Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
FSNotes: Notes manager for macOS and iOS – native, open source (fsnot.es)
298 points by codetrotter 59 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 157 comments



After GitHub.dev was released (hit “.” on any GitHub repo, to open it in browser-based VS Code), I immediately saw the notetaking workflow that I wanted: a GitHub repo, storing markdown that I can own/control, but editable in the browser, using my existing VS Code preferences (theme, keybindings, etc.).

Unfortunately, VS Code doesn’t natively support wiki links, so I created an extension that simply adds that feature on top of the core VS Code markdown editor: https://GitHub.com/lostintangent/wikilens.

Over the last week, this experience has really transformed my writing workflow. I can simply open https://GitHub.dev/lostintangent/wiki (my personal notes repo) and begin editing and navigating, without too much ceremony. As the extension ecosystem begins creating more extensions for GitHub.dev, this experience will only get better.


https://obsidian.md/ is close to this, although a different editor with much better linking. The notes are just markdown files in a folder so you can also save it as a git repo and edit through Codespaces or VSC's remote editing extensions.


Similarly for me. I just use github private repo for non essential personal note, edit them online or with my text editor. So easy


This is spot on to what I was wanting as well - thank you for pointing out the “.” workflow!


Absolutely! If you end up checking out WikiLens w/GitHub.dev, don’t hesitate to let me know any feedback you might have. I’ll be iterating on the experience based on my own usage, but I’m keen to ensure this works well for others as well!


I like this idea, is a private git repo (on github.com) a safe place to store personal notes?


Yep! That’s what I use for my personal notes.


> PM at Microsoft, currently working on Codespaces

Bruh... you might be the most or least qualified person to answer that question, but a simple "Yep!" doesn't offer anyone information as to why they should store private data on a closed source, foreign server.


I guess all your missing is offline capabilities (obviously you can have a local repo as well, but if your doing all your editing online, you might not be backing it up for when you actually need that offline capability) and mobile editing (which shockingly still isn't a thing for even basic github)


You could at this point just schedule a git pull to run every hour (or however fast you wish to do it) locally.


Foam is pretty good for this as well: https://foambubble.github.io/foam/


How does this work for you if you’re on a mobile device?


theres a github app you can download. I imagine the note editing experience on the mobile app is a bit subpar.


It is non-existent atm unfortunately.


Does the VS Code support plugins? One could implement client side encryption for better privacy.


Github wiki pages with sublime text markdown plug-in to follow and create links is the way


I keep seeing apps like these, and what they almost never have is sharing notes between multiple people.

I use Apple Notes, and I constantly share notes with my wife — and entire folder structures, too. We use it for grocery lists, dinner planning, travel planning, and many other things. It's not quite as elegantly real-time as Google Docs, but we don't need that as much, since we tend to edit at different times.

I also like that Notes is rich text all the way. My heart sinks when a new note-taking app boasts of Markdown support, as if that's a good thing. I think Markdown is fine for technical docs, where no good standard for rich text editing exists. But Markdown is a compromise — things like asterisks and underlines are less legible than the bold and italics they represent (especially across more than one word), and links become nigh unreadable, not to mention things like inline images and tables.

I previously used Evernote, and I've tried Notion (slow, awful for organizing, "block model" gets in the way of writing). I've yet to find anything that matches Apple Notes.


This. Big Apple Notes user here.

Apple Notes takes the crown for being the most unobstructive when it comes to taking notes.

1. Drag and Drop images, screenshots, annotate them in place. I cannot live without this anymore. Forcing me to first upload an image somewhere, and then use ()[] syntax to correctly load the file in MarkDown is the opposite of what I want my Notes application to be.

2. Sync - I write my notes on my Mac while working. I needed to look something up while I am waiting in queue somewhere? iPhone provides an excellent interface with usable Search while on the Go. Had a thought while I am traveling, want to put it down? Notes on iPhone. This thing is super convenient.

3. Shared Notes. My wife and I share a few notes with purposes - "Things to Know" - for the important tidbits that we end up sharing via Messages/email. Now they are in one place and recorded forever. "To buy" is our commonly used shopping list. "Household todo" - is our shared todo list for stuff around the house.

