Future of Joplin

I have been trying the Web Clipper, as it is much talked about feature. A few initial comments.

  1. When you grab content, it does not record the source, at least that I can see.
  2. There is no option for a full page screen capture, so I still need an extension to do this.
  3. When saving a URI (not URL as currently stated), there is no integration back to the browser. Meaning I can save it, but cannot access it as a bookmark within the browser.


Enjoyed reading this topic! I think also that the plugin system, hopefully like in Atom an add-on system, would be amazing and will bring Git (think best Gitea) to Joplin.

I like Joplin and all functionality that it brings and I like Atom and all functionality that it brings, but for now as two different applications with different goals. Anyway you can use Atom as a kind of note taking applications with those addons:

And then 'sync' with Git or sFTP?

@rxliuli: The vscode plugin fot Atom would be awesome. :wink:

Another thing is an API (I think it wasn't mentioned). Joplin has REST API that one can use for example to make and tag notes from bash (which i do).

Thanks everyone for the continued replies, and I am glad that others find this topic useful. I have learned a lot from this discussion. I am also glad the topic was kept positive.

@bartatgithub - I would not suggest GList as it uses GitHub Gist, which is more of a one off type of note. That is very different than Joplin, at least in my opinion. I never really thought Atom needed an extension for such things, just a directory structure of markdown files. that said, I have to agree with the prior statement that the ability of this method is not well suited to a large amount of notes, especially in the area of searching.

For programmers or tech savvy folks, there is Google Colaboratory as well as Jupyter. While centered on code, both are well used for simple markdown notes. But Joplin does differentiate in my experience now... the web clipper does have some merit and Joplin itself is a simple install with almost no thinking needed to get going. Getting into the install and use of JupyterLab is far out of the scope and range of Joplin.... not to mention the need to manage your Python versions if you need both v2 and v3. I mention that as @ambrt suggested the usefulness of tagging notes from bash via REST. I do this via python script for my terminal note needs, but into Jupyter.

Listening to the responses from everyone made me realize that the root of the issue for me is there are just too many softwares in the mix... vs one software to cover all. That is one of the reasons I like VSCode and Atom, you have a text editor, IDE, FTP client, Git client, web browser, terminal, etc... all in one software.

I have also compared the editor (aside from spell check which is a known issue) to others like Atom. The things that I really miss are Find and Replace and convert all Caps to lowercase

1 Like

I am a heavy user of vscode, let me summarize. . .


Why compare them together? Obviously one of them is a note-taking tool, and the other is a professional editor. But they can do the following things, which leads to the intersection of them on the note-taking tool

  1. Can actually be used as a note-taking tool

  2. Both support the use of markdown

  3. Projects that are still relatively active

  4. More...

Reference: Future of Joplin


Difference joplin vscode
Design goals Note-taking tool Editor (like ide)
Editing functions Very weak Very professional
Surrounding ecology Basically no Great ecology
Inherent restrictions Almost none There are restrictions
Participation difficulty Relatively easy Relatively easy (plugin)

Next, let me explain the above differences and what they affect.

Design goals

vscode is undoubtedly a professional editor, and it continues to get better. At the same time, a flexible plug-in allows it to accomplish many things that an editor cannot do, and it can be turned into a class ide through a plug-in. So in terms of editing functions, many joplin has been implemented or has not yet been implemented has been implemented, including but not limited to the following:

  • markdown editing/preview support

  • Rich shortcut key support

  • markdown pdf printing

  • Paste pictures are automatically uploaded to the picture bed

  • Spell Check

  • File history

  • linter check

  • Good formatting function

  • Shortcut key mapping support (vim/jetbrains ide)

Yes, vscode is so powerful in many ways that it can even be responsible for requirements beyond the design goals through plugins. But at the same time, it does have some inherent limitations.

joplin is a tool designed for note-taking, which means that it starts from scratch without too many restrictions, and can implement any function required for note-taking.

  • Database-based editing management

  • Powerful and more useful search function

  • Simple and powerful synchronization function

  • Mobile terminal support (view)

  • More useful small functions...

But it also means that it is not perfect in many areas, especially in editing, and it can even be said that it will never catch up with a professional editor like vscode.

  • The editing function is very imperfect

  • There is no ecology, it is difficult to participate (even setting up a development environment is difficult)

  • The overall scalability is not high, which leads to the previous problem (mainly because the plug-in system does not exist)

Edit function

There is no doubt that vscode will win in editing.

Surrounding ecology

The plugin ecology of vscode is huge, and it even supports the development of many programming language projects. It supports shortcut key mapping support including but not limited to

  • Jetbrains IDE

  • Vim

  • Emacs

  • Sublime

  • Eclipse

  • Atom

  • Notepad++

  • Delphi

  • XCode

  • Other...

Almost all mainstream editors have shortcut key mapping plugins, so the support for shortcut keys vscode is very friendly to anyone. And like other functions needed to edit markdown, VSCode has almost all been implemented through plug-ins.

