weekend) going with Notes sitting on my personal NextCloud install. Downside currently is the lack of image support, but that fact that I'm hosting it makes up for that. There is also an Android app.



Looked at the other options out there and really just wanted to build off my increasing NextCloud footprint on my own server.

The new Evernote client on iOS has me considering re-starting my subscription there. They seem to have simplified things and refocused on their core purpose and that's something I'd like to support.

I swear by Alternote : http://alternoteapp.com/ It's a note taking tool that uses Evernote in the backend. It is Mac only and has it's bugs but it is what the Evernote Mac client should have been.

I also use and love OneNote.

Great product. Embedded images and the ability to clip a website like ever note clipper are the two features that I am looking forward to.

For note taking and simple task management, I have cycled through pen and paper, plain text files, taskwarrior [1], hnb [2], ToDoList[3] et cetera. Always looking for the perfect solution. I think it doesn't exist as a standalone environment, but as a combination of (synced) app and some pen and paper.

[1] https://taskwarrior.org/

[2] https://linux.die.net/man/1/hnb

[3] http://abstractspoon.weebly.com/

Cycled through many, came back to keeping the old fashioned Google Docs (Word) file. Just have a bookmarked link in the Chrome's toolbar. I envy those who've been using Word file to collect information for many years, well, since the beginning.

I've been using Google Keep for quick, short-lived notes and Google Drive for long-lived notes. If Google would add support for tagging files in Drive, I'd be able to switch to it completely.

At one point, I used a directory of text files synced with Dropbox, vim to edit, and a few bash scripts and vim functions for tagging and searching. It worked well except on mobile.

I am very happily settled on taskwarrior, vimwiki & taskwiki now.

I've gone back and forth between Quiver and Ulysses. Quiver doesn't have an iOS app and Ulysses handles images and code awkwardly.

Quiver seems to be a bit of a dead project (I haven't seen an update in ages), although I do like & use it.

What I use for making notes is my CatWiki program ( https://github.com/cabalamat/catwiki ).

This stores articles in a wiki in Markdown format as files on a local filesystem, enabling:

- portability. Any ascii text editor can read the files. One goal of the system is that I can still read the files if the software isn't set up (e.g. if installing on a new box).

- longevity. Python, Flask and Markdown are not going away any time soon. Even if they do, the files can still be read.

- privacy. The files are never transmitted across the network. This is also a disadvantage, of course :-).

Another option is TiddlyWiki : http://tiddlywiki.com/

It's basically a meta wiki in that it uses the same html file as the database. So you get wiki features in a single file. It does have a helper jar to work around browser security around file access.

Oh and it is insanely customizable and skinnable.

I love Tiddlywiki. I'd be using it if it were easier with mobile.

I use gist together with https://gistlist.ksdev.pl/gists which allows me to tag them. There are number of apps that can allow me offline editing and management such as ruby gem gist.

The main benefit is that, as it uses gist, you can use number of markup languages - I have notes in rST, mardkown, textille or as pure <inser_language> scripts with comments.

The other main benefit is that I am not locked in and notes are versioned.

Besides, you don't need any installs for this. I seriously don't get why people still make note apps.

Is it possible to use the application without connecting to a Standard File server? The page mentions the ability to use Dropbox "for added redundancy and peace of mind". But is it possible to use Dropbox as the only storage point? I would prefer to use Dropbox over their server or hosting my own.

It seems to me the applications act as clients that allow you to interact with your data. If so, why should it matter where the data is being fetched/stored? Why is it necessary to interact with a Standard File server?

Not yet, but this is definitely a use case we want to design for. It's not that it's not possible, just we've built up towards extensions linearly, and have started at the simple use case when you have an account. Not relying on an SF account means Dropbox and Standard Notes will need to understand where the last sync was, etc. Not impossible, but probably not trivial. But this has been an oft requested feature, so it's definitely high on the list.

I applaud the authors here on the intent, especially for the aspects of longevity, portability, and privacy. However, the app itself has a bit of a ways to go. I downloaded, and ran it, and then noticed my (Win7) machine run like 4 procs for the single app. I like the concept of electron-based apps, really I do; they're just so heavy (machine-resource-wise anyway).

