Navigating collections, search results, and history

When I search for something within a Notenik collection, I naturally then make use of ⌘G (Nav > Find Again — though in most apps it’s usually Find Next; cf. BBEdit) to advance to the next note that contains my search text.

I’d been about to submit a bug report that Find Previous (usually, but not always ⇧⌘G) never did anything other than beep. But it seems that there are some vaguely duplicated commands at Edit > Find — and that the disabled command Edit > Find > Find Previous is what’s mapped to ⇧⌘G. Under Nav > Find Previous, however, I find … nothing. It looks like there is no way to cycle backwards through the notes matching my search criteria.

Well, sort of there is. One can use ⌘[ to cycle backwards through notes I’ve just visited — but this is potentially a quite different history stack, since one is free to navigate to other notes at any time and then return to advancing through the search results again with ⌘G.

And as far as I can tell, all the options within Edit > Find are always disabled.

What I would expect is the following, and I’m submitting this as a feature request:


I’d be happiest if the same term (Find or Search) was consistently used. Currently, the toolbar field says Search and the menu commands are Find and Advanced Search….

Either under Nav or under Edit > Find (but not both!), I would hope to find the following:

  1. Find ⌘F: puts the user in the toolbar search field.
  2. Advanced Find ⇧⌘F: brings up the Advanced Find dialog box.
  3. Find Next ⌘G: advances the user to the next found note.
  4. Find Previous ⇧⌘G: moves the user backwards through the collection to the previous found note.

General navigation

Under Nav (possibly renamed Go, à la BBEdit), I’d like to see what’s currently there, shortened:

  1. Next Note ⌘]: advances the user forward by one note, as defined by the collection’s order
  2. Prior Note ⌘[: moves the user backward by one note, as defined by the collection’s order

User history

Under Nav (or Go, as above):

  1. Back ⇧⌘[: moves the user backwards through their history, exactly as in all web browsers
  2. Forward ⇧⌘]: moves the user forwards through their history, exactly as in all web browsers; this would be disabled unless the user has previously moved back into their history

Thanks. This appears really well thought out. Let me look into this a bit further. Thanks!

Thank you for taking a look, @hbowie!

I realize I should also admit that the command-key equivalents for movement through these three different stacks are pretty inconsistent amongst different editors and browsers.

Just as another example, this is how one moves through one’s document-viewing history in a BBEdit project:

  • View > Previous Document ⌥⌘[
  • View > Next Document ⌥⌘]

I don’t have a horse in the which-command-key-modifier question, just so long as the different history contexts are differentiated consistently for their forward- and backward- pairs.

And search is kind of its own animal: ⌘G and ⇧⌘G are a pretty well established pair.

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… And I’d forgotten about tabbed views — probably because I didn’t notice until yesterday that Notenik could even do tabbed views. So, in their own way, navigating to the next tab and the previous tab is another pair of navigating-through-a-stack. Bringing it up now just so they’re all in one place:

  1. Forward, and then potentially backward, through the set of “found” notes.
  2. Forward and/or backward through the full set of notes in a collection.
  3. Backward, and then potentially forward, through the user’s history (à la web browsers).
  4. Forward and/or backward through the user’s window tabs.

№ 4 might actually be part of a broader concept: forward and/or backward through the user’s open collections, whether they be separate windows or tabs within one window. How this might translate to the concept of having more than one window open to the same collection, I leave as an exercise to the developer. :rofl:

@ErikMH: I think I’ve pretty much implemented all of this in the latest beta. Let me know how it all works for you!

BTW, I did not rename the Nav menu to Go, as you had suggested. BBEdit seems to mostly use the Go menu for navigating within a document, whereas the Notenik Nav menu is for navigating within a Collection of documents. I thought the two concepts different enough that I didn’t want to confuse them.

I appreciate this particular update, these shortcuts feel very natural to navigate.

I always hit ⌘[ thinking it would go up a note, instead of the previously selected note. Might start using that function deliberately now.

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Not sure if I should put this here or under Selecting note via ‘Note Selector’ and ‘Scroll to Selected Note’.

But it would be good if the back and forward history shortcuts scroll to the selected note like the note selector as well.

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Thanks for pointing that out! It should be fixed in the next release.

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And the next release is now out!

BTW, @ErikMH, the one thing I didn’t try to implement here was navigation through open windows, or tabs, or collections. Part of my rationale was that I couldn’t think of other apps that did this, and part of it was that it seemed like something best left to macOS itself.

@hbowie et al., I’m very sorry if it appears that I’ve ghosted you — that had totally not been my intention at all.

tl;dr: Notenik is absolutely the bee’s knees and I love it to pieces, but it’s not the best fit, practically, for my use.

Herb, I really do admire both Notenik and also your enthusiastic support and steady progress with it. As I wrote some months ago, my own background is not dissimilar to yours — and I was a user of Filemaker way back when it was a Nashoba Systems creation; they were almost neighbors when I lived in Concord up into the early ’80s.

But though I love Notenik and want to use it, I really need a comprehensive solution where iOS and iPadOS are full citizens, and wherein I can keep (and find!) not only hundreds of markdown files, but also PDFs and webarchives, too.

My final (I think) choice is Keep It, which I don’t like nearly as well in a vacuum, but which really ticks all of those boxes. The other top contender was Alfons Schmidt’s Notebooks. I also looked at multitudinous other possibilities such as Agenda, Taio, Noteplan, and Anytype, and even Evernote, Obsidian, and more.

Notenik is absolutely the app that I feel most “at home” in — especially with your revised navigating! — but I couldn’t figure out a practical way even to have it be a “metadata database” which would contain links to the PDFs and webarchives that are just as much a part of my deep knowledge base as markdown files are. I seriously considered several hacky methods — the best of which involved adding Hookmark to the mix — but at the end of the day an integrated solution that included the necessary syncing of PDFs and webarchives between (at least) my Mac and my iPad was what was really needed.

I think I’ve put off communication here mostly due to my own disappointment that Notenik was not my final choice. I’m not embarassed by that, but I’m sad — and I feel in a way that I’ve let you and your small but enthusiastic community here down.

I absolutely wish you and Notenik and the community of Notenik users the best, and I hope it’ll be OK if I continue lurking here on and off to see what you’re up to. If I have a niche requirement at any point that doesn’t require a more monolithic solution like Keep It, I will jump at the chance to use Notenik!

Best wishes,

— Erik

Absolutely understood! I think that’s probably the best approach.

@ErikMH Thanks for your note. I appreciate your participation in the forum and you contributions to the continued growth of Notenik. Like you, I’m a little sad: I feel like I’ve gotten to know you a bit, and will feel your absence in this little online community. However I absolutely respect your decision: Notenik is certainly not for everyone, and the lack of an iOS app is Notenik’s biggest barrier to adoption. I may finally do something about that someday, although it’s equally likely that I may never make it across that particular Rubicon. But best wishes for your future note-taking endeavors, and thanks again for your contributions.

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