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New note taking app : notable


#1

Hi
(and happy new year to everyone here !)

got a hint about notable, “The markdown-based note-taking app that doesn’t suck” :slight_smile:

While it looks pretty similar to Joplin (which is not mentioned in the app comparison matrix), it seems to have some advantages and disadvantages.

Especially I wonder about :

  • is anybody aware of this app ? seems to be pretty new, developper states “there was nothing alike there so I wrote my own”
  • maybe developpers want to contact him, so he could at least place a link to joplin at the bottom of his github page ?
  • what about this codemirror editor for the markdown ? Could Joplin benefit from it ?

#2

i didn’t know it.

I tried it and the only thing I liked is the idea of providing notes to explain the features and how the app works for example with keyboard shortcuts and so on. This could be done also with Joplin in a documentation folder for example.

but I don’t find that fair for users the notes “12 mobile editing” and “15 encrypted notes”


#3

Well, at least codemirror has a decent Undo…


#4

Is it just me, or is this a straight rip-off of Joplin?


#5

Probably more inspired by Evernote, like many other note taking apps.


#6

No subnotebooks, so it sucks


#7

I think one issue he’s going to run into is that he used plain text files to represent the notes. Everybody developing a note-taking app goes through the same thing - it’s just notes, so why not use plain text files? I did the same, but soon you run into scaling issues - how to implement search across thousands of files in an efficient way? How to handle tag updates? In general how to handle relationships between objects?

Every time, you need to process thousands of text files, which is very ineffective, and sometimes impossible on mobile. It also means that for example to change the name of a tag, you need to resync all the notes that have this tag. That’s a common mistake in my opinion - using text files is easy at first, but nothing beats a good old SQLite database when scalability is important.


#8

true. also :

  • need to move all the files and attachements in case note is moved
  • sharing same attachement between notes means either duplicating files or using OS-proprietary features like symlinks

on the other hand : being able to just use a shell and an editor to read the markdown is a nice feature when your computer is down and you’re looking for some instructions to bring it back to life :slight_smile: but that was more in a time when there was no mobile client


#9

Did anyone try DokuWiki on a stick? It uses basic .txt files to store stuff but it has a plugin afaik which can do mass search (and replace) across multiple files.

I don’t know how it actually works but I think there might be some kind of database involved though. No mobile client but then .txt files.


#10

Totally agree. I am just switching to Joplin from Boostnote. One of my proposal was to use some database (specifically sqlite). I would be happy to contribute there but it was rejected, effectively (https://github.com/BoostIO/Boostnote/issues/2259). Plus as I have discovered plans what main contributors have (not only this but many other architectural things in Boostnote) I lost my interest in contributing in it. And after that I have found Joplin what is almost perfect match to me. (I will open some missing feature discussion, anyway)


#11

The interface is quite nice.


#12

Yes the design looks good, and I also like the tutorial, as it gives a quick overview on how to use the app. Maybe there should be something similar in Joplin.


#13

Funny… I’m moving slowly the other way 'round, to Boost. Nothing really wrong with Joplin, I just like that UI better. Although I admit, I’m going to miss the mobile app.


#14

I have to agree that the look of Boostnote somehow better :). But the look is not something dramatically affecting productivity.

On the other hand there are some editor features what would be great to implement in Joplin as soon as possible (like once click copy of code block, proper list indentation logic, task progress indicator) but these might be easy to add to Joplin. But changing the storage logic and “developer friendliness” of the data storage, or the mobile client, notebook hierarchy etc. is a great plus for Joplin.


#15

Check this app out: Zettlr.


#16

To be honest, the GUI does affect my productivity. For example the space taken by sidebars in Joplin. None of them can be resized and with both open, 30% of the screen is gone. Or the way the switch between the preview and the editor is done. Here you need to cycle between modes (cmd+L), there you just r-click (one of the methods).
Don’t crucify me :wink: I still use both. But I’m finding the flow in Boost more intuitive. For sure I’ll be coming back to check where Jo is.


#17

Hey folks, Notable’s author here. I’ve opened an issue about adding Joplin to the comparison table, feel free to join the discussion.

To answer a few of your comments:

what about this codemirror editor for the markdown ? Could Joplin benefit from it ?

We are actually transitioning away from CodeMirror at some point, I think Monaco is a better option for us.

Is it just me, or is this a straight rip-off of Joplin?
Probably more inspired by Evernote, like many other note taking apps.

Honestly I just built the note-taking app I always wanted, I hope it doesn’t look too much like Evernote since that’s what I’m coming from.

No subnotebooks, so it sucks

On the contrary notebooks (which are just tags) are indefinitely nestable, and a note can be put into multiple notebooks.

I did the same, but soon you run into scaling issues - how to implement search across thousands of files in an efficient way? How to handle tag updates? In general how to handle relationships between objects?

I’ve benchmarked the app with about 10k notes and the app seems to be usable enough. Keep in mind that it’s a very new codebase, only about 1 month of my time has been put into it, things will improve over time. There are some optimization techniques that could be used to offload most of the indexing work from mobiles. There’s been some discussion between me and Trilium’s developer about the database vs plain files approach here: (https://github.com/fabiospampinato/notable/issues/263).

need to move all the files and attachements in case note is moved

I’m not sure what you mean, if a note’s tags are updated there’s no need to touch the attachments at all.

sharing same attachement between notes means either duplicating files or using OS-proprietary features like symlinks

Not at all, you just list that attachment’s name in both notes.

Funny… I’m moving slowly the other way 'round, to Boost. Nothing really wrong with Joplin, I just like that UI better. Although I admit, I’m going to miss the mobile app.

@microcreators What do you think Boostnote does better than Notable?

I’m definitely going to try Joplin more in depth in the following weeks, so that I can add it to the comparison table, but I have it installed already on my system and honestly just because it makes my dock look like this I wouldn’t have considered using it:

That icon is way out of proportions, it may be a bit of an exaggeration on my side but I try to avoid ugly apps as much as possible.

PS. I don’t understand why new users can only put 2 links in a post.


#18

Hi Fabio,

thanks a lot for your feedback in this forum !

I’ve checked your giithub site once again and now I think I’ve udnerstood how notes and attachements are stored, therefore I can agree that moving notes and multi-referencing attachements is no big deal


#19

few things based on my short observations.

  • note templates / snippets
  • ability to select multiple notes and act on them (tag, delete, etc)
  • ability to copy code blocks (1-click)
  • toc generation
  • themes :wink:

but i think it’s not a place to talk it, as it’s a Joplin forum tbh.


#20

note templates / snippets

Notable has templates too.

ability to select multiple notes and act on them (tag, delete, etc)

Notable can do that too, probably better, I don’t think you can tag/untag multiple notes at once in Boostnote, can you? :thinking:

All the rest we don’t support, thanks for pointing those things out.