Now, the con is that deep lock-in to the Apple ecosystem. I am still waiting for an alternative that gives me the ability and ease to do #1 and #2 above. So far, none met my needs.

My eager bet is on https://www.serenity.re/en/notes The dev has image drag and drop support on the roadmap. If it comes out, I will give it a serious shot.


Evernote...? Windows support, and Linux support in the browser. The Linux apps are bad. But I hate the new design and still use the legacy version on macOS. I'm looking for a replacement, but I have thousands of notes in Evernote, and it won't be an easy move.


I have never seriously considered Evernote because of how many peers of mine were dissatisfied with it.

It also felt like trying to do too much rather than being a focussed Notes replacement. I will give it a second look now.


Here here. I love Apple Notes. I don't even need a title for notes - iOS just takes the top line of the note.

Is it that hard to create an open source hosted version? Just get out of the way and let me take a note!

As I posted in this thread, I will pay $100/year for this solution. The closest I've found is Standard Notes, but it's missing a few things.


Out of curiosity, why not just use Notes?

(I’m aware there are legit reasons, but I’m curious about your scenario.)


Moving off Apple's ecosystem. Their definition of privacy/surveillance falls short of "human rights" level privacy and only protects against advertisers and hackers.


Fair enough. I will point out there is no commercial entity that does better than Apple on any of these counts. Open source will only get you so far: every hardware vendor other than Apple has lower standards for labor rights and sustainability.


+1.

As sweet as their hardware and ecosystem is, an open ecosystem is better for users. I'd move off if I could get most of what I enjoy within Apple ecosystem.


Yes, lifelong MacAddict here.

Something open that beats Apple's ecosystem doesn't yet exist today. But you can help it get there by being a customer and telling companies what you want. Re-creating an E2E iCloud suite doesn't seem impossible. For example Standard Notes is close to beating Notes - but it's still too complicated but with focused work on the UI it could win.

Discussion of open source phones: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=28164208

Discussion of open source laptops: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=28266315


One good reason to not use Apple’s software offerings is to be able to keep eggs in more than one basket. Treat Apple like the hardware seller they should be? They’re below average at best at software anyway. Other than the upper layer polish.


“Below average at best”?!

Apple is famously a forerunner of personal computing. They invented most of the mobile UI design language used today. Every OS they’ve built is extremely premium. Their natural language processing is best-in-class.

How are they possibly “below average at best”


In all fairness what you say was correct for a long time. But recently quality has slipped according to many. I wouldn't make any type of bold claim to quantify it though.


Why I moved away from Apple notes: export options require AppleScript, or paid Mac app (lost some images). no Linux client (there’s a web client) Code has no syntax highlighting. Linking between notes wasn't possible, this might have changed since.


My wife and I use a shared reminders list for the shopping.

If one of us buys something, then we delete it from the list. This prevents duplicate purchases and reminds us both of what remains to be bought.


I've jumped between note-taking Apps, Evernote, Bear, Typora, Notion, Obsidian, ..., you name it. Finally settled down with Obsidian as I can manage note files directly such as using Syncthing for backing up and syncing. This one does seem interesting and possible to integrate into my workflow, gotta give it a try.


With the new Quick Capture stuff I'm all in on Apple Notes. Drafts was a bit more slick when it comes to just capturing and acting on text, sure. But all the nerd-favorite apps like Drafts and Obsidian are heavily text focused. So am I! But I also really like taking handwritten notes.


the thing that really soured me on apple notes is that, not only did they remove precise drawing and zoom, but they flattened all of the previously vector-based drawings i had on my ipad pro. they did this without any forewarning at all via an ordinary ios/ipados update (no popup, no release notes, nothing at all). before that, it was poised to replace all of my paper notetaking and drawing, especially with the handwriting recognition stuff coming to fruition that they promised with the debut of the original 2015 ipad pro.


Argh, that's annoying. I personally don't know why proper outlining support is absent from, basically, every single note-taking app that is not a literal outliner (like OmniOutliner) and, with Apple Notes, why I can't take truly freeform handwritten notes as I can in OneNote. (If OneNote didn't have awful performance and reliability I might just use it.)


I went through the same process and got stuck on GoodNotes on the iPad. Once I got used to using the Pencil for sketching, marking up other documents, and handwriting notes (when that makes sense), I was hooked.

