Joplin Reviews

Quite perspective software, like [Laverna](/softwa...

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Simple comparison Evernote vs. Joplin. The same full-site copy created with Evernote's Web Clipper then imported to Joplin. Evernote can't even show it correct in its viewer.
Simple comparison Evernote vs. Joplin. The same full-site copy created with Evernote's Web Clipper then imported to Joplin. Evernote can't even show it correct in its viewer.


As 100% paranoid I trust only things that stay with me, that's why I write notes and save part of webpages to local storage. A long ago I started to use Evernote, that time it was almost only solution for such kind of task. But Evernote is terrible, really. Well, if we write a note with Evernote WYSIWYG editor then no problem, but if you saved web-page or even its part then problems stars. Evernote is trying to keep original HTML/CSS formatting of page and adopt it for internal editor, but its viewer can't show it identically, moreover it doesn't allow edit raw code of saved elements. It feels like fight against MS Word.
For the reason I have a lot of broken and unreadable notes in Evernote postponed to "someday-edit". But I will never fix them, it's impossible except rewriting everything with hands, but I don't want to do it with Evernote, who knows how it will be works tomorrow. :)

A time later I found another organizer Laverna, it allows to solve some problems of Evernote with text notes, and Markdown format guarantees that data could be saved even in worst situation. But Laverna has ton of critical bugs, it’s just dangerous to work with it because next release could brake everything. Here you can read why I hate it.

Finally, I found quite perspective Evernote alternative, at least for desktop, like Laverna with no critical bugs but much better. :) Joplin brings together better of two worlds: Markdown layout with inline HTML code. When features of Markdown not enough for well looking formatting just add HTML code, or even use TeX syntax. Joplin works with extra fast TeX math rendering engine KaTeX what allows to view notes containing hundreds of math notions and symbols just for a second.

UPD1:
It's amazing, I found the aspect recently and suddenly for me. You also can use CSS styles to format Markdown! Therefore, you even doesn't need to keep HTML structure for things like "image wall"! See the screenshot below!
CSS styles to format Markdown layout
CSS styles to format Markdown layout

PROS:

  • Live-editing with third-party software. Finally, you can fix and organize note with Vim (for example) and all changes will transfer to Joplin note immediately on save.
  • Fast processed math notations with KaTeX.
  • Batch import/export MD files.
  • Multiple syncing options: local disk, OneDrive, Nextcloud, WebDAV, or Dropbox.
  • Web Clipper. Not so universal with Markdown like Evernote analogue, but personally, better then Evernote's, because reduces unusual HTML, convert common elements to correct Markdown code and allows to edit a note deeply. Clipper can save part of web-page as image file, reduce image size and add link to full version.
  • Evernote's backup file format support for import (only notes and tags, not notebooks).
  • Local resources, images and any other file format as links. Inserting images from the clipboard also supported (but it can increase storage size, because uncompressed PNG).
  • Cross-note links in body.
  • Quick response for issue reports.
  • Inline HTML code rendering.
  • Automatic code and its syntax detection. But on other hand, Web Clipper just save a code with tabs, looks good in Joplin, but incompatible with another Markdown readers. Manual correction needed.
  • Terminal mode.
  • ToDo mode for notes.

CONS:

  • SQL database is not encrypted, so anyone who will be able to get the file on your device will get full access to your data. Seems the developer doesn't want to change it, offers use scripts to encrypt/decrypt database file before/after software running. Sounds like a mad, especially for mobile devices.
  • ABC scores notions unsupported.
  • At the moment no easy way to clear unused resources manually.
  • Common design looks unpolished. For example: in desktop version user have option to define source URL for a note, but with Android version user can only read it on metadata slide.
  • No line numbering for edit or even code blocks.
  • Not optimized at the moment. Android version has too laggy interface, sometimes top panel invisible 'til you tap it. Search across all notes works faster than opening left tab with huge amount of tags. So, I recommend use mobile App for Find-and-Read, it will be inconvenient to write and organize there.
  • Portable version unpacks full app to OS user dir each time then delete it. Not that thing we expects from portable software, isn't :(
  • Too small default font size for KaTeX notions, you're always should use size from \large to \Huge

Some exposition

Inline HTML table inside Markdown table, KaTeX math notations and live-editing with Gvim
Inline HTML table inside Markdown table, KaTeX math notations and live-editing with Gvim


Auto-detection of code blocks
Auto-detection of code blocks


Local image resources (imported from Evernote backup)
Local image resources (imported from Evernote backup)


Inline iframe with embeded OpenStreetMap. Link outside main code, styled and added link to local image resource for offline view.
Inline iframe with embeded OpenStreetMap. Link outside main code, styled and added link to local image resource for offline view.


Reduce storage size with replacing extra images with HTML code.
Reduce storage size with replacing extra images with HTML code.


Reduce storage size with replacing extra images with HTML code.
Reduce storage size with replacing extra images with HTML code.


To-Do mode of notes
To-Do mode of notes


Web Clipper chrome widget
Web Clipper chrome widget

[Edited by M_O_Z_G, May 18]

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This is the best review I've ever seen outside of a full, published article. You're awesome.

Yourmother, thank you! I like to write about things I like, glad to see that it's helpful! Joplin is ultimate and only solution, I think.

This is an impressive review. Thanks a lot for giving such a detailed overview of the app!

UPD1:
It's amazing, I found the aspect recently and suddenly for me. You also can use CSS styles to format Markdown! Therefore, you even doesn't need to keep HTML structure for things like "image wall"! See the screenshot below!
CSS styles to format Markdown layout
CSS styles to format Markdown layout

about Joplin · · Helpful Not helpful 26 Helpful Report as spam

This is an absolute gem. Replacing Evernote is a holy grail of privacy-oriented people who want to stay productive. Joplin does this better and more simply than any other program I've found to date. It's genuinely difficult to describe how relieved I am to have found it and given it a chance.

It's biggest advantages are:

  • it's cross platform (Mac, Windows, Linux, Android and iPhone). Evernote has for a long time treated Linux users as second-class citizens.
  • unlike in Endnote, you can enrypt your notes and transfer them encrypted. Excellent!
  • it's not tied to any specific syncing service/cloud, which means you can just get it to save in the folder of your choice and sync that however you like.
  • it's open source!
  • it has a simple but capable search and a tagging system (admittedly not as sophisticated as Evernote's but I'm sure it will be good enough for 90% of users)
  • unlike other open-source programs aiming to replace Evernote, Joplin allows you to:
  • attach (not just link to) any kind of file type to a note. And multiple files (your move, Turtl). This includes embedding images. Eat your heart, Laverna.
  • import notes from Evernote
  • work on mobile
  • Set reminders and todo lists!
  • it's free!

Disadvantages:

  • To get formatting in your notes, you'll need to learn markdown. This is a simple set of symbol sequences to get bold, italics, bullet points and titles, subtitles, etc. It sound inconvenient, but after about 30 minutes of practice, you'll have it licked. I promise. It's really a very small thing to learn.
  • At the time of writing, images embedded in the note cannot be resized.
  • pdf files are not previewed
  • no links between notes (cannot share/cross link between notes)
  • can't narrow searches by multiple tags

Note that Joplin is new. Its stated intention is to replace Evernote. It's likely some of its shortcomings are going to be addressed in the future.

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Are notes/resources locally encrypted?

snakyjake4, no, only remote files are encrypted.

There are links between notes! https://github.com/laurent22/joplin/issues/1449

about Joplin · · Helpful Not helpful 15 Helpful Report as spam

I think I have found my OneNote replacement. After Microsoft announced that OneNote is being deprecated, and its replacement is probably never going to support offline notebooks, I was looking for something new, mostly a tool that would still let me decide where I store my own data (the fact that it's 2018 and Microsoft still doesn't understand this need, or has forgotten about its importance, is baffling).

Joplin offers desktop clients as well as pretty full-featured mobile apps. This already disqualified most other alternatives. I occasionally want to check off a few items on my to-do lists while I'm out and about. There is also a sort-of folder structure using multiple notebook files. It's not as powerful as the very helpful hierarchies of OneNote, but it's a start. You can kind of fake a structure for your notes using tags, but I'm generally not a big fan of tags. For my current needs, it's enough, though. And maybe a more powerful organisation feature will be in Joplin's future.

Having Markdown syntax instead of some proprietary formatting is definitely a plus. Having all of my notes stored in plain-text on my hard drive makes me feel much more secure about not losing access to my data. Synchronisation integration is great, too. I had Dropbox sync set up within minutes, and working on both a Windows desktop and an Android app.

