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Joplin – A note-taking and to-do app with builds for desktop, mobile, terminal (github.com/laurent22)
474 points by PleaseHelpMe on Nov 30, 2017 | hide | past | favorite | 204 comments

Currently I am very happy with my note taking setup, it consists of 3 modules:

1. Black Moleskine notebook where I write down ideas, and explain myself some complicated code for example. I use it more as a "mind-organiser" if I may say so...

2. Emacs' org-mode, where I write down my dev. progress on weekly level, lay down monthly plans and goals and write down some of the random stuff that I like to order into lists. And I use it more since I found out really good iOS app for org mode called "beorg". It is really awesome, I sync it with Dropbox and it works really, really well.

3. Apple Notes as my scribble kind of thing since synchronization works instantaneously between my iPhone and Macs. I use it mostly as my iPhone on-the-go noting system, and later on if I find something important I pass it to the org file or write it down into the black notebook.

I have black Moleskine notebooks with me all the time, they are a miracle; I tried all kinds of notebooks and their paper does best with gel pens (even though they have moved their production to China iirc?)

It seems to be less common these days, but when I write down an algorithm or visualize it on paper it's so much easier to grasp - I always wondered why I can work with "real paper" better than with ePaper (et al.) even when it's a scan of my handwriting. Is that a thing of routine?

Why a miracle?

I doubt it is, sounds like another hipster hysteria...

I'm not sure hysteria is the word you're looking for. Hyperbole, sure. But the notebooks feel great and the paper quality is excellent. It's worth noting that some pens perform really poorly on their paper, but gel pens + moleskine is just an extremely pleasant writing combination. Plus I'm pretty partial to the notebook size. It's not that they are the only company to do this, but it is just a consistently very nice experience without breaking the bank.

They are light (at an A5 form factor), have a very good paper quality, and covers with textures that fit comfortably in the hand; they also fit comfortably in my pocket.

(there's also some with hardcover, but I find them too heavy)

FWIW, I like grid-paper, so I use "graph-ruled" composition books.

Moleskin also make grid-paper and non-ruled notebooks.

Personally I have seen the light and find that Moleskin paper is not the best. I switched to using Japanese paper. I'm left handed and Japan needs fast drying pens and paper.

Here is a quick link to some of the brands I like with graph paper. https://www.jetpens.com/Pocket-Notebooks/ct/1668?&f=9e1b4fde...

I just got a few of these and I am really happy with the quality of these. https://www.jetpens.com/blog/leuchtturm1917-notebook-guide/p...

Also the Whitelines app with this notebook is really a great idea. You basically take a picture and the grey background is removed and you have just your writing or drawing.


Yes, left-handed notebook nerds!

I'm a loyal Lleuchtturm user, but have been considering the Midori notebooks. How do they compare?

I confirm this. They are very classy. I use one to write my best recipes (so old school :-)). However the little elastic is a little bit weak.

The elastic stretches beyond repair in a year or so.

I've been looking into Org mode recently, but, having never used Org mode or Emacs, I'm finding it a bit overwhelming.

I honestly don't understand the hype. Why Moleskin and not one of the in general better Leuchtturm products? Anyway, I personally went back to those blank exercise books I used in school decades ago. But then, I also run Linux and not some overhyped Apple.

Wow, you are so cool cause you run Linux!

The same goes for Moleskine !

The point is not to care about brand names but to care about functionality.

In my country Moleskine is available in local book shop, while others I have to order online, pay shipping and then it’s almost double the price. Not worth it imho. I am not caring about brand, I use what is most functional to me.

Moleskin are more widely available. I was at Target last night and they had a very large selection.

Blank copy paper is available everywhere. Get yourself a tacker and maybe a cardboard in the right format. When done, remove the tacks, scan it, and upload your notes to your cloud.

But you miss out on being a hipster with irrational preferences...

There's nothing more hipster than using a hand-made journal. Compared to that, a Moleskin notebook that you buy at Target or B&N out in the suburbs is about as mainstream as it gets.

I love org-mode, though I struggle with emacs itself. Can you give me an example of how you layout your weekly org mode so that it interacts with beorg well?

I've used the format for a year where each day was a heading:

* <2016-12-12 Tue> Task1 with notes if needed Task2

and it does not work great with beorg.

You might also find org-journal [fn:1] interesting, if you commonly take date-stamped notes.

[fn:1] https://github.com/bastibe/org-journal

I use it more like Bullet journal with todos like this: * TODO (SCHEDULED: <date>) etc etc.

Is this aside from the built in date utilities that org mode already has? I usually see dates tucked “under” the item so they can e.g. be viewed (and manipulated?) from something like the agenda view.

Just installed (https://github.com/laurent22/joplin/releases/download/v0.10....) on Windows 7. Went straight into Options to see what's what...noted that geo-location of notes is on by default and wasn't able to switch this off. I know generally where I am when I take notes...I don't need this on by default. Uninstalled.

