Minimalist Mode for when you're not actively editing, but want to keep a to-do list in view


Here’s a thought: You work on Joplin, you take some notes, you arrange your research and resources and data and sort your workload for the first half of your day, you’re done and your lunch break is 15 minutes away.

Perfect time to organize your remaining tasks for the day into a convenient to-do list, put them next to all the other things still scheduled for the day.

You fill up your list, and then… click one button and all the toolbars, all the buttons, all the unnecessary information just disappears, and your window is only the things that matter when you’re not actively editing things: the lists and visualizers.

You can use it to keep track of things, get reminders, tick them off, search through information… all in a little window that isn’t bloated with stuff.

Right now there’s no way to customize the layout of the window. You can’t hide or move things. You can’t change their size. Someone had the idea of toggling the sidebar, which is nice, and that got implemented, which is great… but why can’t you toggle the button that toggles the sidebar? Or everything else for that matter?

Most of the features have hotkeys. Once you learn the hotkeys what do you need the buttons for anymore?

So here’s what I propose…

This is how my Joplin window currently looks when I make it small so I can tuck it into a corner to do the things I’d like it to do:

figure 1

And here’s how I would like it to be:

figure 2

Or even:

figure 3

And, of course, you could play around with things such as toggling the sidebar or layouts before you minimize. If each section had its own toggle, or you could save your settings, that could work as well and give users more freedom, but a mini-mode button would provide a suitable implementation.

For even an intermediate user, all 3 figures provide just as much functionality, but with an obvious difference in clutter. The default layout is alright for a small number of simple tasks, but it quickly becomes too much, and that’s to be expected when 50% of the space is taken up by unnecessary buttons.

Why do I want this?

I’ve been looking for a tool to keep track of my activities. I’ve gone through a decent amount of apps, whether they’re especially designed to-do list apps or general productivity managers or note takers… and they all have slews of issues.

This is the only app that does the job moderately well, and it has the potential to do it perfectly!

I’m also a writer and do a significant amount of research, so it can provide a complete course of productivity-related functionality, all in one place, in a rather efficient manner, across multiple devices… but I can’t customize it and it’s pissing me off.

Good thing it’s Open Source, eh?

So I’d like to get this done. It can’t be that hard… it’s just an expansion of the existing toggle buttons. It’s just hiding some extra stuff and letting the remaining things take up the space. A super-toggle.

The issue is… I don’t have much experience with contributing to a proper project. I have done some programming and modding, but only for my own use. I wouldn’t want to mess something up.

Could you point me in the right direction, or help me complete this little project? I think it would help many people by providing a less cluttered work space and task visualizer.

Have a nice weekend,

So I guess all you’d need to get to your preferred view is a way to toggle the toolbar? That should be easy to add and would make sense, or is there some other missing feature?

A few users indeed have mentioned the need for a distraction free mode.

The toolbarS, yes. There are 3 of them. 4 If you count the title editing space as a toolbar.

Many apps I’ve seen have a way to toggle the top toolbar as well. Usually pressing alt selects it so you can turn it back on or still access file/tools/etc. This does not seem to work on Joplin, so disabling it might be a bad idea until then.

The title editing area to me seems a bit redundant and sub-optimal design. You could double-click on the note list area and edit it directly on there, so having it be separate is no longer necessary. The issue with this is that when you create a new note, it doesn’t appear onto the note list until you’ve inputted a title (or no title -> Untitled).

All the markdown buttons (bold, link, etc.) should have hotkeys, but there’s no way to see them, and some maybe don’t currently, so if you get rid of them it might cause issues. If that toolbar has a separate toggle, such as clicking on the separator line or a V arrow between it and the text area, this would be fine.

There are a lot of small design things that cascade into one another once you start thinking about the implications.

The end-goal should be, for me at least, being able to hide all the things you don’t care about in that moment so you can focus on the things you do care about.

It’s very close already, though. And I saw that the latest version added the toggle note list feature, so I guess it’s moving in this direction already as well. If I could help get this done quicker, I’d like to, though.

That’s a matter of opinion. If you toggle the note list, you wouldn’t see the title at all, should we follow your approach.

Clearly, I am aware of that, hence cascading design issues. The solution is not as simple as just turning off a toolbar. Having the same information in two places next to each other is redundant by definition. How you solve the redundancy without causing new problems is what is up for debate.

To solve your issue, when the note list is toggled (and there is no title bar), it could minimize into only the currently-selected note and move on top of the text area, or maybe you could have them move next to the search bar if the buttons get minimized. Plenty of solutions. It’s just a matter of optimizing space.

On some other apps you can undock toolbars, buttons, and other elements and move them around to order them, such as the “Customize” option on Firefox, or simply dragging and dropping on Photoshop. That would be the ideal solution, but I assume it’s a lot harder to implement than some extra instances of what’s already implemented.

Different people have different needs and tastes, so having the freedom to tweak things personally is best.

Before I made this thread I was actually looking for possible plugins that helped with this, but I see thie plugin avenue isn’t developed much. Optional functionality would probably be best implemented as plugins so people can choose or create what they need without affecting the core functionality.