Home | Blog | Software | Reviews and Features | Forum | Help | Donate | About us
topbanner_forum
  *

avatar image

Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
Did you miss your activation email?

Login with username, password and session length
  • December 07, 2016, 02:46:11 AM
  • Proudly celebrating 10 years online.
  • Donate now to become a lifetime supporting member of the site and get a non-expiring license key for all of our programs.
  • donate

Author Topic: Cross-platform apps?  (Read 2567 times)

Dormouse

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2007
  • **
  • Posts: 1,044
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Cross-platform apps?
« on: September 21, 2013, 05:55:55 AM »
Over the years, I've been gradually moving towards looking for cross-platform applications. Originally, it was to provide me with security and a continued familiarity of use when I saw that I might not be on Windows forever and wanted the option to just switch to Linux. Then with PDAs/smartphones: Palm, Windows Mobile, finally settling on Android because it is open (and cheaper).

But recently I was costing up a possible new business venture and realised that the high-tech solution will work out cheaper (and easier) than the alternative - but the software only works on iPads. So that will be another system to become familiar with and finds apps for. Definitely too much for me to want to cope with and so I really, really want cross-platform usage and easy synchronisation. And for them to work well on large monitors, tablets (7" & 10"), and smartphones.

I already have multiple cloud storage accounts (not trusting any of them,I make sure that everything slightly important is backed up on to at least 2 as well as a number of local drives). I use Gmail and Google Calendar (mostly through local clients). I have been making more and more use of Evernote.

I'm not sure if there is any percentage in me using cloud based office apps rather than just saving docs into a cloud account, but can see there are attractions in an Office365 subscription for business use if I have to do iPad too. I'd also look at Google of course; use it a bit already, but not really got into it as I've mostly been happy doing these things on my desktop.

Are there other apps that people would recommend?
Local storage is vital, not just stuff kept in the cloud; I don't have access to the internet all the time.

I can see it could be a big change for me as I will probably have to commit to a change in my working practices, rather than just using stuff that seems best at the time.

dr_andus

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2012
  • **
  • Posts: 810
    • View Profile
    • Dr Andus's toolbox
    • Donate to Member
Re: Cross-platform apps?
« Reply #1 on: September 21, 2013, 06:14:41 AM »
Are there other apps that people would recommend?
Local storage is vital, not just stuff kept in the cloud; I don't have access to the internet all the time.

Are you just talking about any cross-platform apps in general? I don't have any Android devices, so cross-platform for me is working with an XP netbook, Win7 desktop, iPod Touch, and an iPad. My most frequent apps that I use across all of those would be (in decreasing order of frequency of use):

- Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Drive, Google News, Google Contacts
- WorkFlowy
- Dropbox with various writing apps (Nebulous Notes, iA Writer)
- Passwords Plus

I'm not sure if I should include in this category those apps that require import/export to exchange data (no direct cloud sync with PC app), but here they are:
- CarbonFin Outliner on iOS and PC browser (exporting to Natara Bonsai on Win)
- iThoughtsHD on iOS (exporting to Freeplane on Win)

Dormouse

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2007
  • **
  • Posts: 1,044
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Cross-platform apps?
« Reply #2 on: September 21, 2013, 06:51:40 AM »

Are you just talking about any cross-platform apps in general?


Anything really. I'm mostly interested in getting an easy, effective workflow. Going to be more complicated, because I'll probably also need another laptop so that means W8 and will probably go for one with touch/tablet usage. Far too many different bits of kit because each area of my life/work looks as if it will need something different, so I really want to keep everything simpler with the apps.


- Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Drive, Google News, Google Contacts
- WorkFlowy
- Dropbox with various writing apps (Nebulous Notes, iA Writer)
- Passwords Plus


Thanks for these. I already use the Google apps & Dropbox (& Lastpass), but hadn't encountered Workflowy, so I had a look at that. Doesn't have a functional Android app, which means it is out for me atm; I might come back to it in the future though. I've noticed some reviewers talking of it as an Evernote/Onenote equivalent, but I've always seen outliners very differently and have tried a stack of them on my desktop.


I'm not sure if I should include in this category those apps that require import/export to exchange data (no direct cloud sync with PC app), but here they are:
- CarbonFin Outliner on iOS and PC browser (exporting to Natara Bonsai on Win)
- iThoughtsHD on iOS (exporting to Freeplane on Win)


I'm not sure about this. I've set up all sorts of things to do this, using Dropbox or equivalent for the exchange but it always feels really clunky. I'm sure it doesn't really take much more time but it has always felt as if it does.