There's a weird bug at the moment in the Option screen - if you click on a checkbox, the change is registered but the checkbox will still appear as ticked (That can be verified by exiting the Option screen and going back to it). So if you disable geo-location and for example auto-update that should already work.

The Option screen display issue will be fixed in the next release. The backend of these apps is quite reliable (I've never lost a synced note for instance), but there are quite a few ugly bugs like this one in the front end. That's in part because I wasn't planning to release this officially just yet (it got picked up somehow by omgubuntu and then here).

Hi, OP and also a long time Linux advocate here. I own a list called Awesome Linux Software and I was constantly searching for great software. That's how I jumped into your app and decided to post it here on HN.

Thanks for response. I assumed it was a bug and i'm sure there are quite a few start outs which find themselves on here via the power of copy pasta. That said it was the idea of having geolocation on by default which irked me. Is there a reason for this?

Is there a reason it shouldn't be? When i take notes i would like to capture as much metadata as possible. So when i reference them later i get full picture.

Yes. I like transparency and I would like to live in a world where the products I consume don't assume and give me the choice of what data is sent on the back of my actions. In this case because the option was binary it was assumed I wanted geo-location data being sent. Let's consider the scenario where the data store containing these notes and their associated metadata was breached and owned. You then have the potential for learning additional facts about people which wasn't their intended choice. If you chose to allow for certain data to be sent then ultimately the onus is on the you. Because you want as much metadata attached to notes doesn't mean everyone does and therefore we should be given the option.

But you are given the option. I bet the app also stores timestamps along with the posts - should that be off by default as well because some are uncomfortable with divulging when they created their note?

Does a set of timestamps have the same informative value of the geolocation history of a user?

Would you affirm this in a formal risk assessment?

> Does a set of timestamps have the same informative value of the geolocation history of a user?

It depends on the user, which is why they are given an option.

> Would you affirm this in a formal risk assessment?

Are we still talking about a free, open-source note-taking app or is this a medical device now?

I see your point but my approach in general is to enable all these things by default, because otherwise many users will not know it's even there, same for example for auto-updates (which privacy conscious users often don't want).

And I assume that users who care about this will find out how to disable it. I realise it's not ideal - perhaps a better way is to ask the first time the app starts, like what VLC is doing (however this has the drawback of an extra popup on startup).

I wish this app's creator had a Patreon so I could donate to it's development. Money is far more portable than development time especially since there is a sunk cost in starting up.

Please set one up and msg me and I'll gladly contribute. I'm a daily, heavy Evernote user and I would love some competition to this great app and the ability to have an open-source option.

This looks great. I hope you might prioritize adding a web clipper. For me, the Evernote Web Clipper plugin/extension is the killer app. The rest of Evernote isn't great, but their web clipper is incredibly useful to me.

I used Evernote for years before bothering with the web clipper, but when I started running into dead links in my years-old notes I realized it was essential. Now I use it pretty often to make sure that a note doesn't become impossible to understand because its context is gone. It's also great for recipes, which I often find on personal blogs and other sites where you can't depend on a link being permanent.

My Evernote file is over 20GB, thanks to Web Clipper. I've saved everything from recipe to interesting articles, dating back almost 10 years ago. For me, it is cool to be able to save web pages without worrying that the page / link will disappear in the future.

The only other alternative is DevonThink, which is pricey, but well worth its cost.

pinboard.in does it for $25 a year.

> For a small annual fee, Pinboard can download and store a copy of every page you bookmark, for your own private use.

Enabling archiving will also enable full-text search for your bookmarks. How does it work?

Each time you save a bookmark, or put something on your toread list, Pinboard will crawl the URL and store a permanent copy of the page to your account.


Firefox with Pocket does that as well, without requiring additional software. Since my Kobo E-reader has support for Pocket I can even read the articles there. Firefox Reader is great for readability as well.

I like to use DEVONthink a few times to save pages on Mac (Mac only), but agree with other poster. Pinboard is only $25/yr for full archiving. So helpful.

The web clipper is the killer app for me as well. I've been looking for a replacement for a long time and thus far have found nothing comparable that is open, self-hostable, cross-platform & syncable, and saves web media or pdf natively. I will also kick in to a Patreon if a web clipper is promised.

Guys if you're looking for a Web Clipper feature alternative my friend made a dedicated service called PageDash recently. Check it out! https://pagedash.com

Yes, Evernote is pretty clunky but I’ve got a good 8 years of junk in in and that web clipper is a beast.

The web clipper is Evernote's core product. It hasn't been replicated commercially or in open source successfully.

I've tried many times to switch to OneNote, but the clipper often fails to capture pages. That rarely happens with Evernote.