Also, it so closely resembles Laverna in UX; not exactly of course, but close enough. I don't want to sound so negative, because I honestly do aprreciate the authors for their work here (and again for their noble intent, which I greatly appreciate)...and perhaps I'm a curmudgeon, but apps like this one and laverna annoy me in the way that its more work getting at the actual data, if - for example, I wish to sync it via other ways (instead of self-hosting, etc.). I try a bunch of these note apps every so often, and I always go back to zim wiki. Yes, zim wiki. Maybe zim wiki is not perfect, its UI is not the most sophisticated, mobile is not its forte, and any sync of its files does depend on another platform/service running (e.g. dropbox, etc.), etc....But at least it is based on a conventional text file (with a small DB for indexing/search)...and as such, I can really access/edit the data now and in the future. I dislike having to think in terms of old school files, but apps nowadays are not wholly reliable; databases get corrupted, internet connections go down, a code defect makes the data in the db inaccessible or not-so-easy to access, etc...Bringing me back always to zim.

Again, don't mean to be negative, and I applaud the authors for their work...but I'm heading back to zim wiki.

The way extensions work is that you can enable an arbitrary number of sync providers all at once. So you can have Dropbox enabled, Google Drive, maybe you even have a webserver on your computer so you run an extension from there that writes to your local disk - you can sync to all 3 of these at the same time. So it doesn't have to rely on a centralized server.

I'm on a macbook, and neither the desktop or web application (under chrome at least) seems to recognize tab. Granted, I want my tab to be a configurable number of spaces, but currently it does nothing. Also, there doesn't seem to be any sign of auto indent.

Is tab support and auto indent planned? Or is this editor essentially a sort of demo placeholder, with a goal of a different, feature-full editor implementing the standard note synchronization bits?

Thanks for bringing this up, we'll add tab support and other shortcuts in an upcoming update.

There is also a standard file server software.


Reminds me of camlistore

I'll give it a try as soon as there is an Android app. I'll run my own server. I've seen that it's a very simple Rails 5 application. It requires MySQL but by a quick inspection of the code it looks like that any db will do. I'm using PostgreSQL on my server and I'll try to make it run with it.

Yup any db should do.

Always like seeing what people are building for note taking. I've left Evernote for the system provided by the Synology guys. It works really well. Having something you control soup to nuts though would be best. I always worry about using any of these systems and how long I'll be able to 'have' my data.

Perhaps I am missing something - but I am not able to find any support for keyboard shortcuts…!

I tested on OS X (& briefly on the WEB), and expected CMD-N to generate a new note, TAB to change focus between tags, notes and the actual note, ESC to dismiss dialogs (the "Server" dialog) etc.

It looks as if it's 100% mouse-only driven at the moment - but otherwise it would be really nice to use it to store my notes on my own server AND be able to access across iOS, Mac Win etc - so I think there is great potential, but simply so not understand that keyboard shortcuts have not been thought into the application now it's a hacker-tool :-)

A good place to get inspiration for a web solution using keyboard shortcuts 100% is JIRA. just try to hit "." - it's just brilliant (I quickly got very addicted :-)

There are a few elements missing that I would really love to see. Mostly native image upload support and embedding. Live Markdown preview WYSIWYG editor.

http://texts.io/ Came close.

I really hope that this project will develop into something better.

I will comment my hackable note-taking app (which has image upload paste) in case anyone is interested:


currently supports image paste -> embedding (this was a crucial feature for me as well) and notes in markdown, latex, html, inline javascript (so you can do a note with some d3 or whatever).

I decided to not do live markdown preview because the save feature is fairly quick, and it gives more space on the page for editing on my small screen.

What I'm hoping for is self-previewing Markdown -- where you use the equivalent of syntax highlighting to approximate how the Markdown will be rendered. Lines starting with # are bigger, links are links, and so on. Bullets don't even need to be changed, except possibly in color.

The split-pane approach, with one Markdown pane and one WYSIWYG pane, is such a waste of screen space, when self-previewing Markdown is all you need if you're not trying to create a published document.

A former Show HN project, bluedocs.io, offered this by default. But now it's defunct (and my notes are lost with it).

You could check out Typora: https://typora.io

Nice. That is exactly the approach to editing I want, especially in Source Code Mode.

Of course, it's only an editor for local documents. I wonder if this could be glued to Standard Notes as a backend somehow.

If you're on Mac you can have a look at the excellent MacDown (http://macdown.uranusjr.com/) - which is also open source.

Wow that texts.io looks really cool!

Doesn't look like it supports tagging/searching and organising notes though (correct me if I'm wrong)

It's a basic markdown application with live Markdown editing. No tagging supported (or image uploads/embeds).

Sadly it's closed source and cost $19/user.

So $19 for a well-executed piece of software makes you sad?

Maybe the close sourced aspect worries him more.