40hz

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2007
  • **
  • Posts: 11,768
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Cross-platform apps?
« Reply #3 on: September 21, 2013, 07:11:14 AM »
It's hard to make recommendations for software in a vacuum. And cross-platform is such a big playing field that unless you know what something is going to be used for, it quickly becomes yet another long rambling software list. Which is not th same thing as recommendations.

Perhaps if you could give us some idea of what your new venture will involve it might be easier to make software recommendations. I spec and source a lot of software for my client's businesses - many of which are in the pre-launch or start-up stage. And one thing I've learned is "one size does not fit all" when it comes to software for business use.

Best would be to share your requirements checklist if you've done one already. (I suspect you have.) It would include items such as specifically which OSs need to be supported along with specifically what hardware platforms to support. (Android is not the same Android across different devices).

Also a list of major functions needed (i.e. planning, standard office productivity apps, communications, collaboration, web, database, vertical business apps, security, etc.)

That might help frame this thread a little better. :)

You know the drill. ;D
 :)

dr_andus

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2012
  • **
  • Posts: 810
    • View Profile
    • Dr Andus's toolbox
    • Donate to Member
Re: Cross-platform apps?
« Reply #4 on: September 21, 2013, 07:44:09 AM »
hadn't encountered Workflowy, so I had a look at that. Doesn't have a functional Android app, which means it is out for me atm;

How about WorkFlowy Agent?

I've noticed some reviewers talking of it as an Evernote/Onenote equivalent, but I've always seen outliners very differently and have tried a stack of them on my desktop.

I don't think the Evernote/Onenote comparison is a valid one, as WorkFlowy is a text-only minimalist app.

WorkFlowy to me primarily is a task manager, then note-taker, and then outliner. It is probably most useful to those for whom these three functions tend to overlap, i.e. writers.

The key benefits of WorkFlowy to me are:
- ability to take notes in the form of a hierarchical outline (as opposed to a flat list);
- ability to zoom/focus/hoist into any task within the hierarchy with one click and shut out the rest of the noise;
- ability to keep old notes in their original hierarchy and not have to delete them to clear the deck;
- ability to take notes on the go (iPod Touch, iPad);
- automatic sync across platforms;
- outline items having inline notes;
- good export options (plain text, formatted text, OPML);
- its minimalism.

I've become a big fan of WorkFlowy as it allowed me to consolidate all my task lists (before I used 3 or 4 different to-do apps simultaneously and it was a mess). It's a tab in my Firefox that's always open besides Google Calendar on my PC.

Renegade

  • Charter Member
  • Joined in 2005
  • ***
  • Posts: 13,220
  • Tell me something you don't know...
    • View Profile
    • Renegade Minds
    • Donate to Member
Re: Cross-platform apps?
« Reply #5 on: September 21, 2013, 10:30:15 AM »
Not sure if this take on things would work for you...

Sometimes the program itself is important, but other times it's simply the output. If the output is the important part, then what about using different applications that can handle the same output? e.g. MS Office on Windows, Libre Office on Linux, etc.
Slow Down Music - Where I commit thought crimes...

Freedom is the right to be wrong, not the right to do wrong. - John Diefenbaker

Dormouse

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2007
  • **
  • Posts: 1,044
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Cross-platform apps?
« Reply #6 on: September 21, 2013, 01:11:32 PM »
it quickly becomes yet another long rambling software list. Which is not th same thing as recommendations.

Yeah, that's not want I want. What I was hoping is that people who are working across (or in) a number of platforms could give ideas about what they have found works for them. I'm OK with balancing Windows/Linux/Android; I know I'm not as integrated as I could be, but it has worked so far because I switch between systems in a fairly stable way.

Perhaps if you could give us some idea of what your new venture will involve it might be easier to make software recommendations.

Ah, that's just what I can't do  :(
The only thing I do know is that I will never be persuaded to go Mac.
The new venture itself is not a problem. I can work out what equipment I need (iPads & laptop) and the software it needs is a given. [I could just stick to stuff I have, but it would be more time consuming and less profitable, thence the decision to get more stuff]. The software I need for the laptop will run on Linux or Windows; I'll go with Windows for now (thinking that it is probably better developed for touch), but it is nice to know that I can switch out if I want.

The problem arising from the new venture is that it adds yet another separate slice to my life, which I feel takes me over the limit of what I can cope with if I don't find ways of simplifying in those areas where I can find a single solution that covers all/most areas of my life.