There certainly are more downsides. The application is developed in a modern fashion, which includes some trends that are definitely regressions. For example, the desktop apps are based on Electron, which makes them comparatively slow, sluggish, heavyweight and memory-hungry. Working with an Electron app is simply no comparison to a proper, natively compiled application. (I sometimes wonder if young people today even have a concept of how quick and snappy working on a desktop computer used to be back in the day, before broken-loose web technologies and managed code ruined the day =D). That Joplin for Windows is an 80+ MB download, and installs as close to 200 MB, is just ridiculous; the application feels like it should weigh in the region of 1-3 MB tops. But I also understand that an open-source project doesn't have unlimited resources, and I'd rather have a managed-code application that is available across this many platforms, than native apps that take much longer to reach the same level of functionality. And also, OneNote wasn't exactly a light-weight application either, even though of course that came with the benefit of a massive feature set.

Joplin remains my note-taking app of choice for now. The only alternative that seems like it might be as good, is TagSpaces. I also looked into Knowte, MyTetra, Elephant, KeepNote, KeyNote NF, and Wikidpad, but all of those were ruled out already because they lack a suitable mobile solution.

[Edited by Anamon, May 14]

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I was looking for something new, mostly a tool that would still let me decide where I store my own data (the fact that it's 2018 and Microsoft still doesn't understand this need, or has forgotten about its importance, is baffling).

I think:

  • they understand it
  • they haven't forgoten it
    but...
  • it's more lucrative for them not to offer it. If they store your data, they are in control of it. For example, without telling you, then can index it, parse it, feed it into AI. That can be used in multiple ways for profit. For example, to understand who uses their systems and why. Or they can sell it to advertisers... now or at a later date. It also will help them to submit data to three-letter agencies. Controlling the data on their side will mean it's easier for them to profile you. It's also unlikely that you will find any concrete commitments from MS about how your data is treated if you close your MS account. When is it deleted? From all servers? How quickly? How irrecoverably? But yeah, I don't think they have forgotten or don't understand.

Yes, I also don't honestly think that they have forgotten :) but I also think that it's a very short-sighted business decision. Sensibility about these issues is rising. And I don't even primarily mean the security and privacy issues – since I have set up Dropbox sync for Joplin, that's obviously not a major concern for me, hehe. But I'm thinking about the increased reliance on cloud service availability, and people starting to notice the dangers of not having local control over their data.

The strategy seems especially short-sighted concerning business users, which are a big deal for Microsoft. Even their own OneNote FAQ states that they understand that the cloud-only solution will disqualify the application for many business users.

The GDPR might even give me some guarantees in terms of the deletion and retention questions you mention, at least as a European customer. But that's just the one side of the equation that is about, what if they store my data and I don't want them to. Personally, I'm usually more concerned about the opposite question: what if I rely on them storing my data, and they do a poor job of it or decide they don't feel like offering that service anymore. The GDPR has some rules about that, too – keyword data portability – but I'd rather not get myself into that situation in the first place.

John Fastman's Reply Above is SPOT ON!
M$ could EASILY grant feature-parity to the Offline Version Since:: A) The Coding is already done, & B) Their user-base have loudly clamored for it . . .
But they REFUSE, strictly out of their Profuse & Disgusting GREED to Own & Control YOUR own Personal Data.
REFUSE to give that Filthy, Greedy, Disgusting mega-corp YOUR OWN personal data!

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A truly cross-platform, free, open source Evernote alternative that supports encryption, any syncing service you like, tagging, todos, time-based reminders, and has no privacy-violating aspects. You can import from Evernote. Only disadvantage: you have to learn markdown. (This takes 30 minutes and is a trivial inconvenience, when you consider the advantages of Joplin.)

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This is the Evernote replacement I have been waiting for! Initially I thought using markdown would be a disadvantage but I have found that my notes now have a simpler, cleaner look. Sure there are no coloured table cells available but I found that getting that to work consistently in Evernote was a bit hit-and-miss anyway. The syncing works (I currently use Dropbox but may try Nextcloud) and so does the end-to-end encryption. You can link notes to notes (or pretty much anything else). You can export notes to PDF and, unlike Evernote, printed notes are clear (Evernote has never printed italic text properly for me).

What put me off before downloading when looking at screenshots was the layout with the markdown pane being visible next to the "rendered" pane. This is not a problem, pressing a layout button on the toolbar switches between both panes visible, markdown only and "rendered" only. You only need to see the markdown pane when you are editing.

I was able to import my entire set of notes from Evernote. It did take time to tidy them up but this resulted in me learning how to use markdown (it's not difficult). I am now installing the Android mobile client and I am going to have a go at the LINUX CLIENT (hooray!) next. The web-clipper is easy to install and use and has some nice features. I have only been using this for a couple of days and I am SO impressed. I have not finished testing it yet but I have already decided I will be donating to the dev regardless. This person needs supporting.

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Offers full encryption and is verifiable because it's open source :) Closely mimics Evernote because of the familiar and intuitive user interface, internal features, and web clipper which is icing on the cake!

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It's not "full" encryption. Local resources are NOT encrypted.

I stand corrected. I guess what I meant to say was that Joplin offers end-to-end encryption whereas Evernote doesn't. Is this correct?

Joplin supports end-to-end encryption. Local data is not encrypted because the OS features are sufficient to keep your data secure (or if they are not, you have a much bigger problem!). If additional security is needed, you can also put your profile on an encrypted partition or Truecrypt container. E2EE needs to be explicitly supported by Joplin, but local encryption can already be done in many different ways by the user, which is why it's not yet supported.

about Joplin · · Helpful Not helpful 3 Helpful Report as spam

A truly great piece of software with a lot of potential to become the best open-source cross-platform note taking app. Have been using it for a few days now, and here is what I loved the most:

  • it's open source
  • notes are encrypted (if you enable encryption of course)
  • syncs flawlessly between two of my PCs and an android phone
  • side-by-side live preview with the ability to hide either side
  • great markdown support (with checkboxes!)
  • syntax highlight for programming languages
  • hierarchical notebooks structure (just drag and drop a notebook onto a parent)
  • web clipper is a nice add-on, haven't used it much though

There are some downsides of course, but they are rather small, especially if you keep in mind that the project is still very young, it's free and open-source:

  • there is no trash or archive feature, so no way to restore deleted notes
  • android app functionality is a bit lacking (no buttons for quick formatting, no pin-code locking, etc.)

Other than that Joplin is great as it is. I've tried 10+ other apps in this category, and this gem is the best so far. Those of you who are trying to find an open-source privacy-respecting note taking app should definitely give Joplin a shot.

Thank you very much for great software!

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Are notes locally encrypted?

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It does what Evernote does in addition to being in charge of your own data, plus encryption.

Like Evernote it has:

  1. desktop application
  2. mobile app
  3. browser extension (a.k.a webclipper). you can take notes your self or clip the web pages and add it to your collection.

Unlike Evernote it has:

  1. Linux application as well (Appimage)
  2. multi layer folder structure of your notes (in Onenote and Evernote you are stuck with only 3 layers which does not cut it for real note organization platform)
  3. you can save your data in your own preferred folder on your computer which can be synced to your Dropbox or any other cloud storage
  4. Dropbox API which means it can communicate with Dropbox server directly
  5. very transparent active development ( I tried to find the release notes on the webapp of Evernote but I couldn't find any)
  6. feature suggestion and voting for everyone
  7. opensource code. meaning if the developer stops working, others can continue. Also everyone can audit the source code and make sure no funny business is going on.
  8. Patreon page where you can (if you like) donate money to the project as much as you like (from 0 to infinity)

[Edited by mehradmahmoudian, July 13]

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It is new
It is open source
It can take notes
It does the encryption
It is local and works with cloud drives

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Joplin is a great cross-platform app for organizing notes, since you can attach file there's no limit to what it may organize with it, but it lacks some features.

Pros:

  • Extremely user-friendly!
  • No paywall on features (Donate if the apps helps you!)
  • Nextcloud sync (would be lovely if Joplin offered paid hosting)
  • Organized with tags and notebooks
  • Dark theme
  • Export in json and markdown

Cons:

  • Lacks features that OneNote and Evernote have.
  • Examples: freeform notes, WYSIWYG, stylus support, etc.

All in all, a great app and attaching files complements lacking features.
I've seen the same features that Joplin offers, and more, that others have already implemented again and again
Each app has its own export protocol and it's messy to switch your notes collection between them, I wish to see some standardization in FOSS apps, they can use each other's code!

Very similar to Joplin: Boostnote, QOwnNotes, Standard Notes, Simple Notes and more...
Hoping to see standardized (hopefully)encrypted notes protocol.

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Just the beat note taking app. I’m using it everyday for both work and personal use and it just replaced all the other options I have tried like Evernote, onenote, Nextcloud notes, simplenote, and Turtl. Thanks again and keep the good work!

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Very impressed with this solid app. Who needs Evernote?

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All the features and privacy you want, none of the bloat you dont

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Just the best note taking app. I tested Simplenote, Evernote, OneNote, Nextcloud notes, and my choice is definitely this one. I’ve been using it everyday for both personal and work use for over a year now, just love it! Thanks and keep the good work!

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