I'm with you there. I really wished that the rich markdown plugin was part of the core, with pictures enabled by default and also some of the CSS "hacks" such as grayed out codes (e.g. titles or bold etc). Also I think when you install Joplin, it shows the split view by default which might be a little intimidating at first glance.
It would probably come across as much less "geeky" if it displayed just the edit view after installation... rather than the split view by default.
ABSOLUTELY YES! I can’t really confirm that in a way which shows how much I agree.
If you can’t imagine to have used WYSIWYG editors for the your whole life of school, study and work only, you’ll never get the impression of how strange it is to have formatting elements right in the text you write and see. For someone not used to it, it looks like code. It’s a big advantage to unburden content from technical elements for formatting.
Finally I am on the way to adjust to markdown plain view, but it’s not intuitive for me as I have no experience with html for example. I can say that I only address myself to get used to it, because I like the concept of markdown to be portable and let’s say it melodramatically: lasting forever.
On the desktop I only use wysiwyg. Which is OK for me, a non IT user. The lack of indent is crazy though. Some of my stuff needs fast navigation with outlining. And some outliners use the indent for quick hierarchy definition.
On mobile there only seems to be markdown and an EDIT mode. A terrible experience. I'm consuming the text as I edit. Which gets messed up with weird characters. And on the small screen that's a total disaster. I don't like the extra step of switching in and out of EDIT mode either. That's is not necessary on other rich text apps. Such as Telegram.
Joplin isn't really a rich text application though, everything is markup underneath so things like indentation don't really make sense.
Personally I think there always needs to be a WYSIWYG style mode in Joplin (although I'll probably rarely ever use it) but it needs to expose its markdown nature (both positives and negatives) better than the current editor does.
Its all very well hiding the markdown stuff from people who aren't comfortable with it but it leads to questions that don't make sense in the grand scheme of things like indentation, special table formatting and various text decoration options; those simply aren't standard markdown features but are what people used to word processor type applications are familiar with.
Sure. But what is underneath is irrelevant to most Wysiwyg users. Swap out markdown for something with fewer limitations as an option maybe. And have better formatting options. Take a look at ZIM Wiki. It doesnt have a mobile client, but it's nice to use.
I agree with that it is irrelevant which is why I don't think the current richtext editor is the correct choice, I think it should be something more like Typora/Marktext (i.e. a bit more abstracted away from "pure" Markdown than even the rich markdown plugin but still enforces and makes the markdown rules clear)
As for moving away from Markdown entirely, I very much disagree as Markdown is what makes Joplin, Joplin. The fact that it is Markdown means that everything is portable (which is why I tend to not use plugins that deviate from the spec, introducing new classes etc.) and I can edit my note wherever I want (installed app, via SSH with vim, in MarkText etc.) without having to worry about any data getting lost or removed.
There simply aren't any other formats with the combination of ease of use, readability and portability.
And it wasn't like I was a diehard Markdown enthusiast from the start, the only real exposure I had to it was from things like reddit, when I first started using Joplin I was using the rich text editor before I saw the light and migrated to the Markdown editor and now won't look back.
I also adore the fact that the "real" formatting is entirely customisable without having to touch the content of the document itself so one single note can look entirely different just by changing how it is rendered.
If you don't want Markdown ever then I don't think Joplin is really the appropriate tool. Ultimately it is a note taking app - not a fully featured word processor, desktop publisher or data warehouse and I think it should be treated as such - Markdown is absolutely an appropriate choice for such an application (and it shows by just how many of the bigger note taking apps support it).
I think it's great that the underlying format for the rich text editor is Markdown. It makes the data a lot more portable and durable - just compare to the markup mess that the Evernote notes are. Even their own app sometimes cannot import back the enex files they export.
The problem is that this advantage is not obvious - people will only care about it the day they need to export their note or get interoperability with other apps. And of course it means that there are restrictions on what can be done when editing the notes, and it's difficult to overcome these.
I thought before of saving these rich text editor notes to HTML instead, but I'd really like to keep it all Markdown, and maybe improve the editor with this limitation in mind.
Hi ianp5a, I'm the original poster and though it is clear you are an outlier here, I think you might be very much more like my clients than most of the other posters (including myself), here.
Are you going to stick with Joplin even though it is and will continue to be, based on Markdown. If so, why?
For me it's very important that the underlying data is saved as markdown because it's easy to handle programmatically to extend anywhere.(as opposed to ms word, which is very difficult to process with a program and the npm package for the nodejs version is chargeable)
Thanks for your comments everybody. Regarding the underlying Markdown format, as long as I don't see the markdown directly, the format does not matter. That's just something under the hood. I also use Wiki based notes with a rich text editor. Markdown is not the only option for a notes program.
My only issue with Markdown is the restriction of indents and tabs causing the need for messy workarounds.
My big problem with Joplin is the lack of rich text in the mobile client. I'm reading a carefully laid note when in the field, and if I need to change something, switching into edit mode jumbles the display of the note dramatically. That would be a reason for me to change away from Joplin.
Both the rich text editor and the mobile app are in need of a bit of TLC in a number of places:
See below for editor related topics as a possible GSoC project:
Or this list of mobile improvements in general
However as for:
I agree that Markdown is a choice amongst other formats but I would argue it is also one of the strongest as it is widely supported, widely known (even Reddit uses it for its comments) and allows a lot of seamless features without the need for some kind of extra conversion library. Even if Joplin itself blew up you could still just grab the notes directly from the database and have all your data intact, just how you wrote it.
Not to mention the number of markdown related tools available as node packages which can be used by the plugin system.
Yes sure. I get that you and others choose Joplin because of markdown. I see others choose Trillium Obsidian and Zettlr for the same reason. That's fine.
But the formatting method is not the reason everyone chooses a notes program. Especially those who prefer rich text editors, which have served me well for decades. In fact seeing the markdown edit codes is just a mess to me. Something to be avoided. A bad experience. Something for programmers and IT people perhaps? It's not my world.
Trilium is actually the reverse interestingly, it uses as WYSIWYG editor as its primary - not sure exactly what format it stores them as internally.
I would say that Markdown is definitely entering the mainstream (albeit slowly) with chat apps like Whatsapp, Discord, MS Teams supporting elements of it, social media websites like Reddit as well as forums like Discourse using it as a replacement for the old BBCode type comments and some companies are now using it more for internal documentation.
I had totally the inverse experience of yours, I had barely ever used Markdown (outside of Reddit comments) and I've entirely fallen in love with it. The ability to write without having to fight with the formatting, the ability to edit entire formats either just by replacing the actual formatting tags in the document (for example I changed all my
**bold** headers from my imported evernote notes to
## h2 lines just by doing a simple find & replace) or just changing the CSS for the output format leaving my actual notes intact.
I think the fact that most of the more popular non-proprietary note apps are supporting Markdown as their primary language is a decent testament to how good it is.
It requires a bit of a re-think after years of word processors but I really hope it becomes the norm in more places.
Joplin is saving the markdown notes in files with filenames that don't relate to the names of the notes. Such as "ff95fb34fefe44a6bc3f7d0d8d0f1530.md". So if I needed to edit them outside of Joplin I have no structure it seems. This hierarchy is needed to find the notes. Is there a way round this? Is the structure part of markdown? Or something from Joplin?
Joplin doesn't save its notes as Markdown files at all. They are all stored within the database - the hashed name means that you can have multiple notes with the same name plus a bunch of other sync related magic.
I strongly suspect the notes you are talking about is the sync target database which you really don't want to start messing with if you don't want to break your sync target. They are essentially metadata, not a perfect representation of the notes.
Right, thanks. No I'll not touch it. I guess I'd need to "Export" the notes to a format of my choice? Which I'm used to with rich text notes. Sort of negating any benefit of having them as markdown.
Yes you would need to export but no it does not negate it being in Markdown as there is no conversion process which could cause your data to potentially get altered. You can edit notes outside of Joplin by using pretty much any external editor you want (https://joplinapp.org/help/#external-text-editor)
Perhaps some did, but I most definitely did NOT. I hated markdown. I still don't like everything about it. I just put up with it because Joplin uses it (not the other way around) and because, as Daeraxa and others pointed out, it IS widely used and accepted, as well as future proof.
So I get that you are passionately against it (I was too), but in that case I have a feeling that either 1) Joplin is not for you, period, or 2) you learn to live with it and perhaps even like it.
I'm rooting for you that there will be an option 3) Joplin will further implement, vastly improve and fully support its own rich text editor on all platforms but I'm not holding out too much hope in that regard
Apologies for the double post and quoting you twice in a row, @ianp5a but I'm enjoying the discussion I find what you're saying interesting
However, I actually vehemently disagree with your statement above.
I am an old buzzard(ess) by now (computer wise) and have lived through a lot of word processing applications. I don't remember them all but from the days of WordPerfect 5.1, I have seen more editors come and go than I can count. In many cases once they were obsolete and you needed to extract some text from it, forget it... it was some proprietary format and all you saw was a huge list of symbols. If you were lucky enough you could find some emulator that could read it, but in most cases, your text was gone forever.
So again I get what you're saying, but I am VERY interested in how my text is stored under the hood. I learned as early as the 90s to only store text in future proof formats - it might not be pretty, but it will never be lost for good either.
Just some food for thought
Like Sophia, I didn't choose Joplin because of Markdown. Unlike her, I didn't hate it, I just ignored it. What really sold me was how productive I could be on an 8" android tablet. With Markdown, I can be as productive on my tablet as my desktop (or close). The features that blew me away on the Android tablet were:
- Being able to paste a quote from something I was reading and have it formatted beautifully as a quote by simply sticking a > in front of it. Wow.
- being able to type [toc] at the top of my notes and then have a beautiful table of contents for the entire paper created automagically. Just using some number of # signs for the level of heading I wanted.
- Easy lists. WAY easier than html. Again, couldn't be easier on my tablet.
- Simpler (quicker) bold and italics on the tablet than the wysiwyg mode
- All of that including functioning links exporting to pdf! from the desktop.
For me, markdown also has the advantage that I clip a lot of simplified HTML pages and I can easily edit out the crap with markdown, much easier than html.
So, mostly the Markdown's biggest benefit for me was on the android tablet.