The self hosted back-end has a lot of moving parts. Why was the decision made to use code instead of say a text file on EC2 via a simple web server? cf https://github.com/standardfile/ruby-server/wiki/Deploying-a...

Also how easy is it to use the editor API? Could you for instance create an outliner editor?

Why was the choice made to take up 2/3 screen with tags, filename leaving only 1/3 screen for a note. Vim user, so it appears awkward to view RHS of screen coming from a culturally LHS language, English?

That implementation is just one implementation that specifically uses Passenger and Nginx. So those are not necessarily dependencies of the core server logic. The actual action is mostly handled by a single controller with around 160 lines (ItemsController).

It could easily support an extension that allows saving simple text files to S3.

Can you elaborate more on your last question? Not sure what you mean by editor API.

"Can you elaborate more on your last question? Not sure what you mean by editor API."

Instead of just simple notes, could you use the API to build an outliner? cf Dave Winers fargo ~ http://fargo.io

"That implementation is just one implementation that specifically uses Passenger and Nginx."

Great to hear this.

Standard notes looks extremely interesting. You've done an AWESOME job thus far.

I've had a brief play with the Web based version on my Android phone. It was a bit of a struggle, but that was to be expected as it wasn't designed for that.

Initial feedback on tags

1) I found it hard to see which tags were associated with a note. Clicking each tag to see what changes is a bit cumbersome and the search didn't seem to pick up the tags? I would suggest an additional horizontal bar underneath the body which shows which tags are assigned to a note.

2) In the list view of the notes, the tags should be visible too. I realise it can be a bit of a struggle in terms of real estate, but it can be done.

I wrote the above before I noticed your comment, so these might be fixed in the future[0]:

> I just noticed today that that isn't working as intended.

> Will be releasing a revamped tags UI very soon that should make all this easier.

If you have a wire frame / sketch or something which you can post so I can see what you are envisioning for the revised UI that would be great.

I've got a UI design in mind which would improve the UX of the app without adding additional complexity.

After you've add your tag improvements I might fork and have a go at implementing what I have in mind.

Initial feedback on note list

3) Needs to have sorting, just like mail client, by date etc..

4) Option to specify date/time format, currently MM/DD/Y hh:mm AM/PM

I'm a big fan of YYYY-MM-DD HH:MM (Time in 24 hours). If you want to have it standard choose that ;)

My initial feedback, is just that, initial. It is the first few things I noticed and does not detract from the AWESOME work you've done so far.

Keep up it up!

[0]: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=13424055

I've been using Writer+ on Android that I have setup to Resilio sync to my Raspberry Pi.

The Raspberry Pi has a script I wrote that runs GIT every minute to check for changes and commit them if so.

I also Resilio sync this to any desktop I need and use a Markdown editor called "MarkdownPad" on Windows.

With this setup I have version control running all the time from a 'server' I control and have the ability to view and edit my notes on my phone and desktop using a format that is never going away.

Just thought I would post this in case someone wanted to try the same thing.

Big fan of the approach. Would be a lot easier to use IMO if you could live edit in Markdown rather than having to toggle back and forth between preview mode and editing.

Also curious how hard it would be conceptually/architecturally to introduce federated sharing and realtime collaboration concepts while maintaining the data-centric approach; e.g. if all docs had GUIDs you could imagine having realtime collab if two people agree on the same server, (or I guess some much crazier P2P discovery thing if you want to get really wild with it).

We want to do something like this through extensions. The goal of this app is to last really long, so it has to stay simple, otherwise bloat, debt, and inevitable abandon ensues.

Extensions are pretty powerful and can handle collaboration. You can build things like revision control as well. Right now Dropbox sync is available as an extension: https://standardnotes.org/extensions

It looks like extensions essentially fire off your note data to third parties. Is there a method for extensions to add Javascript to the running application instead?

Data can be sent off either encrypted or decrypted, with encrypted by default. Javascript extensions are unlikely as they would make the app really busy and probably unmaintainable.

OK, thanks :). The itch I'd like to scratch is some features from TaskPaper; my ideal "Notes" app is an open-source, cross-platform combination of TaskPaper and nvALT. However, adding nvALT-ish-ness and TaskPaper-ish-ness would require some heavy UI extensions. I'll ignore the extensions API for now and have a twiddle with the guts of the webapp. Cheers!

Goodness. Seriously? Another notes "app"? Longevity exists in ASCII text (UTF-8 if you must be a Modernist). Portability exists in simple plain text files. Privacy exists in keeping them on your own blankety-blank drive and backing up your own files somewhere that isn't a fluffy cloud. Or back them up there if you want.

