Jot.as - private notes

It’s still a while off, but I wanted to start getting feedback from everyone now on what you’d like to see in our private note-taking app, Jot.as.

Overview

A mobile-first app for taking private notes you don’t necessarily want to share with the world. Its closest competitors might be Evernote and Microsoft OneNote.

Features

(A tentative list of features)

  • Hashtag organization
  • App-side encryption
  • Syncing across devices
  • Send notes to an email address, our other products, or third party services

See the full / detailed roadmap on Trello (and feel free to vote for features you want!)

Questions

  • What would you like to see in an app meant just for your own notes?
  • What has frustrated you about other note-taking apps?
1 Like

I currently use Standardnotes…it would have to be real similar for me to switch. Mind you if I could make one payment for all the services write, snap, jot… I would help me switch from Standard Notes… but they are a great product and worth using as sort of a guide to how to make a great private notes app. I’m sure your up to the task.

2 Likes

Absolutely, that’s great to know. I’ve been keeping up with them a bit and it looks like they’re killing it. Anything in particular you find most useful?

Also I do think we’ll have a bundled plan in the future, once we have at least 3 fully-launched products and the revenue models are pretty much set on each of them.

4 Likes

The main reason I use standard notes…

  • Encryption
  • local backup (encrypted or plain text)
  • Folders/Tags
  • use of markdown

On a side note…a native app(non electron) would really push me over the edge. But I understand it’s not financially viable to make three separate clients for the main platforms. But an API so others could make it would be great! …i’m a linux user.

3 Likes

Great to know, thanks. Actually it should be doable to launch native desktop clients – I already have ones for Write.as in the works, and the central editor should be reusable, making it easier to launch these similar products. But either way, it’d definitely have an open API for this exact reason

2 Likes

Hi Matt, my two cents. I use Standard notes for most of my drafts/references/passwords/quick notes and Dropbox paper for longer content (also for personal wikis).
I would love for a new notes service to be:

  1. Lightweight
  2. Secure
  3. Have a fast Web app + mobile sync
  4. Ability to share a link to a note/page with a non-jot.as user.
  5. Markdown support? (mostly just for viewing code - I use Dropbox paper for my programming wikis and it seems to render code well.)
  6. Easy organising (tags, folders, contexts etc)… not sure if you 're aware already, but Dynalist does a great job here.
2 Likes

An alternative to Evernote is appealing. To replace EN it would need a web clipper and tags/folders (so far so good, with promised hashtags). It would need great search and navigation (more intelligent search than EN). To improve on EN it would respond instantly to what I’m doing on my device, and not fart around talking to some remote server. It would have a backup function that I could direct to my chosen server. It would of course be private, with no analytics applied that were not also fully available and transparent to me as user/writer. it would have some basic paragraph styles, accept Markdown, and display Markdown text in something like the way that Ulysses does. If it would talk to Ulysses, importing/exporting Markdown files, that would be wonderful - I could use it as the overflow memory-space for all the odds and sods I don’t want clogging up my main workspace/file-system.

Not sure how interested you are in layout styles (minimalism and all that) since Write.as has no bold, italic, indented text or headings (ie no Markdown). For me, a writing environment without formatting isn’t a tool at all. I don’t believe in ‘pure content’ - every text is a document? Others will differ.

I guess I’m more interested in Jot.as than Write.as. Although I favour open source apps, Ulysses is so unbelievably useful that I don’t mind it being proprietary. And I have a sense that you mean to be much more minimal than Ulysses is. Fair enough. Evernote is a pain in the bum, and I would be very pleased to see it displaced.

I currently use Standard Notes and some features I do like (that haven’t already been mentioned) is the ability to pin, search, and archive your notes.

The only thing I don’t like about about Standard Notes is the fact that I don’t have the option to omit preview lines from a note. I would like to just see note titles only.

Though, that may be a paid option for Standard Notes. I’m not sure, I use it for free.

