This turned out to be a part of a series of posts about moving to plaint text based workflow. If you want to read more parts one, three are here. I’ve made few attempts at using ResophNotes as the center of my workflow but none of them was successful until recently. Only after reading upon other peoples’ plain text setups I was able to remodel my own approach and use the application successfully. If you want to radically simplify your tool set and rely on plain text files ResophNotes will be excellent for that and will require no learning. Since ResophNotes has become such a essential application I decided write its overview.
What is it?
ResophNotes is a free, note taking application that provides simple and efficient way for managing information. The application is very small and can be either installed or used straight from a zip folder. This makes it an excellent tool for using it form a USB drive.
Notes that you will collect can be stored in one of two ways. You can either use a single database file which means all notes are stored in a one file that can be accessed and edited by ResophNotes only. The second option and one that I recommend is to store your notes as individual plain text files. If you’re storing your notes as individual files you can save them in Dropbox folder which makes your notes accessible from any computer and device that can use Dropbox. In addition to that you can setup Resoph to sync with Simplenoteapp.com which provides additional layer of cloud backup and access from iPhone or Android mobile apps. One of the reason I’m using this type of sync is that AndroNoter app that I use on my phone provides me with offline access to all of my notes.
Layout and Navigation
The application provides simple and clear layout with three panes to use. One dedicated to your list of notes which can be sorted by date or by name. Second pane is dedicated to search and third will show the content of the selected note.
Although on the basic level Resoph it stores only plain text, it provides support for Markdown formatting. Markdown is a great way for adding a very light structure and formatting to a note while maintaining its plain text simplicity. If you are not familiar with Markdown please visit John Gruber’s site for further details. All of my post are written in Markdown and once finished I can simply preview the html and then paste into WordPress. My post is fully formatted including headings, links etc. It will most likely change the way you write.
Search and Organisation
As you gather more and more information the ability to easily find it and access it will become crucial. Any drag or friction in search is most likely to cause for the application to be abandoned. Thankfully ResophNotes provides super quick and efficient search which makes finding previous notes breeze. The search looks up notes as you type so just with one or two words you can get to the right note. In addition to search, you can apply tags to your notes with keywords and phrases for easy categorisation and sorting. I personally don’t use them and prefer to rely on keywords that I include in the note. This way I don’t rely on Resoph tagging and should I move to another app my notes will retain the keywords. Sometimes certain notes need to be kept at hand and always visible. If you have such notes you can pin them and they will stay on top of the notes’ list.
Since we talk about speed and efficiency, the program is keyboard friendly which means that you can operate it fully without a need for a mouse. Keyboard shortcuts are well planned and give you access to all functions which becomes super useful if you work on a laptop or small netbook where using the touch pad may not be comfortable.
Two very nice features that I discovered recently is full screen mode which makes writing and note taking much more focused and effective. The second feature is note linking which lets you create links between notes and create a form of relationships and web of related items. Something resembling a wiki. I must say that this feature looks very interesting but I don’t think it would be transferable to other applications.
ResophNotes is an excellent application that provides fantastic way for managing notes, snippets of text, lists and all the items that can be stored in text. It provides bare bones note taking functionality but does it in a simple and effectivy way. Few nice options like Markdown support and Simplenote sync make a very compelling choice. Personally I’m getting to conclusion that plain text files are sufficient for 90% of my needs and I can see myself using the application in the long run. If you’re looking for a simple and fast way for storing your information I can definitely recommend ResophNotes as an application worth considering.