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Trying out Joplin, here's a fair assessment of my experience so far


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Just to preface this I don't hate Evernote v10 (although the lag is killing me). I probably won't switch. I'm just trying Joplin just as a general project I've been doing lately of self-hosting services on my own server - Nextcloud, etc. It seems to be the most Evernote-like experience. However, here's what I've noticed so far. 

 

  • The desktop app is Electron, so it actually feels very much like v10. If you hate v10, fair warning. However without the lag, it runs as well as a native application. This actually gives me faith that Evernote will fix their lag.

  • There is no mobile web clipper. At all. Maybe someday?

  • Browser web clipper extension works surprisingly well. Their simplified clip option seems to handle most webpages nicely. 

  • Note history is 90 days but you can set to however long you want. Very nice.

  • Sync works smoothly - but of course, you have to have your own storage backend set up properly. Nextcloud was easy to set up and syncs well. People seem to have issues using other storage backends like OneDrive, ymmv. Dropbox seems to work okay. They're developing a new Joplin server software you can run yourself on your own computer.

  • Note files/attachments greater than 100 mb may crash the mobile apps upon syncing. The devs have created a few workarounds for modern mobile devices but you won't know until you try on yours. 

  • The desktop app displays inline PDFs, that's new as of this week. Development seems very active.

  • The mobile app does not display PDFs, it just shows an attachment.

  • No searching within PDFs. No OCR search within images.

  • Text editing is Markdown. You may miss Evernote's color and formatting options. Notes can have tables. Inline images display well.

  • Notes can be encrypted in transit and at rest. Individual notes are not encryptable, I think it's either all or none. I've read chatter that the sqlite database is not encrypted but I'm not sure if this matters or is a likely attack vector.

  • ENEX imports to Joplin work pretty well. You can use a Markdown or an HTML conversion. My text notes with formatting look great in Joplin so far?

  • Internal links are broken by the import process. Or rather, clicking on an Evernote internal note link within Joplin will attempt to open Evernote (either the website or the legacy app).

  • You'd have to remember that nobody is serving up, or backing up, your notes other than you. That's true for several of these alternative services, like Standard Notes etc. What I mean is that my Joplin notes are currently sitting on a computer in my basement, which is not as stable as Evernote's accounts on Google servers. If another piece of software breaks your home server, that may delay access to your notes. If you use Dropbox and Dropbox changes their API, that may break the connection to your notes. And of course you need good backup practices in case an update corrupts your database or your kid deletes all your notes.

 

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