A lot of the hardware and software I use I'm stuck with and can only use in a given area; that is sort of OK, but unavoidable in any case.

So it's the more general stuff I'm interested in and any feedback from people who do it already about what they find works and ideas for software I hadn't thought of already.

Dormouse

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2007
  • **
  • Posts: 1,044
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Cross-platform apps?
« Reply #7 on: September 21, 2013, 01:40:29 PM »

How about WorkFlowy Agent?

Comments seemed to suggest it was more of a viewer than an editor, so that put me off.


WorkFlowy to me primarily is a task manager, then note-taker, and then outliner. It is probably most useful to those for whom these three functions tend to overlap, i.e. writers.

The key benefits of WorkFlowy to me are:
- ability to take notes in the form of a hierarchical outline (as opposed to a flat list);
- ability to zoom/focus/hoist into any task within the hierarchy with one click and shut out the rest of the noise;
- ability to keep old notes in their original hierarchy and not have to delete them to clear the deck;
- ability to take notes on the go (iPod Touch, iPad);
- automatic sync across platforms;
- outline items having inline notes;
- good export options (plain text, formatted text, OPML);
- its minimalism.

I've become a big fan of WorkFlowy as it allowed me to consolidate all my task lists (before I used 3 or 4 different to-do apps simultaneously and it was a mess). It's a tab in my Firefox that's always open besides Google Calendar on my PC.

Well, that's enough to persuade me to give it a go. I've never found a completely comfortable to-do app; TDL works very well to manage large hierarchies but most of my to-dos are simpler and more immediate, but I do need to work them from any device I'm using and from any place I am in.

For my current stuff, I like sticky notes because I can move them around and I much prefer the visual approach. I think I can make Evernote work quite effectively like that, but I will see what Workflowy can co.

Dormouse

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2007
  • **
  • Posts: 1,044
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Cross-platform apps?
« Reply #8 on: September 21, 2013, 01:50:15 PM »
Not sure if this take on things would work for you...

Sometimes the program itself is important, but other times it's simply the output. If the output is the important part, then what about using different applications that can handle the same output? e.g. MS Office on Windows, Libre Office on Linux, etc.

I'm not sure either  :-\

It is sort of what I do at the moment with MS Office and Softmaker Office. And I can automate the backups to the cloud (I think). I've never really used this type of program on Android, but can see that I might want to if I have 10" tablets I'm really not sure that I want to learn new progs for the iPad if they're not essential though. I suppose that would be the big attraction of Office365 for me, though just sticking with what I have would be cheaper.

Somehow feels that a single ecosystem will be easier, but now that ecosystem will be the apps themselves rather than the OS.

I can feel myself slipping right into Evernote as a key part of that, which feels very odd after all the debates post 2.2.
« Last Edit: September 21, 2013, 02:01:17 PM by Dormouse »

Dormouse

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2007
  • **
  • Posts: 1,044
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Cross-platform apps?
« Reply #9 on: September 29, 2013, 10:23:12 AM »
Update

Seems as if I will gradually be leaving behind a lot of the programs I have used for many years on Windows, purely for some consistency in having things on all my devices and knowing how things work in them. I'm stuck with needing to do this with iPads for now, but longer term am likely to be able to give that up and just go with Windows/Linux and Android. Very surprised at how few programs seem to be available on all these platforms.

Office-wise I decided to upgrade to Office365, but also have Softmaker and Google apps I can use instead. But I've also been reminded that my preference is for database based programs rather than having everything saved in individual files.

Evernote probably works better the more it is used, so that's fine. There is very little that it does really well but being available, syncing well and doing a lot of things makes it really useful.

Mendeley works well on iPad and Windows and Scholarley isn't too bad a mirror on Android.

Lastpass is ubiquitious. And even without checking I'm sure Truecrypt and Keepass will be there too.

Handwriting/drawing apps rarely seem to cross platforms. Note Anywhere does, and does most of the things I want, so I will probably go with that although its functionality seems to vary massively from one platform to another.

Outliner/writing programs will require my biggest change and most seem to be on one platform only. Scrivener has versions for Mac, iPad and PC and the Android version is supposed to be coming in the next month or two. I've tried Workflowy and can see what it does and why it should work for me (and why it might be better than many of the progs I have been using), but it's not going to come easily, so may well take the usual year or two, or three+, before I get into it.

PS I absolutely hate W8. Might be designed for touch, but it doesn't work well, let alone compare to iOS or Android, and the store has so little detail and virtually no reviews.