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Trying to Build a Micro Journalling App

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Table of Contents

Note
Note that this experiment is very well, experimental. I do not know front-end or app development so I would mostly be hacking things together here to see if I can make something that works for me. This is also great, because I know there are 800 note/journal apps in the wild and absolutely no-one is ever going to use mine, so I don’t even have to pretend to make it work for other people, which usually adds complexity in organization/features/scoping/hard-coding.
And, if Raindrop ends up having workspaces or Habitify ends up solving most of my tracking wants and needs, I might abandon this project anyway.

Why?

This is a two-fold problem on my end:
  1. Any kind of tracking or micro journalling app usually does not work for me for either of these 4 reasons:
    1. Not free-form or no structured extraction from free-form
    2. Not cross platform/cross device with sync and offline abilities (the only time I care about offline abilities)
    3. Has a rich text editor/viewer → I really do not want markdown
    4. Allows for stacks or workspaces
  2. Why not just use Notion? One of the main pain-points I have with Notion, is its inability to do anything with blocks. While blocks are these great contained pieces of information, we do not have the ability to filter them, or search within them.
One of the things I am most excited by in scope of LLMs is structured data extraction from curated unstructured data, while still allowing for manual pushes in the right direction. And this gives me a good, yet, private ground for RAG, memory and context testing of LLMs on my end, for purely research purposes.
Ideally something like this would use generative UI like the vercel AI sdk, but, I am no shape or form equipped enough to be good at that, so that isn’t happening. Instead I might just try doing something like potluck — but again, that is a far fetched dream.
Someday I will be good enough to modify or build all tools around my workflow

Existing Apps

  1. Journalistic: Honestly, pretty nice and should work for most of my purposes, except it doesn’t allow for images or audio (I usually don’t need this, but the day I do, I do not want to be searching for another app), doesn’t have an offline mode, and doesn’t allow to change timestamps of when something is added.
  2. Supernotes: Pretty cool, has a calendar view and has targetted date, tags, links to blocks, labels, works offline, across devices. Has a WYSIWYM editor instead of WYSIWYG and does not allow for embeds which uh, is not ideal and I am used to the capabilities of Notion’s editor. It also costs $5/mo even with student discount on an annual plan, and while I might shell that out for a perfect app that fits all my needs, this isn’t it at the moment.
  3. Columns: This is so cool, has some of the UX features I would want, but is more task focussed, doesn’t have an API and I don’t really know when it is and when it isn’t under active development.
  4. Bundled Notes: Pretty good, but doesn’t have the calendar/timeline feature I am looking for, and does not have API access, so I cannot do the insights thing that is inbuilt into Journalistic. It also hasn’t been updated in like 6 months, which is a huge deal in web dev/mobile app time period.
  5. Pile, Strflow, Workflowy, Qept, Listy, Lazy, Q.page, Streams and tetr: All of these have things I like and things I dislike but gist of this is they are either not multi-device, or they do not have an API or they do not look good, and I don’t think any of them work long term for my needs.
  6. Walling, xTiles, Scrintal, Heptabase: While these are all nice, they are overpowered for micro journalling and still do not have the things I need, while also being expensive, so they are mostly a no go.
  7. Use Tana or Capacities: I might. The biggest problem I've had with Tana is the lack of ability to write longer documents — which I do not have here and you are kind of making a custom app. It's already outliner like so you can timestamp it anyway. The biggest problem I've had with Capacities is the lack of collaboration — and maybe if I finagle my way into using this - I do not need multiplayer for tracking+journaling.
  8. Just use Raindrop, Anybox, Google Keep: Either these are uni-device/platform, do not support just notes or do not have workspaces.
  9. Use Monoline, Habitify, Conjure, Awesome Habits, Futureland, Gami: While these are the closest to what I want from the life tracking part of this “app”, they are either structured entry only (even with really customizable rules), or do not have LLM based data extraction or aren't cross-platform.
  10. Use mymind, webbites, napkin, sublime, capture, fabric, mymemo, saveday or the 100 other AI-native notes app: They are (a) more expensive than I want or need (yes I know AI calls cost money, no they do not cost $10/mo), (b) are inflexible in how AI is applied for data extraction, and, (c) focus on talking to bookmarks — and I don’t enjoy that idea.
    I do like mymemo’s content types though
    The image displays a user interface from the mymemo app, showcasing various content types such as articles, videos, notes, tweets, and files, organized by categories like Image, Links, Videos, Tweets, Notes, Files, and a Recap, with a highlighted tab for "ALL.”
  11. Drafts, Funnel: I do not need a quick capture app, I want a whatsapp like app where each message is a block and it can be filtered.
  12. There are many AI native apps in this category (Dot, LangFriend, Rosebud and others) and they all are not my cup of tea for a few reasons, (a) I do not want to chat with my journal, (b) I do not want my to give me it's thoughts, suggestions or provocatively offer me things to read, consider or explore.
    I think this is one of the biggest reasons I wouldn’t even consider making this a polished open source app. AI speaking and “theory”-izing for you is the trend; and I am not interested in it. I am interested in memory computation, calculation, accurate search, but none of the “thinking” insights.

Logbook

Nothing to see here right now

Build off of

General Note Taking Apps

Google Keep Clones

Whatsapp Clones

Bookmarking Apps