TL;DR: I moved 15 years of notes from Evernote to Bear and replicated all of my automations/workflows using Shortcuts, Keyboard Maestro, and a couple of x-callback-urls
I loved Evernote.
I managed to accumulate 13,685 notes, going back to 2006, while building workflows and automatons to make Evernote sing as it helped me manage my professional and personal life.
Evernote was so central to my productivity, that I suffered through all of the many stages of bloat in the name of… I’m not sure what, but I know most of the featured I loved in Evernote existed over a decade ago.
I would look at alternatives, then settle for sticking with it and dealing with the slow overhead and weird UI changes.
Then, when they released released version 10 and stripped away many of the features I relied on, I moved some of my automations to the Legacy version that still supported AppleScript other features. Bummer, but as mystifying and disappointing as that new release was, it finally gave me the push to get out.
I had my eye on Craft, so I started tinkering with it and its workarounds for tags, which are an important part of my existing system. Once I set up something that might approximate some of what I do in Evernote, I set out to import my stuff. This is, of course, the biggest hurdle in moving from Evernote to x.
To shorten this long story, the best way I found to manage the export/import process was to first import my Evernote notes to Bear, then go from Bear to Craft. So I tested that on some of my notebooks, and it worked pretty well, even if it was a bit of a kludge.
But in the course of making the Evernote→Bear→Craft trips, I realized that Bear might actually work better for me. Most of the advanced stuff I was doing with Evernote was already taken away, so it mostly boiled down to needing a simple, responsive system that allowed for tagging and could be automated in some way. With Bear’s -callback-url scheme and support for Shortcuts, I was able recreate the core workflows I wanted.
I did have some hiccups with the massive import of all those notes, but I was able to get it done by batching them into multiple exports and importing each of them on the iOS app (iOS was key because the Mac version would not complete some of the imports).
I know there are lots of stories like this about loving/hating/mourning/escaping Evernote. I haven’t used Bear enough to know for sure where the landmines are, but I feel very good about finally getting out of Evernote. Mostly because I knew I would have to leave at some point, but leaving proactively feels better than having to do it under the gun.
Also, I am not trying to initiate a debate over Evernote vs. Craft vs. Bear. I like the way Craft is heading and that they are iterating so quickly. It just isn’t right for me at the moment. I’m mostly just relieved to have all my stuff as far as I can tell.
Wow. That was a lot of words.