Old is new again, or How I found my way back to Evernote

Recently I wrote a couple of posts about my new writing workflow. I did a pretty extensive write-up on 5/6/2012 of what my goals were and the tools I was going to use to accomplish those goals. The whole workflow was going to revolve around using (multi)Markdown and the tools basically revolved around that choice. One of the choices I made was to ditch using Evernote as my main note storage software because it didn’t support Markdown and made it difficult to get stuff back out of Evernote.

My replacement of choice was going to be nvAlt on the Mac and ResophNotes on Windows. ResophNotes (and Windows for that matter) was necessary because at work I use Windows and I needed something that could access a cloud service. They are now blocking Evernote at work as well as Dropbox but Simplenote still works and nvAlt and ResophNotes can both use Simplenote for sync.

I figured I would give myself about a month to see how everything was working out but a week into the experiment I wrote the second post about how nvAlt just wasn’t clicking for me quite yet. I wrote about the main reasons why nvAlt just wasn’t doing it for me and now, at the end of May, I still don’t like using that tool. It just doesn’t work for how I like to organize and search for things. At the end of the day I want one place to keep things and nvAlt just isn’t it. I want to be able to store more than text. So I have gone back to Evernote…mostly.

The one area I still have issues is at work. As I noted before they are blocking Evernote and I still need some way to access my work notes. I’ve decided to split my work and personal storge needs up and I’m using ResophNotes/SimpleNote/nvAlt strictly for work. Everything else goes into Evernote. This modified workflow so far is working great. At work I just need text because I’m either typing directly into ResophNotes there or I’m writing on paper (gasp) and copying the notes into ResophNotes at the end of the day. Either way I only need text.

As to that whole thing about being able to get notes out of Evernote? Sure it’s not quite as nice as plain text but who am I kidding? I can get notes out, they’re just stored in a slightly-modified XHTML format[1]. At the end of the day they’re just text. There are plenty of HTML parsers out in the world. If I’m desperate to write in Markdown I can…it’s just going to come out formatted as HTML. I also have the choice of using a Mac service to create Evernote documents from Markdown files.

So hello once again Evernote. It feels so good to be back.


  1. Evernote’s storage format is ENML. Aside from a very small number of customizations it’s easy to parse these files as they’re just HTML files.  ↩

2 thoughts on “Old is new again, or How I found my way back to Evernote

  1. I use NValt (or Notational velocity) coluped with SimpleNote as repository. Evernote is a bit too messy for me and I get tired of its constant updates. Most of my notes are plain text so I do not need many of the fine Evernote features. NValt makes searching very fast and simple. It allows using OpenMeta tags so my notes can be in the same series as my pdfs, images etc. Because I keep ByWord files in the same directory I can search for them in the same go as I search for my other notes. All in all, for all serious (i.e. academic) business I prefer NValt.I do use Evernote for non-text content that I need on my iPhone: most often local maps, pdfs of hotel reservations, sometimes photos that I need to have at hand.

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  2. I’ve ended up with the same system alguohth I’ve just started using Byword on iOS as my main note taking app there. SimpleNote kept crashing (seems to be only me it happens to ) and (worse) messing up my notes during syncs. I’d been using Notesy until Byword for iOS came out, which is also great. Keeping everything in the same Dropbox folder as you do means I can easily get notes into other apps if I want to. iA Writer’s also worth looking at. nvAlt is fantastic, as you say.

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