  • markdown all in one

  • markdown lint

  • markdown pdf

  • mermaid markdown

  • markdown github style

  • markdown emoji

  • markdown math

  • markdown todo

  • local history

  • word checker

According to joplin, the only third-party programs and scripts I have learned are the following

  • python joplin api

  • nodejs joplin api

  • joplin vscode plugin

  • joplin web

  • web clipper

  • Some scripts...

Of course, this is also due to the fact that joplin itself already contains many functions, and the extension system is too weak.

to sum up

It seems that vscode plus some third-party tools can replace joplin, so why choose joplin?

  • The fact that each tool is easy to use does not mean that they are also easy to use in combination. This comes from my fear of the small and beautiful npm package in the front-end community. The longer the tool chain required, the higher the complexity of their combination.

  • vscode has inherent limitations and is difficult or troublesome to solve.

  • The design goal is not a note-taking tool, so it will never be possible to support some functions needed for note-taking.

There is no plan, vscode is much better than atom. There is no reason to stay in atom at present. In addition, joplin-vscode-plugin is still very imperfect, please refer to: What do you think the vscode plugin can do?

In fact, I don't quite understand why joplin does not consider integrating monaco (the editor core of vscode): https://microsoft.github.io/monaco-editor/


@rxliuli In a sense, Joplin, on the desktop at least, has already implemented vscode and Monaco. Cuz, Joplin can leverage any editor you please. Probably not at full functionality, mind you (I don't know what dragging some image into an external editor does, for example) but close enough.

Frankly, I personally don't want a super complex editor at the core of Joplin, but some additional features (native search & replace, spellcheck, text block dragging, etc) are always welcome and some smoothing of a few existing features, of course.

I guess I don't understand what you want Joplin to be?

1 Like

One of features that made me choose Joplin is also end to end encryption synced both on mobile and desktop.

I use this encryption with Dropbox (so i don't have to have own server for syncing and backup) or depend on other cloud. In case of Dropbox breach i might be sure that my notes won't be read.

I'm not sure how that could be possible with VSCode.

While I will not speak for others, I wanted to offer my take on this....

Joplin is missing some basic features that even my OS default text editor has. This refers to Pluma / GEdit for me, and Notepad for Windows users. The biggest one is a spell check. I do understand there are some development issues with that feature in the current Joplin environment.

The Monaco Editor itself I do not believe to be complex at all. You can see the editor in use here:

The only real issue I can see is that Monaco does not release the source code, only binaries. There is also a note regarding mobile browsers and support issues, that might be a factor for the Joplin mobile apps, I am unsure. I am not big on mobile use for such things.

I also wanted to address the statements from @rxliuli on VSCode vs Atom, and Atom having no use... and also why I initially compared to Atom and not VSCode... on course speaking generally.

  1. Atom has a customizable UI where VSCode does not.
  2. While neither is really an IDE, VSCode is clearly more focused on code writing. I would consider VSCode a Code Editor and Atom a Text Editor. Granted both elevate those respective definitions to a higher level.
  3. Atom is far easier to use when directly interacting with GitHub. The sequence of stage to commit to push is near seamless. VSCode however offers a more detailed look into those staged items and commits.

Given those statements, I hope it can be seen why I compared Joplin to Atom vs VSCode. Just as Joplin took on the niche of note taking, VSCode did the same for code editing, which begins to point them in different directions. Atom remains in the middle, not taking on any real specialty. Joplin I see as an advanced note system, where you can use text, markdown and HTML (although I think limited?). I can enter code, but nothing that will be checked, just more as an archival method.

For me, this archival of code becomes a bit of a manual process. What I would like to see is the ability to pull those code snippets into my editor of choice when I am engaged in coding. Currently, I need to copy and paste, and search manually for what to copy.

The HTML aspect as it relates to publishing content online ... this is my #2 use for Joplin in terms of the percentage of notes contained. I have tried almost every application I could find as solution for this need and landed on Joplin maybe a year ago. That makes Joplin the longest lived software for me to meet this need, even though it creates a major roadblock in the process. MySQL database storage is somewhat expensive compared to HTML, especially since places like GitHub offer it to you free and unlimited. This creates a large manual process of going from a database to an HTML file to comparing for changes to publishing.

@ambrt - There are numerous ways to do encryption with VSCode, or any other software for that matter. It really depends on how you are backing up your data as to the exact solution.


It was considered and was decided against it because CodeMirror is better for our needs:

Monaco is great for VSCode (which is also my main editor), but not exceptional as a JS editor, it's just one among many. For example despite being new, it doesn't even have support for mobile and it's not even planned.

Also it's designed to support Microsoft's needs, unlike CodeMirror which is a more general purpose JS editor, meant to be extendable and to be integrated more easily in any codebase.


I saw this note as well on the test site. However, VSCode does have a mobile app, somewhat.

You can access the URI from which you clipped the content by using the « Note properties » button (a.k.a the « i » button) on the top of the note. I actually prefer to have this information in the metadata and not in the note content itself.

I’m using Firefox, so I can just do it without an extension, but for my Joplin use case, I rarely want a screenshot in a note as it’s not really searchable. One can argue that OCR could be added to Joplin :thinking:

I have no opinion there.

