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Posts posted by Veritrope

  1. It seems like there isn't enough time in the day to reply on all of the Evernote forum threads that I'd like to... so I can only imagine how you feel, Dave!

    Seriously -- I appreciate you taking the time to respond.

    For the sake of clarity, I'll try to comment "in line":


    I started this thread about the same time that I was writing a short piece about the iPad -- which ended up expanding into some of my recent thoughts about Evernote as well. (http://veritrope.com/opinion/the-poetry-in-not-pleasing-everyone). Maybe it was just interesting timing, but by juxtaposing the two, I really had to stop and consider the idea that the technology we use makes certain "core promises" to us as users.

    In that vein, I am glad to hear that Evernote is re-committing to delivering on the fundamentals -- text editing, open import/export, etc. -- that any good note-taking program must have. My suspicion is that the Evernote team is "eating it's own dogfood" quite a bit and that, as heavy Evernote users yourselves, these current short-comings annoy you as much as anyone!


    "We try to avoid giving specific timelines for future releases, since we don't like to look like jerks when things don't go as planned. But we've been doing work towards a lot of this lately."

    Anybody that reads this forum knows that you are not a jerk.... (QUESTION FOR DAVE'S CO-WORKERS AT EVERNOTE: IS THIS ACTUALLY TRUE?) :)

    You shared specifics here of what the team is working on to resolve some of these problems... and your users thanked you for it! In fact, I think the responses so far on this thread have pointed to something that would really be helpful and appreciated -- a Development Status page!

    Cultured Code does it for THINGS on a special page (http://culturedcode.com/status/), but even a Sticky at the top of the Mac forum with a thread of "Stuff We're Working On For The Next Release..." would probably work.


    "For example, a lot of the text formatting/editing complaints are indirect results that our "editor" is actually the WebKit engine in "edit mode", which produces funky HTML that we then sanitize to an internal, cross-platform subset. This means that some of the odd editor behavior (e.g. around lists) stems from the 20-year history of HTML behavior, which we try to work around with a cascade of tricks. For example, I'm 99% sure that this report is an artifact of how WebKit handles lists in "edit mode". I bet if you tried to do the same thing in raw WebKit, you'd get the same results.

    We're changing our internal representation to loosen the constraints on the HTML we produce to permit things like inline CSS 'style' attributes on elements, which should allow both a more natural editing transformation, and also permit future features that can't be expressed in our current representation (e.g. highlighting of text). RTF falls into the same boat ... we're taking RTF, handing it to WebKit, and getting strange results, so need to clean that up."

    Yeah...I've run into this type of WebKit nonsense before... recently, in fact, when I was writing that AppleScript for Scotty321 to convert his notes!

    But as I mentioned in his thread (http://forum.evernote.com/phpbb/viewtopic.php?f=38&t=15041&p=59931#p59931), I really feel like this draws a line under the importance of AppleScript.

    Hopefully, it's not too weird to quote myself from that thread....

    The fact of the matter is that, in this context, the AppleScripts that I write for import/export are like "taking an aspirin" for minor Evernote pain, whereas people like Dave and Geech are trying to provide a long-term, lasting cure for your workflow headaches.

    (Is this stretching the metaphor too far?)

    But aspirin has it's place -- which is why I urge anyone who cares enough about Evernote to read through forum posts like these to ask that additional AppleScript support be made a priority. Robust AppleScript implementation means that users like us can hack together some stop-gap solutions for workflow problems while the Developers work on the deeper fixes. It would also help everyday users develop workflows and contribute integrations as a community. For the Evernote Development Team and other API Developers, this could also really help shine a light on how people actually use (or would like to use) Evernote.

    Seems like a "WIN/WIN" to me!

    Again, here is my not-so-subtle pitch for some additional AppleScript development.... :)

    Because of the existing AppleScript support, I was able to quickly hack something together for Scott that at least was a "Band Aid" for his problem. Another example -- before Evernote had native HTML export, I was able to hack together an HTML Exporter with AppleScript (and a little Termnal-fu). It wasn't exactly the prettiest code in the world, but it worked well as a stop-gap solution until you guys rolled out the official, baked-in feature.

    Similarly, there are several complaints that I've seen here where users could at least temporarily ameliorate their own problems while you guys are working on the "big fix" -- if only there were a slightly more robust AppleScript implementation.

    I think you get what I'm saying here.... Anyone else feel the same?

