Laverna Reviews

More private than Evernote, but still needs a little work.

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Laverna aims to be an open-source, encrypted alternative to Evernote. Open source makes it more trustworthy than Evernote, because anyone can inspect the code.

Encryption makes it more private than Evernote. Evernote are a US-based company whose privacy policy recently caused a lot of controversy because they planned (then backtracked) on letting their employees read customers' data. Nothing prevents them from deciding to try that again in the future. Evernote might be functional, but they store your data unencrypted, which means that:

a) if hackers breach Evernote's servers (has happened before), all your personal data is out there in some hackers hands
b) three letter agencies (NSA, FBI, etc.) are allowed legally to demand that Evernote hands your data over to them, and the law says Evernote might be prevented even from telling you that this has happened.
c) you should ask yourself: even if none of the above happens, where will copies of my data be in 20 years time? In whose hands? On whose servers? What will the law be then? Will you want whoever will be then in power/controlling Evernote's servers to have access to all your receipts, notes, captured webpages, boarding cards and whatever else you put into Evernote?

Using encryption, as Laverna does, gets around problems like these. Even if hackers steal your data, the fact it's encrypted means they can't read it. Same for three letter agencies (if the encryption is done well, like via AES-256) and whoever might get your hands on the data in years to come.

So the question is now about Laverna's functionality. You can test Laverna online, here.

Good Stuff

  • Laverna is cross-platform (Mac, Windows and Linux). Evernote doesn't even work on/support Linux
  • Laverna has excellent basic note-taking (you can use markdown, a Wisiwyg-type editor, and include pictures)
  • Laverna has excellent searching built in.
  • Laverna encrypts your data by default (see points above)

Why it's not quite there yet

  • Sync is not well worked out. Ideally, to challenge Evernote, you'd want to be able to sync your encrypted data using the service of your choice. Laverna claims to connect to Dropbox, but that's only one service and there have been many complaints it doesn't work well. Ideally, the developers would store the info Laverna uses in an encrypted file/folder which can be synced using the service of anyone's choice.
  • Pictures can be included in your notes, but not resized. Very annoying.
  • No Android app (it's promised to come soon; iOS is available)
  • App does not support some of Evernote's more sophisticated features, such as scanning.

Alternatives?
If you want an Evernote alternative for the following functions but mobile isn't important to you, consider TagSpaces:

  • Mac, Windows, Linux
  • Search/tagging
  • open source
  • Local (Sync optional)
  • Encryption optional (with Cryptomator - works great)
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Proof-of-Concept

Of course, it's not Evernote killer app at the moment as it was declared. And no alternative for those who use Evernote to save parts of Web Pages.

Moreover, it's too buggy and unpredictable at the moment. Examples:

  • HTML code always converts to naked tags and UTF-8 characters - no way to keep a code untouched, even with grave accents or pre tags.
  • FS Module saves unencrypted .md files with encrypted JSON. Privacy-oriented, either?)
  • Attached images are NOT syncing with anything at all. It looks strange because developers say that this feature should attach any files and sync them. But in fact, if you are trying to attach something except images the form just will not work. It's some kind of bug.
  • Non-latin tags unsupported.
  • Stripes in code frame it's just a fixed background image. That's why code scrolls over them independently.
  • Search function buggy. If you want to exit from search mode, you can't. You should select something otherwise you will lose notes tree panel 'til reload notes panel again.
  • The Android app can't export settings and data, bug too. That's why you should not start using on the smartphone, you just will not be able to sync other devices after.
  • Terrible memory leaks with the desktop client app (2.7.4 RC1).

enter image description here

Personally, I think that such kind of application should have alternative markup options, to arrange and align content inside notes. For example, I use many technical illustrations. Yes, it's not good enough in Evernote too, but Laverna doesn't have something similar at all.

Summary:

It's good for use only if you are keeping pure text notes, and if an encryption via Dropbox is important for you. And also if you don't have hundreds of them because organizations could be difficult. Example: when you add a tag to the note, it creates tag entry in the notebooks list. But, if you change it there or even delete it, documents will NOT be affected. So you can't make changes in the entire database and lost connections between notes and tags easily.
That's if you are looking for Evernote alternative which allows working freely, you should move on. At least 'til Laverna will not be fixed and improved as a minimum in those aspects which declared and should work.

[Edited by M_O_Z_G, September 30]

[Edited by M_O_Z_G, October 30]

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Made me lose all my notes when trying to sync with dropbox. Just horrible.

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Supports Markdown and is secure enough that I can use it at work. Everything I want (except a dark theme).

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PERSONALLY: I don't like it, everyone is just cloning evernote, and everrnote's UX is not great.

You may LOVE this.

I've got tons more to test..,.

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Good markdown support, very intuitive and looks nice. I wish i could change how wide/high the columns and rows, at the moment i find they take up too much space. a native spellchecker would be nice too

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Well, for one, it doesn't require you to log in, unlike this site.

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Easy to use with a well designed interface. I like that you can customize the keyboard shortcuts and that it supports encryption.

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Its simplicity and easy of use amazes me! It runs fluidly both as a Mac app and as a website. Great app!

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offline;
not from huge corporate company;
can help me;
I can help them!
Definitely for public and for free!

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Very interesting alternative to EverNote

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the feature i most like is the fact of being able to host your own server/service and so store your private notes
the built-in security layers are also great

wonder how good the sharing tools are, i.e. capacities to share notes via email & co. Could it be collaborative as well?
notice the specific usage of chars for formatting the text, pretty simple, just not wysiwyg as for Evernote, even if the latter has lots of bugs for the formatting
last point is about its usage on mobile devices, especially smartphone, does it fit well?

must try i guess.
feedback welcome!

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Laverna - best note web app

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Laverna is simple and fast to use. It's a note tool built in JavaScript to run locally in any browser.

The notes data are saved in local browser "storage". But if you want to store in the cloud to use anywhere there are integrations with Dropbox and "RemoteStorage".

RemoteStorage is a simple solution to host and sync the user data beetween the browser and the cloud. I am using the p5apps provider to keep my Laverna notes. You can have your own storage for free (still Beta) in less than 1 minute.

Laverna has no support for tables and font selection, but it supports images and task lists (todo lists).

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ugh.. Windows installer has serious path length issues..
AKA: pointless until fixed..or if you want to fix it yourself..
https://github.com/Laverna/laverna/issues/866

I gave it 2 stars as it looks like it could be a decent tool to use.. but the fact that no one tested the windows package before they put it for download..well.............. yeahhhh...

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Beautiful, simple, powerful encrypted notes.

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