Anybody playing with NVultra?

Anybody playing around with the NVultra beta? I was admitted to the program a couple of weeks ago, fiddled with it for a minute, found the interface confusing and backed off.

Tried it out again in the last day or so and think I like it.

I’ve thought for some time that somebody ought to make a Finder replacement for writers and researchers. A Finder replacement that prioritizes documents over other files. Something like DevonThink or Keep It, but with a simplified interface and using the same document formats, folders, and folder structure that you see when you open the Finder.

One important element for NVultra is that, while it’s focused on plain text and markdown, it can display documents in other formats and open them using their native apps. So you can have your Pages, Microsoft Word, PDFs, etc., in there and NVultra can open them just fine.

Liability: No iPad or iPhone apps. However, that’s what the Files app is for.

Come to think of it, I think I’ve also described EagleFiler here, which I literally have not played with in 10+ years. Maybe I ought to take a second look at that as well.

For me, NVultra is complementary to Drafts. I use Drafts on the Mac as a scratch pad, for notes I’ll delete in a few minutes – for example, composing complicated tweets. NVultra is for documents I plan to keep for a while.

I have been thinking about this since @davidwain mentioned it on a recent episode. Anyone playing with it?

I left Evernote years ago, because I didn’t like being locked in, but I never found a really strong replacement. I like Drafts a lot, but I wish there were folder organization, and I cannot put PDFs in it. I have been using Ulysses as a temp workaround, and while I love the interface for long form creative writing, it is clearly not the solution either.

I really like the idea of NVultra on the Mac, although I’m not sure what I would then use on iOS to access the same folders?

The interface is clunky, and a bit off-putting.

There are lots of features under the covers. Works best with Marked. For some reason, the internal preview is not as good.

The transclusion feature works well. Include another note/file by referring to it in curly brackets: {{name of other}} – but again, transclusion works with Marked but not with export.

App is buggy when switching back and forth to it from other apps. Frequently the menubar freezes.

Since it is a collaboration between developers with their own apps in the market, it seems nvUltra sits in between, a bit of it works best with Marked, a bit works best with MulitiMarkdown Composer. Not bad, but makes me wonder about long-term viability.

Interesting. Thanks for the perspective. I’ll be interested in how it looks when it comes out of beta!

Notebooks works well for me.


@JohnAtl — have you written anywhere about how you’re using Notebooks?

No, my use is pretty basic, and is essentially my digital lab notebook / lab journal. I have notebooks (called Books in Notebooks) for each of my Aims for my dissertation, then a couple for analysis techniques (eeg, fMRI, kinematics). Whichever thing I’m working on, I open the book and create a note whose title is the date and topic. I can then make notes about settings I used, drop in a screenshot of a plot, leave myself notes on what to do next, etc.
(I tried the Findings app, but found it to be more suited to bench work where “recipes” are used repeatedly for things like cell culture. )
I use Dropbox to sync between my MacBook Pro and iMac Pro. I’ve used the iOS version, but don’t really need it.

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I recently learned nvUltra will support transclusion, which I find extremely interesting as we have been talking about Roam.

Since you are in the beta @MitchWagner , could you tell us a little about how wiki links work in nvUltra?
I read that if you put a string between wiki brackets, the app will try to produce the note with the closest title.
If you change the title of that note, what happens?
Do the wiki links upgrade if you change the note title?

Thank you!

It does in the current beta, but it’s very buggy.

nvUltra transclusion is file transclusion – not block transclusion. It transcludes the content of file “A” into file “B” on preview. If you want block-level transclusion you need to make blocks by making individual files. Anything like nvUltra or Obsidian are going to work that way.

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I still have not returned to NVUltra. I’m using DevonThink, IAWriter and Drafts nowadays.

I heard that an iPhone/iPad version of NVUltra is in the works. When it’s ready, I’ll take another look.

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Thank you for your answers. NvUltra looks like a promising app and and iOS support is indeed in the works according to the Twitter account, but honestly it’s been so long in development I’m not sure I am entirely trusting the product to put my second brain in.


Sorry to say, but the whole NVUltra story is quite a joke, isn’t it?

They are working on this successor not NVAlt for, what is it, years now. And in the meantime lots of more than viable alternatives pop up on the market. I’m using FSNotes which is very actively updated. And solid. And on my iPad I use Notebooks. Which is also great.

If NVUltra ever gets support it’ll be because of the close ties between the devs and the Apple blogophere and podcast hosts. More than anything else.


I will admit than the long development and the promises of “we’re getting close to release, promise” are getting old especially as other apps are putting a lot of work out there. If the product gets released, I am worried it will then be left dead in the water.


The beta was announced over a year ago, the name of the app was announced before that, and Terpstra literally spent years before that on the never-released Bitwriter. He has a history of taking considerable lengths of time on things that sometimes don’t get finished, but Fletcher’s partnership here promises to have something out sooner than later.

From what I’ve seen there isn’t a lot (anything?) in the app that you haven’t seen elsewhere, but I’m sure it be interesting, and probably have hooked to Terpstra’s Marked_2 app.

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