Obsidian is pretty cool and is progressing rapidly. If their iPad client gets Pencil support then I will probably end up there as well.


Same for me. Surprising that Obsidian doesn’t support native pencil option. I tried with excalidraw plug-in and it’s not sleek.


> Surprising that Obsidian doesn’t support native pencil option.

The app was only just released. I hope that it is coming.


I'm in a similar spot, recently started using Obsidian and am enjoying it. It's far from perfect, but it is better than the others imo. And the fact that it is all markdown based means no lock-in which is fantastic.


If you're looking for Obsidian, but with a nicer UI, Reflect is definitely worth trying. (https://reflect.app)


Is it open-source and cross-platform, like Obsidian?


I don't know if this was rhetorical or not, but I read through the blog and found no indication that it's open-source. The only platforms I saw mentioned were macOS and iOS (Android was mentioned once but I think it was more of a future thing) and it appears the final price will be $160 per year.

From what I saw of the website and the blog posts, I'm not sure how this is better than Obsidian. The original comment mentions a nicer UI but the UI doesn't seem that much different. One of the things I love about Obsidian is how customizable the UI actually is.


Obsidian isn’t open source.


How do you handle sync to mobile with Syncthing? Obs mobile only supports iCloud and their own sync service.


This is one thing I've been keeping an eye on. I cannot find a way of doing that now; I don't think I can make the Möbius Sync the other commenter mentioned work either since it can only access files under its own App directory.


"möbius sync" works pretty well.


I will pay $100 a year for an iOS-like Notes replacement, de-Appled with these criteria:

1. Secure - E2E encrypted on cloud storage, vendor cannot read it

2. Accessible - standalone native app on desktop and mobile on all platforms (Linux, Windows, Mac/iOS, Android)

3. Simple - love how Apple doesn't even make you "title" notes, it just takes the first line

4. Shareable - with others with editing privs eg a grocery list for family

5. Paid - that way I know it's sustainable and not some data scam

6. Plain - Base version has no ability to publish to a blog or any junk like that.

7. Open source

I just subscribed to Standard Notes:https://standardnotes.com/

Standard Notes has #1, #2, #5, and#7. But UI is more cluttered than iOS. And not shareable with editing privs.


Have you looked into Joplin?


Joplin seems like a good SimpleNote alternative. And I'm really after the end-to-end encryption


Joplin supports E2EE.


I appreciate the suggestion. I checked it out at the same time as Standard Notes.

It seems to break the Simple + Plain criteria. For example on the main nav, pressing "+" prompts to either New Note or New To Do. And all the references to "notebooks". Too much for me.


That's fair.

The syncing is bit janky if you're careful. But having a self-hosted option is what attracted me.

I don't trust anyone with my data anymore.


Apparently you can self host Standard Notes --

From Standard Notes: Standard Notes is free and open-source software, which means self-hosting both ends (the app and server) is both totally possible and very easy." https://standardnotes.com/help/47/can-i-self-host-standard-n...


I just ignore the To Do feature, and have everything in one notebook. This makes it pretty similar to apple notes


Have you tried Standard Notes? Less stuff to ignore. Still not ideal but much cleaner.

And holler if you find something that is even better!


You should look seriously at FSNotes, it’s got all your needs met I believe (have fun with standard notes- I found them very disappointing)


I have Joplin also, and yes it’s good, and it syncs well these days (not so in past I found) and there’s no good reason I have not be using it full time, but I’m not, something there niggles me in use, maybe it’s just a shade slower, hard to define, but moving from ios to OS X works great for me In FSNotes so I’ll probably be sticking with it for a while, I stuck on notational velocity for a long time and have only moved for the ability to add photos easily (improvement in Joplin only) and apply some security levels applicable on individual record levels


FSNotes is amazing.

It's what I've settled on, not liking the lock-in (bad export options) of Notes.app, paying for increasingly crappier Evernote (I used in the past), cloud-sync-based note apps, very barebones FOSS apps, half-arsed stuff like Agenda, and Electron crap.


what I like about the notes app is that it can use imap to store notes. So they’re in-sync without iCloud and accessible from any imap client.

