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Show HN: Supernotes 2 – a fast, Markdown notes app for journalling and sharing (supernotes.app)
251 points by fastball on Feb 23, 2022 | hide | past | favorite | 164 comments
Hi HN – we first launched Supernotes[1] to HN in April 2020, and since then Tobias and I (it's just the two of us) have put in the work to make what we hope is an amazing note-taking app. Although the note-taking / personal knowledge management landscape is incredibly competitive at the moment (with lots of great apps adding great new features every day), we think that with the newly released Supernotes 2 we're keeping pace and delivering a unique and satisfying knowledge management experience.

Here's the combination of features that make us stand out:

- a powerful markdown-based notecard system that is simple/beautiful but also super flexible

- a WYSIWYM[2] editor that keeps markdown marks for explicitness while still giving you a preview of what the content looks like when rendered

- eschewing a folder system in favor of multi-parent nested hierarchies

- unique collaboration system that is optimized for granular sharing between individuals rather than "all-in" sharing amongst teams or specific groups

- notes that can be linked both with inline bidirectional links or the aforementioned hierarchies, allowing you to build (and experience with our 2D and 3D graph views) a robust graph of your knowledge

There are of course tons of other cool features that are included as well, but those are the highlights. If any of that sounds interesting to you, you can sign up here[3] – we would love to hear any feedback you might have!

[1] https://supernotes.app/?ref=hn

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WYSIWYM

[3] https://my.supernotes.app/entry?signup=1&ref=hn

Looks great - so much so that I assumed it would be for Apple devices only, so congratulations and thanks for the Linux support.

I'll try it in a bake-off with Obsidian, but the main down-side for me is "notes stored on our servers" - I'd happily sacrifice the collaboration features for a self-hosted option with my data kept as regular text files as much as possible.

Obsidian is great, and if you're looking for affordable, preferably self-hosted, highly customizable Markdown note-taking it is almost certainly the better option.

We're trying to be a slightly different kind of app though, where syncing isn't something our users ever have to think about and where collaborating and sharing is as accessible and seamless as possible (among many other goals!)

And yes, that means we're probably (on the whole) a worse match for the highly technical/conscientious HN crowd, where the aforementioned selling points of an app like Obsidian are in higher demand. Also a shoutout to Logseq (as mentioned by others in this thread) which is also a great option if you're looking for that kind of app.

Can i export your data as markdown?

The documentation states, that you can export "all the cards in the current Noteboard as a ZIP of markdown files" [1]

So it looks like exporting is limited to a single "Noteboard".

Without bulk export (better sync) features of all documents, this service is a complete non-started for me.

[1] https://docs.supernotes.app/en/articles/3068672-exporting-pr...

The "Noteboard" is just the current view. If you're in the "Home" view that is a collection of all your cards, so exporting from there exports all of your cards in one go. We also have an API[1] that allows you to easily fetch the raw data (as JSON) directly if you want to export Supernotes-specific metadata that is not encapsulated in the Markdown.

[1] https://api.supernotes.app/docs/swagger

Unaffiliated but I noticed (not verbatim) "export to pdf or markdown, or use the api to export to other formats or services"

I haven't used obsidian, but have been using Logseq [1] (which a lot of people have mentioned to be similar) for over a year now and super happy with it.

The data is stored locally as md files, can be versioned using git which is a big plus for me. Also the workflowy-inspired zoomable bullet list is great to have for large outlines.

With the built in support for tags, image pasting, tasks, journaling, templates and static site publishing it just ticked every box I had out of the box, and I am yet to even start exploring its rich plugin ecosystem.

Oh, and its completely open source.

[1] https://logseq.com/

In the past year I've been on a journey of note-taking / personal knowledgebase:

  - Trillium Notes [0]
  - Joplin [1]
  - others I can't remember
  - Obsidian [2] 
  - Emacs/org-mode
  - Logseq [3]
  - and now back to Obsidian again
Logseq was really promising in concept - pulls a lot of cool concepts in from the others and supports org files. But I found it to be incredibly slow and laggy with my existing mixed org/markdown files. Unusably so, so I ditched it quickly.

Obsidian has come a long way from where it was a year ago in terms of community plugins. There's some crazy stuff you can do with plugins like obsidian-dataview [4], obsidian-itinerary [5], quickadd [6], obsidian-Kanban [7]. It's no Emacs in terms of customizability, but it's pretty damned close. And Obsidian doesn't have the random freezes and random "oops I accidentally deleted a huge chunk of nested notes" that org-mode constantly exposed me to. I'm loving Obsidian (again). As long as you don't mind JavaScript for plugins and closed source core app, it's a super-powerful and performant option worth checking out.

The biggest thing Obsidian lacks right now that SuperNotes 2 seems to offer is good sharing / collaboration between people - for me, I just want to be able to have shared notes with my partner, but sharing with a team would be great, too. I'm not the target audience for SuperNotes 2, but it is good to continue to see competition in this space - the innovation it drives is exciting.

  - [0] https://github.com/laurent22/joplin/
  - [1] https://joplinapp.org/
  - [2] https://obsidian.md/
  - [3] https://logseq.com/
  - [4] https://github.com/blacksmithgu/obsidian-dataview/
  - [5] https://github.com/coddingtonbear/obsidian-itinerary
  - [6] https://github.com/chhoumann/quickadd
  - [7] https://github.com/mgmeyers/obsidian-kanban

Thanks for the plugin tips.

I also really like Admonition[1] to make styled blocks to format notes. Sliding panes(Andy Matushcak Mode)[2] makes the experience just more natural than windows that need to be resized, etc when switching context.