Oh, now someone will say, but what about photos and images? What about "clippings" from the web? Images are to be in a properly tagged image library. And a dozen software solutions have already solved that. Documents are PDFs or TIFFs or JPGs or.... something like that. Put them in, gasp, a "folder" ("directory" for geeks) and call it something like "documents".

I don't know what "notes" people are so desperate to save, but if they are your own ramblings... plain-text. If they are writings, make a folder called "writings". Use markdown or ReStructured Text if you must, but trust me, the "must" is your must. No one else cares. It will all burn eventually.

Plain text will still be here as it has been for four decades. Your app, OneNote, EverNote, NoteyNote, and all the rest will all burn. Or be hacked. Or stolen. Or not be backwards-compatible with whatever new NiftyNote comes along.

Plain-text. Stop making these. The problem was solved 40 years ago. Solve something else. Maybe Cancer. Maybe how to install Windows 10 in 3 minutes or less. Maybe public transportation.

But for all our sakes, no more Notes apps. You are actually accomplishing the opposite of what you set out to achieve - further distracting people from an ancient standard which works Just Fine For Almost Everyone.

By the way, if you are That Guy (you the reader) who thinks your special (said with a lisp) notes deserve better than Plain Text, you probably are wrong.

Same with To-Do list apps. Plain-text. Just write down your tasks - and then go do them. Stop prioritizing, colorizing, making 'sub-tasks', attaching deadlines, putting time estimates, "sharing" them with others (oh for the love of all things holy, stop sharing anything), and adding javascrap drag and drop junk to it. Either buy Microsoft Project and use that or use Plain Text. There is no in-between - just clutter. Lots and lots of clutter.

Not sure why this comment in support of plain text was downvoted, but I wholeheartedly agree that plain text is the way to go in your own or no particular data format. Write now, parse later. Deft OrgMode emacs TheBrain xml csv tsv json md vim vimwiki tiddlywiki mediawiki evernote nv freemind i can go on and on... I tried them all and the only the ones that stay will support human readable plain text. For me that is line base unix utf-8 Trust your future self in 10 years not having to look up a data spec. grep awk find are friends for life

What's the difference between Simplenote or notational velocity?

Can I save notes on my device while in airplane mode and then have them sync when I have a connection again?

I don't always have an internet connection when I want to make a note or write something.

Yes, both iOS and web/desktop clients support offline mode. Android will too as soon as it's released (shortly).

Doesn't seem to be the case in iOS 10.2 on iPhone 6s.


edit: Kept popping up this message as I was trying to type in airplane mode.

What's the ETA on the Android app?

This looks great! I'm still looking for the best replacement for Vesper [http://vesperapp.co/], which the developers abandoned since it wasn't making money. It looks like Standard Notes has a lot of the same features, but part of what I loved about Vesper was how _nice_ the interface was. Standard Notes looks good but I'd love if it had a more Vesper-esque iOS app.

As noted above, Bear is the most Vesper-y thing available IMO.

I was just wondering yesterday whether Q Branch knew about Bear and were lamenting the fact that it is, essentially, their app in a different skin. As Gruber has noted on Daring Fireball [1], they seem to have launched at just the wrong time in just the wrong way. For whatever reason, Bear seems to be succeeding.

I knew the instant that I installed Bear that I'd love it. It's just nice.

That said, the majority of my notes still live in nvALT [2], stored as plain text in Dropbox, sync'd via Simplenote to allow me to use their mobile app. Standard format, distributed all over the place [3]. I can't imagine a scenario that would cause me to lose my notes.

[1]: https://daringfireball.net/2016/08/vesper_adieu

[2]: From where, on my Mac, I can Cmd-Shift-E to edit a note in FoldingText for all the Markdown loveliness.

[3]: Dropbox, synchronised to multiple machines, one of which stores it on my Synology, which is periodically rsync'd to an external drive which is kept in my girlfriend's house; Simplenote; Time Machine; Backblaze; SuperDuper!

Vesper-esque apps are more difficult to maintain, and thus inevitably shut down :)

Could be. I'm not sure what that means, though. Do you mean having a more custom UI?

Yeah, custom UI is really hard to build and later hard to maintain as SDKs pivot and change. Best to go standard and things will have a higher chance of continuing to work after OS level updates.

I never understood why something like this didn't exist yet; local encryption, cross-platform sync and open source (i'd have payed for it.)

...just needs a dark theme now :-)

Laverna does exactly the same, it even looks the same :)

I've always found Laverna buggy.

