Local files without hidden storage

@laurent Thanks, as far as I can tell, the external editing support in Joplin is not what I’m talking about.

If you are familiar with a GIT/Github workflow, each repository/folder has a top level MD file which is versioned along with the repository. Each time I checkout the repo or commit new changes, the MD file is versioned with it. The MD file may also be edited online using a Github editor in the browser, and commited/versioned there, so next time I checkout the repo, the updated MD file is replaced on my local file system. It may be edited on my local file system by my develoment tool, e.g. IntelliJ. Any of those external changes need to be automatically synchronised with what Joplin sees. If I have to re-import the externally modified MD into Joplin to see changes, then this defeats the purpose as Joplin is seeing an old version of the MD. Further, if I were to modify the MD in Joplin, I would then have to remember to re-export it in MD format back into my repo’s folder (replacing the original) so that then I commit and version those changes. This is inconvenient and error prone.

I realise Joplin stores the content in a database, to satisfy my usecase, off the top of my head, I imagine Joplin would need an option while importing an external MD file, which specifies that I want to track this external file, then Joplin records the path in its database and knows to watch for changes and automatically update its copy of the file. Also any time I make changes using Joplin, these are exported automatically to the original location. I guess to make this feature complete, one would also need a way to update the path to the external file in Joplin for times when you move folders around on your file system.

You understand the challenge. Joplin laptop client is very fine indeed, but this is really not a great scenario/usecase for the current model. I don’t mind learning this; I just didn’t like how harsh a couple folks were about not even discussing it. But other folks have really helped think it through.

There are other md editors for Mac, Win, IOS that don’t sync via a db. They might be candidates.

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I am confused by what you are asking.

At first you just sounded like you were walking in here and just criticizing and walking away. That’s what it sounded like, and hence people got defensive. I.e., You sounded a smidge hostile out of the gate. Passive aggressive actually.

Then … you went on and started to sound like you had an actual question. But I can’t quite work out what it is. Again, you just say (paraphrasing) “Joplin is great, but it does all these things I don’t like. So, I will just use other tools.” That’s what I hear.

Okay then. Just use other tools??? I missing the point of your commentary.

Or, are you trying to say: “I like how Joplin does things, just not how it stores, accesses, and sync’s data.” ??? Is that that what you are saying? It’s still a statement and not a question or request or even an RFE. But … if you implying an RFE then, well, okay. Confirm that and we’ll all nod our heads and smile and file it as an RFE and move on.

Or, are you asking, “So, joplin does these things, but I don’t understand why. Can you help me understand?” That’s something else entirely. But that’s not what I heard. I’m trying to piece this together.

As for the rest … geez. Use cases and markdown editors. Folks are right that this is a notes management application where the notes are markdown. 15 years ago, it would have been a notes management application where all the notes were text or XML or something. GitHub is a concurrent versioning system where the text files are … markdown. Neither is a “markdown editor” per se. Ghostwriter is a markdown editor. Atom is a great … text, markup, and markdown editor. GitHub, Ghostwriter, and Atom are not note-management applications, though I suppose git could be one. In a way. If you used it as such.

Document length. I personally buck the trend: I use Joplin to organize and manage a large project where the “notes” are very long. My novel is 90,000+ words at this point. I use Joplin to organized all the pieces and parts to that novel. I organize all the disparate notes, images, random bits of data, and … every scene. So, yes, Joplin can be used to manage long documents. But that is just a side-effect. And though it has been nearly bulletproof in its reliability, I export periodically, because at 90,000+ words you start to get paranoid. Joplin is precisely the right use case for me.

GitHub works well. And if you want encrypted git, Keybase’s built-in git is pretty darn awesome. And if you just want a markdown editor without a concurrent versioning system—or a note-managed application— wrapped around it … ghostwriter and atom are pretty great. They also have excellent renderers built-in (well, Atom does with an extension).

Oh! Oh! If you want something that operates as a layer on top of git: Atom can do that too. But it doesn’t have a mobile application. Which is sounds like you want.

So, what are actually asking for?

I can’t be the only one scratching his head. And sorry, that last sentence was going to be my only addition to this conversation, but I got carried away. I’m a writer after all.

Cheers. -t


@t0dd I don't mind you getting carried away at all :slight_smile: I struggle to be terse and I'm NOT a writer.

The mobile app is certainly not a high feature point on my list, but it would certainly be a plus to read/edit these notes everywhere like on my Android tablet, but then I certainly appreciate how difficult this would be to achieve, so happy to constrain functionality I'm after to my main desktop computer (in my case a Linux box but some colleagues on Windows)

So what am I asking for ?

  • Joplin's ability to organise notes in notebooks and sub-notebooks orthogonal to underlying file system structure/hierarchy.
  • Joplin's excellent search & tagging across notebooks and notes.
  • Joplin's excellent rendering and editing of MD content (yes some other tools satisfy this partially).
  • Maintain files in their underlying file-system folder structure orthogonal to Joplin so as to continue to leverage the benefits and structuring of native file systems and tools like Git.

While some tools cover some of these points/usecases, nothing I have found to date ticks them all, and from the 10,000 feet POV, Joplin seems to be the closest and most polished.

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I am dropping it.

Other people confirmed that they had similar needs: edit documents from the file system, sync documents rather than the database.

It’s ok if Joplin developers aren’t interested in the use case. Entirely up to them, not any users.

Parts of the community are openly hostile. Others are open; clarified what the interest was; confirmed their understanding; and ultimately concluded it was out of scope or simply not a goal. That’s entirely ok. That’s when this should of stopped.

This is my last post.

I’m sorry you felt the community was hostile. I haven’t seen what you are referring to. And I’m glad you finally got your point articulated. I’m sure the developers have it noted. It’s a re-architecture and there would be philosophical design ramifications and tradeoffs, but, … It’s good to get these things documented.

Cheers. -t

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Other people confirmed that they had similar needs: edit documents from the file system, sync documents rather than the database.

For the record, this came up dozens of time and there’s even a FAQ entry about it. A good start would have been to read it, read what others have said before, then propose any new idea you might have.

Everybody has this genius idea of using the file system to store the notes, but there would be huge technical issues to overcome to get that working. In fact I’m more or less convinced it can’t be done while keeping the app reliable and fast. There’s a reason why we store data in databases and not in the file system.

Other products use the file system. 1Writer, IA Write, Notebooks, Drafts, Editorial, Byword

It may or may not be optimal.

A variety of products use a database. You’ll know which ones.

Both approaches work.

You have a fine product and a roadmap for it. Carry on.


I thought I was the only that had the same concern like @lewisl.

Upon coming across Joplin, I was glad that I had found a tool that could replace my current Markdown Editor (DocumentNode) and more so a Gitbook alternative that has a desktop application.

I became confused after installing it when I started looking for where the files are stored. I had to google that up, only to find out that it's stored in a database.

To be honest this is naturally strenuous to the workflows of most persons, most especially developers. Like what @hipitihop narrated, it would be amazing to have Joplin stores markdown files in your local file system, and then you can modify the files directly with Joplin.

While I understand that Joplin is more of a note-taking app, I think adding a local file system structure for it other than the database file structure system will solve a lot of the concern that most persons on this thread have.

Joplin is an amazing product which I love, but then I think I am really disappointed. More like the same disappointment that I experienced when I took a look at BoostNote. I may just have to continue with my current Markdown Editor that fits my current workflow.

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In case the interested parties haven't found it yet, I think you're looking for Obsidian => obsidian.md