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Can I run a second instance of Joplin?


I just found this and one of the first things I came here to find out is if it’s possible to have multiple “channels”. Here the OP refers to them as “instances”. I’m not sure why we’d need a separate “instance” of the application in order to maintain different “channels” or “contexts” or whatever.

One of the things I detest about most social media that seems to have infused itself into far to many developers’ thinking is that our lives are monocultural – that everybody we deal with is all part of the same big happy family.

I’m sorry, but nothing could be further from the truth.

I keep my work and personal stuff separate, mainly because as a developer, if I don’t keep clear lines of demarcation, I could expose software (and just about anything) I create on my own to my employer, where they could claim it belongs to them.

But I also have multiple social circles and I’d like to be able to set up places to share files and information with people in these groups that’s not all part of the same “bucket” so to speak.

For example, I’m taking a couple of classes, and we need to have a place to post homework assignments, notes, anything we want to share amonst ourselves as one of 10 groups in (one of) the classes. The other class is larger and we’ve got things that need to be handed-out regularly to participants, and we need to provide a place for them to save things to.

FB sucks for this, and most platforms like Slack that are even half-way useful charge a monthly fee on a per-person basis, which nobody wants to pay for.

So it would really be nice to be able to set up multiple “channels” or whatever that have a separate storage account somewhere and can be shared among a group of unrelated people. (I don’t mind setting up an area on my Dropbox for the group in one of my classes to use, but I’m not about to give them the login info to allow them to connect!)

I realize this isn’t quite the vision this tool was built to fulfill, but it’s not all that far off. I have hosting, and I’d be happy to set up a NextCloud service if that’s what it takes, but I know some folks wouldn’t want to do that.

Anyway, being able to have multiple independent “channels” for my own personal needs would be great (without requiring multiple executable instances of the app).

It would also be great to have something similar where I can “invite” a limited number of people to “share” the same folder, and have multiple groups sharing separate folders, where I (admins) can also be members of each group to help manage things.


If I understand correctly these are 2 different things you @thetoolwiz are commenting on.

  1. discussing about instances, channels or contexts is basically targeting the same thing. While a separate/second instance would be decoupling the application from the content and allow for several profiles (another name for what you are considereing) with separate locations and login credentials being accessible at the same time each via one designated instance, the alternative might be to allow for profile switching within the same instance (similar to what Evernote supports). The latter then would only allow to work on notes belonging to the profile one is currently logged into.
    Both actually serves the same requirements: separating content e.g. work from personal.
    Personally I would prefer profile switching, as this would allow to have similar circumstances in all devices (desktop PC, smartphone…). Separate instances will work on a desktop PC but not with an Android or Apple smartphone…

  2. for sharing files and allowing users (e.g. pupils) to access the content of a storage space (for their particular class), a file sharing service like Nextcloud is actually the one you should be looking for. If configured right, users can share/upload stuff, but not delete/modify. A note taking service like Joplin is not necessarily the right choice to setup something like that - even though attaching files (images/PDFs and others) to a note is possible.
    A file sharing service like Nextcloud is easily set up, allows for perfectly separated data storage for work and private (or classes…). Joplin isn’t designed to compete with such.


The reason for asking for multiple instances is pretty easy to understand. It’s the easiest way to achieve multiple sync targets and to separate notes. What are the other options? Allow a sync target per notebook? Well, this would definitely be a nice feature, but also adds a lot of complexity to the code. Do you want to submit a PR?
I think there are other features more essential to a note taking app, but my feature request is rather easy to accomplish. Nobody says that other options aren’t possible in the future.

Sharing notes and notebooks has been discussed in several github issues and topics on this forum. Yes, it would be great. I was thinking about this for a very long time and I couldn’t find a feasible architecture to make this work. Yes, if one were only to use Nextcloud, no problem, but Joplin allows several sync targets, even your local filesystem, so I’m at a loss here. Maybe a sharing plugin per sync target could solve this, but this approach would be quite an endeavor.


As pointed out above, multiple instances are fine with Windows or macOS, but don’t work with iOS or Android. They’re basically different “profiles” or “channels” or something with a similar name. There are three or four ways to implement it that I can think of off-hand. I’ve done it in Windows by setting up separate INI files as well as separate DB tables. I guess it all depends how much decoupling you want between them.

As far as the file sharing, I don’t see what’s wrong with making it just for NextCloud initially, then add other options later.

I inquired with my hosting provider about installing NextCloud and was informed it’s included in the standard Softaculous app library that just about every cPanel hosting vendor provides, which makes it SUPER-EASY to install. (There are lots of servers / services that can only be installed if you have root access, making them nearly impossible to set up if you have a shared hosting plan.)

Also, it’s not like I’d need everything to get stuffed into one NextCloud instance. I’d be happy if I could set up separate NextCloud instances for each group I want to work with. (Assuming that’s possible.)

Furthermore, I don’t need full “colloaboration”, just the ability for people to easily post their own stuff and view things flagged for them to read. If it’s yours, you can update it; otherwise you get read-only access. I’m sure this would simplify a lot of the logic that can be imagined if full collaborative access were required. Also allow people to flag things as “public” or “private” so they could post their own notebooks there and not have to worry about others viewing them.

Alternatively you could enable a “lock for editing” option that lets people with write access update a document. But again, in my case, that’s probably not even a requirement.


Another use-case occurred to me recently. This may be a little closer to common messaging apps, but there’s some overlap.

I often want to have something of a shared message thread with someone, or a small group of people. Most of the content is static, but periodically it’s handy to go through and edit it.

Skype and other messaging apps just provide a huge scrolling list of notes that are organized strictly by time.

But a lot of interactions with people don’t occur that way. You discuss different topics at different times, going back and forth.

My sister has two kids, and since Christmas is approaching, she wants to talk about gifts. Specifically, gifts for one of her kids, in the domain of musical instruments. We’ve chatted about musical instruments in the past; the fact that Christmas is approaching is secondary.

We could get her partner engaged as well to discuss this.

But I discuss many different topics with my sister.

What I really hate about Skype and most messaging services is that it’s impossible to organize material by context. So if I want to find out something my sister suggested the last time we talked about musical instruments for her daughter, it’s way, WAY up in the timeline! But it may have been the most recent thing we discussed in this topic.

So just the ability to have multiple “threads” of comments under different topics, and share that specific collection of things among a group of people, seems rather unique. At least, I don’t know of anything that’s really designed for that.

It’s a “collaboration” tool in the sense that several people view and edit the content, but most of the editing is just appending to the end of a message thread. Sometimes, historical data might get changed as well.

All of these messaging apps are driving me nuts, because I tend to think about things categorically, not just linearly in time. I also find that for my own purposes, this isn’t nearly as much of an issue as it is when I’m coordinating with others.

So it’s a little different perspective on things.