The app itself is a bit annoying though with forced auto-spelling and a clunky feeling. Would love to find another app that relies on imap, but haven’t found any (admit to not looking too much)


What do you mean by forced auto-spelling? You can turn that on and off in the Edit menu just like in any other macos text field.


hehe I guess I missed it? Thank you. never spent long enough on the app to tweak the settings, even though I think I tried to look up the preferences and couldn’t find it there


Nothing to do with this app. That’s an OS-wide preference available in EVERY app.


Unless it’s an Electron turd, in which case YMMV regarding system services and interface conventions. :p


I’ve written myself a terminal based note taking app that uses IMAP and MIME/Maildir as a storage backend: https://github.com/knazarov/notes.sh


What do you mean by IMAP? Isn’t it a mail sync thing? Or can you use it some other way?


IMAP is basically a file access protocol (think FTP), but the "files" are emails. You don't have to just pull from an INBOX and save emails in Sent (that's done over IMAP, not SMTP), you can read/create/modify anything anywhere, so some apps save notes to IMAP for some reason (to replace "self-emails" I guess).


IMAP is read/write and holds the mail on the server (unlike POP).

If you go into your internet accounts settings and tick "notes". Notes will surface it and stores notes in folders on the mail server. (Not all of notes functionality is available in the notes stored in those folders.)


That's a big proviso in parenthesis. I would go as far as saying that most functionality is not available, unfortunately.


Apple’s visual voicemail on the iPhone also syncs using IMAP hosted by your carrier.


So does the Notes app, at least for Google accounts.


You didn’t bring up a lot of apps that are similar. Is it because open source is a requirement? Not sure because you bring up obviously non open source app issues.

For a quick look at quite a few apps would be all the Zettelkasten notes apps. Taio is recently out for iOS and Mac too.

I also don’t look at any of the options you listed. There’s still a handful of apps left over.


long time google keep user.

i am seriously considering migrating my hundreds of notes and recipes to notes.app because i have been having a bad feeling about keep.

you are saying the grass isn't greener on that side either? what's bad about notes.app besides lock-in and export?


I’ve been using the native Apple notes for years now. At first it was convenience, but at some point I thought about it and decided there was no reason to switch. It has shockingly reliable sync (for Apple), and the right number of formatting options for me. I wish it could syntax-highlight code blocks, but that’s not a universal use case.

Export is fine if you’re only moving a single note—it just strips formatting and shares it as plain text. Similarly, I don’t know if there’s a bulk import option. If you have a text file, you might need to copy-paste it into notes.


There’s an app called Exporter on the MAS that will export all your notes as markdown (with images in a side folder) just FYI. I believe it’s free.


It doesn’t work for large images due to some library limitation so any scans and photos taken within notes might not export correctly


If you enjoy using the Notes app, it should be fine.

I don’t like it because I find it clunky and restrictive. However I wouldn’t tell someone to not try it if it seems fine to them.


My experience with Notes is positive.

What I especially like is the simplicity overall and good sync between mac/iphone/ipad.

And that it works great offline.


I don't like the search either. It's a global style search, which means you can't constrain the search on a specific folder.

So if you have 1000s of notes in different folders, you're made to look through tons of irrelevant matches in different folders.

It's also somewhat clunky in syncing sometimes.


I am in same boat (long time keep user) h. How do you plan to migrate from google keep


If you want to export your Keep notes (and almost all of the metadata and media) into Markdown format, I helped write keep-exporter, a tool to accomplish just that.

It downloads the text content of the notes and the majority of media (some of the annotation stuff doesn't work quite right). So assuming another app supports markdown import, this would work.

https://github.com/ndbeals/keep-exporter/

(note, the version in PyPI is behind and I don't have access to update it, so pull from the repository instead)

It uses gkeepapi (https://github.com/kiwiz/gkeepapi), but it looks like there's an official API now (https://developers.google.com/keep/api), so maybe Keep isn't going away anytime soon.


I love Notes, but the lack of Watch support is inexplicable.


Apple’s “Quicknote” feature in iOS 15 is great, being able to highlight and link to specific text on any webpage in Safari, and other apps as well. I guess a lot of people will stick to the stock Notes app just because of this feature [1]

Unfortunately no 3th-party Notes app can implement such a feature due to Apple’s walled garden :’(

[1] https://appleinsider.com/articles/21/06/22/quick-note-may-be...


That's such a dumb limitation imo. Wish there was a system API apps could use to allow it.


Anyway to change the storage backend from iCloud to something self-hosted that has all the Apple Notes features? In my experience syncing works fine with IMAP as backend storage, regretfully without most of the rich-text features.


Lot's of discussion about other apps but none cover the main selling point for me. FSNotes was created initially as an open source Notational Velocity / NVAlt replacement when NVAlt broke on one of the MacOS version upgrades. It can be configured to replicate the amazing modal search / create interface from those apps.

There is also NVUltra [0] from Brett Terpstra, his successor to NVAlt. It is still in beta after quite a while. From memory it seemed more powerful and a bit slicker overall, but right now I don't need to do anything too complicated and prefer the cleaner native look of FSNotes.

FSNotes has no dropbox integration for the iOS app, but you can still use dropbox as a store and use any other plain text / markdown iOS note app. I use 1Writer.

[0] https://nvultra.com

[1] https://1writerapp.com


I have recently started using logseq: https://logseq.com/blog/about

I have to say I am really loving it so far. All based on Markdown or org mode format. I have a folder stored on OneDrive and it is synced across all my devices.


Thanks for mentioning this. This looks like a nice companion to Obsidian and org-mode. It seems to mix a lot of the great qualities of each.


Having been a notational velocity / Simplenote user for ages, I’m very happy to be able to migrate my stash of notes into FSNotes, and bonus - it can take images/ photos (far better than standard notes manages - a neglected purchase I have) and even encryption for specific entries that works easily!! Wow all my ideals in one place. I’m a convert for sure, but have to admit, still using NV on my desktop and Simplenote on iOS, but it looks like they will be left behind slowly, as I’m only adding to FSNotes now. I hope they keep it independent and avoid the eventual buyout offers to come.


FSNotes is already up to version 5, and fiercely independent, so things are looking good.


Unfortunately, the platform lock is a deal breaker for me. After testing a lot of different note apps, I'm currently using Joplin.

It does 95% of the things I need quite right. I'm not sure, if it's only my problem, but I really struggled to find a good app for note taking, although there's a plethora of solutions out there.


I agree perfectly. It seems there are zillions of apps (just look at this thread), but the moment I look for my requirements (markdown, good math rendering, no format lockdown, decent GUI, basic backup options) it seems that no matter how I look the only options are Obsidian and Joplin. Joplin being open source, albeit not perfect, it is my choice.

It always surprises me how many apps there and how I don't get a feeling with 95% of them.


These requirements are met by FSNotes. Or does it lack in some way you've not mentioned?


I'm finally kicking EN to the curb (my subscription renewed right before they released EN10, and I gave them a year to make it stop sucking, which they failed to do) and Joplin seems to be the one I'm hating the least, despite it being a piece of webshit in an Electron container. The fact that it actually has a plugin for dealing with conflicting changes via an actual diff interface (something EN never did in the entire decade I subscribed) kinda compensates for that.

Still gotta do a decent test drive of its sharing features, though, and see if my husband hates it less than swearing at EN10. Looks like I can only share if I'm using the Joplin Cloud, too, guess I should pay for a month soon...


By platform lock you mean OS vendor-lock (i.e. apple)? Because FS Notes stores all your notes in plain text files (which is why I use it - pointed to a Dropbox folder). Admittedly it has a weird way of naming the files (presumably so it can have the filesystem act as a more robust database that is then loaded and cached) but it's still the easiest and most "free feeling" workflow that I've been able to stick with for my workflow (what appeals to me about FSNotes is: Plain text files, Syncs with Dropbox, Fast and simple keyboard shortcuts, Works on mobile and desktop, Quick and simple to organise stuff in folders but no tags or complex structures, Very cheap)


> Admittedly it has a weird way of naming the files

You can change the file naming default to be based on note title BTW, it's in the first Preference pane window "General".


Coincidentally I discovered another iOS app for note-taking this week called Beorg, which leverages the emacs + org mode format so I can easily sync between iOS and Linux.

This one looks nice too though; always good to see open source apps for Mac and iOS. I wonder how similar the markdown formats are.


