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Future of Joplin

I had an issue that I found to be an issue for many others after some research. I was wanting to publish some of my notes to the web, and after some consideration, it seemed that using Git via GitHub pages was an ideal solution. However, Joplin does not support Git syncing and it seems there is no intent on supporting it as it is out of scope for the project... which does make sense.

Given that, and considering the great new design in the latest version.... where does Joplin really fit in? If I compare the software to Atom as an example, what reasons would I want Joplin over Atom? Let me explain....

Joplin produces a node type structure, where you have a tree of notebooks and notes. This is essentially the same as a directory structure, with directories and md files for example. Both have a solid interface that focuses on using Markdown and both are active projects. Now... what does Joplin do that Atom does not? Atom has an easy Git integration and a load of extensions to do markdown notes and a ton of other things, including spell check. I can also use FTP to sync my files or simply a local repo. Since GitHub not allows some private repos on the free plan, you are no longer forced to make your contents public.

My question, with full respect to this project, is where is Joplin aiming to stand in the coming years? I understand that Joplin is easier to setup and use than say Atom, which for sure is a niché, but I intend my question to be centered on functionality vs focus on users of different experience levels. I hope my query is not taken negative, I am simply raising a logical question.

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Hmmm, see I wouldn't have thought to even put Atom in the same type of app as Joplin. Joplin is a note taking app whereas Atom isn't primarily designed as a note taker is it?

I compare Joplin to Evernote primarily, and things like Notion. Personally the only change I'd really like to see in Joplin is a Typora style editor instead of two panes, or if not that, the ability to set a default view per note,so that I can have finished notes display the render and new notes default to markdown editor.

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See, this is exactly why I mention this. No, you are correct. Atom is not for note taking, it is for typing and works great with MD, plus had more features, like spell check. So I do swonder... Atom takes up no more space than Joplin and has more feature as it can be applied to note taking. Joplin is for sure one of the top softwares when it comes to dedicated note abilities, but what I question is what if you look at multi use applications? I tried a convert of one folder from Joplin to Atom ... but I do not my want my opinion to be a final say. Thus I ask.....

Some users are fine with having their notes as simple Markdown files and sync that with Git, Nextcloud or any such tool, and that's fine. If you feel that Joplin is just a text editor (I saw that comment a few times, which always surprised me a bit, but why not), then for sure Atom or really any text editor would be better for you than Joplin. And that's because Joplin is not a text editor so it can't have all the features of one.

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Notepad++ can also do this but what you lose with it and Atom, off the top of my head, are tags, and dedicated mobile apps. I am also not sure how these text editors would handle file attachments.

@laurent - could you elaborate a bit? I really intend this query to be positive and constructive, so I am interested in your thoughts.

@risk - I can address the attachments portion for you as I have already asked myself this same question. Atom (and Git) are fine with attachments. There is also a plugin for Atom to allow for a similar copy/paste of image like Joplin offers. I really do not see Notepad++ as a functional equiv.

I can see the tags as a point of difference. Joplin offers an integration of sorts with all the notes, which I see as a feature.As a Git user, I do not see mobile apps as a factor. However, from an ease of use with little knowledge standpoint, I see how that makes sense.

Off the top of my head a couple of benefits of Joplin,

  • Sync handling, Joplin uses the API of a few different sync handlers so the user doesn't have to handle this (this is especially helpful in mobile)
  • Joplin detects sync conflicts and presents them to the user (this isn't relevant if you will use git because git does that better, but it is useful for many Joplin users who don't know git)
  • Joplin uses an SQLite database as a backend meaning faster search and faster file listing. (I can't prove that second one, but some users of Joplin have > 20,000 notes and I don't imagine atom handles that especially gracefully)
  • lots of people complain that Joplin uses IDs for referencing other notes, but this gives the user the ability to rename a note without losing connections. It also means that you won't have to worry about duplicate note names.
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Thanks for sharing those points.

  • Yes indeed, sync handling being automated is far easier than doing staging and commits.
  • Indeed again, yes Git does that better, but requires a bit of knowledge of the user that may not be appropriate for a note application.
  • The 20k+ note statement is interesting to me. the use of a database is for sure a factor here. I would be interested to see an integration with a web server and MySQL vs running backups based on import and export. I would love to discuss this statement more as I believe you hit a key point here.
  • IDs are important, for the exact reasons you stated and more.

Please be aware I have not removed this application and am still using it. I am only thinking and trying to gain further understanding.

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Regarding tags ... I do see a feature here, especially if I had the ability to create a query. Say I want to see those notes that have tag1, tag5 and tag7 applied to them. I will need to have a look at how this is coded and see if I could participate.