  2. Well, as much as I hate to do anything other than whole-heartedly agree with the idea that people should give me jobs and money.... :)

    If you look in this thread:


    ...you'll see something I wrote directly to the Evernote Developers on the topic. Dave Engberg, who is part of the Mac team for Evernote, replied with some additional detail about these issues.

    I still need to reply on that thread (...that's next, hopefully), but to address Scott's points on *this thread*:

    • [*:34j7fepp]It is clear to me that the team is earnestly working on it. Sometimes, it takes a while to turn a big boat around and, even though Evernote may not seem like a "big boat", we're talking about a platform that has to work on Windows, the Web, Android, etc. Based on what Dave said, the changes that are required to really make the importing side of things better are platform-wide changes... and moving cautiously with something that could have a deleterious effect on millions of notes is certainly understandable.
      [*:34j7fepp]The fact of the matter is that, in this context, the AppleScripts that I write for import/export are like "taking an aspirin" for minor Evernote pain, whereas people like Dave and Geech are trying to provide a long-term, lasting cure for your workflow headaches.
      (Is this stretching the metaphor too far?)
      But aspirin has it's place -- which is why I urge anyone who cares enough about Evernote to read through forum posts like these to ask that additional AppleScript support be made a priority. Robust AppleScript implementation means that users like us can hack together some stop-gap solutions for workflow problems while the Developers work on the deeper fixes. It would also help everyday users develop workflows and contribute integrations as a community. For the Evernote Development Team and other API Developers, this could also really help shine a light on how people actually use (or would like to use) Evernote.
      Seems like a "WIN/WIN" to me! :)

    That said...

    We all know that, the longer that Evernote takes to turn the boat around, the more alienated users (and consultants like us, Scott) it creates. I've written about this elsewhere and, personally, I think that it would be a real shame if this didn't get addressed *very soon*.

    My hope is that some additional Corporate-level support (e.g., money and programmers) will allow the Development Team to turn the corner on all of this stuff -- and to move on to the more fun and interesting things to do with the platform!

    • Like 1

    • Two honorary bonus points for both the funny screenshot and for your use of "bonkers"! :(

      • [*:1fgdhrgz]Which version/build of Evernote are you using?
        [*:1fgdhrgz]Is the "double-up" occurring as you type -- or only after editing? The reason I ask is that the only way I could reproduce the error was by typing the bullets in succeeding levels.... and then deleting back from one that was a "next level" bullet (i.e., going back to the level above).

  3. Mahalo!

    If you’re importing a lot of items, I’d recommend that you change a few settings inside Evernote before beginning the import. In the “Clipping” tab of the Preferences menu, uncheck the boxes in the section called “After a clip:


    If the boxes are checked while importing a large number of items, Evernote will fill your screen with open windows and sound like it is repeatedly shooting you with a laser from a 70’s Sci-Fi movie.

    Trust me — uncheck the boxes first and you’ll be much happier!

  4. Hey Phil, Andrew, Dave, and other members of the Mac Development Team:

    As much as I'd love for you guys to devote your full efforts into making an iPad client ready for a "Day-and-Date Launch" :D , I've been seeing a number of posts on the forum from Mac users -- especially about formatting-related issues -- that are of growing concern to me.

    Now, I suspect that improving the way that Evernote for Mac handles imported text, code, documents, etc. is already at the very top of your priority list (especially now that the Windows update has been launched!), but I thought this might be a good moment to both touch base / get a sense of where things stand.... and offer some encouragement not to take your eye off this particular ball.

    The Ball:

    Something that Scotty321 said in a recent thread really hit home with me:

    So for now, I am forced to stick with SOHO Notes, which also syncs with the iPhone, and actually SURPASSES Evernote in dozens & dozens of different ways. While I was initially drawn to Evernote because of its web syncing ability, that one compelling feature is by no means an important enough feature to get me to RETYPE all 250 of my notes from scratch.

    Over the past twelve months, the landscape of Note-Taking software aimed at Mac users has grown far more competitive: Both Yojimbo and DEVONthink Pro have seen substantial upgrades, as well as other great offerings like SOHO, Instapaper, Simplenote, Notational Velocity.... each different, but all really solid, customizable, Mac-friendly apps.