And on the Android side, Orgzly http://www.orgzly.com/

I'm finding that syncing between Emacs/org-mode and my phone has been nothing but problems, though. Sync conflicts abound. I'm not sure how much of that is my Emacs config, Syncthing on Android, or Orgzly.

Any ideas on avoiding that? How are you syncing with Beorg?


I’m working on bringing my org tasks to iOS. It’s early days but can be seen here https://www.reddit.com/r/plainorg and here https://xenodium.com/org-habits-on-ios-check-tasks-youre-nex...

I have TestFlight invites available for anyone interested.

Edit: Email me for invites "plainorg" + "@" + "xenodium.com"


Just wanted to say I'm currently using it and it's fantastic (and rapidly developed).

Can't thank you enough for spending so much effort supporting org on iOS, it's really filling a huge gap for me!


Hey, that's wonderful to hear! Thank you.


I think the most "hard" problem in such apps is solving conflicts and reliable background sync. Beorg uses iCloud versioning since some time. Before it was implemented, it was a bloody mess - my org files would get conflicts on daily basis so that I've mostly used it only for reading org files.


I love org mode for writing and that side of org is brilliant. It’s not just a task manager. In fact I’d love just a note taking tool that doesn’t care as much about tasks but focuses on a outstanding org mode note taking experience on mobile.


Give the TestFlight build a go. You may find an overlap with what's offered. Happy to take feedback.


I find the beorg UI ugly. I would really love an Orgzly for iPad.


I’m working on bringing my org tasks to iOS (iPad included). https://www.reddit.com/r/plainorg Available on TestFlight now.

Edit: Email me for invites "plainorg" + "@" + "xenodium.com"


Looks a little like SimpleNote, and also free. Difference looks like Apple tech only.

It's got end-to-end encryption, which is amazing!

I'm hoping SimpleNote will get end-to-end- encryption soon.


Can you paste images from clipboard into simple note yet?


e2e encryption is not amazing these days, it is a basic requirement. i.e. if you communicate using https you are using e2e encryption.


In a c2s model, TLS is usually not considered end-to-end encryption. End-to-End refers to your server not being able to read the contents of your communications. For something like FSNotes, that would probably look like encrypting your notes with your own public key before sending them to the server.


Via https://old.reddit.com/r/macapps/comments/p98454/fsnotes_v5_... where it was posted by its author. Be sure to check out that thread for more info about the application and for some answers to any questions that people may have.


I’ve tried a number of notes apps backed with “Sync with iCloud Drive” and often find it problematic. Usually the problems are on the Mac side, wherein my laptop does a bad job of pushing up small edits to existing files. I can force it with hacky things like viewing the folder in Finder, but that is a nuisance and easy to forget. The result is that I’ll open up Beorg/Obsidian/etc. on my iOS device and see a quite out-of-date version of the docs.

FWIW the non-drive iCloud Sync (core data?) works extremely well for things like Bear.


FWIW, Obsidian's native apps (macOS and iOS) work great, with the Obsidian.md Sync feature.


That's what I've heard. I passed on Obsidian for some other reasons, but during my eval I was pretty sure if I was to stick with it I'd pay for their sync service.


I think CloudKit is the name of the one that bear is using. It’s part of “iCloud”, but a different service (not the iCloud Drive). It seems to work well.

Obsidian has a few options, but can use iCloud Drive. As you note, it’s a bit hit or miss. Files take a while to sync. Sometimes the desktop won’t bother downloading a file. Hard linked files don’t seem to sync at all. (Obsidian’s paid sync service works well in my experience.)


Switched to FSNotes after trying several alternatives including just Apple Notes.

I wanted to use Typora since I love the writing interface but it doesn’t have many of the organizational conveniences of a dedicated note-taking app.

All in all I’ve been really happy with it and paid for the iOS/macOS versions. I love that it’s not subscription based (and actually open source in that the AppStore/dmg versions are basically identical).

Most importantly for me, it’s super fast and everything is saved in a TextBundle (or markdown) format so I’m not locked in.


This is nice! Quiver was my previous go-to, but it's all but abandonware in 2021.


Ugh… I have been through so many notes apps and half of them look like this one… boostnote, quicksilver, apple notes… all offer just the basics. I’m with Notion right now because I can add files and images easily, and can create some more complex layouts that you can’t achieve with markdown, but I’m still not satisfied… Notion biggest flaw for me is trying to make every table a relationship database.