@thwaller to attempt to answer your how Joplin fits in, in contrast with Atom, I know that many Joplin users are software developers but I recall seeing that Joplin was created to be an Evernote replacement and not a tool that targets developers. In that sense, it has the functionality needed to meet that objective in an easily installable, self-contained app.

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Yes, I see this clearly, and Joplin does that quite well.

For me web clipping is huge. I would never pick an application that doesn't have it. On top of that Joplin offers everything I want... and even added a few things recently that I never realized I wanted :slight_smile:

I never truly understand why people say "why can't X be a little more like Y" - they could just go with Y if it's so much better :smiley:

That said I agree that tagging could be a little more robust... I don't use it because it's terrible right now, but if it allowed for sorting and nesting tags I probably would.

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To be honest, I have not used the web clipping feature.

The X vs Y statement does not fit my query well. My intent is to differentiate Joplin from others like Atom. I questioned this, but from my own views. I am not suggesting Atom is better or worse, I am looking at the differences in functionality as seen by the developer(s) and user(s) collectively.

I agree with @sophia in that web clipping is extremely important to me, and (to my delight) I have found that Joplin's web clipping is actually much better than Evernote's, which I used to use. Evernote was prone to introduce all kinds of formatting issues. Almost all the time Joplin's web clipping just works.

Mobile is also important to me. I make notes at my desk and sometimes read them later on the bus or metro - on an ipad or a phone. I could not do this with a desktop-only solution, and that would be a deal-breaker for me.

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Joplin is very general in editing, but fortunately, it supports external editors to open. At the same time, it is open source, so I can write vscode editor extensions to handle it, but at the same time use joplin's search/sync. Use some additional functions (such as image paste, browser extension integration, tags, etc.)

Thanks to all for the replies. I am seeing the differentiation now, especially based on others use it. I was looking more at the meat of the software vs some of the added functionality.

One big takeaway is that while Atom (or VSCode, etc) can do the majority of this plus more, I can see how this is a more simplistic for non programmers. An example, the feature of image paste was mentioned. Atom and VSCode can do this with even more functionality behind it, but it is not as simply as just copy and right click and paste. I can see how it is desirable to have a software that you can just install and have this feature set there and working from the start.

For me, I still use it, I just entered a period of questioning if it is worth having as a separate application while others appear to do all the same. The saving points for me are the new interface and editor (excellent upgrade), the search capability and use of the database, and the ability to quickly and easily export to a html directory.

Where I see it lacking is:

  1. Lack of spell check and markdown linting
  2. No ability for plugins by community (I think at least)
  3. Limited searching and tagging, but the functionality that is there ... it is reasonable
  4. Lack of integration/publishing/exporting capabilities

@rxliuli - I have found your Joplin extension for VSCode. I look forward to trying it out :slight_smile:

The reasons I compared to softwares like Atom is because Atom (and others like it) are more all in one softwares. I can write code in numerous languages, type text documents, markdown, etc .... it works as a Git client, FTP client, database tool (browser, query, etc), etc. Where I questioned Joplin lacking is its ability to be a part of the while system vs a stand alone part that can only import and export to participate.

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I think your needs are very similar to mine, regarding the above four points

  1. The vscode plugin definitely solves this problem
  2. Unfortunately, I think so too. . .
  3. Inconvenient searching (no hints, or additional visual search tools)
  4. Vscode has been integrated, but I have no plans to integrate it and publish it on hexo (or similar) blog at present.

The biggest reason I use joplin is: open source, which means I can add things without being restricted by the platform (vscode extension is an instance), and when it dies, I can also import it into other services. Searching is fast and more useful. File system-based search is not easy to use, at least with vscode's global search. Synchronization is very simple. At present, I still use the form of vscode + markdown + git to manage the company's documents, but submitting git is indeed a little unnecessary (document revisions are more frequent and fragmented).

Other functions are additional functions. This is true. I think joplin is sufficient as a note-taking function, but the problem does exist.

  1. The official client ui/ux is not good enough
  2. Editing is very common, and I think the way to hand it over to an external editor is a correct behavior
  3. There are many problems left over from history, and maintenance is actually more painful at the code level

@rxliuli I have installed this plugin, but it keeps opening the note in an external editor vs VSCode's own internal editor. Is there any way to have it use the VSCode UI?

EDIT: You would also be better than good if you made the same for Atom. :slight_smile:

Pay attention to the joplin icon in the sidebar

when I click the side bar icon, I get a list of files (notes). If I click a note, it opens external editor.