Joplin notes

I switched note-taking apps to Joplin. It’s total overkill for what I do, all I really want is a markdown editor that doesn’t require me to remember to press “save”. Joplin has a zillion more features than that. Also it’s a 200MB Electron download, so that’s a bit much. But it seems to work well and simply.

Originally I was using SimpleNote. It’s really nice! The only reason I switched away is because it doesn’t support encrypting notes on their cloud storage and I was doing things like pasting passwords into my notebook.

Then I used Standard Notes for a few years. And paid for it. But they hiked the price to $50/year and that seems like a lot of money for something so simple that I use occasionally. It also reminded me just how bad and klunky so much of Standard Notes is. Its reliable on Markdown plugins for the editor, none of which quite work right. Mediocre cross-note search and no in-note search at all (except with one plugin). It often feels slow. Just overall not excited to be paying so much for it. (Base Standard Notes is free but you need to pay to use even the most simple advanced features like a decent Markdown plugin.)

Joplin is free software and free to use, including a variety of self-hosted syncing options. (Which are encrypted). They do offer a cloud sync service at 24€/year but they also have a robust set of free sync options you can set up yourself. You’re mostly paying for convenience. And they don’t lock other basic features behind the price.

I’m using SyncThing for sync. Joplin will sync via files in a directory; it is then the user’s problem how to sync those files. SyncThings works great for that. The sync is a little delayed (5 minutes?) and getting it set up on Android was awkward because of the opaqueness of the file system. But it all worked.

There’s a zillion note-taking apps out there. Unfortunately most of them seem to be too complex and offering too many features, just like Joplin does. Everyone’s like “Evernote is bad and too complex” and then is going down the road to becoming Evernote. To Standard Notes credit they are not doing that; neither is SimpleNote. Anyway some of the other options I didn’t try are QOwnNotes, Cryptee, and SilentNotes. Joplin seems to be the nerdy consensus for the best so I didn’t even try the rest.

Migration wasn’t too bad btw, thanks to Standard Notes for having an export feature. (Which reminds me; data portability matters, don’t ever use an app that traps your data.) There’s a way to convert Standard Notes exports into Evernote format, which Joplin can then ingest. Lost a bunch of metadata, most importantly which notes had been archived. So I had to go in and re-sort my notes. It was time well spent actually, but if I had thousands of notes that would have been a problem.