mynotes – An opensource note taking app based on Vim

I am an avid note taker and I have used many note taking solutions over the years. I have used plain text files, word, wordperect, samsung notes, onenote, evernote, joplin and probably a few others which I don’t even remember anymore.

A lot of these had some kind of a flaw or something that did not quite work for my workflow. There was always a privacy issue to be considered. I always faced some kind of an issue. Sometimes the developers would decide to remove exporting features, the apps would crash and I would lose my notes, and on one occasion I upgraded my computer and I had lost the CD that was to be used to install the software, and there was no way to access my notes.

But the thing that made to decide to stop using any other solution other than my own was this: I had deleted my notes and deleted my evernote account some 3 or 4 years ago. I decided to try evernote again earlier this year and to my surprise my notes were still on the account! I may try other apps again, but I shall never ever use evernote again!

Requirements for my note taking app

Coming to the point of this blog post, I decided to build my own solution. I had some criteria that this new solution should meet:

  • privacy oriented
  • minimalist
  • easy to use
  • multi-platform
  • easy to export to other formats
  • long lasting – would not easily go obselete

Markdown file format

I decided to use text files in markdown format. Text files have existed since the dawn of computers and I dare to say, will never go obsolete. Markdown is a very simple markdown language that is minimalist, easy to learn and easy to read, uinlike something like XML or HTML.


At first I thought about building my own app, but then I decided to use existing editors like vscode, Vim, nano etc…Settling for Vim was an easy decision because Vim has a proven track record and it is one of the most customizable, universally available and stable editors out there. There is a learning curve involved, however, you can learn just enough to start using it in an hour and that would be all you will ever need to take notes, or you can spend years mastering different tricks and adding your own customization. It is this versatility that I love.

Notes and Notebooks

All notes are text files in markdown format and all notebooks are directories – done!

Synchronization and Portability

Most note taking apps have features that let you access and edit your notes over the web, on my phone, table, or computer. You can use cloud storage services like Onedrive, dropbox, google drive etc…

Or, if you hare concerned about privacy or want to own your data, you can use NextCloud. I will make another post on how to get started with NextCloud.

Get mynotes for free

mynotes is free and is opensource. You can download it from my github page. The install script is to be used on Linux, however, you can also use it on Windows 10 via WSL. You can download install a WSL based linux distro like Ubuntu from the Windows app store.

Installation and instructions are available in the file and in this youtube video:


Evernote: The only note keeper you’ll ever need

186tgj38eph2cjpgI’m going to get right to the point with this one because there is no argument about Evernote being the best note taking tool/software/service.

What sets it a apart from all the others is its speed, simplicity and stability.

It has had some hiccups in the past, but overall it has been one of the most stable apps/services.

I’m not always too keen one using external products or services especially if it is software related. Even at Okinara, we try to keep it in-house as much as possible, knowledge base, issue tracking system, development servers etc..

However, I am personally relying more and more on Evernote now and so is my business.

Multiple Platforms

Evernote can be used on multiple platforms: android, iphone, ipad, windows, web and mac.



The synchronization on Evernote is one of the things that keeps no loyal to Evernote. I can start my note on my Macbook Pro, and then continue on my Android phone, add or remove something on my Linux based server and continue the process by adding a few more notes on my tablet during my meeting with a client. All this happens seamlessly without any hiccups.

On the off chance that there are some synchronization issues for example if I made some changes on my laptop which did not have internet connection at that moment and then I went and made some changes on my phone which did have Internet connection, so now the second modification will get applied to the note on the Evernote server, but when I go back to my laptop to make chances and this time it has internet connection, there will be a conflict. Evernote is smart enough to know that there is a conflict. It will save both notes and prompt me to take a look.

It’s a very smart and practical app.

KISS – Keep It Simple, Stupid

Notes are organized into Notebooks which can only go deep to two levels – a parent notebook book with many sub notebooks which can have many notes.  Each note can also be tagged with one or more tags. Using the combination of these two methods keeps the very simple and basic Eernote seems sophisticated.

If you need a deeper structure (sub category of sub categories and more), you can actually accomplish that with Evernote with notebooks and tags. If I get a chance and if there is demand for it, I’ll write an article on it.

The interface is also very simple. On the web, mac and windows, there are notes on the left and note details on the right. The notebook window simply displays all the notebooks that you have. In contrast One Note is packed with tonnes of features but can quite difficult to navigate and at a certain point it has too much going on for its own good. Then there is Google Keep which just over simplifies everything and is a very weak service/app for what you might want to do with your notetaker.

Types of Notes


Evernote can record text notes, voice notes, images from your phone and attachments. It can even take hand written notes. This is something that can compete with the Note 4’s handwritten memo. This is one of the secondary reasons I chose to go with Samsung galaxy S6 (check out my take on the Galaxy S6 and S6 edge.   instead of the Note 4. If you want to get the the doodling feature of the Note4 on a phone that is not Note 4, then you can simply use Evernote.

Other useful features

  • Reminders – you can turn any note into a reminder and even set a due date
  • web clipper for chrome

Comes in 3 versions – which one is right for you?


  • all the feature I mentioned above
  • 60MB uploads


All the features of the  free version plus:

  • $24.99/ year
  • 1GB uploads
  • pascode lock
  • forward important emails directly to your evernote


  • $49.99/year
  • unlimited uploads
  • do more with pdfs – can annotate them
  • version tracking
  • scan business cards
  • search in office documents
  • create slides for presentation

Other uses of Evernote include:

  • keep notes
  • act as a knowledge base
  • keep track of meetings and agenda
  • shopping list
  • journal
  • photo journalism – quick snap to make a note
  • recipe book
  • project management tool
  • CRM

That’s my take on the Evernote. Do you have any other note taking service that you would like me to review. Please add a comment below, like and share this post if you find it useful.