I've been using Typora to make my todo lists recently. It's a markdown editor too. Super simple to type, and you can really got some professional looking layout, with headings and titles quickly too. Recently they built in a file browser. Open one file in a directory, and it will show you all the files in side panel. Which in my case are just todo lists for day of the week. But it could be any type of notes. Highly recommend it. For Example typing ###Title would give a large title typing - [ ] will give you a checkbox, and so on

That looks nice. Does it have keyboard shortcut with fuzzy searching to open other files in side panel?

Still waiting for a nice rich text note taking tool that can compete with the likes of DevonThink and EverNote. I don't get the underlying fascination with using markdown.

Simplicity, freedom to really migrate your data.

Sure, you theoretically can migrate your notes from, say OneNote to Evernote (and vice-versa), but doing so is a great experience in frankensteining. I'm not even very confident there isn't outright data loss in some places, and with a high volume of notes, it's not feasible to check manually. Even with no loss, lots of stuff look ugly and/or do not work anymore, even if there is an equivalent on the target platform.

writing your notes in markdown is a bit ass-backwards though - it's great as a storage medium but having to manually reformat a markdown document because you're not live-editing the output is a needless pain. I'd much rather write using your usual rich text interface and have that export markdown for me.

There are some editors that live preview your markdown. It’s pretty nice.

Take a look at Bear on Mac & iOS, and DayOne (my favorite but lacking full markdown support). Also Dropbox paper is interesting and live previews markdown and has nice table support

>I don't get the underlying fascination with using markdown

As a programmer, most of the notes, I take, have code snippets. With markdown notes, I get nice code highlighting in my notes.

Also a lot of times HTML/RTF notes end up having hidden invisible characters. So it messes up commands. That's why I prefer plain text notes over rich formatted notes.

I used to disagree but not anymore. I think maybe the assumption is that you will be dissatisfied enough w the app to want to use another editor, and also that's easier to write Markdown than use the UI. Assuming good exporting facilities or lack of a proprietary format and quality UX, I'd much rather have the best possible editor than be able to write Markdown. It's much more important to e.g. add images, resize them, add sketches, graphs, and/or tables, or perhaps link multiple notes together. All of this is painful or impossible with Markdown (and editing Markdown on mobile is sucky). Markdown I think is an attempt to merge markup and content in a way that retains both, but it sucks for anything beyond simple header/paragraphs/lists.

I think for most people it is portability. I can use my .md files in any Markdown editor and reasonably expect it to look the same.

If there isn't an editor to hand it is easy enough to read as plain text.

I've used Voddoopad for years. It was amazing. As a person who organizes content and research based on links instead of folders, its wiki like structure was perfect.

I had high expectations when Gus Mueller sold the app to plausible, but they haven't invested enough on it since 2013.


This is very close to ideal for me. I've been moving away from Google Keep (and google in general recently, using Fastmail, microg fork of LineageOS on Fairphone 2, orgzly, vim org-mode Nextcloud etc etc) and the one thing that I missed was easily been able to dump photos and images into notes.

I've had a play with this briefly and I will be using it full time. As soon as it offers nextcloud sync it really ticks all of my boxes. The terminal client is a really nice touch.

How do you handle syncing in orgzly? My current approach is "remember to hit the sync button", but apparently I suck at that. :) At least it's easy to fix sync conflicts in Emacs using ediff.

I think newer builds have an auto-sync feature. I got mine recently from f-droid.

I use tasker to sync orgzly every one hour.

How stable and usable is LineageOS on Fairphone 2? I also have one and am intrigued to try it.

Sorry for the late reply. I have found it very good. The first build or two rebooted a couple of times a day but the recent builds are rock solid. I've stopped updating it now regularly but when I do the builds just work. I normally stop by the fairphone forums before I stick a new build on just to see if there's any chatter.

I much prefer lineage to any other android experience I've ever had fwiw. Everything just works (except I haven't figured out how to nor really care to spend much time investigating snapchat with lineage).

Since I can't test it right now: Does this use some kind of database to store the notes? The readme talks about syncing, including to the file system.

Why are the notes not simply stored as files in the first place? Would this not be much easier than constant exporting/importing to various providers?

Hi, I'm the author of this app. The notes on each client are stored in an SQLite database for performance reason. If they were stored directly as text files it would be slow to query them, it would be very hard to make it work on mobile (and even slower), and you wouldn't be able to easily create relations between notes and tags, notes and notebooks, resource links, etc.

It's when exporting them or syncing them that all the app entities (notes, but also notebook metadata, tags, etc.) are converted to plain text files. One advantage of this is that the notes are not locked into an obscure format - it shouldn't take more than 1h to create a script that read and convert these text files to any other format.

> If they were stored directly as text files it would be slow to query them, it would be very hard to make it work on mobile (and even slower), and you wouldn't be able to easily create relations between notes and tags, notes and notebooks, resource links, etc.

Zim uses plain text files and folders. You can have images, tags, link to other notes, links to the filesystem...