I haven't used notion, but isn't that what they market as their biggest selling point?

It's basically a modern pretty Access in some ways. Can you explain why you dislike that part?


Because sometimes you just want a bit of tabular formatting within a note. The table feature is really, really cool when you want to use it, but if you don't it's a bit OTT - e.g. every table has a bunch of chrome at the bottom with a row count, some auto-totalling things, a new row button etc.

I'm also a little unclear what happens if I export to another product, do my tables show up as tables in the new product or as a thousand small notes each with one row of one table in?


What @julianz said... the relationship stuff is great... but not every table have to act that way. Sometimes you have some content that are tabular in nature, but don't need the whole formatting they force it on you.


FSNotes is far from basic and can include images.


If it has already integrated git, why not support syncing through the VCS instead of third party like Dropbox or iCloud? Is there any note taking app that automatically syncs changes with a remote repository, so I can simply provide credentials to a hosted git instance and it does everything out of the box?


There's a Git plugin for Obsidian: https://github.com/denolehov/obsidian-git

It's not quite out of the box, but installing community plugins is very easy through the settings UI.


Haven’t seen Craft mentioned here but amongst almost all of the other already mentioned apps, Craft feels to me like it’s got the whole pack. Native apps, cloud sync that works, option for iCloud sync or offline storage, blocks that turn into pages, multi platform, Markdown, etc.


https://www.craft.do/ I assume you're referring to this, took a bit of googling.


That one.


Also for people with student status they are offering free education license now until before October.


I am really enjoy Noteplan for macOS and iOS. Works really well and it comes with Setapp :)


Loved it until they introduced a subscription, which was a considerable price increase.


My #1 wish with all of these is decent footnote support. None of that manually tinkering with superscript numbers.

EDIT: looks like it got added here https://github.com/glushchenko/fsnotes/pull/704

Take my money!

EDIT 2: darn, the footnotes in markdown still need to be manually incremented. Why can't it work like auto-incrementing numbered lists already do?


So funny this pops up. Last few days I've been wanting a new notes app that wasn't using some database and was files based, plus I feel like other notes app rich text copying and pasting notes can be a mess. Plus a bit unorganized so wanted a new notes app and just copy things over as I need. This one looks pretty prefect for my wants.

I also like how it has both folders and hash tags too instead of being forced to pick one over the other.


Just curious if you had tried Obsidian (https://obsidian.md)?


Obsidian really is a great choice if you are looking for Markdown. Windows, Linux, Mac, Android/iOS mobile apps soon. It's polished, fast, and all around a great experience. Flexible inter-note linking (wiki style), visualization, backlink discovery, handles images and embedded documents well. All around a good product.

I'm still looking for something with a cross-platform GUI that I like as much as I liked Obsidian.md - but with the same sort of arbitrarily nested hierarchy (with TODOs and the like at any level) and the ability to adhoc rearrange my notes like org-mode provides. The Emacs/org-mode level of customization would be nice, too.

Trilium Notes ( https://github.com/zadam/trilium ) was also a good contendor, but not having a text-content-first focus made for some frustrating experiences of data corruption, and testing data export of my initial trial run was messy as a consequence as well.


Import on Trillium was a little bit of trouble for me. I had to tweak some code, possibly because of the size of my import, and utf8 stuff got mangled. But it is interesting, especially the customization model.

I'm currently on Obsidian, which has a nice plugin model and you can just manipulate the files on disk if you want to. I also like that it does MathJaX and mermaid. I went from Notion to Craft but had to bail on Craft (nice community) because it didn't handle math or code well.


> Windows, Linux, Mac, Android/iOS mobile apps soon.

I think they are actually available now.

> arbitrarily nested hierarchy

What do you mean arbitrarily nested hierarchy?