Found Admonition when learning about Zettelkasten via an efficient video by Artem Kirsanov[3]. Within 17 mins I got the system better than the scary 4 hour overkill vids out there.

[1] https://github.com/valentine195/obsidian-admonition [2] https://github.com/deathau/sliding-panes-obsidian [3] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E6ySG7xYgjY&list=PL7eDrfPCCa...

Obsidian Admonition looks nice - thanks for the mention. I really hate quoting in markdown and miss the org-mode syntax of just marking the start/end, rather than having to edit every single line. This looks like it pretty much solves my complaints.

And I'll check out sliding panes. It's fun for browsing Andy's website, but was skeptical I'd like it in my own Obsidian instance.

I go back and forth between normal windows and Andy but now with zettelkasten I think I'll stay with Andy as it allows to preview your networked notes in a linear manner.

Just peeked at dataview and I love it. Hope the overhead of creating the metadata in each note won't throw off my flow as I like to move at lightning speed (read chaotic).

Logseq used to be unbearably slow, especially when using a large md file. However one of the updates completely fixed all of my performance issues. I'd suggest giving it another try.

Unfortunately, I'm speaking from trying it last week.

I do have some large org files that may be causing problems for both it and Emacs/org-mode, though, so I'll give it another shot once I've converted those all into a more Markdown friendly mode.

I do love some of the concepts that it and org-mode have towards nesting of content, and that's one thing Obsidian doesn't really embrace in the same way.

Obsidian Personal is free and seems to fit your self-hosting needs better.

I already use Obsidian (paid version as I want to use it for work too, and to support the project). My interest in trying an alternative is mostly just curiosity.

Try out noteplan and turn off sync..

Thank you so much for building this. I've been looking for something that's like Notion but without its horrendous performance issues, and ideally with some form of linking between notes (but without Roam's feeling that I might eventually die in a mass murder-suicide to ascend on a comet to the higher realms of note-taking).

This is exactly what I was looking for. Please please please carry on developing this. There's a huge market for whoever gets this right - and, for as long as Notion continues on its current architectural path, no one holds the crown.

Not to take a dump on this product in particular but at this point I feel like there are more note-taking apps out there than people willing to pay for a note taking app.

Why does everybody and their dog think that competing with the thing that comes with all my devices for free (Apple Notes, Google Keep) is a great business opportunity? I can’t seem to wrap my mind around this.

Either A) because none of the existing apps are good enough, or B) note taking is pervasive and diversive enough that there is no one app to satisfy them all.

I think its a mix of both with a lean towards A personally. Knowledge workers are increasing YoY and nearly all of them take notes. The market is huge, and its quite normal for new(ish) markets to see a large number of competitors before the winners take over and the other 90% die off. To your other question -- Google Keep / Apple Notes are good for rudimentary use cases or small numbers of notes, but otherwise don't really compare to the popular note taking apps that have popped up lately.

The same reason why all other pen manufacturers didn't give up when Pilot came out with their V5 gel pens or whatever.

Because note-taking experience is subjective, and there are no solution which fits everyones taste and purpose.

That is not what I asked though. Every experience is subjective. I’m asking how they envision this being a good business model. Every bootcamp grad who can whip up a database backed web app can build a note-taking application that covers the major features. There is literally no defensible moat here and the incumbent is giving away theirs for free. What feature will you compete on? There are limits to how much innovation you can add to “storing rich text in the cloud”.

I suspect it's a combination of the intense passion people feel to work on this problem and the small user-base needed to support a small team to do the work.

I'm not so good at ballparking operational expenses, but Supernotes 2 probably needs somewhere around 2000 users to break even, which probably isn't hard to achieve.

After that, the founders are fully supported to pursue their passion. Sounds like a great business model for someone who wants to do this, and I think this is why you see a profusion of utility apps with ~$10/mo pricing models on the market today.

Neither of those apps do markdown, which I NEED, so I pay for a markdown note app

What is the advantage of Markdown over rich text without extra characters?

Markdown files can be backed up offline, version controlled with Git, grepped (in-file text search) and finded (search for filenames), parsed with awk perl or sed (yes, sorry, I've done that more often than I like to admit), edited with VIM (I live in VIM), and many other advantages.

In addition to what the other posters mentioned, markdown/plaintext is easier to work with for automation tasks.

For example I schedule tweets through markdown files https://github.com/reidjs/markdown-tweet-scheduler

Twitter doesn't support markdown, though. You're just posting text files. That's only a markdown file by technicality

I sort of misread the post, I meant to respond to why markdown/plaintext instead of Apple Notes or Google Keep. I found it more difficult to automate the task using Apple Notes' sqlite DB than markdown/plaintext files sync'd through iCloud.

For a lot of things such as tables, lists, adding links, etc, markdown allows you to do it "inline" while typing, instead of forcing out of band operations.

i think they just want to read people's notes.

Looks good, but not being able to access the raw files means tools like foam won’t work https://github.com/foambubble/foam . There’s a whole community using foam that would appreciate an app like this.

To be fair you mention you have your own knowledge map utilities built in so maybe that’s good enough to use directly. I just didn’t notice that looking at your website.

Price seems a little high, it’s higher than Evernote which does have some minimal markdown support now and offline editing. This would need more features to justify the cost but that’s just imo.

> As soon as you are disconnected from the internet Supernotes will enter a 'read-only' mode. You will still be able to browse, read and search your notes, like so:

Is this the same with the app? If I’m out some place with no signal can I write/update a note? It would be frustrating having to wait for your phone to connect first.