Maybe I am not using it with enough files for it to be a problem, but I cant say that it is slow.

I think Zim uses a two level approach, storing text files but also keeping an index database for doing full text search.

Thanks for the info!

I personally feel the only truly non obscure format are plain text files and it should be possible to use hierarchies, tags etc. with a combination of folders and front matter on the files itself. But I am a bit extreme in this, since I just don't like to migrate my notes yet again and have to install app after app on every device I need to access them. I was quite taken with projects like grav, that can provide functionality with just markdown files. But I haven't investigated to far on performance, especially not on mobile.

And you are right of course, that SQLite is quite preferable to most propitiatory cloud storage solutions.

You can use a database for queries without treating it as the canonical data store.

Whether that approach is a good idea is a different question than it being possible.

This is why open source is great. You should fork the project and prove your hypothesis to us instead of FUD-sniping in the thread. ;-)

There's no FUD in that comment.

Hi, I wonder if it convenient to ask questions here, but I can not figure out how to sync with local filesystem, could you help?

Hi, from the CLI app, you would need to set the sync target to the file system with:

    :config sync.target 2
Then you can specify the directory where the files should go with:

    :config sync.2.path /path/to/synced/dir/
Currently there's no config screen to do this in the desktop app, but it's possible to enable by changing the settings directly in the SQLite database (in the "settings" table).

That's exactly what I just built for myself. Flatnote, on the windows store (and soon on mac/Linux/mobile) is a rich-edit note app which stores files as .md files in the file system. Sync is handled by just putting your notes folder in Dropbox

That's interesting, I've tried to use plain text files at the beginning too but it didn't quite work. Also if I'm not mistaken on mobile Dropbox sync is not built-in so you'll need to implement it on top of their API (including conflict handling) which is probably the most difficult part in any app like this.

That's also why having a local SQLite is useful because you can more easily compare your local state to what they have.

You're right, when I build mobile I'll have to build my own sync to dropbox, but there are plenty of libraries for that. Hopefully one that already does conflict handling =(

I do have a local database store, but the Windows Store app is written in JS so I'm using NeDB which is basically just a mongo style interface for a JSON file. At the moment I really only use it to track recently opened files.

On other platforms I'll probably use SQLite, but I won't be storing the data in there, just the metadata (access times, paths, previews, wordcounts etc)

As one dev to another I have to say I love what you've built in Joplin. I love the name, I love the terminal app idea (Why didn't I think of that!) - its really a great achievement. You've built for multiple platforms and here I am hijacking the thread to peddle my half-built markdown-editor-with-a-file-list =D

On Android, I use Dropsync[1] to make certain Dropbox folders behave more like on desktop and synchronize in the background. Works great with my markdown note files and also ensures my notes are always available offline.

(1) https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.ttxapps.dr...

boostnote[1] also does this

[1] https://boostnote.io/

Where can I follow your project? I currently use QOwnNotes on Linux which does exactly that, but would be keen to try some alternatives, in particular if you're working on a mobile version.

Here's a very basic page you can follow


Not open-sourced yet but will be very soon

Why is this better than Orgmode? Orgmode is human readable, opens in any text editor, handles everything from bullet points to tables, and Github even has a Markdown-like renderer for Orgmode files.

First, it’s markdown based. That’s probably not an advantage for you, but it’s a syntax people are used too.

Secondly, syncing is built in. Sure you could use git on your org mode file, but that’s requires effort.

Thirdly, this handles attachments and images.

Fourth, the user does not have to learn EMacs.

Fifth, it runs on phones.

So it does have advantages for some people. If your already an orgmode master, it may mean less for you.

1) Granted.

2) You can put your org file in Dropbox, all the mobile clients support that too.

3) Org-mode probably does this too.

4) Granted :)

5) orgzly for Android, beorg for ios.

>Why is this better than Orgmode?

Not having to bother with Emacs is a huge plus.

So, we're going to trade that for Electron and React-Native?

Electron really pisses me off, and even I would rather use an Electron app than learn Emacs.

Spacemacs :)


Sublime Text has an orgmode plugin, as does Vim.

I dunno, you could make your own better version?

Why did you click on this link? Are you unhappy with orgmode? Why? If not, why bother writing a comment?

These "questions" invariably come across as "this thing sucks because it's not the thing that I am used to".

Outside of using emacs, which I don't, orgmode is rather useless in my experience and at some times even a major pain.

It should also not be forgotten that the project linked has some features in addition to just note-taking and to-do lists, so it's definitely not directly comparable either.

Who said it was?

The obvious advantage is that all platforms share the same code. As such it's easier to add new features. While for org mode emacs, orgzly, etc are separate projects that have to be kept in sync

Org is really just a text format, like Markdown, and the core format hasn't changed in ages. So I don't think there's a sync problem here with respect to the applications themselves.

The more likely pain-point is that on one device you have extra tools/configuration set up (e.g., org-latex), but these tools aren't available elsewhere (such as in orgzly). But I assume that this is a given for orgzly users: they probably don't expect they can do everything that org-mode enables in Emacs (like producing PDFs via LaTeX). They just want to do basic edits, and don't want to lose data when the document round-trips between Emacs and orgzly. (I don't use orgzly, but I assume that safe round-tripping is a feature...)



There is a Android App - https://github.com/orgzly/orgzly-android

Interesting app. I'm currently using todo.txt [1] and am quite happy with it. It's not really a note taking app (although I could use it that way) but rather a todo app and it uses a pure text file and syncs with dropbox nicely. I use an Android app as well [2].

There's a bunch of plugins for it but I haven't used any of them yet.

[1]: http://todotxt.org/ [2]: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=nl.mpcjanssen....

Question for the people here ... are there any good SOCIAL apps like this?

I mean, for example, being able to assign tasks to others (like in Redmine / JIRA) and be notified of progress/completion.

Or collaboration on notes and permissions etc. Straight from your phone instead of some google doc.

And maybe turning those notes into tasks later.

What would you use?

I recently went farther down the note-taking rabbit hole than I care to admit. I wanted the app to be cross platform (macOS/win10/Arch (Gnome)). What I found was that by separating my two use cases -- web clipping and Markdown/Gist-like notes -- I was able to find a sweet spot (for now).

the abbreviated version of my setup is this:

AmazonBasics dotted notebook as my primary note taking device. I use a system similar to a bullet journal.

Microsoft OneNote for web clipping. The web client is good enough if I need to read notes on linux. I use Boostnote for programming notes / Markdown. Then, at the end of the day, I type my notes from my physical notebook in to OneNote for searchability.

I know that my setup is not earth shattering. But that's kind of my point. I spent a lot of time searching high and low for a fully digital solution. I assumed that I would find several excellent cross-platform note taking applications to choose from. I was wrong. They were either not very good at taking notes, or the few that are good, are not cross platform. Honorable mention to Simplenote and Quiver. Quiver is solid if you're only on a Mac.

I honestly just think that org-mode should receive more widespread adoption and attention, especially within the developer community. It does everything. All those new products are sort of reinventing the wheels, and in a 100 times less feature-rich manner.

The only gripe I have with org-mode is its awkward mobile support. But Orgzly does a decent job on Android and I rarely type on mobile, which is hugely ineffective anyways.

May I suggest QOwnNotes as an alternative to this? It's also cross-platform (not sure about mobile) and it's not another shitty electron app.

To counter this a bit, I would rather run an Electron app than be greeted with this as the default interface: http://www.qownnotes.org/var/bekerle/storage/images/_aliases...

I'll take an app that uses a bit more resources over something that looks like an IDE instead of a note-taking app any day.

Currently using Inkdrop[0], which is not open source (but subscription based) and has a rather basic Android client, but it's cross-platform (macOS, Windows, Android, iOS, Ubuntu and other Linux-based distributions), has a pretty intuitive interface (as in, doesn't look like an IDE), backs up its database to my Nextcloud instance, and supports dragging and dropping images.

[0] https://www.inkdrop.info/

You can pretty much hide everything on QOwnNotes. I've mine to pretty much mirror every other note-taking app (just 3 columns)

The default interface of QOwnNotes has pretty much everything turned off in it's "minimal" workspace (that is used by default).

sorry for the "it's" typo :)

I think I'm going release an Electron app called "shitty". Imagine all the free press I'll get on HN comments!

Side question: why did you name the application Joplin? (My hometown is Joplin, MO and I'm curious if you're also from or living there.) My other two guesses for its etymology are Janis Joplin and Scott Joplin.

Not the author here, but my guess is that it's named after the composer since the software deals with notes.

Also, though Scott Joplin's ragtime musical style has a lot in common with some very informal music, his own approach was more educated, sophisticated, and precise. Every note was in its place for a reason, and he was known to prefer his pieces to be performed exactly as written. So you could say that compared to the people who came before him, his notes were more organized.

Good guess, that's exactly it :) I love this composer and was listening to him a lot while developing this app. Additionally I think this is a name that's easy to remember and type, so it felt like a good choice.

I agree, its a great name =)

Me too! WHOAREYOU :)

OK, once: "Coming features All: End to end encryption" is implemented then I'm up for giving this a try. The plain text format and markdown support is good features.

Check out Standard Notes: standardnotes.org

I'm giving this a try, using Seafile for synchronization with encryption instead of the app's own system. As an extra, I can self host it and I can revert any changes if I need to.

I take notes like this:

    vim ~/documents/notes

I just send an email to myself. If it's something ongoing, I'll leave a draft open for a few days.

Every time I see a post like this on HAN I think of this guy... https://www.flickr.com/photos/hawkexpress/sets/7215759420049...

Wow, that's amazing. I've been following the GTD related space since I first got on IRC (about 15 years ago) and find more analog solutions (Hipster PDA etc.) so fascinating, but this one really wins.

I've played with a bunch of note tools, but once you need collaborative and painless synchronisation across platforms, your options really shrink. (I ended up with Google Keep, but it's not ideal.)

As soon as we get Keybase FS on Android, this kind of tool becomes extremely interesting.

I'm using Dynalist, which is definitely an improvement over Google Keep, but I'm starting to find it quite restricting that everything has to be in bullet point lists. What I really want is something thats between Dynalist with its Zooming mechanism, and Typora with its super nice markdown editor.

I haven't heard of any of those! Forcing dot points for everything would be tiring. Clearly list-focused rather than note-focused, and that's okay. For tasks I use trello, and occasionally the separation between notes and tasks is a bit blurry. Ultimately long-term storage of knowledge is stored in my personal wiki, so the whole suite is not entirely seamless yet.

Typora looks like a lovely interface, but appears to be non-free, no support on mobile, not collaborative.

I just wanted to point out Typora as a nice interface for a markdown editor, it's not really a note taking app.

How is a markdown editor not a note taking app? Sometimes leaving search and sync to the system/other programs (grep, dropbox, syncthing) is a valid approach.

I also use Keep and agree it's not ideal. Would be nice to easily export all the notes to file. Would be even nicer if could store and make changes to notes on local filesystem and have them sync to cloud, google drive style.

As a tip, Google Takeout lets you export the notes as HTML files. Not really useful for syncing or integration, but serves as backup, at least.

That is useful, thanks!

I have tried a bunch. Notion is super cool, but doesn't do tables at this moment (though they seem to be working on it). Some apps have one level of nesting only, which is not enough structure for my use case. By now I have settled on Dropbox Paper.

Also, having a WYSIWYG editor is cool, in raw Markdown links and images just do not look good for my taste (and tables, and more, compared to Dropbox Paper or Notion). The number of files for which they support syntax highlighting is small though. In particular Elixir is not in the list as of this writing.

Imo, raw markdown links look a lot better when you use [this style]. It's marginally more effort to write, but reads better and is easier to edit.

[this style]: https://example.com

This looks very nice, well done. I'm surprised that nobody mentioned Workflowy in here, it's what I mainly use and found it fits my frame of mind the best. It's just infinitely recursive lists that let you zoom in on a particular subset. Next up on my list is learning Emacs + org mode to see how I like that.

You may like Dynalist.io which is inspired by Workflowy. I never used the latter but I really like the former.

Wow, this looks amazing, thanks for the suggestion.

This is great! I'm happy that more apps are converging on what I've started doing already anyway (keep plain markdown files on my disk). I got burned a few times too many trying to export/migrate my notes from some service's proprietary format.

I like the idea of an app with integrated notes and todos, and love that its open source, but this is really lacking in the todo department. No drag-and-drop reordering and no deadlines/grouping by date makes it pretty useless for anything approaching a decent workflow.

I've tried pretty much everything and still haven't found anything with the features/ease-of-use/good design of Wunderlist (which is still lacking in features, and has a fast approaching EOL). Considering todo apps are the modern version of hello world I would think we'd have a lot of good options (or does that reasoning actually mean there are a lot of half-baked options?)

I used https://ticktick.com/ for quite some time and then moved to Memorigi - https://tinbits.io/ (Android only). I have tried wunderlist, todoist and some others but nothing clicked except these two. Recurring tasks are what I use todo apps most for and these two supported it best

Does it support inline images?

I'm using Quiver for Mac, but really a cross platform solution would be more appropriate.

I tend to take notes/drawings on paper then take pictures of the useful stuff and put it into Quiver so I can see it in context

Any tips or recommendations for a "note-taking and to-do" mobile app that would allow dictation, speech to text?

My use-case is recording quick notes and TODOs, which often come at the weirdest of moments (no computer, no paper).

I feel there's a market for something super simple: a speech recognition fast enough and good enough that I can later read and understand what I said.

Everything I've tried so far was either too cumbersome (I need it to start recording fast, just like taking a snap picture) or its transcriptions too crappy (no idea what was said, even conceptually).

Not an app, but I have used ifttt recipes for this in the past, where I call the number and leave a message, then receive an email with transcription and link to audio in case the transcription was bad. Then I was automatically tagging those emails in Gmail to be able to go through my notes. The IFTTT number was saved in my contacts with an easily pronounced word. So when driving I could tell Siri "call Bender" and then not have to worry about any launch/navigation etc, just start talking

Google Keyboard has speech-to-text, that should work with any note-taking app.

> "no computer, no paper"

Sounds like you really just ought to make a habit of keeping pen and paper near you, or your mobile phone. Either of these fit your use case nicely at (probably) no extra cost.

or your mobile phone

Well, Radim is looking for a mobile app, so I'm assuming there's one around.

Interesting to see AppImage actually in use. https://appimage.org/

Good God - it's a note taking app that installs sqlite, sharp, and more than 300 other things... well into the millions of lines of code.

Good job. A bit too clunky on Windows for me (e.g., setting an alarm for a task), but I like the concept and the multi-environmental access aspect.

I've recently started using TickTick (https://ticktick.com) and been pretty happy with it, thought not accessible from a terminal.

Not supported on my chromebook. Please allow me to install the chromebook app on android.

This is something I have been wanting for a while a note taking app with a terminal app and syncing... unfortunately installing all these tools from an unknown source makes me a bit leery.

While we are at it. Has anyone tried Dropbox Paper for note taking?

I have. It works fine, just like a myriad of other note-taking methods.

I don't know that I'll ever settle on just one note-taking method. I'm too everywhere to have a single system.

the only thing I want to ask is weather these apps will last about 30 years+. When the support for a note taking app dies it causes a lot of head aches. Remember google notebook?

Just downloaded it and was checking it out. What is the difference between a todo and a note? Am I missing something? I am just using the UI not the terminal at this time.

I'd think a todo is a task that needs to be completed, whereas a note is just a set of information that needs to be stored.

Bit of a left-field question here: how hard would it be to integrate with Google Home where you could dictate your notes, listen to them or mark todos as completed?

If you're working in a terminal, all you need to take notes is vi or emacs. No need to complicate things.

For you.

As one example: Those notes are unlikely simple to access when you're on your phone away from your terminal.

The one thing missing: web. Esp. in places with restricted installs, having a web front end would be nice.

Windows issue: The installer assumes you want it on your c drive. grumble grumble.

Good point, so far I've just used the default build options but I see there's a "allowToChangeInstallationDirectory" option so I'll enable this on the next build.

....most, if not every single windows application makes this assumption.

That's not my experience at all. Most installers let you choose your installation folder.

Neat app...but where is the sqlite database located on a windows installation?

Is it possible to export a note? Are notes sharable?

I've used www.simplenote.com in the past.

I want to try notion.so, some friends use it at work with great success. But would prefer something like it but with a business model other than freemium SaaS.

Please change the name))) "Jopa" means ass in Russian... And, well...Joplin sounds like a resident of "Ass"-town

Janis Joplin was an icon of American music culture. I wouldn't be surprised if this program was named after her.

Not to be insensitive to other cultures, but "this name sounds vaguely like this vulgar thing in another language" is not a strong reason to rename a project of this kind.

Yeah, I was thinking Janis Joplin, too. Another musician, Scott Joplin, also comes to mind.

thank you. this is something i've wanted to make for a long time.

will look forward to helping contribute.

What about recurring to-dos?

why does android app have to access user location at time of installation.

Nice work

Good job, @laurent22!

Electron, no thnx.

Just use the terminal client then.

I'm currently using Apple Notes on my Mac and iPhone. It works just great!

    It synchronises perfectly
    I can drag and drop images to it, no problem.
    Cmd + C, Cmd + V, Cmd + B, Cmd + I all work as expected.
    I can even add to-do lists and cross out "Done"
    I think it even supports tables, But I don't use them.
    Export as PDF, html, airdrop, email whatever, works easily
What doesn't work:

    If I ever get out of Apple ecosystem, it won't work.
    Apple has my data, and I need to trust them.
Give me something with the same ease of use, and make it self-hostable without pain. I'd be happy to pay. I don't need Markdown or anything else. Text + Drag & Drop images support are a must for me.

Useful tip (that I didn't know until recently) is you can also access your notes via any modern browser at https://www.icloud.com/

I recently moved to a Windows machine as my day-to-day home machine and thought I'd have to abandon Apple Notes (which I use on my phone and my work Macbook) but the web interface is basically identical to the apps.

That's great to know. I found how awesome Notes had become in Sierra, and now have hundreds of notes - this is an app I use every single day multiple times a day. But I don't like the new offering of MBP's and wanted to move off the mac ecosystem, so started work on something just as easy to use and as secure as Notes, coupled with sharing notes. It's just a mobile first web app hooked up to firebase with nothing making it to the server that hasn't been encrypted on the client first. Shared notes will require users to share a password, unless I find a better solution.

But if iCloud Notes is just as good, maybe I'm wasting my time. I trust Apple's security, and Notes really is exactly what I want as a dev (their limited markup is nearly as useful as markdown, and I love that it is limited to a few choices).

The web interface actually lets you do one thing you can't on iOS - create nested folders.

I wish Apple would work more on icloud.com as a fully featured extension of their ecosystem. But they seem to be removing small features that are really useful, and I don't get the impression it has any priority. It used to be a nice way to manage mobile photos. Mass deletion was quicker and easier than on the phone, for example.

You can get a lot of the export features (pdf, html, ePub, LaTeX, docX) with markdown if you just use pandoc [1]. Pandoc’s description from their website is, “If you need to convert files from one markup format into another, pandoc is your swiss-army knife... Pandoc is free software, released under the GPL.” It truly is an amazing program to me. I use it all the time for my school assignments. It’s a command line tool and for the most part you can write ‘pandoc -s <input-file-name> -o <output-file-name>‘ and it will guess how to convert it based on extension. I do my markdown editing with visual studio code, because it has a previewer that also supports LaTeX math mode in the markdown (vs code does the LaTeX math mode through KaTeX.) Pandoc also supports latex math mode in markdown so I can export math related assignments to pdf and such quickly.

[1]: http://pandoc.org

Where does Apple Notes store it’s files? What format are they in?

They're stored in an sqlite file at ~/Library/Containers/com.apple.Notes/Data/Library/Notes/NotesV7.storedata (version number might be different.)

The data stored all over the place in the DB.

For example, you can extract HTML body of a note with the following query: "select ZHTMLSTRING from ZNOTEBODY".

Yep. They probably use Core Data (which is a layer on top of SQLite) internally instead of straight SQLite, but either way it ends up on disk as an SQLite file. A lot of standard Apple apps do this.

Pandoc is crap software. All the bugs makes it unusable for anything complicated.

What bugs? I've been using pandoc for years (admittedly mostly for markdown --> pdf/html/docx, sometimes with bibtex and interesting latex tweaks) and never run into a bug.

put a table in your documents, see what happens.

Disproof: The recent release of Scrivener use Pandoc for their 847-page manual[0]. It's a complicated something.

[0] https://www.literatureandlatte.com/learn-and-support/user-gu...

...unusable for anything complicated.

I thought we were talking about taking notes and then displaying them? How could that be complicated?

> Apple has my data, and I need to trust them.

You don't need to let Apple have your data to use Notes. Notes syncs through a standard IMAP account.

If you have your own domain, you can just create a notes@example.com e-mail account and Apple Notes will happily sync all of its data through that. That's what I do.

Huh, that's a cool tip. I'll try it out.

Boostnote - https://boostnote.io/

I have been using it for a few months and it is working good for me with resilio as my sync tool but it works with dropbox also. So security is up to the way you sync your files.

Works on Linux, Mac, Windows, iOS and Android and is open source. Takes a bit more to setup but I like this app since it reminds me of the old PIM Programs of old and has a good markdown system. It also exports as plain text or markdown.

I just tried Boostnote and I was impressed. One thing I wish it did better was to make creating new notes easier and faster, like Notational Velocity (or nvAlt). I don't like to have to choose between markdown and snippet each time. In fact, I wish I could embed code within markdown (with the power of the code highlighting that it does with snippets), then it would be a perfect note app for me. Vim keybinding also seems to work well, although I wish for customizing all keybindings (hopefully coming in future version)

Me too, and my favourite is the sketches. Add a little doodle, use the ruler for crisp lines - all in your basic little note app.

Oh yeah, forgot to mention that. Writing with Apple Pencil on iPad into the notes and seeing it appear on Mac and phone is a lot of fun and utility at the same time.

I think it also does handwriting recognition so your handwriting, if legible, is searchable.

Same here (I would pay, that is). I've been using SimpleNote for text notes since I switched to Linux, which seems to sync as well as Notes - but I really miss the simple sketching tools (and that great ruler!) for jotting down ideas on the train, and drag & drop images for "borrowing" ideas from the internet during the day.

Fastmail enables you to use their service to sync your Notes from OSX& iOS. i think with CalDAV.

I just tried it. No CalDAV, just plain IMAP... and only if you don't use the "iCloud upgraded notes", meaning that you cannot format the text.

you're right... IMAP only for Email & Notes[0].

CalDAV for Calendars, Reminders. CardDAV for Contacts.

I am able to use (basic) formatted text, but not the upgraded notes.

I've really enjoyed fastmail for the 1.5 years that I've used it.

For the record, Fastmail supports Mail, Calendar, & Contacts very well. And because Mail is doing the analysis of your messages, Calendar automatically inserts dates from events, flights, and such.

[0] - https://www.fastmail.com/help/clients/macmail.html

The biggest con for me is that it's impossible to reliably observe what incremental changes are made by collaborators on a shared note.

No tags.

I refuse to install any more Electron apps on my desktop.

Since the number of Electron apps probably isn't going to decline anytime soon, I think I can save you some work. I could write you a little application that scans HN a few times every day and if it finds a discussion about an Electron-based project it will post a comment letting everybody know that you won't be installing it because it uses Electron.

If you are interested, let me know. I can knock it out in a day or so and it will work on any platform you use because it's based on Electron.

Really made me laugh!

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