Emacs org-mode, the org format, and the general ecosystem (agenda view, org-roam, and lots of other things) don't really care how you structure your data, so you can choose between:

   * a bunch of very focused small files
   * a single large file
   * some combination of the two
So, for example, I might start off with my "todo.work.org" file and having something like:

   * Partner Integration
   ** <Partner name>
   *** APIs
   **** Query API
   ***** Quirks
   ****** TODO Confirm API only works on Tuesdays
   **** Purchase API
   *** Tasks
   **** TODO Read the documentation
   **** STRT Email about feature
   **** DONE Complain about horrible APIs in Slack
The built in "folding" support (collapsing/expanding) is pretty good, so you can easily toggle between seeing the whole hierarchy of the headings, the content, arbitrary levels of nesting (i.e., show only headings 1 & 2 levels deep and hide everything else).

The TODO/STRT/DONE entries can be placed anywhere in this hierarchy, and org-mode will take note of them and allow you to build up Agenda views of some/all of your TODOs. So you can ask org to give you a list of tasks filtered by some criteria (e.g. scheduled for this week) - but across many different files.

You can "quickly" jump to arbitrary headings and start building onto the hierarchy. You can "narrow" your view on a sub-heading and the entire edit view becomes only about that sub-heading (so I could narrow my view to just "APIs" and everything below it).

If you want to edit the hierarchy, it's basically a matter of going up and adding some headings ("** HEADING") and using shortcut keys to indent/un-indent (promote/demote) headings.

I find this works really well for me. Allows for brainstorming, keeping notes without pre-organizing them, collapsing irrelevant details when not needed, etc.

Also key for this, you can add UUIDs to individual "nodes" (headings) and those IDs persist with that heading, even if you move the heading to a different spot in the hierarchy (a different heading in the same file, or a different file). So your links (to the UUID, instead of the heading text or file) can be resilient to the restructuring of your data over-time.

There's really a whole lot to org-mode, and it didn't click for me until I watched some YouTube videos, but now I really hate that it offer so much great functionality - but it's tied to Emacs and ultimately feels clunky and slow as a consequence.


I do wish that Obsidian had better Workflow-y esque folding/collapsing/expanding support, it would make the whole experience much better.

> The TODO/STRT/DONE entries can be placed anywhere in this hierarchy, and org-mode will take note of them and allow you to build up Agenda views of some/all of your TODOs. So you can ask org to give you a list of tasks filtered by some criteria (e.g. scheduled for this week) - but across many different files.

If I understand what you're saying, I believe such a thing is possible with stuff like the Checklist 3rd party extension. I am hopeful that as the 3rd party ecosystem matures, even more of these differences/missing features will be patched in.


Obsidian is made by the team at dynalist - it would be amazing if they added the outlining features from Dynamist into obsidian


Founder is here. I want to thank everyone for the votes and feedback. I can't answer personally to everything here, but I read all the questions on github and answer by email. Some news about project will be tweeted soon.


Looks like a bit of a spiritual successor to Quiver, with some inspiration from Bear. Cool


My favorite notetaking program is Keynote NF https://github.com/dpradov/keynote-nf

On the mac though I never found anything as good.


I'm happy with Things honestly. https://culturedcode.com/things/


Nice Tool. But why is it not possible to edit markdown files in arbitrary folders? why do I have to have a separate folder for notes and another one for all other documents?


Just pick your top level folder and then you're set.


I feel like I should wash my hands after clicking that URL, might want to consider a new domain name?


Feel free to suggest one.


I use Notational Velocity on my Mac, FSNotes on iOS, and have them both use .rtf and sync via iCloud.


I really appreciate that this is a native app on both macOS and iOS. Props to the developer.


The thing I want most from a notes app is a web API that lets me programmatically fetch my notes data.

Evernote's public API uses Thrift, which is really weird. Usually it takes me a couple of minutes to start getting data out of a web API - in Evernote's case I gave up after an hour.


I was very intrigued then you had me with mermaid support. New customer!


I only ever had a Windows then a Linux machine, but it seems to me that all the cool apps are on Apple.


this was me, about 4 years ago, when I started using the Mac - and honestly you're totally right.


You could install Joplin and be cool too.


You should have a OneDrive sync, lots of people uses it.


I prefer the same notetaking app Feynman used… paper, something to write with, and your brain.

Or you can go digital and develop someone else’s brain (or something else’s).


The only thing better than Feynman paper is encrypted paper


forget everything...there is only one editor and knowledge manager: obsidian.




Guidelines | FAQ | Lists | API | Security | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact

Search: