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Show HN: I made a web-based notepad with a built in unit calculator (numpad.io)
488 points by tonyonodi on Aug 17, 2022 | hide | past | favorite | 239 comments

It also supports percentages, dates and variables.

I've been working on this alone for a few years now, so would love to get some feedback.

This looks pretty cool. I've long been looking for something similar to Soulver (https://soulver.app/) that I can use on Linux. This seems promising.

One small criticism: In my opinion, no web-based writing app is useful unless the tab key inserts a tab. The default behavior of most browsers to move focus to the next field is tremendously infuriating in this context. Unfortunately, that's what happens here, at least for Firefox.

(Related: key combinations that normally perform cursor movements but which are often used by browser for navigation.)

While I tend to agree, this can break accessibility. The official WAI-ARIA authoring practices recommend Control+M. https://www.w3.org/WAI/ARIA/apg/

There should likely be an explicit override of accessibility so the visitor knows what they're getting into.

Couldn't agree more with the last two paragraphs. Web standards purists will trot out a reference to some standard and point out the imagined (and terrifying) consequences of making the TAB or ENTER key behave just as they would in a non-web application, AKA a real data-entry program. This is just a version of the "lest thou cause thy brother to stumble" club used to nudge the religious into compliance with strictures that make no sense to them (and yeah, the quote is probably not verbatim, but hopefully the gist of it is clear).

Example: I (who am not a programmer) once wrote a tangled mess of HTML and JavaScript to accept, and tabulate data entry for rebar (reinforcing steel) estimates. I was inordinately proud of it, bird's nest of bad programming practice that it was. I could TAB or ENTER-key my way through all fields, the up and down arrows performed the same tasks as the TAB-key, just like on a desktop program.

So why was it important to do things this way, and break the conventions so dear to the heart of the standard's purist? Because this is how I (and many others) estimated rebar in the 1990's:

You sat at a wide desk or table with a set of plans 30" to 48"-wide spread out to your left (if you were lucky) and another 30"-48" of table was needed to catch the plan pages turned to reveal the one you were working on. You right hand rested on the keyboard's ten-key pad some 3-5 feet away. You didn't look at your right hand -- you looked at your left hand index finger which was glued to (and rarely left) the large page at precisely the item you wanted to enter into your tabulation program, as you entered the SAC code, the qty per unit, the number of units, the bar size number, the bend category, the grade of steel, and the total length. Your eyes never left the drawing as you did this, and immediately upon completing that line item, your left hand picked up a yellow highlighter and highlighted that item -- one of many hundreds or thousands that would be necessary in a materials take-off of any appreciable size. To force the use of the TAB-key, or the mouse to move through data-entry fields would simply guarantee that no one would use your program. Ever.

But the purist says, "Someone may stumble." Aunt Loreen said, "Sometimes the 'You shoulds' are the sh-ts."

I've never used Soulver, but there is a free web app https://numbr.dev that seems very similar to it.

Note: I had this response typed up but didn't submit...

One related app that I absolutely love is Qalculate![1] (yes, it has a built-in exclamation for default enthusiasm :) )

It can do cool stuff like converting N (newtons) to kg.m/s^2 when you specify units as ?kg. It also converts units like 1kW x 1year = 31.55... GJ

It's fantastic for engineering and specially back-of-envelope calculations. This notepad aspect does seem useful though. One alternative is to use Jupyter notebooks, sometimes I work problems with Sage[2]+Jupyter. Sage is extremely powerful (you can do calculus, linear algebra, and more) but doesn't support units (that I know of), it's more geared toward advanced maths.

[1] https://qalculate.github.io/

[2] https://www.sagemath.org/ It's a bit on the heavy side although it's definitely worth it if you're doing a lot of math. I think the flatpak is preferred due to its significant size.

Might not be as comprehensive as Soulver, but here's something I've been using in a browser to fiddle with: https://cruncher.io/.

> Cruncher can also automatically plot changes as you adjust a variable

Well that's pretty neat. I've seen it in fancier setups, but not something Soulver-like. It seems a lot more usable here, since practically any equation can show it.

Gosh, everyone has made one of these haven't they?

I have as well :-) but I lose for not having released. This version is pretty cool though, will probably not gonna use it because same reason I didn’t evolve my version. Don’t need it, and when I need it I don’t need for it to be dynamic.

Not everyone! About five people from a population of six billion. And you’re one of them.

Yours looks great. Well done on the release.

Line 100 might have an error though? It isn’t recognising `30th Sept`, does it not like the final `t`?

I came here to deposit this exact same comment with one addition. Great project but seems to be lacking base support. As an engineer I need hex at least.

Yeah, honestly this has been annoying me too, I just haven't got around to fixing it. It's using CodeMirror 6 as the editor, the author said he deliberately made this version not "break" the default tab behaviour, which I think is understandable as a library author, but that makes it my job to fix!

To save you some time, here is what I did to add tabs to CM 6 (I think I found it somewhere or I may have cobbled it together to insert two spaces):

First import things you need:

    import { indentMore, indentLess } from "@codemirror/commands"
Then create a command:

    export const insertTab: StateCommand = ({state, dispatch}) => {
      if (state.selection.ranges.some(r => !r.empty)) return indentMore({state, dispatch})
      dispatch(state.update(state.replaceSelection("  "), {scrollIntoView: true, userEvent: "input"}))
      return true
and then add it to the keymap in your extensions array:

    const extensions: Extension[] = [
      ...other extensions here...,
          {key: "Tab", run: insertTab, shift: indentLess}
and then pass the extensions array into where you setup your editor view, eg:

    const view = new EditorView({
      state: EditorState.create({
        doc: textarea.value,
      parent: editor

Thank you so much! Changes are live now :)

I thought CM had some example code on how to override the tab behaviour. Might be worth checking out as I agree it sucks to not have tab = indent 4 spaces

2 spaces!

(ducks) (but srsly)

Actually you are right :)

I've made this one and use it daily:


It's electron though, if that's important to you.

Hey this is pretty cool. Instead of Electron app I would prefer it as a browser tab. Wish it could be self hosted.


You can use the web version, it's all offline and saved in localStorage. Works well in mobile too and can be "installed" as an app from there.


I wanted to see how this would run in redbean[1], and it runs fantastically!

If you wanna see this in a little executable that you can pass around to your friends, check out this repo I threw up: https://github.com/shmup/redbean-calcpad

This is now essentially an offline CalcPad that still leverages LocalStorage, since the UI is your browser. I've configured this specific build to automatically launch your default browser when you run it.

1. https://justine.lol/redbean2/

Hadn't heard about redbean, quite cool. I've added a link on my README to your repo, thanks!

SoulVer on macOS as you know. OpalCalc on Windows. Speedcrunch on all three platforms, though I will categorically state that whilst Speedcrunch is very good, it is no Soulver/OpalCalc.

Good Feedback! I would think a checkbox that enables tab function would be best, how would you feel about a FF Plugin that achieves this? My only concern would be that FF has reserved that particular key and it would require special permissions to map it to your needs.

I think it should just be a toggle on the page: "Hijack keyboard shortcuts? Y/N". Figma, Miro, Google and co do it without asking. It's something we've come to expect with web apps, so a toggle would be a fair middle ground.

Nice - I'll give it props for:

> 1 metre + 8 chain = 161.9344 m

> 1 tonne + 1 short ton = 1.90718474 t

> 1 tonne + 1 long ton = 2.0160469 t

and give it a pass for not supporting pre 1963 UK | US historic weights and measures .. that's getting into a pretty specific use case where Standards nerds like to have a clear display of what conversion factors are in play and what provenance those factors have.

Time Zone support (on your About ToDo) will be interesting, historic computations with daytime savings support will be a quagmnire :-)

The SHARE DOC URLs seem a bit long - something like "base64 full text of doc as an URL" I guess.

Will this hit a URL length limit if widespread use becomes a thing?

jq play : https://jqplay.org/s/f1r-BZ5xYd2

regex101 : https://regex101.com/r/OqojJl/1

do server side storage and doc hash .. which has issues of its own.

You're right, I'm using lz-string to compress the text before shoving it in the URL. This is definitely a necessary evil for the time being so I don't need a back end component to the app. But eventually I do want prettier URLs and collaborative editing if I can make that work without it bankrupting me or driving me insane.

Be aware URL field in browsers have a maximum number of characters they accept.

For what it's worth, the typescript playground takes the exact same approach as you, placing a compressed (lz-string) copy of the text after the #code/ in a sharing url.

Well, I love this comment. And yes, time zone support terrifies me an order of magnitude more than anything else on the list.

On the gnarly scale dealing with with pre-WGS84 paper maps from about the globe is arguably worse ..

there are so many reference ellipsoids and datums used in different parts of the world at different times .. and then there are the many variations on curved surface to flat map projections to deal with.

But yes - Time and date is an iceberg domain :-)

Didn't tell me how much 8 gills[1] would be in liters (about 1)

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gill_(unit)

I am truly sorry

I was disappointed it couldn't convert "1 furlong / 1 fortnight in mph", but this was successful:

> 14 furlongs / 2 weeks in mph [0.0052083333 mph]

That's a very enjoyable calculation!

Super cool. I wish this was open source so I could see how you did some things, but I understand you've decided to keep it closed. Just to satisfy my curiosity, would you mind sharing how you did parsing at a high level? Did you use some publicly available parser/lexer or did you just implement pattern matching yourself with something like regex or other token splitting measures?

I'm very glad you asked. I wrote my own parser combinator library in TypeScript partly based on eulalie[0], so it doesn't have a separate lexer and parser and doesn't rely heavily on regexes (though it does use them to do things like match a single alphanumeric character). I plan on open sourcing this library one day once I can tidy up the API because I think it would be useful to other people.

But to give you an idea of what that all looks like this is the code for the parser that parses the "as a % of" operator:

    optional(append(string("a"), oneOrMore(space))),
[0] https://github.com/bodil/eulalie

Thanks for sharing, I had the same question!

I wasn't familiar with Eulalie, that's a really interesting approach. I built functionality [0] similar to numpad into a larger record-keeping system, Tap [1]. Precedence rules kindof scramble my brain so I ended up implementing s-expression syntax for Tap formulas.

I ended up writing the parser myself, called sowhat, but used a library for tokenization, moo.js [2]. You can see a demo of just the sowhat editor here [3].

0. https://www.tatatap.com/formulas 1. https://www.tatatap.com 2. https://github.com/no-context/moo 3. https://tatatap-com.github.io/sowhat-editor/

I've found that a super simple way to parse basic expressions is a recursive descent parser. It is very simple to implement. No need to to break into tokenizer/parser, no need to generate an AST, just evaluate the expression while parsing.

Do you have an example of a simple parser like that?


Even includes error handling :)

At the bottom you can see some test examples of what it can do. Obviously it is a basic calculator.

Very cool!

This reminds me of the open source NoteCalc: https://bbodi.github.io/notecalc3/

It was discussed on HN, you might look there for inspiration: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=25495393

I am the author of NoteCalc, and it warms my heart that my project is mentioned here :)

As a sidenote I would like to mention that NoteCalc is still in active (but slow) development, though I do it privately, and the next big release will be definitely this year.

Just discovered NoteCalc, really cool. Thanks!

I hadn't seen that before, it's very impressive!

The docs say that this is using CodeMirror. The CodeMirror license says that you're allowed to use CodeMirror for your stuff, but that stuff has to in turn include:

1. the copyright notice

2. the text itself that explains that you/others have this permission/obligation

Currently, it looks like NumPad isn't doing either.

From comments here, NumPad is evidently also using decimal.js, which has similar terms.

Both are MIT licensed, I don't think this is the case.

Relevant bit of the MIT License:

> Permission is hereby granted, free of charge, to any person obtaining a copy of this software and associated documentation files (the "Software"), to deal in the Software without restriction, including without limitation the rights to use, copy, modify, merge, publish, distribute, sublicense, and/or sell copies of the Software, and to permit persons to whom the Software is furnished to do so, subject to the following conditions:

> The above copyright notice and this permission notice shall be included in all copies or substantial portions of the Software.

I think that second part is relevant to the discussion.


It's true of source code but not artifacts. MIT places no obligation to distribute source, but requires credit and license when someone does so.

> It's true of source code but not artifacts.

That's simply not true. Please don't do stuff like this—to go off and make these kind of proclamations in public. It's negligent at best.

Just when I thought I understood the MIT license, I'm back to confused. Can you link me to where this is clearly outlined? Do you need to attribute somewhere in artifacts or not?

MIT makes no distinction between source and artifacts. The requirement to include a notice stems from any distribution of the software.


Thank you.

Not sure what you want. A link where this is clearly outlined? The license is two sentences and sets out the terms.

The repeated distinction between source code and "artifacts" in this context is pure make-believe. The license doesn't even have those words in it, let alone say something like "Redistribution and use in source form requires inclusion of this permission notice and the above copyright notice, but if you're just building a product and publishing it as non-source code artifacts instead of distributing source, then lol don't worry about it bro" (or whatever it is the people here seem to think).

The CodeMirror maintainer definitely expects people who build closed source stuff to include the notices that are in the CodeMirror LICENSE file. And anyone telling you the license doesn't require this (and e.g. this is a peculiarity of CodeMirror itself) is delusional.

Well, there's tons of conflicting advice out there if that's the case. Top result on DDG links through to this answer: https://opensource.stackexchange.com/questions/5828/where-wo...

And this was my understanding of how it works for artifacts. You don't have to attribute in the software itself, just the code.

You get it that you're proving the point that comments like those are harmful, right?

Well, I wasn't trying to prove or disprove anything. Just seeking clarity.

Not sure if you were referring directly to me, but I don't think my comment was harmful. Others may have also been led astray and an exchange like this might be educational for them to read.

The way that "Well, there's tons of conflicting advice out there if that's the case" was situated/employed in the discussion makes it sound like an attempt to say that there are merits on both sides of the argument--that there are conflicting opinions and the argument is as of yet still unresolved. The problem is that the comments you linked to are uninformed and just flat out wrong--bad advice from people who don't know what they're talking about and in no position to be giving advice. (Another example: the comment by samatman above, which should be buried in downvotes but inexplicably is not even in the grey--and I suspect is actually ranked somewhere at >1.) The only prudent thing to do is to clearly bracket it as such, in order to minimize harm.

Thanks for clearing that up, I'm not distributing the source code so I think I'm good.

Don't look to people who don't know what they're talking about to "clear things up" for you. If you think they have any qualms about leaving you to deal with the blowback after misleading you with uninformed takes (and pointing the finger at you for putting your faith in them to begin with), then you're setting yourself up to be burned.

There's a reason why everyone who has their ducks in a row (in other words, people with competent legal counsel along with something to lose, e.g. Mozilla, Google, Apple, Microsoft, etc) will bake something like about:license into the stuff they work on, even if it's buried in some "open source licenses" entry of an About screen reachable by the last menu item in the system settings. Spoiler alert: it's because they have to—in order to comply with the terms of the license. It's not because they just think it's the nice thing to do. (And definitely not because it's fun and easy to do, because it's not.)

The About page is also a reasonable place to put credits (whether required or not)

It would be cool if "6 minutes / 1 mile in min/km" showed `3:44` instead of (in addition to?) `3.7268`

I wrote my own little calculator, much less general than this, to answer running time questions like "to run an 18 minute 5k, what would my mile pace be"? and it would be neat if that were cleanly solvable in a tool like this

Yeah, that's a feature I really wanted to get out before my launch deadline but sadly it didn't make the cut. Soon though.

I like how you are using a Gist for the exchange rates (https://gist.github.com/tonyonodi/e154f529180b1f0f475966d333...), do you have a GitHub action setup to automatically update that?

Impressed you found that. I don't have anything set up to automatically update it currently, but I do have an intention to have something set up to automatically update it.

Ha, yes, I was being nosy. It was quite easy to spot as it's the only XHR/Fetch request.

I was intrigued what you had used to build it, and if you had built your own solver (which you have), and what editor you used (Code Mirror) so went looking at the code. Interesting to see you left the source maps for production, made it easy for my sleuthing...

I experimented with a similar idea last year, but used ProseMirror/TipTap as the editor to enable rich text editing, and the MathJS (https://mathjs.org) solver. I also combined it with PouchDB and Yjs for offline editing and syncing between devices. Never finished it though, you have kept your nice and simple!

Oops, didn't realise I'd left source maps in, thanks for pointing it out!

Your project sounds really interesting, I'm following you on twitter now, so tweet about it if you ever finish it and hopefully I'll see.

Having CRDT-based syncing/collaboration is a direction I'd like to take NumPad in eventually, and if I have time. But I definitely think that ignoring that part completely has allowed me to get it to an MVP state.

Btw the conversions don't seem to work for me:

> 100 eur to usd $-100.63 > 100 usd to eur Incompatible units

The right operator for unit conversions is "in." "to" is used for ranges, so it's doing 100 euros _goes to_ 1 us dollar and giving you back the answer in dollars.

But it seems the parser is breaking when trying to do the inverse, anyway: "100 usd in eur" seems to do "e*ur" and gives "Values must be converted to units."

This is really neat, but you need to rethink the date/time/duration arithmetics. You’re equating 12 months with 365.25 days, which gives rise to results like “1 month - 31 days” giving “-0.0184804928 months”. At the same time, “30th January + 1 month” gives “28 Feb 2022 at 12:00:00” (why “2022”, and why “at 12:00:00”? — this is only a date calculation without reference to a year or to a time of day), while “30th January + 30 days” gives “1 Mar 2022 at 12:00:00”, although “1 month in days” gives “30.4375 days”.

In reality, months/years are simply not convertible to days/weeks arithmetically, and you can’t sensibly add months to certain dates, and sometimes also not years (for February 29th). The former should give “Incompatible units”, and the latter should result in something like “Undefined” for incompatible dates.

Math is not terribly precise I'm afraid :)

  > 1111111111111111111111111111111*9
  > 10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000

That doesn’t seem like a floating point inaccuracy. What’s going on there?

NumPad uses Decimal.js to represent numbers


I'm surprised no one mentioned https://insect.sh yet.

Very nice! Reminds me a lot of numi (https://numi.app). Similar, but MacOS only (and paid).

Big fan of numi, somehow I like it better as a smaller window tucked on the corner of my screen than a full browser page.

I find it pretty cool.

Some feedback: I tried to convert m/s in km/h and it wouldn't works, finally found how to do it, you need to specify `hour` in full letters

I assumed it was something like an etherpad that you could edit collaboratively but apparently not

"kph" is also supported, will add support for "km/h"

And `mpg`/`l/100k` please!

I've avoided adding mpg because the UK and US disagree on what a gallon is and mpUKg/mpUSg is not very nice to look at. You can write "miles per gallon" or "miles per US gallon" because per is the same as the "/" operator, and you can sort of do "L/100km" but you can't convert to it.

I'll have to think some more about this one.

I think I see where you’re going. I’d be comfortable with “litres per hundred kilometres” if that’s possible and especially if there was a “did you mean” suggestion prompt

One thing that I haven't found supported in other calculators is returning the min or max between two values

If you have abs(), you can use the following as a fallback:

min(a, b) = (a + b - abs(a − b)) / 2

max(a, b) = (a + b + abs(a − b)) / 2

Nice work on getting this out. I think it looks pretty neat and simple to use.

I’ve had some issues when using it though: - on mobile, moving the cursor in a calculation doesn’t work very well; - More important, multiplying “200 * 10%” results in “2000%”, I believe the result should be “20”; https://www.wolframalpha.com/input?i=200+*+10%25

Those are equal values right? This is just formatting preference.

I agree formatting should probably go with the first factor, but I wouldn't say current behavior is incorrect

I also had issues navigating on mobile (iPad). There seem to be hover states that get in the way (example: I tapped on a line to move to that line and it had a small popup to say something was copied)

This is great! Love Soulver too, but having it in the browser is fantastic. Well done!

I'm a big fan of Soulver too! It's the OG in this app category and I still use it for calculations NumPad can't do (yet!).

Along the same lines, I made a command line calculator that does basic unit conversions, and has a few other tricks up it's sleeve


I find it surprisingly useful. It's probably one of those things that has an audience of one, but I find it useful.

This is really cool, you're a braver person than I for tackling the English representation of numbers stuff!

Looks nice! Making the result blocks non-text is handy. Any plans to open source this or sell a desktop version? I've long been a fan of http://calca.io but it doesn't run on Linux. There's some other versions out there but they tend to be flaky.

Glad you like it! I've got a desktop version in the works, and if the web version gets enough interest I'll finish it off.

Finish it off sounds like you are going to kill it ;)

I'm trying to figure out how many "miles per hour" I get while charging my vehicle. I have a 3.3KW charger and I average 3.1 miles per KWh while driving. I expect that I am charging at a rate of 10.23 miles per hour.


    3.3 KW * 3.1 miles per KWh
Says "3.3". The math is wrong and the units are gone.

Actually, it doesn't seem to understand the concept of a KW. I'll try "kilowatt" and "kilowatt-hour" respectively.

    3.3 kilowatt * 3.1 miles per kilowatt-hour
Says "Incompatible units".

The closest I got was

    3.3 kilowatt * 3.1 miles per kiloWh
Says "10.23 kW mi".

insect.sh is able to do that last one.

    3.3 kilowatt * 3.1 miles per kiloWh
    3.3 kW × (3.1 mi / kW·h)
    = 10.23 mi/h

The "kilo" prefix is a lowercase k. If you fix that, it works perfectly: "3.3 kW * 3.1 miles per kWh"

Gives "10.23 kW mi / kWh" as you expected

I guess ideally you would want it to factor out the kW.

THIS IS AMAZING. the next step is adding variables and assignments and conditionals, and you have something very powerful that can be used by just about anybody to do really interesting things. provided you have a way to integrate with other services that a lot of people use

Thanks! Turning the current language into a Turing complete one would be a huge step up in complexity and I'm not sure it will ever make sense to implement. But I have thought about adding the ability for users to define their own functions in JS and might get around to that one day.

I see. despite my not totally unjustified hate of Javascript, Im looking forward to it.

Variables and assignments are already supported.

should rephrase, meant to say (variables, assignments) AND conditionals

One thing it's missing which is trivial to implement. Have a little checkbox adjacent to line numbers, default true, that when unchecked would simply not parse the calculations, just leave it as simple text.

This way writing "and here is a little example of 9^9^9" and simply copy paste that to next line would allow me to not have it evaluate on text, but only on next line. OF course, a little more complicated to implement would be next step of actually select the text and within the pop-up have "Don't evaluate". This way writing a documentation without having always calculation be in your way would be very easy.

Other than that, this looks great ma' dude. Keep it up!

Looks good! I love the idea of the embedded calculator

I noticed that it doesn't handle remainder/modulo (%) equations:

"10 % 2" results in: "Left hand side of addition cannot be a percentage."

It does look like decimal.js can handle that: https://mikemcl.github.io/decimal.js/#mod


You can do "6% of $10" and get "$0.6" (minor note that it would look better as $0.60).

Looks like there's a mod operator, so "2303 mod 10" gives 3.

It does, but you have to type `10 mod 2`

See also Frink: https://frinklang.org/

> Frink is a practical calculating tool and programming language designed to make physical calculations simple, to help ensure that answers come out right, and to make a tool that's really useful in the real world. It tracks units of measure (feet, meters, kilograms, watts, etc.) through all calculations, allowing you to mix units of measure transparently, and helps you easily verify that your answers make sense. It also contains a large data file of physical quantities...

Why limit it to arithmetic?

Looks much like the original idea behind lighttable IDE which is basically a REPL plugin that allows to evaluate certain lines within it. There are several similar projects around.

Because Turing completeness scares me!

I was a big fan of Light Table when it first came out and the developers behind it have gone on to do some really interesting things, but I want to keep this project more limited in scope for now.

Coding comes with the implicit responsibility over one’s mess. Everyone understands that hanging your computer for your own actions it’s own’s fault.

That can be an issue if you provide a limitless cloud instance, but you can roll the ball to user’s roof with client a side engine, either JS or a local instance, depending your vision for such an app.

I also made one of these, still working on it now with a focus on including support for accuracy/measurement errors.

This is impressively close to what I have in my desired spec (but already more future proof). Congratz!



Nice work! I like that you're using rational numbers, I thought about going that route but decided to compromise by using Decmial.js in the end. Also really like the "Same Use Case" section in your readme. It's a good summary of the reasons I made this app :)

Hey, great tool!

Just a little bug: I found that if I click a number to copy, then click it again, I'll get the original string in my clipboard concatenated with " Copied!"

Glad you like it! Thank you for the bug report, I'll get it fixed shortly

That should be fixed now

Very cool! Some ideas:

1. Doesn't seem to support area conversions (tried 400 square meters, 400 m^2, and abbreviations in between).

2. If I only give a time, it would be more useful if it gave a time-only result rather than defaulting to the current date - unless it rolls over to a different date. (E.g. in Soulver, "2:30pm + 20hr" gives "Tomorrow at 10:30".)

3. It would be nice to support multiple abbreviations for minutes (mn/min are both used in various countries).

Thanks for the feedback

1. "square" before a unit I probably will implement that in the future. I'm not sure why "400 m^2" isn't working for you, I've just tried it and it works as expected for me?

2. It's a little bit clunky, but I decided to always specify the time and date being shown because there's so much potential for ambiguity. I might revisit this if I can think of a better way of doing it that's still unambiguous (the Soulver way isn't bad tbh)

3. "min" is supported, I've never come across "mn", do you know where it's used?

400 inch^2 -> 400 inches² 10 km^2 -> 10 km²

... works for me.

Ohhh, I missed that "->" was the operator. I was typing "to" as in Google searches.

Re dateless times, yes, I think the Soulver way is unambiguous but still human-friendly.

Funny, almost at the same time I published a similar tool on github. https://github.com/SimonWaldherr/liveCalc Mine is released under the MIT license and is mostly based on math.js. Suggestions for improvement and pull requests are very welcome.

Very nice! Bookmarked.

I found a small bug: `5 hours 20 minutes` will give you `5 hr 19 min 60 s`. This only happens with some numbers in the minutes slot.

Super cool and congrats on shipping! Something I'd love to see is the ability to embed a document on other sites via iframes a la GitHub Gist embeds. That way I could, say, write a blog post describing an algorithm, embed an example of the calculations, and allow visitors to tweak the values and see how they affect the output. Well done!

This is great, I use `bc` a lot at work (particularly when away from desk and my actual calculator) but I'll probably bookmark this to use instead.

One bit of very minor feedback:

`x^y tonnes` errors 'exponent must be unitless'. The more expected (IMO) grouping `(x^y) tonnes` works, so why not have the non-error grouping be the implied one, when no parens given?

I hadn't thought about that before but I think you're right, I've added it to my roadmap.

Getting operator precedence right has been pretty fraught tbh. For example "1km / 3 hours" is evaluated as "(1km) / (3 hours)", but "1 / 3 hours" is evaluated as "(1 / 3) hours", which is odd from a PL perspective, but I think it's more intuitive from a user perspective for this sort of thing.

It's very nicely done, but I'm afraid I don't "get it" with things like this and written out calculators in general. Why would I type out something long like:

" Alice's food = £30 Bob's food = £25 VAT = 20% Alice's food + Bob's food + VAT "

Rather than just punch (30+25)*1.2 straight into a calculator?

I've found that the Calca[†] format hits a nice sweet spot between using an ordinary calculator and running a spreadsheet.

[†]: http://calca.io

It's particularly suited to calculations I'm doing by fetching various numbers from websites, and for the most part it 'composes' by just copypasting a calca into another one.

Basically where the numbers mean something, aren't stable / I don't know them all when I start, but there's no tabular data or significant aggregation going into the question.

I can see this being useful as a narrative document for collaboration. Explaining to someone how a business process might work given x/y/z pricing. Easy to embed the "why" aspects of things but also it autocalcs things so they could play with the numbers and see the change in impact. Some people can "think in spreadsheet" (I'm quite happy there) but that's not the best medium for everyone.

Maybe you want to store all that information for later and also want the calculation, both now and later?

So...a spreadsheet?

A spreadsheet won't automatically work out and display units for you

Very cool! Any plans to support vector/matrix operations? I occasionally do some work with 2D/3D graphics or physics and having some basic linalg would be nice.

I can see myself using this a lot as a scratch pad to hash out ideas while implementing stuff. The ability to define custom functions would be very helpful for that.

It's something I've thought about but I'm not sure I'm going to implement it for a while as it would be quite a big undertaking. The same is true of complex numbers unfortunately.

There are a few bugs as people have mentioned but the currency support is a huge win for me. Thanks for making this!

Glad you like it! Working on the bugs today

Congrats! I'd say it makes no sense to post here before doing hex,bin,dec conversion and bitwise operations ;)

Minor bug report: for whatever reason entering a space on my Android keyboard enters the next suggestion on your editor. That's a feature I explicitly disabled, but is active on your website. On top of that if that enters an unrenderable character I see a red dot that's undeletable.

Mini feedback: The difference between a defined variable and an undefined variable could be clearer. And should an expression with an undefined variable still give a value?

So if you had: Alice's food + Bob's foood = £30 then I think there should be more to highlight the typo.

P.S. This is an awesome thing

Ooh a super useful function (in my experience) is the monthly mortgage repayment calculator.

MonthlyRepayment(principle, annual_interest, term_in_years)

There is something wrong with the order of operations. When I type 2+2*2-6 i get -6 which should be 0.

I would think this might be the first unit test one would write for a calculator program.

Yep, this should be evaluated as `(- (+ 2 (* 2 2)) 6)`

It looks like APL order? Right-to-left.

No. It’s not right to left. It’s just weird:

  3 ^ 1 * 2   6
  3 ^ 1 / 2   1.73205
  3 ^ 1 + 2   5
  3 ^ 1 - 2   1


Oh there's more:

9 - 3 ^ 2 = 0

9 -3 ^ 2 = 18 ???

pi = 3.1415926536

2 pi = 5.1415926536 ???

sin(3.1415926536 radians) = -0

sin(pi radians) = Incompatible units ???

Seems to assume + if an arithmetic operator is missing?

This is correct, the idea is that you can type things like "6 foot 3 inches" and have it evaluate as an addition. But the example shown above is definitely a problem, I'll try to think of a work around.

I'd think that rule only makes sense after a symbol representing a unit (including potentially 6'3"). Certainly <number> <named constant> should logically assume multiplication.

Nice app - I like the workspace sharing feature.

It would be nice if "1 mm / inch" would be returned as a unitless number. I know that you can enter "1 mm in inch" but there are cases where it would help to have the calculator reduce the units for you.

For what it's worth, `1 mm/inch in 1` seems to work as expected.

I have a side project slightly similar to the functionality your tool offers focused on expense tracking (or other measures) over time, adding date parsing to the equation in order to plot metrics into a graph and with tags and locations for filtering.

I'm (slowly) working on something that can eat up PSD2 data from banks and parse it into some usable data, but I'm bad at nicely presenting stuff. It would be great to see your tool and get some inspiration, or maybe even use it.

This sounds super interesting.

I've been thinking of ways to parser phone screenshots with payment data or use bank APIs to add data to my expense tracker, as opposed to adding everything manually, which is the best way I've found for consistency and to make sure everything is properly formatted.

I didn't know about PSD2. Do you have any links or references for me to look at?

Nice! Can you send a link or is it still in development?


It's still in development. I built a proof-of-concept from scratch almost a year ago, which I just open-sourced at the following link.


I intend to develop it a bit more and host it online.

A previous prototype, really barebones, is at https://expensed.me.

The idea is to drag and drop (or type) a plain-text note and visualize the data as a scatterplot or other charts.

Interesting! Thank you...

I was trying to divide an area by a smaller area to get the number of widgets, and it insists on making that into a percentage. Is there a way to make it report a raw number instead of percentages when the two quantities are the same unit?

What's the exact calculation you're doing?

I would really appreciate if there were units for si prefixes, common orders of magnitude, and compute, i.e. "G", "M", "billion" "million", "megabytes" and "gigabytes"

Can you add bit and byte values, as well as units per unit of time please?

Base 10 (GB for example) and base 2 (GiB) would be very handy. Full words as an alias as well, so GB -> gigabyte, and GiB -> gibibyte.

That way you can do something like:

1GB / 40MB/s in minutes

1GB to Gib

1GB to bits

50 bits to bytes

Yes I can, I'm busy with launch stuff today but I'll get that done soon

On srelated note, I use Markdown Excel:

* https://github.com/cescript/MarkdownFormula

Its totally awesome, although it needs some more work.

Looks very interesting. I think there is some ambiguity with respect to currency symbols, $ converts to USD and £ to GBP. However, depending on user location those symbols can be used to mean very different currencies.

Is there anywhere else that uses "£"? I didn't feel great about having $ default to USD but it is probably what most users want. I'll probably make it location-aware and/or allow the user to decide which it defaults to in the future.

I believe pound sign is used in a few other places as well (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pound_sign). Enforcing the use of ISO 4217 codes (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ISO_4217) may be a solution to avoid this type of ambiguities.

This looks really useful for a quick calculation. Thanks for the bookmark!

Fantastic, thank you for implementing one of my future side projects. I was planning to build a web-based version of Soulver with sharing/collaboration. I hope this can fill that spot for me.

This is awesome.

Minor bug report -

* 5 feet 8 inches to centimeters -> -171.72 cm

* 5 feet 8 inches to meters -> -0.7272 m

* 5 feet 8 inches to cms -> doesn't work

The conversion seems wrong in the case of cms, and I'm not sure why it's always negative.

"cms" is nothing, try "cm". Also you're 100% correct that this shouldn't be a negative number. Screenie [0]

[0] https://jasper.monster/sharex/firefox_eXIffwiyBq.png


Ah yeah, replace "to" with "in" and you're good! [1]

[1] https://jasper.monster/sharex/firefox_rVKx2w1TUI.png

After reading the sibling comments to mine, I've worked out what it is doing.

> * 5 feet 8 inches to centimeters -> -171.72 cm

As @defrost said, the 'to' operator instructs NumPad to calculate the distance from the unit before 'to' and the unit after 'to'.

To the nearest mm, 5 feet 8 inches = 172.72cm

It appears that NumPad is defaulting to a value of '1' where no value is specified, so it is calcuating the distance BACK from '5 feet 8 inches' TO '1 centimeters'.

It correctly responds with -171.72, which is 1cm less than 172.72.

> * 5 feet 8 inches to meters -> -0.7272 m

Same as above, except the calucation is the distance back from '5 feet 8 inches' TO '1 metres'.*

If you use the operator 'in', NumPad calculates the answer correctly:

5 feet 8 inches in metres -> 1.7272 m

"to" is a subtraction operation, not a convert to cue.

As in (distance from) 30 to 50 (is 20 == 50 - 30 )

Inline whitespace summation at the same time as mathematical operations seems like a problem. I don't think that there's a standard order of operation for that sort of thing.

This is really cool. I usually end up doing some weird math during development and I usually use the browser developer tools which is a bit cumbersome. This might help me replace it.

Really cool. Minor user pain:

When starting a new line, and the first character is 'e', it gets evaluated to the euler constant. Would be cool if you could find a way to prevent that. :)

Maybe there's already a way to do this, but it seems to me that it would be useful to be able to refer to the answer on a previous line, like the Ans key on a TI calculator. So:

2 + 3 (=4)

Ans * 2 (=8)

x = 2 + 3

x * 2

That's really cool!

Anyone knows if there's a way to have this feature in Joplin[0] ?

[0]: https://joplinapp.org/

Very cool idea, would love to see it work with recipes if you could manage it. I always have to look it up when I see a cup of butter listed in the ingredients of a cake

This is an excellent tool, would be good to have some simple rounding functionality. Perhaps a generic visible decimal points settings or a round() method of some sort.

This is awesome! Some feature requests: it would be great though if you could have multiple sessions/tabs in stead of 1. Also a clear button would be nice.

Can’t you just select all then hit backspace? Asking for a friend...

When using it to make simple calculations while on a phone I think it would be easier than the long click select all delete combo, but perhaps this is not really the aim of the tool.

TIL that it is convention in the English language to place the euro sign in front of the amount and not after it, like in most other European languages.

Yeah, I'm British and I'll concede that how we write it doesn't make sense. I do intend to localise it/add options in the future.

NumPad currently accepts numbers in the "9,999.9" format, which is the default in the anglosphere, but "9.999,9" is common elsewhere. So that's another thing I'd like to address in the future.

TIL: Germans put it after the amount :-)

(I'm European too and I thought it was always in front, everywhere)

Slovenian here, we put it after. It makes more sense, at least to me, since you do say that apple costs five euros, where as the other way around: That apple costs euro five. Which would here mean that it costs 1.05€ and not 5€.

Really cool! Only missing a "sum" function.

Thanks! I'll be implementing a sum (and mean/median/mode) function soon.

I tried converting USD to ARS and it didn't work, I guess you should make a list of how units are named so I can use the correct one.

Nice. Could this be done with a VS Code extension ?

I've never made a VS Code extension, but I think it would be possible; no plans to do so currently though.

there are several inline repl extensions, for many many programming languages. One of the first ones to do it was clojure, imitating the lighttable IDE. I believe you will find similar ones for other languages

For the next step, maybe you can build an editor/autocomplete with a search-engine in it (you can use an existing search engine).

There is a bug with unintendend addition if word starts with the variable name

    e2foo 4.7182818285
    pi-hole 3.1415926536

Nice! What is the long term goal with numpad?

This is a great demonstration of a feature I feel is greatly missing from modern note taking applications like Notion.

I like this! One thing that would be nice is a time zone converter. For example:

8:00pm 24 Aug Toronto time in Dubai time

And have the conversion show up.

It's on the list ;) https://numpad.io/about/

This is fantastic. I never realized how much I wanted this. Thank you for opening my eyes.

Now we need to port to Obsidian.md! haha.

Looks awesome! Well done! It would be great to have a similar UI for LaTeX or maybe even a REPL. Cheers!

https://www.overleaf.com/ comes quite close

On my Android phone I can't see the last letter of some lines and I'm unable to zoom out.

I'm sorry about that, I don't have an Android device to test on. But I'll fix that when I get hold of one.

I also notice when typing a number it gets entered twice. So I'll type a 3 and get 33.

on a similar note - QALC in vscode offers a similar experience for file types of your choosing

Love it! This kind of stuff should be added to notepad on Windows (in an opt-in manner)!

IIRC, calc.exe (Windows Calculator) has some (limited) unit conversions built in. Better than nothing in an offline environment...

When I type `4W*3hours` the result is `12 mWh`. Same with `12Wh/3hours = 4kW`

Oh, thank you for the bug report. I'm not sure why that's happening, but will look into it shortly.

This is awesome! I'd love to use it on the command line, or as a json API!

Small bug report

23 USD to CAD = -28.875332087 CAD

$23 USD to CAD = -30.174259569 CAD

It does not appear to like the USD/CAD stuff

Thanks! I've been looking for numi alternative for my Windows desktop.

Found an error:

    20mm * 30mm * 7mm in m^3 -> incompatible units

This is actually very useful app and done very nicely. Congratulations.

"Right hand side of subtraction cannot be a date or time." :(

"Share Doc" doesn't work if you edit a shared doc

The feet to meters conversion, or vice versa, doesn't work.

I wonder when Google docs will introduce this type of feature.

... and then cancel it 2 years after?

Looks so cool and clean. Stealing the design for my project

2+2 -> 4 ok 2+22 -> 6 ok 2+22-3 -> 0 What?

Yes - there is a precedence problem. Try 2*2-3 (2 times 2 minus 3).

It would be nice to be an emacs extension. :)

Love it. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!.

how do you do

great work, bookmarked.

"Share doc" is not clear imo. Why not "Save & Share"?

2+2*2-3 calculated as 0. WAT?

Can I self host this?

I second this question. I would love to selfhost this too. I hope the creator considers opensourcing their work.

love it, i bookmarked

how expensive was that domain name lol

I'm just paying the standard fee for a .io, it's a far less polluted namespace than .com :)

Looks good!


1+1 // = 4

Really nice project though


Some people just want to watch the world burn.

No, you're right. I thought I'd prevented it from parsing numbers as variables, but apparently not. It's on my todo list now.

Fixed, thanks for pointing it out :) https://numpad.io?#text/IwXgTAUMDUwARA

Fun idea, but:

10^900=∞ :)

I think that's right, isn't it?


Similar tool for people who prefer to use the terminal.

Emacs' calc is also pretty much the same thing.

I really like it, except the fact that it is not an app but something on the web.

I wish it could be something lightweight and launched as a native app.

I would love to have a plain text "notepad" for iOS, because the built in app is horrendous and converts links to clickable hyperlinks. Etc. Hate that piss shit.

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