As a tech-enthousiast and developper, I’ve always took a lot of notes : Code snippets, install recipes, config files, ideas…
For a long time, I’ve used a simple text editor (such as gedit or atom with Linux or notepad++ when using Windows), and saved my notes as plain-text files, each file with a particular subject.
Since recently shared on multiple devices using Dropbox, this solution is quite limited :
Needs to keep files organized
Diffucult to search
No editing capabilities
Linux / Windows end-of-line problems
My wish list for the best solution :
Light and simple software : A browser app might be the best
Always available : Online sync, non-proprietary
Cross-system : Linux and Windows must be supported
Company-proxy-proof : Sync must be possible though Company proxies
Formatting capabilities : Markdown or, better, Asciidoc. Wysiyg is evil.
Secure and self-hosted : Better to own my data
A quite nice start point is Alternativeto.
Most of the leaders (Evernote, Google Keep, One Note) have major issues to me :
Cannot be self hosted.
Not free. Most of them have freemium plans but with serious limitations.
Data is hold by the editor.
Formatting : Most of them use a Wysiwyg system.
Proprietary and no native Linux app most of the time.
I’ve tested Laverna and Joplin for a few weeks, in multiple situations and using different OS.
Laverna was my first pick.
Laverna seems to be the perfect online notes taking app :
Open-source and free
Online app, can be self-hosted
Native app available for Linux, Windows, MacOS
Unfortunatly, a few trouble stop me from using Laverna :
Search is broken
Navigate between notes is painful and buggy
Native app have major issues, espacially regarding syncing (Dropbox)
Laverna development seems quite really quiet since months
Sadly, Laverna seems not usable as an everyday notes taking app.
A coworker told me about Joplin as this app seems to be what I’m looking for.
Joplin has no online app, but :
It’s Open-source and free
Is still under development
Native app available for Linux, Windows, MacOS, Android and iOS
Searching works quite well
Notes tag support
Sync works well with Dropbox
I’ve imported my notes from Laverna with a few issues :
< characters were transformed as
Notes titles were lost
Nowadays I’m using Joplin accross all my computers, including at work. I’m quite satisfied with this note taking app. Only one regret from Laverna : Online app was great ; you’ll have to install Joplin to every computer that you’re using. In another hand : It maybe mote secure.