General compatibility and usage

Requirements: Ubuntu 18.04.3, Joplin 1.0.175.

I am new to using Joplin. I so far like the features (except the lack of spell check) and the general layout and design. For the first time, it looks I found something getting close to what I would call perfect for my wants and needs. The portion I wonder about is general compatibility. I read a few other posts regarding integrations with other softwares like Nextcloud, and this relates to that.

One aspect of open source software I like is the compatibility, with open code and file formats, anyone can write software to open, read and write to the files created. For example, the ODT file created by LibreOffice has no problems working in Microsoft Word, Google Docs, etc … with the exception of a new more advanced formatting portions. So, getting to the point here, let’s say that in 5 years, Joplin is no longer being developed and the last available download will not function due to come changes in technology. I no longer have Joplin installed, but I do have my sync copy on external storage. So:

  1. Can I access those files, without Joplin?
  2. If so, what if they are encrypted and I have the key password?

I think that should be enough without writing a novel to express my concerns and get feedback. I have tried OneNote, Simplenote, Zim, EverNote, NixNote, Google Keep, and a few others and none made it past a few weeks of trial before exporting and importing my data to another. I do plan on trying QOwnNotes in parallel as I hear I should like it just as much +/- a few pieces either way. I assume that most users here are current or former users of Joplin. What are your thoughts on the above?

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In the unlikely event that all three apps suddenly stop working due to a technological change, so sudden that you don’t have time to export your notes, and it’s impossible to get any of the apps working even in a VM, it would still be relatively easy to extract the notes from your sync copy.

If they are encrypted though it would be a lot more work, but the format is open and documented so it can be done

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Thank you for that information. Is there a reason that something like GPG was not used for encryption, where anything GPG compatible could decrypt the files into text, maybe like MD, which could then be loaded into anything? I am only trying to understand the design concept further.

I have since installed QOwnNotes and given that it requires your “own” ownCloud or Nextcloud server in order to sync, that is sort of a deal breaker. Although the interface is amazing, some sort of sync is high on the important list. My only reservations at this point are the lack of spell check, the large application size (both RAM and disk space) and the general restriction to accessing the notes in only Joplin. This one sticks around for a longer test.

Encryption is done using SJCL - https://crypto.stanford.edu/sjcl/

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What I like that really differentiates Joplin from others is the note structure. You can create notebooks, sub-notebooks, sub-sub-notebooks, etc. and each of those notebooks can have a nice list of contained notes. Comparing to Simplenote for example, they offer a flat list of notes. When you have 10 or 20 notes, that is ok. But when you have hundreds of notes, keeping them in some sort of structure is quite helpful. The interface also works well. The actions are well placed in a toolbar and the notebook and note lists can be switched on and off with ease. Having the tray icon is also nice, so I can close the window when not in use, but the tray has basically no other functionality other than to keep it running in background.

Thanks for making this and for the prompt replies. Do you have a place where coming changes or change ideas are processed? I am a bit curious as to what is planned to come in furure versions and how active development is.

Not currently, it mostly depends on what pull requests we receive. For me, the priority now is:

  1. Bug fixing
  2. Share feature and Nextcloud app

Otherwise the Google Summer of Code application is quite high priority so there’s a need to clean up the project specifications and other documentation. I’d say in general the project is quite active at the moment.