Notenik Next Steps

Don’t worry. The Notenik that you know and love is not going anywhere.

I’m just asking for anyone’s thoughts about where Notenik might go as next steps.

Several dimensions here:

  1. Are there ways to improve this Discourse community?
  2. Are there ways to extend Notenik’s reach, in terms of marketing and PR and visibility?
  3. Are there ways to improve Notenik in important ways?

Just looking for ideas here.


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I do miss having a live preview of the output when writing in Markdown i.e having to switch between the Edit and Display tab. I have looked at Zettlr recently and you have to CMD-P to preview output from Markdown.

Apps like Quiver and MacDown have an Editor and a Preview pane which you can show or hide to suit. I wonder whether there is something in the architecture of Notenik which means that such an arrangement is not possible?

I think that having or not having a preview is going to be one of those things that anyone using Markdown has strong opinions about. MarkText is my preferred “live preview” markdown editor. MacDown provides side by side preview, which is another way of handling this. My preferred editor presently is MarkEdit which has no preview at all but provides a really nice editing experience.

I’ve found that having a set the preferences for a preferred Markdown Editor gives me three modes: Display, Data Input via fields (⌘-E) and text editing (⌘-T) using a markdown editor. This seems like a positive benefit.

  1. Are there ways to improve this Discourse community?
    There is an app which I use called Discourse Hub and that makes it easier to be engaged. I find that push notifications generate engagement too. It’s possible that a lot of users don’t need the extra engagement. I know that I run out of hours to read all that I want to read.

  2. Are there ways to extend Notenik’s reach, in terms of marketing and PR and visibility?
    Thinking about what you have to offer, and who you want to reach.

    • Notenik is a really simple way to create a database.

    • There is a Bento sized gap in the easy-to-create a database market.

    • It’s also a really simple way to publish. Like Frontier, now Manilla, it’s a DIY tool.

    • Anyone with a commercial interest in publishing wants to leverage large communities found on the major platforms: tik-tok, twitter, facebook, post, medium, etc. These big publishers pay for content.

    • Markdown is geeky. That’s a negative.

    • Notenik is geeky. That’s a negative.

    • @kpmansfield’s post reminded me of the disappointment I had with most markdown editors. Initially, I also wanted to see what I was doing, but most are primarily text editors. I can’t think of any that present like a word processor and hide the gory details.

      For example, MarkEdit says it wants to be like TextEdit. In the most important aspect, it does exactly the opposite. TextEdit when used for styled text, produces RTF. TextEdit doesn’t ask users to memorise arcane RTF symbols, so that they can pretty print styled text. It offers a styled text interface. Behind the scenes it does funky things and produces RTF. I don’t need to get my fingers dirty with code, and I work inside a visual WYSIWYG UI. MarkEdit could have taken the approach of generating Markdown from the styled text. It doesn’t do that. It expects the user to operate in the code at all times. The rendered version of the markup is of no interest to them.

    • WYSIWYG made Mac OS famous. Deservedly so, because it made computing tasks accessible. It made the doing-of-the-task fun, interesting, and much easier.

    • Markdown because it offers a way to disconnect the content from the presentation layer. That’s a positive. It reminds me of Lyx, the document processor which encourages an approach to writing based on the structure of your documents (WYSIWYM) and not simply their appearance.

  3. Are there ways to improve Notenik in important ways?
    These are just blue-sky ideas:

    • Provide more out of the box experience. (The template collections are great.) Users want to be able to start at pace, so think about how new users can be on-boarded (as they say).
    • Think about users being able to “lock” a collection, in the same way that Knowledge base is locked, or to lock notes to prevent inadvertent change.
    • What about being able to lock the template to prevent modification. Users can add/edit/delete notes but not mess with the innards.
    • Have a “collection developer” mode. A UI for creating the fields, such as the database creator UI in AppleWorks.
    • Provide a variety of style sheets, so the user can modify the appearance without having to know any CSS.
    • Provide a variety of HTML templates for presenting collections.
    • Provide an visual, drag-n-drop, HTML template builder
    • Allow users to choose from a range of font families for their style sheets. Similar to the way that Google Fonts will suggest font pairings for Headings.
    • Allow users to make color selections for different elements.
    • Offer sensible color themes as choses for a collection
    • Provide styled text WYSIWYG editor for long text fields. Convert and store it as Markdown.
    • think of ways in which the user never has to deal with code, including markdown.
    • provide publishing portals, just as you do for Medium, for other publishing platforms. Imagine being able to publish a note to Tik-tok, Instagram, FaceBook, Twitter, Post, BlueSky, Medium, WordPress, Blogger, etc, just by checking boxes.
    • integrate more tightly with the eco-system. The UI could offer tools, such as an boolean check box, to push to the appropriate SQLite db. Or to pull from those DBs into Notenik.
      • Events ↔ Calendar.
      • To-dos ↔ Reminders.
      • Contacts ↔ Contacts.