I mainly use Simplenote currently. Mostly works quite well but I’ve gotten frustrated a few times about occasional sync issues, and lack of power-user features like robust keyboard shortcuts. I used to use nvAlt + Dropbox sync as well as Simplenote. But now Simplenote no longer works w/ Dropbox sync so I switched to just using Simplenote since it’s available cross-platform. I use iA Writer a bit too though mainly just for writing as opposed to organizing a large number of notes. I don’t really care about (what to me seem) heavyweight features like adding images, clipping web pages, and so on like Evernote has. For bigger more complex projects I use Scrivener for some things as well. For my main note-taking system I just want nice writing experience, rock solid sync on multiple platforms, good search and tagging. I think right now I’d be happy w/ some hybrid of Simplenote and iA Writer. One thing I don’t love about Simplenote is that, while you can export a zip archive of text files, they seem to use more of a proprietary note format…I do like the simplicity of plain txt files + markup though I realize it probably makes for tricky conventions w/ tags, possibly sync difficulties, etc.

1 Like

So far, I’ve been using Dropbox Paper, and it’s both my favorite note-taking app and my favorite document editing app by far. What makes it excellent is its Markdown-based keyboard-centric UI, its minimalism, and its versatility.

Features I would need in an alternative solution:

  • Markdown shortcuts (e.g. creating a numbered list with “1.”, but with automatically recalculated numbers)
  • WYSIWIG (I don’t actually want to see the markdown, but just use it for shortcuts)
  • Autosave
  • Offline support
  • Accessibility from anywhere (mobile + web)
  • Hassle-free synchronization without data loss
  • Support for links, bold, italics, 3 levels of headings

Nice-to-haves:

  • Collaborative editing
  • Checkboxes (Paper uses the shortcut “[]”)
  • Todo management (done through checkboxes in Paper)
  • Lack of privacy (in the case of Paper)
  • Lack of offline functionality and seamless Markdown support (in the case of a few private offerings)
  • Unwieldy UIs or organization models (in the case of everything else)
1 Like

Build “Evernote, but self-hosted” and I will be a very, very happy user.

2 Likes

Def interested in this discussion though I haven’t used any of the aforementioned tools. I’ve kinda clunkily combined email, gh gist equivalent, or xmpp to jotting notes.

Biggest things for me here would be:

  • simplicity
  • efficiency
  • easy syncing / ability to share
  • syntax highlighting for code
  • integration with other *.as services (jot down article excerpt to quote and share? Hell yeah. Turn a note into a collaborative doc who you could invite others to edit? Sweet!)
  • good search / organizational tools
  • community indexes for popular faqs and other misc content that is public / useful to community
2 Likes

I use Google Keep. I’m a light user and find it to be fine in terms of usability and features. However, as part of my ambition to transition off Google products, I’m seeking an alternative that is just as easy to use along with being open source, private, and available on all my devices.

Hey Matt, how is this coming along? Would it be far-fetched to expect jot.as this year?

1 Like

It’s very possible Jot.as will be out this year, but it’s still a bit up in the air. Basically, it’s waiting on the Write.as apps.

My goal was to have all the Write.as apps up-to-date with the current web functionality (including blogs and accounts), so Jot.as can launch on all these platforms from day one. (They’ll share much of the same basic code.)

The Write.as Android app will be updated soon, but we still need to update iOS, the command-line client, Linux app, and then ideally launch apps on macOS and Windows. And among that work, we’ll be adding support for all WriteFreely instances (not just Write.as). But if people want to see Jot.as sooner, we could make it web-only to start, and then launch on other platforms over time. It’ll all depend on how much demand we see over the coming months.

3 Likes

Also, thanks for the input, everyone! This is really helpful. Please feel free to continue adding to this thread.

I would be down to have a web-only version to start out. The thing that excites me about the project is using the API. A lot of what I am doing with the Write.as API would be more suited for notes in Jot.as.

2 Likes

One thing which is great with Simplenote is the ability to publish a note online with a random string of alphanumeric characters. Served me countless times.

There’s another great thing about Simpenote:the ability to go back to previous versions of your note (mostly for “ctrl Z” situations).

Who is behind Standard Notes and Simple Note? Neither website discloses. Does anyone know? Shouldn’t we want to know?