    Granted -- none of your competitors are (so far) attempting what I think is a core strength of the Evernote offering: Building a truly multi-platform, partner-friendly, client-based architecture for all of your information... and making it available everywhere! I can only imagine the complexity of all of the priorities and technical issues that you guys are trying to balance among all of your offerings but, as much as I love the scope and the "WOW!" factor of things like, say, the growing number of integrations with apps like reQall, Curio, and JotNot... I make my living as a consultant who helps Mac users "digitize their lives".

    It makes it hard for me to keep my clients happy when the fundamentals aren't there.

    Things like having their text come out of a program the way that it goes in.

    Or getting it to go in correctly in the first place.

    Or being able to customize a workflow for them to easily use Apple Mail if they want to.

    • [*:1cpfuehz]Could you lay out a more specific timetable for when these long-standing improvements and fixes will be rolled out?
      [*:1cpfuehz]Is there anything that we in the Mac community can do to help you? Submit samples of files / use cases where things didn't go as expected?

    AppleScript Improvements:

    I've also been seeing a number of posts on the forum from Mac users about issues that I've felt could be quickly resolved (or temporary workarounds provided) if they had a couple of additional AppleScript hooks to utilize. As you might remember, I suggested a few enhancements to AppleScript in this post from October --


    Here are excerpts from a handful of recent posts ...


    ...it doesn't actually import the RTF files correctly at the current moment. It truncates all blank lines together, so an entire document with spaces between the paragraphs no longer has any spaces between the paragraphs anymore... once you bring them into Evernote. Every single line in your RTF file becomes "smushed together" within Evernote. (http://forum.evernote.com/phpbb/viewtopic.php?f=38&t=15041)

    Mail Issues:

    Unfortunately, highlighting everything, copying and then pasting to Evernote does not include attachments... which is one of the main thing I'm looking for. (http://forum.evernote.com/phpbb/viewtopic.php?f=38&t=14919)
    This is a feature request for a "one button capture" (similar to Evernote button in Safari) that would allow for a direct batch import to Evernote of all selected messages in Mail.app, with the ability to tag (and/or select notebook)... [and to] keep attachments in place... which is a serious issue if Evernote is to become my "universal inbox" and digital filing system. (http://forum.evernote.com/phpbb/viewtopic.php?f=38&t=14726)

    Bulk Edits:

    I have been unable to find an equivalent to the Tags Assignment dialog available in the (3.1) Windows client. This allows me to easily assign multiple existing tags to a note with checkboxes. Does an equivalent exist in the Mac version? (http://forum.evernote.com/phpbb/viewtopic.php?f=38&t=13470)
    I'd like to store my document templates (usually pdf expenses forms etc) in evernote, create a duplicate, edit the file in pdf pen and save it back to evernote as expenses August 09 or similar. At the moment this is laborious - I have to open the file in evernote, open it in pdf pen, edit it, save it to finder and then reimport to evernote and add the original tags.

    Can we have a 'duplicate note' function please? (http://forum.evernote.com/phpbb/viewtopic.php?f=38&t=11942&start=0&hilit=duplicate

    A Non-Steve-Jobsian "One More Thing...":

    Oh...and there seems to be a general clamor for:

    1.) Direct, URI-type linking to notes.

    2.) Customizable Hierarchies of Notebooks/Tags


    Anything that you could do to communicate a concrete road-map to improving both "the fundamentals" and the other items above would be greatly appreciated!

  5. That's weird... not happening here with my files. Anyone else trying the various import methods described in this thread? Having similar results?

    If anyone is interested in helping to sort out these import issues, PM me here or send a message via the Veritrope.com contact form to get in touch. We’ll coordinate and come up with a few sample files to help me figure out what the issues are!

  6. Sorry -- I wasn't clear about your intent from your original post, but I think I've got it now:

    • [*:37tf4a33]You have the Evernote Free service -- not Premium;
      [*:37tf4a33]You don't want to attach the CSV/XLS file to a note, but rather create individual notes from the entries in your CSV file

    Do I have it now?

    If so, then you're having an issue similar to someone who wrote to me wanting to export their notes from Notespark: http://veritrope.com/tips/reader-question-export-from-notespark.

    What you're suggesting, while "easy" from a technical standpoint, is actually more complicated than it appears. Take your particular example -- You'd like to take a CSV file from Palm Desktop (your "memos", I assume) and import entires as individual notes. Once you know which tab-delimited field corresponds with which Evernote note field, it's not hard to set something up (either within the program or with an AppleScript) that will import the notes. This correspondence, however, is the hard part in making a "one-size-fits-all solution": The fields are different for every type of program exporting to a CSV file!

