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Interesting cross-platform, open-source solution

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Posted by MadaboutDana
Mar 2, 2018 at 11:53 AM


Well. I’ve been playing with Android recently. What?! I hear you cry - Bill, what are you doing, you know you hate Android with a deep and bitter loathing!

Yes, I admit I’m no fan of Android, but I had a need for a phone with dual SIM support. Now I have had very good experiences with Windows phones in the past, but decided I would cast my net wider if, and only if, I could find some way of protecting my phone from the horrid online monsters who would like to hack it. Long story short, I found a whole range of anti-malware/anti-hacking tools for Android, plus a (very cheap, rather good) mobile that happily accepts two SIM cards, has a 5500 mAh battery that lasts 5-6 days, runs on Android 7.0 (with most of the latter’s security switches, but not encryption, alas) and has a 5.5-inch screen.

However, as an inveterate CRIMPer, this exposed me to the vast temptations of the Google Play Store. Oh dear. Fortunately, most of the apps in there are truly dreadful, and I haven’t felt the least temptation to splash out on any of them. But I did miss the sheer convenience of the many tools I have on my iPhone that synchronise effortlessly and automatically with various apps on my iPad/MacBooks. What should I use as the perfect cross-platform solution? Evernote? Nah. OneNote? Nah. SimpleNote? Yup, that’s a keeper, but a bit *too* simplistic. Workflowy? Yup, also a good option. iaWriter? Also good, although not my preferred Markdown editor.

But then, like any sensible CRIMPer, I ran a web search to see just what cross-platform gems I could find. And I came across something I’ve never heard of, but that’s actually rather good. And open-source to boot - meaning completely free, both in desktop and mobile versions.

It’s called Joplin, and it’s a GitHub project, but with mobile apps for iOS and Android. It’s very simple but very neat. It supports notebooks and tags. It supports Markdown, and uses a rather elegant dual-pane editor with an auto-updated preview on the right. So far, so SimpleNote (albeit with folders as well as tags).

But it also does something else that sets it apart from the common herd of nasty, super-simplistic wannabe Notes equivalents. It supports two types of notes: ordinary note notes (to which you can attach tags and files), and to-do notes (to which you can attach tags, files and alarms). You can easily convert one into the other. But the to-do notes have an extra feature - apart from the useful alarm function - which is a bit of a standout, IMHO: you can set them so that completed to-dos automatically drop to the bottom of the list. This is such a simple thing, but so very nicely executed. The structure is slightly unusual in this respect. The main app has three panes - the main library on the left (showing notebooks, tags, and saved searches - yes, it does that as well); the list of notes or todos in each notebook (you can mix them up as much as you like); the editor pane on the right (which itself is dual, i.e. in an editor+preview layout). In the central list of notes/todos, todos are set apart by their checkboxes. So each to-do note has a checkbox *in the middle pane* which you can click as soon as it’s completed, causing it to drop below any todos that are still outstanding. This means you can easily and quickly set up a list of to-dos, each of which has plenty of space for extensive notes, or indeed for subtasks (it supports the GitHub variant of Markdown, meaning you can create checkboxes inside to-do notes as well). Oh, and it supports MathJax (or something similar; sorry, Katex).

This is quite the neatest implementation of this kind of structure that I’ve ever seen. Reading through the above again, I don’t think I’ve done it justice - take a look at Joplin yourselves at https://github.com/laurent22/joplin

Finally, and the thing that makes me think this is a keeper: it supports E2EE end-to-end encryption (password-based). It also supports note attachments - images can be viewed, anything else will be shown as a link. Oh, and it also has geolocation support.

One important thing worth noting: it uses Microsoft’s OneDrive as its main synchronisation hub, which may put some people off, although apparently it’s also compatible with WebDAV servers. I’m quite happy with OneDrive myself, so no issues for me (the developer is working on a Dropbox interface as well, however). Also worth mentioning: it imports Evernote’s .enex files (it was originally conceived as an open-source replacement for Evernote). Platforms supported include Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS and Android. Sync platforms include OneDrive, Nextcloud, plus support for WebDAV-compatible services such as Box, DriveHQ, OwnCloud, SeaFile, Stack and Zimbra.

The amazing things you can get, eh?!


Posted by MadaboutDana
Mar 2, 2018 at 04:55 PM


Hell and damnation - and after reluctantly investing in Android, I discover a Swiss supplier who specialises in dual-SIM solution for iPhones!

Some brilliant ideas here. I post the link for those who might be interested (they appear to cover all models of iPhone, but I use an iPhone SE): http://www.simore.com/en/mobile-phone-accessories/apple/iphone-se/


Posted by MadaboutDana
Mar 2, 2018 at 05:51 PM


Actually, they cover Android phones as well.



Posted by doablesoftware
Apr 6, 2018 at 08:34 PM



if only it had tree view/structure of files/notes

or a much better search

or an tree outline/toc that is always showing on the side

cant really think of anything that it could used for


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