One of the first posts in Abapinho was about Evernote. Well, it was actually about the importance of taking notes. But it suggested Evernote was the best tool for the job.
It feels like yesterday but this was 10 years ago. 10 years using Evernote to take notes. Unfortunately whoever makes Evernote probably stopped taking notes many years ago because, since then, Evernote hardly evolved. Actually, it got worse, especially in its iOS version. After 10 years, they weren’t even able to (try to?) make a decent table editor. They’re either lazy or dumb.
I’ve been trying to find an alternative to Evernote for a long time. I like wikis. Especially if they’re hosted by me (I like owning my content and could write a lot about this subject but I’ll refrain myself since that would be off-topic). The truth is that I still didn’t find any self-hosted alternative as good as Evernote. So my self-hosting dream will have to wait.
But I did find good alternatives to Evernote. Notion and Roam. And they’re both impressive. While Roam is fascinating, it’s not yet a contender because, amongst other things, it currently only works in the browser and because it’s expensive and doesn’t have a free tier.
So, hello Notion.
I won’t list all of its virtues. They’re plenty and Notion’s website already does a great job at explaining them. But try to imagine an extraordinary orgy between Evernote, Trello, Wunderlist, Calendar, Basecamp, Google Docs and some more apps that happened to be nearby and joined the gangbang. Notion is the ofpsring of that extravagant sexual act. A versatile mutant which, besides the note taking features, allows you to present them in many different ways depending on what you need at a given moment. Your notes actually become structured, actionable, data. I was perfectly willing to pay for it but they have a free plan which seems to be enough for now. It even allows you to share pages with up to 5 people who can edit them simultaneously. Automatic Evernote import makes it a no-brainer to switch. And, unlike Evernote, it uses Markdown for everything, if you care about it. I do.
Notion isn’t perfect. It has bugs. It is slower than I’d like, it still doesn’t have OCR search and there is no way to self-host my content. But Notion is still a baby and, judging by the emails I already exchanged with they support team, it doesn’t have absent parents like Evernote.
I did a search in YouTube and found this guy who, like me, used Evernote for 10 years. He tried it, adopted it and is now a big fan. This other guy is one of those crazy self-quantifiers who won’t eat a meal with taking its picture. He’s such a fan that he actually things this shit will change your life. Maybe not. But, yes, it will probably improve it. But Notion is making a stirr.
Try it and share your experience. Ah, and if you happen to know of a better alternative please do let me know.
2020-08-22: Notion works well on my 2013 MacBook Pro mas it is way too slow in my work Windows laptop. It’s almost unbearable. If it doesn’t get better… I’ll have to reconsider Evernote, even if losing all of Notion’s amazing functionalities. That is until I find the perfect self-hosted Wiki to replace them all.
2020-10-02: I gave up on Notion for now. It’s too slow, I cannot get used to having each paragraph as a separate thing, it’s annoying to always have those tools wanting to pop up even when you just want to write in plain text, copy paste from the web doesn’t work well and printing even less. I’m now officially looking for an Evernote replacement again. Roam research is the best one but it’s expensive and impossible to self-host. Athens seems to be a nice Roam clone which is open-source and and can be self-hosted but it’s still under development. Obsidian is also a very interesting file-based alternative. Things are clearly evolving very fast so I’ll wait to see where we’ll be in some months from now. Until I’ll keep using Evernote.
Greetings from Abapinho