    Take this example that I found of someone trying to bring Palm data into Outlook via CSV: http://www.deepwave.net/articles/palm/palm_calical/

    ...or this example of someone trying to get their Palm notes from the CSV file into Toodleoo:


    All of which shows that, while it may be the year 2010, importing/exporting your data still isn't a trivial thing.

    If enough people express a need for a Palm Importer, I'll write an AppleScript to do the job.

    (...or, if A LOT of people ask, I'm sure Evernote will roll it into their import options!)

    In the interim (with a little Google-fu), I found someone who already did what you are asking -- albeit in a somewhat convoluted way.

    I've cut-and-pasted their technique below for you or anyone who wants to take a shot and share their results back here:

    1. Export your memos from Palm Desktop to a file in your Documents folder.

    - Open Palm Desktop

    - Click File, then Export

    - Be sure to change the default options to:

    - Module: Memos

    - Items: Desktop Memos (NOT all memos)

    - Format: Tab & Return

    2. Replace all the funky vertical bars with regular ones

    - open TextEdit

    - Click on TextEdit > Preferences

    - Click on the Open & Save tab

    - change Opening files: to Western (Windows Latin 1) (remember to change it back later!)

    - close the Preference dialog

    - open the file in TextEdit

    - copy one of those fake verticle bars | to your clip board (it is not a vertical bar, it just looks like one)

    - apple-F, and paste in the fake |, and replace with a real |

    - save the file

    - exit text edit (changing your preferences back)

    3. create the perl file

    - open a Terminal windows (in Applications>Utilities)

    - cd Documents

    - vi convert.pl

    - i

    - paste in this:

    use strict;

    my $file = shift || exit;
    my $text = `cat $file`;
    my @items = split(/\r/,$text);

    foreach my $line (@items)

    my ($title, $body) = split(/\t/,$line);
    $body =~ s/\|/\n/gis;
    # print ">>>>>$title\n\t$body\n\n";
    #if(rand(100) < 10){last};

    # print OUT $title . "\n";
    print OUT $body;
    close OUT;

    - type ZZ (two capital Z's)

    4. Run the converter

    - perl convert.pl yourmemofilename

    5. Open the memo files in Evernote

    - select and then right click on about 20 of your newly created memo files.

    - select open with Evernote

    - each memo will be added to Evernote

    - you can close each memo after it is added

    - repeat with the next 20

    Hope this is helpful!

  7. Hi Sara,

    As is often the case with many tech-related things, there is more than one road to arrive at the same place -- and that's true here as well!

    Evernote has so many ways to get stuff into and out of it (Global Clipper, Email into Evernote, Twitter, Save as PDF, AppleScript) that, frankly, I'm not sure if there's one "right way" to get messages from Mail into it. I think it depends on what you want to do with your messages at the time.

    The clipper is great and works well in many instances... but try highlighting more than one message before doing the "global paste". You'll get a note with the name of your inbox and the number of messages in it and the note body will have each message appended to the next (at least, that's what it does for me!). That's great if you want to combine many emails into one note, but not-so-great if you're looking to archive a bunch of messages individually.

    What if you want to tag the emails on the way in? What if you want to put them somewhere other than the default notebook? This is where AppleScript (and Snow Leopard Services) are very helpful -- you can set up a function that works exactly the way that YOU want it to!

    Does that make sense?

  8. Hi there Pendolino!

    I've seen that type of error on rare occasions -- I think it happens when Evernote's XML parser doesn't like the way the message source code looks.

    First, I would delete that particular note from Evernote until we get things sorted (so you don't have to look at that sync error).

    We should then probably compare notes in the comment section of the Script's webpage on Veritrope.com to diagnose it (and to see if anyone else is getting the same error). You can also privately send me more details of the mail message that isn't transferring properly using the comment form at the site.

    Sound good?

  9. I had initially considered "Option # 4" and dismissed it, but I'm feeling more enthusiastic about it after reading your post... especially if we can sprinkle a little "Option #3" Cocoa goodness on top! :D

    Until the Evernote gang says "More Web-based stuff is coming", I'm going to start playing around with some of these concepts... and I'll DM you later on Twitter with my contact info in case you want to make it a collaborative effort!

  10. You can certainly do it that way -- I'm testing a Services workflow that does so right now, in fact! (I'll release that very soon)

    But I was suggesting that, as much as I love AppleScript, I feel like it's not quite the right tool for this job on it's own in this particular use case.

