Wanted: Dependable cross platform (Mac/iOS/Android) text note syncing.
July 28, 2015 3:44 PM   Subscribe

I'm a huge fan Notational Velocity (Actually NValt), and store bunches of stuff in it, as plain .txt files. I'd like to be able to access them on iOS and Android devices, without losing or duplicating data, but have trouble keeping up with the ongoing saga of sync backends.

I currently use NValt with plain text notes, and Dropbox sync. For a while, that was fine. Over time, there have been periods when Dropbox changes caused issues, and then periods where it's been fine. I *think* that the current state is "Only run NValt on one device at a time," but I'm not 100% sure...

I've tried a few Dropbox-based Android editors in the past, but experienced data loss (the play store system doesn't necessarily surface quality reviews), and/or had jankyjankyjanky interfaces.

I consider Evernote to be 2nd only behind iTunes as a Toxic Hellstew. No, please.

- Open to switching from NValt, as long as it's fast and simple
- Open to switching sync platform, as long as it's free
- Mac and Android are more important than iOS
posted by Jack Karaoke to Computers & Internet (11 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
I use NValt with simplenote across Mac and iOS.
posted by dhruva at 3:53 PM on July 28, 2015

It's been a while since I had this setup, but Simplenote syncing should do what you want. NValt should be able to sync directly to Simplenote (I also had my files in a Dropbox folder). The Simplenote app is quite good. Full disclosure: I gave up on my .txt files and switched to the built in Apple Notes so I could have spotlight search of my notes on iOS.
posted by stopgap at 3:54 PM on July 28, 2015

The Notes application in OS X and iOS will sync with the Notes portion of a Google Gmail account. Not sure about Android support, but Android==Google, so I'd be surprised if Google didn't provide a client in its own operating system, perhaps through its Android Gmail client. These notes are already available via Gmail through any platform's web browser — any email with the "Notes" tag will show up in the OS X and iOS Notes application.
posted by a lungful of dragon at 4:32 PM on July 28, 2015

I've been using NValt with Editorial on iOS, synced via Dropbox. So far, so good. I can't comment on an Android note app. As a matter of habit, I don't keep NValt running when I'm not actively using it, which may cut down on sync issues—I don't know.

Editorial is really a hyperpowered editor (it's scriptable in Python) and I'm not really even scraping the surface of all its capabilities…but it is fine as a plain-old notes app.
posted by adamrice at 4:35 PM on July 28, 2015

I use Evernote now, but for a while I was syncing text notes via Dropbox using 'Draft' on android and 'Daedalus' on IOS. You just set the shared folder and that's it.
posted by 0bvious at 4:40 PM on July 28, 2015

Perhaps iOS and OS X Notes might show the same information in a Google account, as Android Google Keep?
posted by a lungful of dragon at 4:41 PM on July 28, 2015

I have an ownCloud server. There are two distinct note-taking stacks for this platform. Since you specify plain text, you'd be happy with notes and its MyOwnNotes mobile app; I use ownNote, which does formatting, but its mobile app is commercial (though cheap).
posted by LogicalDash at 4:43 PM on July 28, 2015

You can do this with Google Docs. You can make as many separate files as you like for your notes and access them from any device with a web browser. There are also native apps for Android and iOS. You can download the documents in many formats included plain txt. It also supports multiple people writing on the same note at the same time, and will even let you know if someone else has the document open when you are editing it, so you are not going to get any corruption issues accessing it from different devices either.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 6:04 PM on July 28, 2015

I forgot about Simplenote sync. There was a time when it also was problematic, so my mind blocked it out. But I think the issue was that it was deleting tags, which I don't use anymore.. Either way, I'll take another look at it.

I'll look into notes if all else fails, but tend to not trust Apple with my data, aside from the OS.

Draft is one of the Android applications that I had data loss with, and the reviews reflect my experience. (imgur gallery)

I guess I'll back up my stuff and give SN another shot, and Apple from there...
posted by Jack Karaoke at 9:31 PM on July 28, 2015

You might consider OneNote. It has clients for OS X, iOS and Android. I use Evernote, but there are definitely things that OneNote does (wiki links, text format styles) that I like better than Evernote.
posted by cnc at 9:42 PM on July 28, 2015

There's some interesting possibilities in this thread. For iOS / Mac apps, some folks recommend Notebooks (there's no Android app but it syncs plaintext to Dropbox).
posted by grobstein at 5:17 AM on July 29, 2015

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