Home / GitHub Page

What are the key features of Joplin?

I’m trying to make a list of the top 5 features of Joplin, the features that really define the app. This would be useful if I ever recreate the website - in that case I could articulate the front page around these 5 features. Also good when/if I need to introduce Joplin somewhere.

For me that would be this:

  • Data privacy and ownership - it’s 100% your data in the sense that the complete data is on your local machine, and can be exported to various formats. Also possibility to self-host sync and use E2EE for extra privacy. And no ads, no tracking.

  • It’s available (almost) everywhere - you can sync to desktop, mobile and cli. You can clip on the browser.

  • It’s open source with an active community - unlike a commercial application it won’t disappear overnight just because a company felt it was no longer profitable.

  • It’s easy to use (or it tries to be) and can be extended with Markdown plugins. Already supports math formlaes, Mermaid diagrams and more.

Any other suggestions? In your day to day use, what do you see as the core features of Joplin?

3 Likes

Its complete flexibility in structure, content, attachments etc allows Jopling to be a full blown digital filing cabinet. There is hardly a memory that I DON’T store in Joplin. Note sure if that qualifies but in addition to all the points you mentioned, that is a biggie for me :slight_smile:

Data privacy - YES

Sync - YES
Sync support that does not need the software vendor to exist or hold my data. (Though Sync is great, I think it needs to be more user friendly and robust.)

Multi-platform support
which includes Linux! (Though I wish it was a smaller app, but not a big deal).

Great clean and user friendly GUI
Referring to the desktop app here, and its important to maintain the high standards and vision. (Though of course there is room for improvements. I suspect WYSIWIG markdown editor might take it to another level and make it more accessible to a wider audience. I would like to add “configurability” here too, but maybe not yet).

Ability to retrieve my data in standard and non-proprietary format
Of course this feature may never be needed, but its a great to know its there. Without this feature, I would never have given the app a go in the first place. However, it is a feature I never want to make use of.

Runner up:

Reliability and polish
Open source apps can sometimes have a reputation to non-tech people of begin buggy and quirky. But you can’t really announce this as a feature, it is expected, compulsory to have, and the reputation is earned.

Web clipper could be emphasized

My suggestions based on my views and what has come so far:

  • Data privacy and ownership - it’s 100% your data in the sense that the complete data is on your local machine. No on-line account required, no ads, no tracking. Notes are created using Markdown. No proprietory formats.

  • Has an optional “web-clipper” for Firefox and Chrome. Just a couple of clicks in your browser can turn a web page into a note.

  • Option to sync with cloud services as well as your own Nextcloud server or even your file system. Lets you access and edit your notes on all your devices (Windows, Mac, Linux, IOS, Android). Also you can sync using End-to-End Encryption (E2EE) so that notes are encrypted on the storage server. Only you can read them.

  • It’s easy to use (or it tries to be) and can be extended with Markdown plugins. Already supports advanced Markdown tables, tables of content, maths formulae, Mermaid diagrams and more.

  • Notes are presented in an easy to read format but more advanced or adventurous users can customise Joplin using CSS. Change how the notes look when viewed on the screen or printed, or both! You can even customise how the editor looks. It’s totally up to you.

Whilst I see why the “…open source with an active community…” point is made, an open source project can fold just a quickly as a commercial one. It’s not guaranteed that someone will fork the project and take it forward. Also this is more a benefit of FOSS in general and not Joplin in particular.

2 Likes

Open Source with an active community also means that yoyu have a place to ask questions, and get answers (and fixes) quickly. This may be particularly useful for getting started.

Yes, totally agree. I was not dismissing the point outright just suggesting that it may not warrant being one of the top five key features of Joplin.

While I agree with everything here, all of it seems to be written from the perspective of advanced/active users. Understandable, but I think there’s merit in making the appeal to the average person front-and-center. (And Joplin definitely does have that appeal. A friend of mine finally wanted to try storing notes in something else than text files, remembered I mentioned Joplin a thousand times, tried it, and now every week she tells me about how great this or that feature is. :D)

So, my suggestion would be something like:

  • An easy-to-use note-taking app for all platfoms
  • Always free for all purposes, thanks to the open-source license
  • Supports attachments, diagrams, equations and more
  • Includes a handy web clipper, so you can save webpages (or their parts) that interest you
  • Free synchronization options that let you retain full control of your data, with complete offline access [EN doesn’t have this in the free tier]

And then, maybe in some less prominent space, 5 more things for nerds like us: E2EE, markdown, various supported sync backends, etc.

The common Joe neither knows or cares about what a ‘markdown’ is, not to mention any of the rest of the list - yet they still can use Joplin easily.

4 Likes

Critical to me is that it is an Evernote Replacement. Meaning that besides being a note taking application it can import Evernote AND it has an excellent Web Clipper, so it also functions as a Pocket app replacement. I couldn’t have switched without the web clipper.

Sadly the web clipper is something that always breaks in some way to make the saved page unusable and even the screen shot feature (which should be simple enough I guess) breaks as in: Web Clipper Screenshot function is buggy . It’s particularly bad as I’d like to replace Pocket.

To be on topic a nice feature is that like is that you can add (small) files to Joplin, beside the normal notes, as it was said you can basically include anything.

All the points mentioned throughout this post illustrate really great features of Joplin.

To me, the most important feature has been the ability to sync between multiple devices and take my notes everywhere. The ability to write a note on one device and read it on another has saved my bacon a few times.

Second-most, and only because the first point was so critical to me, is the self-hosted nature of the service running on my own nextcloud instance. The data is all mine.

Open source feeds into this same self-hosted mentality, but the transparency is very nice.

The active development and support is fantastic!

1 Like

the API allow us to extend the usage of the application to wides domains

Open Source also means you can trust E2EE also being zero-knowledge. Demonstrable zero-knowledge baked in is the one feature I’ve been looking for for over a year.

1 Like

It’s the only functional note taking app that supports all major platforms, doesn’t cost my soul to buy, and, despite my criticisms about it, the fact that it’s being actively developed is enough to keep using it. Due to its licensing and open source nature, if someone is willing to put the effort and have the skill, someday the ultimate question can be answered: “can Joplin run DOOM?” Joplin can also be used as a base for other apps and projects

I do not have any problems with the webclipper. 99% of the time I use simplified view and it works perfectly. Occasionally, but rarely, I used full page and then edit out the crap afterwards. However, I’ve been afraid of the problems Microsoft Windows has with super High Def screens and have been unwilling to live with them, so stick with regular HD screens. Also, I use 100% windows display setting, (reduces issues). I use Vivaldi browser which is a chrome derivative.

When grabbing stuff from my Android tablet, I simply make a note of the link and then grab the article from Windows.

Nearly everything I clip is a news article. There are probably a couple pictures in it, but mostly text. So normally, they are not particularly complicated.

Another one to add: great note organization features- notebooks, tagging, linking between notes.