Congrats on the release!

The HN convo about web-based apps usually turns into (a) “can I self-host or otherwise own my data”, and (b) “web is slow”.

Maybe we can have a more constructive/informative/interesting conversation about how you think about performance!

What are some practices & strategies you use to optimize performance? Do you use any automated benchmarking? How do you catch performance regressions? What kinds of metrics help guide your edit latency & load speed goals?

I'm not sure 40 cards is enough to build the habits and value necessary to justify £8 a month. A free tier with unlimited cards but no sync/local only, could help to get users into seeing value.

Also, as much as I'd like to use this, I can't use it due to work security policies. Having a local-only mode with no telemetry would be great. I'd happily pay a one-off for this (after trialling).

Yep, it's a hard line to straddle. The thinking behind our monetization is that we don't want to paywall any features, so the only difference is the card limit (well that and at the moment our mobile apps are in private early access, but we will release those on the App Stores publicly soon).

The other issue is that many (most?) other apps in the space try to hook individuals with free plans and then convince their work/school/etc that they need a shared workspace, focusing on a B2B model. But our goal is to cater to users who are not necessarily on any particular team but rather occasionally want to share with specific other people (mom, friend, lover, co-worker, etc). As such we have no B2B model and so must monetize B2C slightly more aggressively than similar apps since that's who we're building for.

That being said, feel free to use the code "HACKERNEWS2022" if you'd like to get a few more cards to test us out. :)

> A free tier with unlimited cards but no sync/local only, could help to get users into seeing value.

Quite the opposite, for me. Local storage is far more valuable.

Kudos to Supernotes, it was very nice to include the list of alternatives/competitors on your product's page! https://supernotes.app/alternatives/

This app looks very nice, and I love markdown. But I am not prepared to pay £8+ per month for a Markdown notes app that works on all my devices, especially if it exerts control over what I can do with my own files. I can sync my Markdown directory via Dropbox, iCloud, Nextcloud, etc and edit the files with things like Obsidian, 1Writer, VSCode or any one of hundreds of Markdown editors.

If you'd like to sync it yourself, then by all means do so. I don't necessarily understand comments like these, if the user doesn't like it, no one is forcing them to buy it, especially if there are other solutions as you've stated.

I guess it is a way to say that the business model is probably not right and they won't last long.

But what do I know, I never launched a product.

  > I don't necessarily understand comments like these
It's called constructive criticism. The application dev is reading this forum, and will be able to see what people like and dislike about the app and the business.

Well yeah, but OP presumably posted this on HN for feedback. I don't comments like these which criticize people... criticizing things.

It's £6 per month if you pay yearly. Also if you are a student you can get a 50% discount. Honestly it costs a negligible amount, that's less than a single day's worth of travel on the tube.

I just wanted to say that you could try a bit harder to justify the price rather than just saying it's "negligible". I think that's very subjective and I personally don't think it's a reasonable price to pay for just storing markdown files in the cloud.

Sure I can but I didn't think it was necessary. I used to hand-write my notes, filling a £10 moleskine journal every month or so. Supernotes saves me £4 per month and I get the benefits of all of it's features.

Supernotes is competing with more than just pen/paper

"just storing markdown files"

Ironically you could do the same with your replies.

Yeah, I 100% agree. It's rather tonedeaf to criticise that commenter for diminishing the cost, and then diminish in exactly the same way the work involved in creating this.

And I'm so tired of the game of "describe a successful tech product in a way that makes it sound silly". Yeah, Twitter is just storing a load of VARCHAR(240)s, and Facebook is just an undirected graph, and Jackson Pollock's paintings are just splatters, etc. I could build it myself! Except... I don't, because it's not that easy, and I know it isn't when I think about it for more than 1.7 seconds.

Storing, updating and deleting varchars is what most of enterprise and startup developers do for living. It can't be that hard.

Sure, in which case you're welcome to build every tool yourself. Me, I'll carry on doing what I specialise in for a living, and use a trivial crumb of my earnings to pay someone else for lovingly-made readymade products. Same way I do for my WiFi router, for my readymade mac & cheese, etc.

viz: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparative_advantage

Many neglible amounts are a large amount.

I don't travel on the tube though, or pay for Starbucks, or whatever analogy you're trying to come up with. My current note taking solution - a folder with .md files - is free. What's the compelling argument for this app?

Granted, it's really difficult to compete with free, and the note taking space is probably one of the most saturated software markets there is.

You have no outgoings? Then sure, it's hard for me to suggest a comparison to you. I'm not sure it's up to me to suggest an analogy that works for every user on the internet however, pick something that you spend money on regularly.

I'm happily syncing org-mode with git, so I might not be your target market, but I consider every new note-taking app as I don't think that anyone's got it perfect yet.

My constructive feedback is solely the cost. I get that the servers are expensive and I actually do prefer to pay rather than worry that the lights of my note-taking app might go out some day. But $8 per month is far too steep. For $1 per month I'd sign up and feel like I'm getting a bargain, and tell my friends. For $2 per month I'd seriously consider signing up but it's not a given. Any more than that, and I can't really consider the app.

This looks nice if you need to use its features however for me Notable [1] is the perfectly minimal & Free Markdown Notes App that does everything I need from a Notes/TODOs App: has a quick UI to manage a static directory of Markdown files, with search, tags & pinned notes.

No vendor lock-in since it maintains its features requiring metadata in frontmatter in simple .md files that's easy to open with VS Code, backup in git, etc.

It's the only Notes App that's stuck over using Notepad.exe for writing quick notes.