Really nice effort!

It seems really "fast" and it supports markdown! I'm super happy about this.

As a longtime Evernote user, this app is highly comparable. The choice to only allow tags is interesting, and I think I could live with that.

That being said, the lack of support for:

- Images (I should be able attach an image inline into the document)

Would make it difficult for me to switch. That being said, I love the markdown and this is definitely an amazing MVP! Good job!

Thanks! Extensions should allow for image and file upload functionality.


Thanks. I'll have to give it a try.

If it supports images I may well switch.

If you wanted to import notes from Evernote, what would be the best strategy for that? Are there any already written tools for that?

I think I'd basically have to convert my notebooks to tags for it to make sense in this app.

Yes see here for Evernote import tool: https://standardnotes.org/tools

"If you're tech savvy, you can even host your own Standard File server."

This would be a perfect candidate for https://sandstorm.io/. As far as hosting servers go, I'm not tech-savvy, but thanks to Sandstorm I'm hosting my own Git repo, Davros file share, Ghost blog, etc.

I have been enjoying using Boostnote[0] lately, which is very similar in style to this application, but a little more featureful.

I wonder how hard it would be to add the cloud server as a backend to boostnote...


I started 2 or 3 similar side projects that went nowhere, so my current setup is still an iPhone that stores notes on my private IMAP server and a Thunderbird plugin to edit the notes on my PC. I'm extraordinarily thankful that this comes to an end. I'll gladly donate as soon as they add a donate button.

This is so great. This and an encrypted calendar are some of the few things I was missing in my daily workflow.

There are standards for calendar. iCal/CalDAV. Here is a free server [1]. Nextcloud can be hosted via HTTPS, too.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calendar_and_Contacts_Server

I love the idea, I have for a while. I hope to see this project grow. But, without a rich text editor it's not the efficient option. I've done Markdown notes before, rich text notes are much faster to read and write. Enough to make me abandon principle and just get it done.

Just want to go on-record as saying I stridently disagree.

There are too many rich text formats. Many are undocumented, proprietary, or otherwise not well-supported. They're hard to revision control, which means harder to sync across computers and among groups of people.

The hardest thing about this project, which I love, is going to be saying "no" to almost every single feature request people propose. I'll be interested to see how well the authors can hold the line.

I'm also very interested in the software development methodology the authors use. If they're seriously about longevity, they'd be smart to take as few dependencies on external libraries/systems as possible and use clean, layered architecture. I'd probably do the lowest levels (the sync and file storage, etc) in close to pure C and put a graphical front-end on top of it, similar to what Netflix does with their high-performance media libraries (streaming and decode) to share code across iOS and Android (via NDK). You want something super-portable that's easy to slap a new front-end on in 10-15 years when things have changed, which IMO pretty much rules out any language except C and maybe Java or .NET.

You're not actually disagreeing. Maybe I was unclear. What's superior about rich text is the user experience - writing notes, reading notes. I agree with the issues you list, just don't think they outweigh the benefit.

Nice app indeed, but... 100+ MB for a notepad? We really, really need a lighter alternative to Electron.

Electron is horrible and I hate the fact that it seems to be gaining in popularity. It's a typical example of developers thinking of themselves first and their users second. It has come to the point where I am treating Electron based apps as malware. I won't install them and I will not recommend them to anyone.

I still use Evernote in Windows. I somehow couldn't bring myself to use those applications who looks like being optimized for tablet, and then converted to desktop app. Why is so much margin around each piece of information? Usage of screen space is very non-efficient.

"... focus on longevity, portability, and privacy." - "Sign in or register."

That must be a joke.

Actually what that does is create encrypted storage signed with a password of your choosing on a server of your choosing (can be your own).

How does it fare, compared to saving cherrytree[1] files in a dropbox folder? Cherrytree is free, open-source and has more features.

1. http://www.giuspen.com/cherrytree/

This looks great, but unfortunately unless Apple releases a way of exporting notes (including images, styling and categories), I will not be able to use this.

I have hundreds of documents within Apple Notes, and as far as I know there is no public API to get them out. :(

There is a public API to get them out on the Mac — the Notes app is scriptable via AppleScript. You could loop through folders, notes, and attachments to get things pretty close to where they are in the app.

Nice app - however Windows version have some issues with local Polish letters. We use right Alt for that and some letters (ó->alt+o) enable some weird mode. And I can't find place to change this in app. macOS version works fine.

Thanks for bringing this up, will take a deeper look.

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