1 Like

I had no awareness of this prior. Thank you for point this out to me.

One thing to add, vscode actually started to develop a dedicated plugin api specifically for markdown notes. . .

1 Like

Hi @thwaller and all contributors to this thread.

Joplin is "An open source note taking and to-do application with synchronisation capabilities" (by definition from the website). This definition is closer to note-taking apps such as Evernote or OneNote. The closeness comes from similar features: easy note creation, easy use on multiple devices. The use is "extension of brain" by taking notes and re-finding them when needed.

Joplin seems to attract non-technical end-users because it is an easy note-taking tools and also coders/programmers because it is based on markdown.

There are tons of text-editors for programmers (vi, emacs, eclipse, atom, vscode, ...). The reason is that coders tend to love to create tools for themself. That is why there will always be new text editors for programmers. No need to turn Joplin into one.

There is much still to do for Joplin to become a better Note-taking tool with sync.

Example: Making a WYSIWYG editor. @laurent writes: "We all know that having this feature would be nice but that’s a lot of work and nobody is willing to work on it at the moment." WYSIWYG editor in JoplinThat sums it up great and I remember Frank Karlitschek saying similar things about many KDE projects: programmers like to program stuff for themselves, but when it comes to program something for end users and it is hard, it is hard to find volunteers that invest years of their life into it.

That said: we need people to work on tickets. To be sustainable for decades to come, we would need dozens of active code committers.

Regarding pushing notes from Joplin to other tools, I proposed an architecture change/extension to Joplin that would change direction towards a hybrid between note-taking and text editing in an existing folder structure. That will still take years or decades to materialize and may also never happen. If you are interested in my idea, check it out here:

@leobard - thanks for the information.

I fully agree that Joplin makes the note process simple and easy. I hope my intentions were not misunderstood, I agree there is no need to turn Joplin into a programmers software. The issue with me is that Joplin is missing some important aspects that switching to a programmers editor would fix.

In my opinion, Joplin is not in the same class as OneNote or Evernote or NixNote. I have also tried others... CherryTree, Zim, BoostNote, Trilium, TagSpaces, RedNotebook, Jupyter (which I still use on a limited level), etc. Yet, I have kept Joplin as my choice longer than any other.

I guess I am the visionary ... I would not have taken the time here if I was not interested in Joplin. I agree that people who code find problems with each and every software, thus the creation of numerous products that do the same thing. For me, I do not feel my issues warrant a new software, but additions to the current.

For me, the WYSIWYG editor is of no interest. The markdown preview is more than enough. The sync, while I agree it is great for many users, I dislike. However, I dislike most sync processes as they are not configurable enough. I prefer to see more and have more control of the changes to both sides, especially on the removal aspect.

Regarding working on tickets, Joplin is a bit out of my area of code. My projects usually involve Python, Java, C, Ruby, Bash and the common HTML, PHP and SCSS. While I do know Javascript, the newer runtimes like Node.js and React are a bit foreign to me.

Your idea is very interesting to me. You have a lot of detail there, it will take a bit for all of that to compile in my head.


FWIW I was a very long time premium Evernote user, and switched to Joplin at the start of this year, after experimenting with both Notebooks App and Joplin.

In my view Joplin is not just in the same class as, but already better than, Evernote - at least for my purposes.

  1. It allows for an infinite hierarchy of notebooks whereas Evernote restricts you to one level of notebooks which can be arranged in 'stacks'.
  2. Joplin's use of markdown is rock solid in the way it presents notes. Evernote's EML is regularly flaky in the way it screws up formatting.
  3. Evernote's export feature flattens all notebooks and stacks and gives you an unusable set of uncategorised notes. Joplin's JEX format retains all the metadata and folder/notebook structure, ready for re-importing.
  4. Joplin's web clipper is infinitely better than Evernote's in its ability to save a simplified version of a web page with logical markdown formatting.
  5. Joplin allows me to directly edit the markdown in any note, making the process of fixing something easy and straight forward. Evernote does not give you any direct access to EML.

I teach online media. I use VS Code for my coding work. I use Joplin for my academic work. I use it as a way of archiving and categorising material I will need later. It has about 4000 notes at the moment. I do not need the two applications to start merging.

Having said that I am aware that VS Code can be used for anything if you are willing to bend it to fit. I use Scrivener for my writing. Here is a post that describes how VS Code is much better software for writing novels and academic papers than Scrivener. As I say you can use VS Code for anything if you have a mind to :slight_smile:


Scrivener for you, eh? Nice article describing using VS Code for novel writing. Eventually, I should write a blog post digging deeper into how I draft with Joplin: Writing Novels and Non-Fiction with Joplin, perhaps. I kinda already do, but it is not a clean and simple article.


Scrivener is the best app I have found for writing the way I do. I use it on Windows and iPad and it works well. I have look at alternatives from time to time but I have never found one as good. That said, I was very intrigued by the VS Code set-up described in the Medium post.

And if you ever do make a blog post about your way of writing with VS Code then please let me know. I am persuadable :slight_smile: