eldritch_panda: Kristin Vangess, as Penelope Garcia in Criminal Minds, with bright red hair sitting in front of her computer. (Penelope Gracia computer)
Ghastly G. Rotto ([personal profile] eldritch_panda) wrote in [community profile] linux4all2013-11-21 03:31 pm

Open Source Notetaking App

Hey everyone,

I'm looking for an (hopefully, though not absolutely required if something is amazing) open source notetaking app.

Some of my requirements:

Markdown editing
Plain text file saving
Keyboard shortcuts
attach images and links
categories (in addition to tagging)*
Dropbox sync*
export html,pdf*
I don't much care for Wiki style editing, but if an app is super amazing I can maybe check it out.
fluid calendar functionality (being able to store by date, or not)
multiple journals/books

*Optional bonus

I was testing out RedNotebook and I liked it mostly. It lacked numbered lists though, and it's format rendering was a bit off. Plus it was organized by day, so any notes added on that day were on the same "page" and they had to be separated by simply lines and dates. I'd prefer to have each entry separate. There were not categories, etc. It also didn't use standard keyboard commands like ctrl-a, ctrl-e, ctrl-k.

I'm not interested in any online services. I've done some research.

KeepNote looks interesting because of the addons and ability to use 'helper' apps, so I could use emacs I think. However, it stores in xml. Plus it seems it's been about 1.5 years since anything was developed.

BasKet also looks good; however, I cannot determine how it saves files and it's been nearly 3 years since any development.

Several of the most recommended notetaking apps (Zim, TiddlyWiki, OutWikier, etc.) are wiki-oriented, which is why I'm still looking. I'm hoping I can interact with people a little more and get help troubleshooting and researching this issue.

I am kind of new to all this and thus I could be overlooking something or not quite thinking about this correctly. I'm open to friendly advice and instruction.

My priorities are as follows:

One of the things I'm looking to do with this is make a events/food journal for my partner and I. Some way to catalogue our photos of outings and foods to refer to later. This is one of the most important aspects.

Secondary I also want to use it for keeping track of info for my MUD, like how to do goals, pricelists for items, convo snippets I may need to refer to, etc.

Then I would also like to be able to use it to do all sorts of journal like things, keep a book list, store research on projects, tutorials, etc.

I hope this is enough info, and that I followed all necessary protocols. Thank you for your time and attention.
kerravonsen: Romana in fancy hat: "Time Traveller" (Romana)

[personal profile] kerravonsen 2013-11-22 02:21 am (UTC)(link)
Why are you opposed to "wiki format"? Because I'm hard pressed to think of something that does all you request that isn't wiki-like.
kerravonsen: 9th Doctor wearing his headlamp: Technical wizard (technical-wiz)

[personal profile] kerravonsen 2013-11-22 05:14 am (UTC)(link)
I'm not fan of CamelCase.

I don't mind it, but I much prefer explicit markup for links, such as [[link]] (which is a pretty common one).

Each wiki has it's own markup language, which means I have to learn and remember which style to use each time I switch around apps and I get my methods confused often.

True. But some do use more common markups such as Markdown or Creole.

Several of the most recommended notetaking apps (Zim, TiddlyWiki, OutWikier, etc.) are wiki-oriented, which is why I'm still looking.

I've used TiddlyWiki myself, and did like it for a while, particularly that everything was in one file and that all one needed was a browser - that made it very portable. But the fact that the underlying format wasn't plain text, but complicated HTML+Javascript code, that was what made me decide to stop using it eventually. I'm very much a plain text fan.

I notice you mention Markdown. There's one wiki I use, IkiWiki, which has Markdown as its default format (though it has plugins for others). All the data is saved in separate plain text files, one for each page. It's unusual among wikis in that it is a "wiki compiler". That means that it generates all the wiki pages as plain HTML pages, and updates them when a change is made, rather than having to run on a web server. Mind you, if you want to update pages through the browser, there needs to be a web server, but you don't absolutely need one... because one can also update the source pages directly, using your favourite editor. Also, while it isn't required, one can use a revision control system such as git, as part of the back-end, which means that you can go back and get earlier versions, which is always handy as a backup. Also, with git, one can do editing on a laptop and then come back and "push" the changes to your desktop (if you have both, that is).

There is, I admit, a learning curve, and I can't attest to whether or not it is too difficult or involves too much, because I do this kind of stuff for a living...

Let's look at your list, and see how IkiWiki does:
  • Markdown editing - yes
  • Plain text file saving - yes
  • Keyboard shortcuts - don't know
  • attach images and links - yes
  • taggings - yes
  • categories (in addition to tagging)* - I'm not sure what the difference is between tagging and categories
  • Dropbox sync* - no, but with git it works well with Sparkleshare
  • export html,pdf* - yes, HTML by default; pdf I wrote a plugin for, but I can't remember if it's in my public plugins
  • fluid calendar functionality (being able to store by date, or not) - don't know
  • multiple journals/books - I'm not sure what you mean by this. You can put things in separate directories, in as deep a hierarchy as you want (unlike some wikis which have no hierarchy at all)
  • spellcheck - only if you have spellcheck in your favourite editor
  • unicode - I can't remember

Another place you might look - if you are familiar with the Vim editor - is a Vim plugin. I think there are a couple of wiki-like ones, but I have not used them myself, so I can't say much about them. But all of them use plain text format (with varying levels of specialized markup, of course). Ah, forget it, you're an emacs user I see. Changing over to Vim would be too frustrating for you, I think.

However, it probably would be worth investigating plugins for emacs - there are so many plugins for it, surely someone has written something that would be close to what you want?
kerravonsen: Abby: "Take back the glee!" (take-back-the-glee)

[personal profile] kerravonsen 2013-11-25 11:53 am (UTC)(link)
Sure you can. So long as you reply to one of my comments, I'll get notified.
foxfirefey: Fox stealing an egg. (Default)

[personal profile] foxfirefey 2013-11-22 05:10 am (UTC)(link)
Hrm, potentially FreeMind:


I haven't used it much but it is the first thing I thought of given your description. If it doesn't work, maybe also check out their list of alternatives.
kerravonsen: Jack O'Neill writing a report: "It was a dark and stormy mission..." (writing)

[personal profile] kerravonsen 2013-11-22 05:18 am (UTC)(link)
While FreeMind is great for brainstorming, I'm not sure that it's suited for journalling.
foxfirefey: A guy looking ridiculous by doing a fashionable posing with a mouse, slinging the cord over his shoulders. (geek)

[personal profile] foxfirefey 2013-11-22 06:56 am (UTC)(link)
On one hand, I totally agree, on the other hand, I find the idea of putting a journal in a wiki to also be awkward!
kerravonsen: Abby: "Take back the glee!" (Abby-glee)

[personal profile] kerravonsen 2013-11-25 12:06 pm (UTC)(link)
I just remembered another piece of software that I used a while back, which might actually suit you better! Bloxsom (http://blosxom.sourceforge.net/) is more oriented towards journalling.
It is file based as requested, though I can't recall the format used. Anyway, it's something else you could check out. 8-)