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General brainstorming for Note-taking software

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I see that Wikipedia mentions the slowness of Tiddly Wiki based programs, which is likely to be especially troublesome in Mozilla-based browsers.  I'm interested, but slow I don't need.  I'll be following this thread to see what kind of experience others have.
-melitabel (December 13, 2007, 09:23 AM)
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Tiddly Wikis are javascript and (generally) XML based. Since they don't use a database to store the content (unlike real Wikis), they don't scale very well. They'll work fine at first, but will get slower and slower as it grows.

PPL, will SQLNotes have any slowdown as the database grows larger?
I've noticed this with a lot of notetaking programs.  The speed of SQL is pretty good right now, and it's important that it doesn't slow down significantly because the program's power and flexibility is suited for keeping large databases in it.  Will SQL support storing additional content in the future, like displaying pictures and so forth, because things like that cause slowdowns.

PPL, will SQLNotes have any slowdown as the database grows larger?
I've noticed this with a lot of notetaking programs.  The speed of SQL is pretty good right now, and it's important that it doesn't slow down significantly because the program's power and flexibility is suited for keeping large databases in it.  Will SQL support storing additional content in the future, like displaying pictures and so forth, because things like that cause slowdowns.-superboyac (December 13, 2007, 12:17 PM)
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SQLNotes is based on a database (JET 4.0) and will scale very well. My personal file (3.5 years of data) is nearly as fast as an empty one. One customer has 8 users linked to a central SQLNotes database. 20,000 items, 300,000 field values and it's still performing very well.

After release 1.0, I'll also work on using alternative back-end engines (SQL Server/Express, SQLite, MySQL) which will further improve scalability.

SQLNotes already support pictures in the outline and in the HTML editing pane [edit] and of course in the Image Viewer panes [/edit]. In both cases, these are links to files (except HTML pane showing MHT/EML files). Embedded pictures could be added too if users request such a feature.

All paid versions and all better at some things than the others, but none that seem to do it all well.
Someday I'll find that perfect note-taker!-J-Mac (December 13, 2007, 02:02 AM)
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Would you care to share what are the relative weaknesses of each of these 3 ?
-PPLandry (December 13, 2007, 07:29 AM)
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No time for me to compose a mini-review right now, but here are some of the things I like (or don't really like) in these three programs:


*   Great search capabilities, but not exactly intuitive, at least I don't feel it is.
*   No tables or spreadsheet capabilities - they claim you can drag & drop tables and spreadsheets into a note but I have had mixed success. I guess it depends on the complexity of the table or spreadsheet.
*   It does support about as many categories as you could ever want, but no tagging. The explanation from users on their forum is that Evernote's search powers are so good and that tags basically suck anyway. Matter of opinion, I imagine; I don't have to have tags but I do like them.
*   The "endless tape" format is pretty cool when you start using it, and can be useful if you have the time to play, but at times, if I'm in a hurry, the "tape" format can drive me nuts!
*   A weird thing here - they have built-in icons that you can assign to categories. Many users at their forum have been clamoring for years for them to allow adding your own icons, but they say that would be too difficult. I don't quite get that. Besides, you cannot see the icons on your notes - they don't show there. Only on the category list itself. I don't get that either! Either support category icons, or don't. This in-between position is pointless, IMO.
OneNote 2007:

*   Probably the one I use the most, but mainly just for clipping from the web or any application
*   I don't like using it much if I am writing a note. Maybe it's the individual text boxes - or "note containers", as MS calls them -that it creates each time I start typing. Not a problem with it - mainly just a personal preference.
*   The odd file format that results from clipping - I don't know what in the heck it is but it usually cannot be used to paste into other applications. That really annoys me.
*   If I want to mail a note from OneNote 2007 it attaches a proprietary file to the message and a link to download OneNote 2007.  I hate this!! If I'm sending a note to someone I want them to be able to read it - right away.  Not show them an advertisement for another Microsoft product! Alternatively you can have it add an attachment that will open a browser window. But it asks first if you want it to open in your default browser. Mine is Firefox and if I click "Yes" it instead opens another instance of Thunderbird - no idea why! Then it switches and opens an Internet Explorer window. Too much trouble to view a note if you ask me. But if you are using it solely for your own use and never plan to send a note to anyone you won't have to deal with that.
*   Good tagging support, but you cannot add your own - something that can defeat the purpose of icons, which IMO is to allow finding notes at a glance due to instantly recognizable icons. Being heavily involved with the PPC/Windows Mobile platform for five years I came to appreciate category icons. I always created my own from client companies' logos. Then if I looked at the calendar I could see where I would be traveling to and whom I would be meeting with in any upcoming week by just glancing at the icons on my calendar page. So I prefer that if a developer has category icons as a feature they should always allow users to create and use their own.

*   This one is my personal favorite for writing notes.
*   Tables and spreadsheets are built-in and handled nicely. Calculations, formulae, & advanced expressions in the spreadsheets.
*   Full rich text, extensive formatting options, clips & templates; I like how it handles these better than the others - once again, mostly personal preference.
*   Alarm clock and reminders, tabbed interface, excellent search facility, encrypted notes, link or bookmark between notes, create a new note using clipboard contents
*   ToDo's, built-in calendar feature to schedule tasks/notes, contacts, install to USB flash drive
*   And a big plus in my opinion: an active user forum w/good developer participation.
*   Big drawback -- no web clipping/screen clipping feature. For that I have to use one of the other apps. Also, a smaller drawback - no category icons.
*   Bigger drawback yet - no category support at all... Aarrgh!  I use the folder structure as a kind of ersatz categorization tool, but that's just crappy. Lack of categories of any kind is definitely a large miss, IMO.
As I said, a lot of the pluses and minuses are simply my own personal preference.  Many love OneNote 2007 for its ease of use.  Likewise with Evernote for its power searching and cross-categorization.  (Search more than one category together to narrow down and pinpoint specific results. - its single best feature IMO).  I just prefer AM-Notebook because it's easy to use, looks great, has an easy-to-reach developer who is very supportive, and to me it's kind of like having a mini (VERY mini!) office suite always open in my tray, and a mini PIM at the same time.

Now I'm sure that fans of the others will start shooting at me, but as I said, I have paid versions of all three of those (And a few others as well - I'm a note freak!), and I like them all for different things.  Just stating my personal reasons for liking one more overall than the others!  So I will refuse to argue with anyone looking for a "Notes" fight!!   :P   ;D


J-Mac.  Awesome!  What a great post.  Your program details are invaluable.  There's a big difference between reading the "feature list" of a program on the website, and reading these very-detailed user experiences.

I think I agree with pretty much everything you say.  I'm a note freak also.  There's at least a few pages in this thread devoted to the whole tagging/categories/heirarchy debate.  There's no good answer because the pros and cons of each system are different enough where neither has a significant advantage over the other.  I suggested that the best program will allow the user to choose between different organizing methods.  Sometimes tagging is better.  Sometimes a tree is better.

This is where SQLNotes comes in.  I hate to seem like I'm getting paid for saying this, but this program has won me over recently.  The program is so flexible, and correct me if I'm wrong PPL, that it can allow either a simple, traditional heirarchy; or a category/tag based system; and there are plans to include a more visual "mind-mapping" based feature also (not exactly sure about this one).

I have already begun to slowly move my notes from other programs into SQLNotes.  The only ones I'm holding onto are my clips in Evernote because, like J-Mac said, it's so fast and easy to find something in Evernote.  Also, in SQLNotes, I have my more "serious" notes, that is, the information that I know I need to have.  In Evernote, I keep just interesting stuff that I probably won't mind too much if I lose or forget about (lots of random web clips).  Evernote is like having a drawer full of post-its and piles of paper strewn all over the place, yet being able to find the one you're looking for REALLY fast.  But, SQL will apparently have more powerful searching and filtering features in the future also.


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