A plugin to write excel like sheets in Joplin

Hi there Joplin community :wave:

Intro:
I compared various note-taking apps and Joplin turned out to be my favorite by far, even tho' it's lacking features, being open source and able to add them myself was what made Joplin win the competition. (although it was hard to find somehow, it does not appear on the different mobile stores or on google when searching for note-taking apps)

What?
I was missing the ability to write excel-like sheets in Joplin.
So I create the JSheets plugin which you can find in the Joplin plugins repository and on GitHub.

How?
I found that there is a cool library that does this in javascript called Luckysheet.
So I spend the last days quickly building a plugin that uses lucky sheets to allow creating sheets in Joplin with all the great features already available in Joplin like Sync and Encryption etc.
This first iteration is a most viable product (MVP) but seems to work reliably in my private Joplin and do the job. Currently, it will open on a note with a special keyword (see GitHub readme), and once set-up sync all changes every 2 seconds to the markdown note as text, from where it is stored and will get picket up (parsed) on the next open.

Example?
example

Where?
I was told to advertise it here, maybe this is useful for anyone.
Here is the GitHub page: https://github.com/ThibaultJanBeyer/joplin-sheets

What's next?
Moving forward, we can have discussions about it on Github's repo discussions page and raise bugs on Github's repo issues page. And obviously, I'd love any kind of contribution :slight_smile:

Cheers :beers:

30 Likes

:open_mouth: :open_mouth:

This is great. Thank you!

1 Like

A great idea, but please add

  • minimal user guidelines
  • examples templates for initiating a few XCEL tables, OR
  • menu commands to this end, and a settings dialog

I imagine much of this can be found outside Joplin on (presumably a Lucksheet homepage ...), but the current GIF example is very hard to put to use.

Again, great idea ... to be continued please.

1 Like

I don't really understand what you mean. Do you mean a feature to import excel tables? For now you can copy-paste inputs. Please clarify :S

From the “coder point of view”: A big hand for that.

To be honest: I tested it on Windows (works!) but I can not really see the need or advantage of it. Therefore, I uninstalled it after the test.

In my very personal opinion, is it squaring the circle to store code as Markdown in a note and run it, to achieve in an additional window some excel functionality. This contradicts to the basic idea of Markdown, doesn't it?

For me, Joplin offers a perfect solution for this requirement: I embedded a true xls/odt/… file that opens on click the natively designed program for it, giving me all features without any hassle.

I know. Deadly boring, but straight forward to use.

Please, do not read this as a criticism of the performance or capabilities of the plugin. I just want to object that “because it can be done” not necessarily leads to something necessarily required. But I am aware, that there may be people out there, may have been waiting for that.

It is a remarkable contribution to the diversity of uses of Joplin – that alone deserves great respect.

6 Likes

I checked the plugin, the settings dialog, the command menus and your homepage. It seems to me that you assume that use of the plugin is obvious, but to me it isn't. So let's take an example. Joplin -> empty note just created -> I want to add a few lines, followed by a mini excel sheet (which does not yet exist). Let's say 4 x 6 table which looks like excel.
Where do I start ? (minimal user guide)
A few simple templates would help (e.g. on your homepage), ready for copy and paste ... For example
I do not see any menu commands to make changes to the table), so I assume it has to be written in markdown, or copied into markdown ? This limits the plugins usability to the ordinary user.

In short, ... that is why I asked for "more" ....
But it is possible that I simply miss something.

1 Like

Went one step further, installed the plugin again, created a new note (empty), added JSheets to it, and then copied a few cells (3 x 4) from a real XCEL table into the note. The text from the notes is added to the note, but nothing else happens. This is certainly not what I expected.

This is the kind of snags a guy can run into, if there are no guidelines.

ah I see no that is not possible, the plugin will turn the whole Note into an excel-like sheet. Not just a part of it.

The idea of an inline sheet is pretty nice actually that would be awesome but technically quite difficult. Could be a nice feature request for future versions :slight_smile:

1 Like

I understand, yes you're right, sometimes the simple solutions are the best :slight_smile:
And thank you for the warm words!

1 Like

The example on the home page (a row of GIFs I think) is really hard to read or copy. Could you post the example's markdown (text ?) on the homepage for easy copy / paste ?

You just need to write

```JSheets```

To enable it, that's it

Now I understand (after watching your GIFs in slow motion). Jsheets is only coming to life after typing '''JSheets''' into the note, switching to another note, and back. Very simple, but impossible to figure out of the blue. My question was related to the believe that one had to type some markdown text into the note to create .... it.

Do you see a way to show nothing but the sidebar, the notes list, and the JSheets sheet, in other words a way to NOT show the note which contains the JSheet. I know I can move the divider between the later two to the left - but this ain't a really useful solution, and it's anyway temporary only.

That info is written down on the home page of the plugin (github readme): GitHub - ThibaultJanBeyer/joplin-sheets: Plugin to write excel like spreadsheets in Joplin like a pro

1 Like

That’s a good idea and something to look into, I have the same pain. Ideally, it should replace the note or at least make it very small. Added that idea to the discussions area on GitHub: Make it full screen or at least wide · Discussion #7 · ThibaultJanBeyer/joplin-sheets · GitHub

1 Like

Whoa. Very cool!

No - you need to go to another note then come back to it!
```JSheets``` is not all that is needed.

sorry if I don't know quite well how plugins work in Joplin, can you install it on mobile too?

At the moment, the mobile version does not supports plugins.