[1] https://notable.app

Not related to featureset/usability of the app, but this is super weird: https://github.com/notable/notable/blob/32b8e969e9a3f49f8352...

If the app is not open-source why would I ever care about what language its written in.

I could not find pricing for Noteable on its page. At least, not on mobile. Is it free? If so, what kind of free?

Yep it's completely free, i.e. has no ads or any "premium" features you'd need to pay to unlock. Just a simple free minimal Markdown App.

From the Source code it suggests the author was exploring sustainability options, however that was last updated in 2019 so it's not clear if that's still the plan.


This looks amazing. Love the attention to detail and focus on keyboard shortcuts. Also haven't seen a 3d visualisation of the relationship between my notes before.

This is an incredibly impressive product for a team of two

I'm going to get ahead of the curve and warn everyone: Yes, Electron web application. Yes, noticeable input delay. Yes, memory consumption is how you might expect it to be.

They distribute on Linux with an AppImage, though, which at least isn't a Snap or Flatpak, so there's that, I guess.

If you want a non-proprietary Electron application, take a look at Logseq, or Athens (YC some year that I'm too lazy to look up).

If you want a non-proprietary non-Electron application, Emacs has a Roam mode, and a couple other Zettelkasten modes.

If you want all that, but you don't care about proprietary operating systems and you want it following the Apple HIG, the popularizer of the Zettelkasten method did it via Textmate.

If you don't mind those things, it's a shiny new application. You might enjoy it. The pricing model is a SaaS, and they lock down the API and limit the amount of entries you can have if you're using the free tier. Standard stuff. It's a very shiny application, and has a dark mode, apparently.

If you don't care about proprietary OS and want something that follows the Apple HIG, as well as working across Apple platforms, NotePlan is also worth a look. it might look like a task manager at first, but it actually has very solid note taking / backlinking / Zettelkasten abilities. it also has a really approachable/hackable JavaScript plugin api (that works on iOS!) which is not obvious on first look.

Love noteplan... + simply uses icloud drive / cloudkit / local (should work with dropbox)

Good idea to preempt those points, keeps the conversation focused imho.

One thing I noticed that I hadn't seen in any other Electron note-taking apps yet is that it's using Google Analytics to track usage but I didn't see any consent banner (?)

How to poke around: cd Supernotes.app/Contents/Resources/; npx asar extract app.asar ./; cd web; cat index.html

We actually use Plausible[1] for analytics (actually switched from GA to Plausible because we much preferred their privacy story), Google Tag Manager is in there for use with Google Ads I think but honestly I'm not sure we even need that there. Thanks for pointing it out – need to double-check with my co-founder but I'm pretty certain that can be removed.

[1] https://plausible.io/

Very cool, Plausible looks like a solid alternative to GA - Thanks for pointing it out!

Just curious, do you really notice an input delay? Is there a way of measuring this? Because I tried to compare Supernotes to BBEdit and couldn’t tell the difference

I do, personally, but that might just be because I'm used to xedit, and have a monitor with a reasonably high refresh rate, a keyboard I purchased largely to lower input latency (which I find annoying), and a typing speed that's decent (120wpm).

You can measure input latency relatively easily, but it's not as useful without a frame of reference. Here are a couple internet posts on doing exactly that:



If you're not wanting to go out of your way to measure it, though, there's a pretty straightforward way you can get a feel for it: Pay attention to when the glyph appears on the screen, versus when the click of the keypress happens. For example, in xedit, I press 't', and the appearance of the glyph occurs almost simultaneously with the click. The click and the appearance happen much more noticeably asynchronously with Electron applications, including this one.

Personally, I use a monitor with a 60hz refresh rate but can still tell the difference between VSCode (an Electron app) and Sublime Text for example. It's very subtle, and I overall I believe VSCode to be usable, but after enough time using a native text editor, Electron-based editors feel sluggish in comparison and it takes me a little while until I'm used to them again.

I actually used to be an avid Sublime Text coder, but at some point I switched to VSCode for other aspects of DX besides performance and my happiness with that changeover (compared to when I'd tried Atom in the past) is what convinced me that we could definitely build an Electron app that, although the perf would never be best-in-class, could definitely be good enough for 99.9% of users and use-cases.

We definitely haven't optimized quite as much as the VSCode team, but not being fully optimized means I can still improve perf for our users (myself included), which I'm always happy to do!

I'm always curious about the tech choices in desktop applications that say they're fast, so I downloaded this one and was a bit surprised to find that it's an Electron app. I'm not here to criticize that, though. Instead, I'm curious about what Electron build toolchain the developers are using. Maybe my knowledge of Electron build tools is a bit behind, but this is the first time I've seen an Electron app where, in the Windows version at least, both the x64 and ARM64 versions are packaged in the same installer (inevitably doubling the download size), and the installation is done using NSIS. It looks like there's some kind of updater, but it's not Squirrel. So I'm just curious about whether an open-source tool was used to put all of this together.

I'm pretty sure 'fast' is referring to the runtime performance rather than the download size. (The latter does sound less than ideal, but my hunch is that most people simply do not care about download size, in this day and age.)

In recent years, I created a habit of limiting sharing of data. I have a local backups and encrypted backups on my server. Cloud sharing is for limited use-cases with unavoidable scenarios. For the rest, after fighting with Emacs Org-mode I settled to plain markdown with Obsidian.

No thanks, there's Joplin for an all-in-one solution, or Synching + Mark Text or any other markdown editor, completely free and open source.

Looks great!

Some things I really like:

* The "seamless" mode for all the views that removes action buttons. Feels kind of like an "exploration view".

* New cards created on the home page are automatically added to a "daily" page (but can still be moved to another day).

* I like how the sidebar is done, it doesn't get in the way as much as in other apps.

* The "thoughts" collection, where notes without links go. The name is perhaps a little confusing though.

What I don't really like:

* The editor experience. I feel like a rich text experience might have been a better fit for this kind of application. I like markdown as a portable format, but not to write in. But that's pretty personal I guess.

On the linked homepage I see "No ads. No trials. All our features are free!" But on the pricing page I see it costs money for 40+ cards. I'd consider unlimited cards a feature which makes the text on the homepage misleading (or just wrong).

I do like the concept of cards being children of other cards. That fits how I think about things. In obsidian I use folders and links, but I'd really like the folders to have some top level text associated with them.

I also think the price is way too high compared to free alternatives.

Created an account, "We've given you 40 cards, you can get up to 20 more cards by inviting your...", deleted account.

Looks great OP!

I made a simple markdown editor as well [1] that lets you edit both with markdown or WYSIWYG and let’s you save files. It keeps your file in local storage as well and is completely open source.

[1] https://markdown.doctor

I wish I could use the mobile app before buying to see how it compares to notion. the notion ios app crawls.

no doubt i’d be a customer if it’s snappy. i’ve been thinking of building my own alternative for speed.

Tobias here (Co-founder). We will eventually publish the mobile apps on the App Stores, but for testing purposes we've made it subscriber-only as a little thanks for their support. Speed is our foremost priority!

This looks a lot like Simplenote [1] at its core but adding on additional features that make it super instead of simple :) A big difference between the two though is that Simplenote is free whereas Supernotes is $6/month (free for < 40 notes). I think you could upsell Simplenote users if you had an import/export and a plan that was cheaper (perhaps a 50% discount if you pay for a whole year up front).

[1] https://simplenote.com/

Sorry to highjack this thread, but I've been looking for an open-source alternative that can edit .md files, and sync them to a Github repo. I know my IDE can do this - but just wondered if a writing-specific app existed that was also open source?

(if it's relevant: its for private thoughts that I'd like to just keep in a Github repo because its 1. Free and 2. Not going away anytime soon)

Logseq is free and open source https://logseq.com/ You have to sync yourself though (for now). You can also publish to github pages.

My only issues are: they are focusing more on the desktop and (now) mobile apps, instead of the web app. You can't quickly share items to the app or web version to quickly save links, etc. They did have github integration built into the web version but are abandoning that to work on their own paid sync solution that isn't out yet. But you can manually sync the files as I mentioned.

For now I'm mainly sticking with a wiki but keeping an eye on developments to logseq and similar open source apps like Athens Research, Bangle, etc. See this twitter list of different knowledge management tools: https://twitter.com/i/lists/1396562498002825240

On mobile I use GitJournal for this - it's an excellent app which I'm really happy with.

On desktop, I just use VS Code.

You can use obsidian.md with a plug-in for that.

> I've been looking for an open-source alternative that can edit .md files, and sync them to a Github repo.

Obsidian is not open-source tho.

logseq is open-source

I am developing a neovim plugin that can do this but it is not ready yet.

I think Dendron has the features you are looking for.

Based on a quick glance, it looks like this goes right at Notion but with Markdown based editing and rendering. I like that a lot. I want to love Notion, but I try to avoid proprietary formats for notes these days. Markdown is a dream IMO, so this looks like a great option for people that want a Notion-like experience but with a data preservation and export-friendly file format.

AFAIK you do write Notion pages in Markdown and can export your whole workspace as markdown files.

I really like all these gentle constraints. Total freedom note apps are no match for my ADHD brain, but this one might just stand a chance :)

The design reminded me very much of Craft, which im using currently → What are the advantages of using a card base note system over a regular "file"based one? Obviously, I can see the "visual" difference, but in terms of actual usage, where's the difference?

I didn't see how to backup and store files locally. Not owning my own notes would be the biggest concern for me. If I were to ever quit your service I want to still be able to keep my notes and have them be usable in obsidian as an example

What advantages does the have over Joplin? Joplin is free and has a lot of these features.

It'd be nice to have more import options, from a local directory or git repository

Well snap. I was thinking about dipping my toe in this space.

If anyone wants to give me $6 Million, with 100% return in the event of my death, I'm all ears.

Hi there,

I just wanted to let you know that the email confirmation link I received indicates my link has expired when it has been no more than a few minutes.

I've always wondered how people build such clean interface. One of the best UIs I've seen in a while. Nice work!

I’m curious how it stacks up with Bear? Is the main advantage not being Apple-locked?

I would love something like this if it easily supported media such as images, etc.

App looks useful but Markdown as a service? And no self hosting even in premium?

First creating an account for testing it out is a no-go for me.

don't bother. they are downvoting anybody who still has a shred of self-respect.

Why markdown when there are much better formats like AsciiDoc?

What major competitors aren’t amazing and aren’t beautiful?

I agree that there are a lot of great looking apps in the space these days, but beauty is in the eye of the beholder and we have a lot of users that have come over from other apps in large part because they like how we present things visually!

Yeah, you’re the beholder here. Tell me what you’re beholding.

Your website has cute style! Curious what it’s made with

Mind if I ask what software stack is being used here?

- React

- PostgreSQL

- SocketIO

- Redis

- Python/FastAPI

- Nginx

That’s the bones of it – Tobias (Co-founder)

Are there any screenshot previews?

Even better, we have a video preview of each feature that you can flick between using the left and right arrow keys – https://supernotes.app/features/notecards

It does look good, but I see no reason to use it over my .md and .org files.

Looks nice.

Can't purchase the product for money. Not E2EE, can't self-host.


Is the source code public?

how dare you


This looks great, but I'm getting very sick of software with recurring monthly fees. I get that it's more profitable for companies, and maybe I'm being a curmudgeon, but what happened to software you could actually buy once and then use forever?

It depends on your expectations - do you assume that the software will be maintained indefinitely with security fixes, bug fixes, features, etc?

I bought Minecraft for $19.99 a decade ago and it's still being updated.

Also there are lots of SaaS products that have died in that time. A subscription isn't a guarantee that it'll last.

> A subscription isn't a guarantee that it'll last.

It's practically a guarantee that it won't. The whole business model reeks of VC types fantasizing about recurring revenues. These startups are a dime a dozen, they rise and recede on a daily basis.

Microsoft sells Minecraft servers for $8/month. That $19.99 may very well go to zero.

I hate fees but you're right. In the past when a developer shipped software they could move on to other things, but these days there's always a new version to ship with some sort of upgrade or patch.

That said, some apps still don't need frequent updates, and those apps should be offered as a traditional purchase.

In which case you get what you pay for; there are plenty of apps like that that don't work anymore because they are one-off purchases and the author does not want to fix issues that make the app no longer work on newer versions of your OS of choice.

True, people can sell software for one time purchase, for this(current) version of operating systems. Any new OS version comes, if software works, good for customer; if OS breaks things, then the developer can sell an upgrade, for that OS version.

Edit: this will be difficult for server hosted apps. It will work only for apks, exe, or client sided installs.

Considering that Steve Ballmer once pointed out that "revving software is insanely profitable", there is no reason that companies couldn't use the model of selling new revisions every year or so, which the users are free to purchase upgrades or skip. It also provides a better incentive to write better software (so the users don't skip more revs).

The only reason to not do this is that subscriptions are even more profitable, more rent-seeking, and more extractive

That works fine for purely client-side software, such as was common in the 90s. Photoshop would be a great model of that. For such software, the only, or main, cost is R&D, and you pay for their R&D for each new version.

It doesn't work so well for software like this, where one of the main selling points is that all your notes are stored in the cloud and can be retrieved on any new device (or by opening the website in a tab). That's a marginal cost which is directly proportional to your actual use of the tool itself - not an R&D cost which relates to developing the code.

I understand objecting to software where the SaaS/cloud aspect is tacked on as an afterthought, to justify a subscription model – again Photoshop is an example – but that's not what's going on here. It's eminently reasonable for this software to be subscription-based.

In short: It's reasonable for a car to be a one-off purchase, but it doesn't work the same way for the gas.

Even with Photoshop, eventually the product was complete enough that most users felt little need to upgrade even after multiple releases (I’m one such user — PS 7/CS1/CS2 is more than adequate and almost every feature added since is superfluous). They basically ran out of compelling features to add, which pushed them in the direction of subscriptions.

Not that I like subscriptions (quite the opposite) but I think most client only software will eventually hit that saturation point where sales dip and ongoing support becomes questionable.

I think this is more true of indie/small devs than of gigacorps, though. Adobe probably could’ve massages their strategy to make things work with single time purchases, but an indie doesn’t have nearly as much latitude.

Yes, if cloud storage & access is a key feature, there are some costs that scale with usage. But with a note-taking app like this, both bandwidth and storage from any user should be down in the $0.01-per-month or even per-year range.

I think Obsidian has a much better model - I can run it independently as much as I like, and if I find it useful (or want to give them more support), I can sign up for their cloud syncing service.

Having to use it from the outset, or after I get 40 cards, no thanks.

Or you could look at it as the better software they write, the longer a user may go between revs... Thinking about how long our agency used Adobe CS2... Unless you are just referring to flashy features, which I fear would not ultimately always be about improving the product. The less sexy stuff is probably where I'd rather the developers focus if the feature set is already solid.

Security and bugfixes generally don't cost that much. Most of the subscription fee is going to go towards new features (and possibly new products).

And cloud operations. We already have our own clouds (Google Drive, iCloud). It shouldn't be necessary to pay for another cloud storage solution if you don't need it.

And a product like this will die quickly without constant feature iteration. The space is incredibly competitive.

I would expect any software to come with security fixes, and bug fixes, even after purchase, even when I don't pay for a recurring fee.

> I would expect any software to come with security fixes, and bug fixes, even after purchase, even when I don't pay for a recurring fee.

So let me get this straight. You expect to pay for anything that naturally requires maintenance just once and then expect an unlimited amount of maintenance (i.e. cost for that provider) in perpetuity? Think about that for a second and then explain to me why any business would ever offer such a thing.

Just to be clear - there are endless amounts of software providers who support perpetual licenses but they either have annual maintenance contacts or support cycles tied to version support. In either case, you essentially are paying a recurring fee whether you like it or not.

Yes, that's how it used to work. When you bought an operating system, you received support for that product for multiple years.

Similarly, in the pre-cloud office days, you would still receive updates to your software after the purchase.

It's still the case with video games.

"or support cycles tied to version support."

> You expect to pay for anything that naturally requires maintenance just once and then expect an unlimited amount of maintenance (i.e. cost for that provider) in perpetuity? Think about that for a second and then explain to me why any business would ever offer such a thing.

I'm getting slow in my old age, but Microsoft Windows came to mind in less than a second.

"or support cycles tied to version support."

Security fixes, bug fixes, features (etc) also help with future sales. Monthly billing is not and never was for the benefit of end users.

Why can't I pay for major versions? V2, V3, V4.. if I don't want V5, fine.. I can move on

Because running multiple versions of a SaaS app is prohibitively complex.

A way to get both the advantages of SaaS and desktop + mobile apps is yet to be invented and popularized to my knowledge. The only architecture approaching this that I'm aware of is Urbit.

I must not have been clear. I don’t want a SaaS app, just a native app and local files. Charge for the mobile app too, and let me handle the cloud storage with either iCloud or google drive or something else

Features? No. If I'm not happy with how a product operates today, I'm not holding out hope for improvement in the future. Buy what it does today, not promises for tomorrow.

Security and Bug Fixes? Not indefinitely, but I would expect the minimum generally accepted consumer warranty protections in modern economies: a year? Two? I'm also happy to help out keeping things up to date, if its open source (not everyone can do that, but not everyone has to, that's the magic of software. and this is HackerNews, not Facebook).

Look, here's the reality: software has changed. You don't just get to charge $10/month, fail to get traction, then cry "people don't want to pay for high quality software, its all these hackernews luddite types who think everything should be open source". Office 365 is $5/mo. Apple's suite is ~free-$2/mo, with a device purchase (Apple Notes is probably the most-used note taking app on the planet). Google Workspace is $6/mo; it could literally just be Keep, it'd be 70% as functional as this product, and nearly half the price; oh, and it comes with the global standard of email inboxes, with a custom domain, global standard calendar provider, a terabyte of file upload, global near-standard office suite... Notion is $4/mo. That's your competition!

Sure, none of them do exactly the same thing; but they're pretty close, and people have an inelastic amount they're willing to stretch their monthly spend beyond these high value services to perfectly hone in on a workflow that works. It's the same kind of inelasticity that keeps Excel wildly popular despite tons of more nuanced competitors.

Here's my expectations, above all else: that in ten years, the data I've given this service will still be accessible, no rug pull, no pivot, no dirty acquisition. That's the trade-off you seem to be forgetting. The biggest risk to the users of most products isn't "paying enough to afford the developers necessary to maintain it and build it out"; it's "charging so much that they never gain traction, and disappear overnight". The way toward alleviating that fear, today, is one of extremes; you can either be a huge megacorp with so much tangential revenue & momentum that a rug pull is unlikely, or you can go the Obsidian.md route, not necessarily open-source but at least open, standards-compliant, useful, locally stored data. This product instead goes the 2010s VC-backed "just build a pretty product and charge a subscription people will come lol" route, and that route is destined for failure.

Or, you can keep complaining that people won't pay for software. In an era where more money is spent on software than at any other point in computing history. People pay for software. That's the problem. So, figure it out, or die; but don't blame consumers because you've got a suicide wish to be customers' 22nd subscription service that's marginally different than two others they already pay for.

I don't mind that any one company is charging a monthly fee, what's frustrating is that every company is charging a monthly fee. It's getting very difficult and prohibitively expensive overall to manage all these subscriptions.

In this case, the product looks nice but I'm struggling to justify the cost (as I have for every other note taking app I've tried). I just need a convenient way to get Markdown docs synced across a couple of my devices and so far Joplin (originally synced via Dropbox but now synced via a Nextcloud raspberry pi server I'm running) has gotten the job done.

I actually like paying periodically for software that get good upgrades and bugfixes, such as the Jetbrains editors. And getting an over-the-hill Debian CLI VIM user like myself to switch development environments is no easy task, but Jetbrains makes products that good.

However, $8 monthly for a notes-taking app? I'm sticking with Org-mode and Evil. I'd consider it for $1 - $2 per month, but $8 is monthly is actually more than I pay Jetbrains. For a note-taking app.

Actually -- Jetbrains is a little different, in that you can buy and own the software (effectively). You just have to pay for updates, once your license expires.

True, but I do pay them yearly and I'm more than happy to do so. Even though half the year I'm using the free EAP editions anyway.

The subscription model makes sense if the bulk of the application is running on the company's servers, but for something like this I totally agree. I wish they'd at least offer their core app as a standalone product and charge monthly for features like online storage and sync.


From the features page:

> On Supernotes your data is always encrypted in transit (forced SSL) and encrypted at rest (AES-256). Our team will never read or access your note content, unless we have received your express permission during a customer support interaction.

Sorry, but the fact that you can read it makes this a no-go for me. Unless a note-taking solution offers end-to-end encryption, I don't consider it a safe place for storing private information.

Yep, to be explicit: Supernotes is not currently E2EE. It is something we'd certainly like to add in the future, but up until now our priority has been on building out UX and sharing features, which are somewhat at odds with E2EE (at least when it comes to what a 2-man team can reasonably accomplish). There is a delicate balance we want to strike here, as part of the goal of Supernotes is to give users peace of mind so that they don't need to worry about what happens if they lose their laptop and didn't have it backed up.

We've been toying with some ideas that would allow more technical users to take matters into their own hands and take on the responsibility of managing their private keys themselves, but that isn't quite ready yet.

Sorry, this is the day when I decided to start downvoting people who demand E2E-encryption from things that obviously don't need it.

At this point I am just fed up, but to be constructive:

- E2E-encryption is a seriously nice property. If it was free and simple we should use it everywhere.

- Picking on nice things that absolutely doesn't need E2E-encryption however is just counterproductive, and most people who do so (I haven't studied you in particular) seems to have no clue about when and why it is useful.

-Let me give some ideas: there seems to be lots of people who claim to need E2E-encryption but cannot take basic security precautions like separating work/personal, avoid linking their social media profile etc in their profile, etc etc etc.

- Basically: if someone isn't wearing a cap, using tails, paying in cash, updating ones notes via a directed antenna connected to a distant open network

- and if they haven't considered the pros and cons of connecting to the same network every time (what if "they" are onto one and are right now using a directional antenna to pinpoint ones direction) vs different ones (reduces that risk but simplifies triangulation)

- and haven't considered their cover story for why they were out biking without a phone but with a laptop and a directional antenna, or considered cash (less traceable) or card (don't stand out)

- ... then there is a fair chance they don't actually need E2E-encryption

- and if they share the stuff they are hoarding, the chance is even bigger.

- That said: again, E2E-encryption is a seriously nice property that simplifies a number of other problems. I'll pay premium for it even if I don't need it. But I don't need it for diary, not even for notes about customer systems.

And as I write this I can almost hear glass shattering all around me. I'm logged in through corporate WiFi and I don't care ;-)

Edit: let me also add that 1.) most people have now clue about how to verify E2E-encryption 2.) for web applications it can trivially be circumvented by anyone who can single handedly push code to prod and you won't know before much later 3.) it can be done selectively against one user and on most users it will leave no trace at all (a patched minified script with no caching that sends encryption keys back isn't hard at all, is it?)

> things that obviously don't need it

Why do you think a note taking service doesn't need end-to-end encryption? Perhaps you don't care if a rogue employee reads your personal diary, or if the company gets hacked and all your private notes are stolen. Or if an overreaching government demands your data.

Personally I do care. The note taking solution I currently use has E2E encryption, and I won't consider switching to a different solution that lacks this.

Thanks for asking. I think you are genuinely curious so here is my best answer:

If it is that important, don't use a service like this. Seriously don't. Edit: and don't use any other online service either, E2EE or not!

As I write towards the end, E2EE in a web service like this can be trivially worked around by anyone who can push code to prod. (Or anyone who can inject it.) Basically anyone working at a small product like this and any serious three letter agency.

It is not that I don't care. I very much do care. I still remember a friend of me from years ago who told about some (probably IRC) friends of his who ran a "Dropbox"-style service hardly breaking even, just because of all the fun they had looking at all the stuff that people didn't dare to put on Dropbox.

So my point is:

- if things need to stay secret, don't write them down,

- and if you have to write them down, don't let them leave your device

- and if you have to send them, encrypt them properly first and then send them.

Do this mean I encrypt everything before I fire up <whatever messenger I use>? No. If <whatever messenger I use> gets owned big time and all my chats with my wife gets dumped we'll probably laugh at it. Nothing we did was illegal and nothing of it is embarrassing - it would only be embarrassing if I posted it publicly or if I sent it using a service that I should have known better than to use.

What solution are you using now? I am using Standard Notes right now but I wish there were more alternatives.

I gave him an upvote to balance your vote out. Luckily we vote on these products with our money. It is absolutely insane to me that you would even suggest that a repository for my most private thoughts "obviously" doesn't need to be private for my eyes only.

Totally fine. Note however that this isn't marketed as a place for anyones most private thoughts, it is right there in the announcement:

> unique collaboration system that is optimized for granular sharing between individuals rather than "all-in" sharing amongst teams or specific groups

Such applications has their place and for what you know I might be using them myself, but don't for a second believe that any web application with sharing possibilities are a place for anyones most private thoughts.

If you did think so until today, take my advice and clean up everything that can get you in hot water.

Someone funny once said: "what happens on the internet stays on the internet, forever". This is worth reminding oneselves about.

Edit: if one needs sync and security one can maybe use something like Joplin which supports encryption. I haven't verified neither the crypto nor the general codebase nor if it can autoupdate. I'm just saying it might be possible as an individual to sync sensitive data somewhat securely like people think they do with online services but if you are at a level where E2EE is necessary and where government agencies or basically (in my opinion) anything more than snooping kids or coworkers enters the picture, my advice is to forget about web applications.

To avoid doing what I despise when others do, when they basically say "if you don't do everything correct you can just give up": That does not mean you necessarily have to give up your current solution:

Just be realistic about what threat models it can hold up against.

Edit 2: (as said elsewhere) E2E-encryption is seriously nice and I can pay a premium for it even if I don't feel I need it. Just know what it helps against. And don't tell others that everything else is trash and unusable (but feel free to tell them what the risks are and how to protect oneselves).

I think you're inventing a distinction to support your argument. It's right there in the title to this HN submission:

> Show HN: Supernotes 2 – a fast, Markdown notes app for journalling and sharing

-> journaling <-

As far as me cleaning up things that can get me in hot water, I'm all set, but good looking out!

Now it seems we are on the same page or something :-)

Edit: on closer reading I'm not sure anymore. Anyways, keep the upvote. I'm a generous person.

I care a bit more about security than the average Jane/Joe but my boring solution to this is to keep my journal boring too ;-)

Look into Reflect - https://reflect.app - it's made by Alex MacCaw from Clearbit

presumably if you give them permission it includes sending them the content of the note, but if so the wording should change to say that explicitly

Looks great, and I wish you luck, but I'd rather pay for a binary+license for major updates, not pay monthly for a lock-in subscription. That, or a large one-time lifetime license like Plex

The absolute best part of HN for me, personally, is seeing people complete/ship their projects. I am always so impressed by folks who take something in their head and turn it into a usable, shippable thing.

Very good work!

how exciting

wait, what, it isnt'?

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