    Instead, I think that Evernote's Mac users would benefit from also being able to view the results of a "find notes" function via a URL call to the Web Interface, not just via AppleScript -- and here's why:

    • [*:v0ylyqil]Here's a direct link to the clip that I mentioned in my previous message:
    (... and, by all means, feel free to rock out to the Prefuse 73 Soundtrack while you watch the beauty that is an Automator Service using a Live Web Preview! :D )
    You'll see how the "Live Preview Window" superimposes itself over the window you're in, lets you interact with the information, and then goes away when you're done. To my mind, this would be a great way to do a quick check of your Evernote data while not losing your place. I tend to think of things in terms of momentum.... too many steps away from what you were working on and, voila, you've lost focus. (Of course, I realize that everyone else may not be as easily distracted as I am!)
    [*:v0ylyqil]When comparing the layout of the "Quicknote box" against AppleScript's Dialog Boxes, the AS boxes aren't exactly....um... aesthetically appealing. If you'd like, I could probably mock up a comparable "Quicksearch box" to juxtapose directly against the AppleScript results to demonstrate how I think Web with good CSS styling beats AS in this instance. But it's not just about "eye candy": I think that a cleaner, less intrusive layout equals better function in this case;
    [*:v0ylyqil]Has the added virtue of being a cross-platform/bookmarklet-able solution...

    You get the idea and, since the backend code for a fair amount of this stuff is already in in place, I thought I'd ask if it was something that the Evernote gurus were considering.

  11. The system-wide nature of Services allows for some really interesting possibilities.... and I'm already beta testing some that have been adapted from the AppleScripts on my site!

    Let me throw out an idea and maybe Dave or someone can tell me if this would be feasible in the future:

    I've just published an "Amazon.com Search Service" that allows you to highlight some text and search for it inside a special preview window immediately on Amazon.com!:



    (Webpage has a short video to show how it works)

    Wouldn't it be cool if there were a way to use Services to search through your Evernote items as well?

    Could there be a way in the future -- perhaps via a properly-formatted URL -- to let an authenticated user search their notes and receive the results in a streamlined format?

    For example, the web-clipper calls on a stripped-down "Quicknote" window, a la:


    Services like reQall are already doing this through their own integration, but I think that this could be very helpful for many of us to have available on the Service (or URL) level!

    Just a thought...

  12. I have an AppleScript that I've never published which creates a note with the URLs of all open tabs in Safari.

    If you're interested, I'll publish it -- and, if you think it would be helpful, look at adapting it for a "single tab" bookmark.

  13. Man -- You guys are on the case! :D

    One more thought -- I didn't include it originally because it's not really a "bug" or AppleScript-specific, per se, but...

    Everyone would benefit from a fuller documentation of Evernote's Search Syntax.

    (as discussed in this thread also: http://forum.evernote.com/phpbb/viewtopic.php?f=30&t=9889&p=44340)

    Some of the ideas in that thread are right on the money! A search builder....more prominent documentation...maybe a wiki or a special blog page with samples and use cases -- you get the idea.

    Right now, clients come to me and ask "Hey Justin -- Can you customize Evernote to [do something cool/tweak my data/connect to another app/etc.]?" Many times I'm not really sure because I feel like, even though I've read the syntax addendum to the API docs, I still really don't understand it fully.

    The "find notes" issue I raised in the first post is a great case-in-point. While it may just be a case of me needing to not be such a big dummy and to RTFM a little closer (fairly likely), I don't think it would hurt if there were more resources available to help turn on the light bulb over my head.

    In fact, this is something that you guys already excel at: Video tutorials, a blog with fun use cases and announcements, Ron's Tumblr blog... and let's not forget that magical half-hour known as the "Evernote Podcast"! :)

    As someone who observes (and works with) any number of application makers and technology companies, I have always felt like the Evernote team has set the standard for how a company should communicate with its users. You guys find new, creative ways of doing it all the time. Time to do it here as well, I think.

    One more brief aside specifically for Dave/Andrew:

    Almost all of the clients that I help -- authors, film-makers, "stay-at-home parents", scientists, designers, etc. -- are using your technology to enable their creative work. As the guy who helps them to put together a personal workflow, it's always a fun moment when their "light bulb turns on" as they see the potential of how products like Evernote can take what they do to "the next level" (hence my post title).

    Thanks again to you both for working so hard to make this product "Not-Just-Good-But-GREAT".

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