Edit to say: I would love to have Notenik on my iPad

Thanks for the feedback. This is a good question.

For me, there are several different issues here.

  1. The primary purpose of Notenik is to fill a niche, not to try to duplicate things that other apps also do. Especially because Notenik makes it easy to invoke a companion editor, I would not be inclined to create a live preview within Notenik.

  2. Notenik is primarily about doing things with a collection of notes, and is not primarily focused on Markdown editing within a single note. As a result, a lot of Notenik’s UI is given over to a view of the collection as a whole. So I’m not quite sure how a separate live preview pane would fit into the UI.

  3. Notenik has a pretty complex Markdown parser. Not sure how I would keep a live preview pane up-to-date and accurate while the text is being edited.

  4. For me, as a writer – and I understand it’s not this way for everyone – I don’t want to be distracted by a live preview in a separate window/pane while I’m writing – I just want to focus on the text I’m writing. And since the basic Markdown syntax is meant to be easy-to-read and easy-to-write, I don’t really feel the need to see a preview while I’m writing. It feels much better to me to reach a stopping point and then see how the whole thing looks after parsing.

Anyway, those are my thoughts on the subject.

Again, thanks for asking!

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I use Notenik primarily for its database like qualities, the fact that notes can have metadata which can be used to sort and view this data. The improvements that I sometimes wish for are primarily along these axes. Let me list a few of them here:

  1. Ability to use local paths for files. I really enjoy storing links to local files on my computer in Notenik collections and being able to click on the list to open them. However, I find myself wishing that the file paths specified could be relative paths so that when I move or archive the “project folder” which has the files and the collection, the links still work. There is a workaround for me which is to write a script which changes the links when one moves the folder that houses the Notenik collection and the files that are linked, so its not something that I can’t do without, but it would be nice.
  2. The ability to display markdown files which are in sub-folders. I am trying to store all my tasks in Notenik and it would be nice to be able to see them all in one place: a master list of all open tasks. At the same time, the tasks are easier to organize and archive if they are stored in separate folders and Notenik collections based on the project they pertain to. One could do both if a parent folder Notenik collection could display Notes from one sub-folder down. The advantage of one project per sub-folder is that when a project is completed, one could just archive it by moving the project folder to a different location.
  3. I often find myself wanting to organize just a small subset of notes in Notenik - for instance notes related to a particular lecture of a course that I am teaching. There are ways of doing this now, assigning a rank or class or tag and sorting the collection by rank + sequence or tags + sequence. It would be nice if one could bulk edit a set of notes and assign them a particular rank or add a tag. Again, there are workarounds which involve using an Obsidian plugin for bulk editing tags, but it would be a nice feature to have.
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These appear to be sensible, doable suggestions. Let me see what I can do.


Nearly all my collections are set up as outlines.

I’ve just about gotten used to rearranging notes when needed, but it does require being extra careful to not put a bunch of notes into the wrong sequence, as it is really difficult to get back to a previous state, as there is no undo.

This is probably out of the scope of Notenik and into full-blown Outliner territory, but I would love keyboard shortcuts like these:

Screenshot 2024-03-17 at 13.45.00

And the sequence number to arrange themselves automatically. Which the Modify Seq… context menu partly does.

Drag and dropping notes is too bit finicky for my fingers, especially on a laptop, and doesn’t change the sequence numbers.


Are you using the list view as an outline?

I think a barrier to using Notenik is possibly the need for it to deal with metadata in each note. An option to have a collection of simple notes without any metadata considerations might be a nicer starting point for people (and possibly useful for any level of user for certain collections). I know there is a Basic notes collection template but it still takes 3 steps to set up and presents a complex Collection Settings window at the end of it.

On the subject of metadata, I would like to see the app incorporate an inspector panel to the right of the screen to hold all of the metadata (with the obvious exception of body). This could be toggled into/out of view by the user. The main panel would therefore simply be the body text in either Edit or Preview views. I think that would give a much cleaner view and be more inline with other apps - perhaps making it an easier transition for new users.

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Basically as described in the Knowledge Base.

After re-reading that link, as usual there are a lot of options that I should learn more of that could be useful.

I use that method for structured documents, usually they are documenting an existing structure.

Recently I started taking advantage of the dotted tag notation is. Tags auto-generate collapsible sections. Dot tagged items automatically create subsections. Folding is one of the killer features of an outliner and tagging provides that. Additionally, you can have multiple tags. This makes it easy to include the note in several locations. For a lot of miscellaneous collections this is a much more flexible way to categorise.

This is an interesting suggestion. Some of my collections don’t use the body at all, they are all metadata. Nonetheless, I like the idea: it would tidy up the screen and create a simpler work space.

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