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Show HN: A Markdown Notepad App (github.com)
57 points by kenforthewin 7 months ago | hide | past | favorite | 34 comments

I've recently switched to using VSCode with these[0] two[1] extensions for all my markdown notes (I completely live off extensive note-taking and have gone through every single possible Markdown editor), and I couldn't be happier.

For the few devices where I don't have it installed, I use Mark Text[2] which is free, open source, cross platform, and lets me edit the same notes (stored locally, and synced to my NAS and OneDrive).

I truly don't understand why so many people are using centralised cloud sync notes, giving up file system access to your files and any reliability that you'll still have access to your notes in the future. People who are serious enough about note taking to require a markdown editor in the first place should be the same people who'd like to make sure their notes will still be available a few years from now. Not to mention the handiness of having your local filesystem when handling notes, eg being able to create a shortcut file in a project directory to link to relevant notes in your notes folder, and do that from multiple different project folders. Or being able to reorganise in bulk, rename in bulk, search/replace, all that stuff OSes have been working on for decades that <Insert Note App Startup> has listed in the TODO section of their readme.

[0] https://github.com/yzhang-gh/vscode-markdown [1] https://github.com/mushanshitiancai/vscode-paste-image [2] https://github.com/marktext/marktext

I’ve accepted the risk of cloud synchronization because the benefits over rolling my own are significant to me.

I get access to my notes across all my devices via a friendly interface dedicated to note-taking activities.

I can trivially add images on any of those devices as a straightforward part of that interface, which is a big deal for a healthy percentage of my notes.

I can trivially search across them on all my devices.

Anyway, that’s why. Obviously you disagree with my priorities, but perhaps now you’ll at least understand why I’ve made that decision.

I used centralized cloud sync notes (Notion) because it works well across all my devices and I have to spend zero time maintaining it or otherwise managing it, it just works (and improves over time without me doing anything!). I am not worried about if the service ever shuts down, because I always have exports/backups of my notes and can always roll my own service if needed. There's really no downside to it.

I've been trying to get into Notion, but the biggest downside is that I can't edit the markdown source of my documents nor can I use my own editor to edit their documents. I'm not happy with Notion's editor -- for instance, unindenting item 2 out of 5 of a bulleted list will move it down to item 5 for some reason. I guess I could export documents to markdown, edit, and reupload, but at that point I'm just using Notion as cloud data storage.

edit: Didn't mean to criticize so much! I've found Notion is great for taking nice plain text notes on the go that I can instantly access on my other devices. In the past I achieved this with Syncthing, but Notion's syncing is much less finicky, and fast -- it takes less than a second to sync! Plus there's a share menu.

There seem to be about a million markdown writing apps, but I don't really understand why they're useful. Granted, I'm someone who writes Java in Vim, but Markdown seems like the one language that's most suited to a simple text editor. It's is already so ergonomic and transparent that I can't really think of anything that would make it easier to write barring an AGI that could decide the words to put down for me. I don't often find myself needing to preview markdown while I'm writing it. I don't think I even really get much out of syntax highlighting. Are there actually a lot of people who get value out of this sort of app?

> There seem to be about a million markdown writing apps

And every single one is built on Electron, takes hundreds of megabytes to install, some gigabytes to build while claiming to be "minimal".

> I don't really understand why they're useful

The rendered view usually looks eye-candy which is a factor of inspiration. E.g. I experience immediate emotional reward as soon as I write something in Typora, it feels like calligraphy while is effortless. It's a dopamine trigger which can encourage you to structure and write the stuff down which is good for productivity.

This also means you can produce pretty-looking structured documents while storing them in a concise format which is trivial to both read and to process on almost every machine. You can also use a script to turn an markdown it into a beautiful print-ready PDF by means of LaTeX.

I've even switched to Typora from MS Word.

Needless to say it is particularly convenient to publish Markdown on GitHub pages.

> Markdown seems like the one language that's most suited to a simple text editor

It is, by design, yet rendered view is more pleasure to write and to read.

These apps all seem really similar, but the app that has finally solved all of my needs is inkdrop[0]. It supports all the major desktop platforms, and has iOS and Android apps as well (although fairly basic and not as slick as more established mobile note taking apps). Automatic note syncing (self hosted or as a paid subscription), great notebook and tagging support, in-editor type styling based on markdown tokens (I love that changing a headline level changes the font size, which you don't get in an IDE), and plugin support which includes a pretty decent vim emulation. It has worked flawlessly from the start for me and I always have it open on all of my machines. It's an electron app, so it's not as snappy as a native editor, but I think it's a good trade for the speed of development and cross platform feature set. I'm not affiliated with the project, just a very happy customer.

[0] https://inkdrop.app/

Costs more than Notion - is there something that justifies that price? This is getting to be a competitive space (Evernote, Workflowy, and Dynalist are some of the others).

If you're looking for something like this with vim bindings and functionality, I really like VimR


There's a couple of md syntax highlighters for vim, that show rendered version (e.g. this) and hide the markdown syntax, unless your cursor's on it (e.g. this *). Esp neat for links, showing text without url.

TBH I haven't used it as an editor, just to read md offline (e.g. curl a github readme.md).

For those who avoid Electron, there's MacDown:


I really like MacDown except that, every so often, it freezes and shows the spinning beach ball for ten seconds to a minute, and then proceeds.

I primarily use it for MathJax for math.stackexchange.com.

An alternative is moeditor.

Not to forget VsCode, which has markdown support and preview.

More info, if you're curious, like I was:



I can recommend Joplin app. https://joplinapp.org/


- Free and open-source

- Cross-platform

- Support end-to-end encryption

- Synchronization via NextCloud or Dropbox

- Allows you to import notes from EverNote

- Has a web clipper

You can also sync to the filesystem. I do this so I can use syncthing to synchronize my notes w/o the cloud and duplicati to back them up :)

How does this compare to Joplin?


I've tried a bunch of markdown editors and writing tools (Ulysses, Ia Writer, Byword, etc.). I keep coming back to Vim for writing and Marked 2 for previewing and converting to PDFs, HTML, Word, etc. Is Noted just another markdown editor written in Electron or does it bring something truly unique to an already crowded field?

Right now I use Ulysses on my work Mac, JotterPad on Android and Typora/Caret on Linux. All sync'd on Google Drive. Ulysses is far and away better. I wish there was some equivalent on Android or Linux. I.e., native, fast, pretty, let's you just use a regular folder enabling syncing with any service/app.

I appreciate apps like this, but each time I’ve tried a simple editor like this, especially for the markdown support, I end up not using it more than a few times because organization becomes messy.

I had the same problem but started using https://bear.app/ because the search is so good. I add new notes multiple times per day (mostly meeting notes) and don't worry about organization since the search is so great. I love it and even pay a few bucks per month for it. It's kinda like my digital brain.

This app seems really nice, but I certainly can’t use it for work (at least without written approval).

I’d love something of this caliber that is open source. Maybe I should write one myself :)

Bear is sadly Apple world only

If you’re searching for functionality like this, I recommend you also check out Boostnote. (https://boostnote.io/)

Seems lame that to download an open source app, I need to provide them my email address?

It is a bit irksome but you can just type a nonsense email address to get the download link right away.


That IS pretty lame. Didn't know that had been introduced when I made the recommendation.

An alternative is to directly to github and download one of the releases: https://github.com/BoostIO/Boostnote/releases

So many markdown apps but the basic Apple Notes has been doing the trick.

I recently discovered Bear App, which was a nice alternative to Apple Notes, but just wish it was offered on Linux :(

Have been using fsnotes for a while (MacOS / iOS) for this, syncing it with iCloud


if you guys want a MD editor that's not a bloated electron mess as most are try out ghostwriter ( https://github.com/wereturtle/ghostwriter ) i've tried pretty much every single choice and this is what i'm using now

A free online editor https://markdown.site/

Great work. I use a few paid for IDE's. But I think I just found my new Markdown editor. Thank you!

edit: I love electron btw

Nice idea, using the vim-like "i" and Esc to switch between modes.

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