Supernotes - a novel Zettelkasten note-taking tool

Hey, I have been reading MPU for a while now - love the discussions! Note-taking tools seem to be a frequent topic, so I thought it might be of interest to share what I have been working on the past few years.

My co-founder and I have developed a new note-taking tool called Supernotes. It’s very different from many note-taking apps you might be used to. There are no documents, there are no folders - everything is a markdown (note) card, which are themselves nestable, linkable and taggablea true zettelkasten system.

We were fed up with loading screens, so have built Supernotes to be fast - almost every process is quicker than 100ms. One of favourite things is that can just start typing anywhere on the platform to create a new card.

Every card is also shareable - using a unique 4-word code and a fully-featured permission system so you can decide exactly how much access you would like to give to others. Based on that you can then collaborate by editing, liking, commenting and even add child cards in real-time.

There’s heaps of other features from adding cute icons to cards and a seductive dark mode. But instead of spamming you, I’d love hear what you think - here’s the link to try it.

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Interesting, I have looked through the website but couldn’t find some answers (sorry if I missed them!)

  • Do notes support embeds (images, PDFs)?
  • When the apps ship, will there be offline access to the data?
  • Are there URL schemes planned to reference individual notes?
  • Is a web clipper planned?
  • Do notes feature backlinks?
    Thanks and congratulations, best of luck on finding your audience! :slightly_smiling_face:
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Thanks @KillerWhale for some great questions! :blush:

  • Yes our notes do support image uploads/links, as well as embeds from Youtube, Vimeo & Prezi. Support for other file formats such as PDFs are coming soon.
  • Initially not, unfortunately. When we first ship desktop apps, they’ll start as simple Electron wrappers. We do plan to add offline support (and other native features), it just won’t be there in the beginning.
  • Yes, currently each note has a unique UUID that we use for the card 'linking" and “opening” (seeing a card’s children). Potentially we will add unique URL’s to reference these cards, is that what you were suggesting?
  • Yes, a web clipper is planned for Fall.
  • Yes, cards will feature backlinks in our next release.
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My key question: where are files stored? Is there file system access to the fundamental markdown cards?

Edit: obviously it doesn’t—it’s online only for now. Stupid question.

Congrats!

Ooooh. That is all very cool. Thanks for answering. I guess I’ll wait for the time being (very happy with Bear) but I’ll be keeping a very close eye on development. Great roadmap!

For the URLs: yes, I was thinking of unique URL references for notes. The idea being: being able to jump into a workspace from your task manager’s note field with a single click (a la Evernote, Bear and many others).

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Oh - another one, sorry: do you have E2E?

Hi everyone, co-founder here! Just thought I’d chime in and answer the questions (@Wolfie, @ryanjamurphy) about why we store your cards online (in our own database) rather than storing them on your computer or allowing you to bring your own cloud service.

One of the big pain points we wanted to tackle when we started building Supernotes was not just how you write notes, but how you share them once you have. There were two big issues with sharing (in other note-taking apps) that we wanted to address:

  1. Everyone has a different way they like to organize their notes – this can make it hard for people to collaborate because they all want the final product (a collection of notes) to suit their workflow.
  2. Sharing generally isn’t a first-class citizen at all in note-taking apps. Most other note-taking apps start by storing notes on your first device and then having the option to sync them later so that your notes are on all of your own devices, but sharing with other people isn’t really part of this flow at all. This means that if you want to easily share something with someone else, the best solution is often to copy-paste the content into a messaging app / forum / etc and share it that way.

And here is how we tried to fix these pain points with Supernotes:

  1. We have built Supernotes to allow for many different ways to organize your notes.
    You can have structured hierarchies using nesting, not unlike a conventional folders + files system (though in my opinion this is better, as cards can have multiple parents!).
    You can have unstructured graphs by using the hyperlinking facility (like Roam and others).
    Or you can have a totally flat structure by only using tags.
    And of course you can mix-and-match these options as much as you want / need to. This makes it easier for people to collaborate in an asynchronous way, because while you’re organizing things with hyperlinks, I could be using tags to organize the same cards, but in a different way.
  2. Following from that, it was important to us that this kind of flow could be done from day 1 on Supernotes. While it is possible to have a system as detailed above that works offline, it requires implementing the algorithms as used for real-time collaboration (OT or CRDT) in order to work reasonably well. Such a system is not at all easy to implement from a technical perspective, so we decided to ship Supernotes as online-only to start and add that functionality once we have a bit more traction / the core features are a bit more fleshed out (like adding file uploads and similar).

Hopefully that makes sense. I personally am also the kind of person that likes to keep my personal data on my own systems, but this was one case where it has just made more sense to be online first. I have used Supernotes for all of my own note-taking needs since we released it and am happy with it so far, mostly because it just makes collab’ing so much easier.

KillerWhale – Because we want sharing to be as ergonomic as possible, this means that for the time-being we do not have E2EE, as it would requires users to be online at the same time if they want to share cards with each other.

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Thank you for answering and exposing the design philosophy behind the app :slight_smile: Very interesting.

I probably won’t be your target customer as I work very, very solo so I’m not ready to compromise on features for sharing capabilities I won’t use, but I’m sure plenty of people will be very happy with your sharing design which does seem to answer many pain points in similar software. Best of luck to you both!

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Hello, @tobeagram and @acnebs I have started playing around with Supernote and it resonants with my mindset of using cards that have a better visual appeal. One application that I will create is a specialized code repository to be shared with a development team for software code reuse.

Looking forward to graphical displays and template generation as I still am looking to create a personal CRM system.

I am getting mixed operation of the tree file structure and would like to know if you can have an option to have this displayed automatically as default and two how would multiple parents be handled? With duplicate representation?

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Hi @D_Rehak,

Great to hear that you have started using Supernotes. Your use case sounds ideal – SN works great with code snippets esp. once you started tagging them and sharing them with your colleagues.

We are hoping to release our graph view with friends and templates very soon!

The card tree only shows the cards important to you – as when you start to have 100s of cards it can begin to get a bit overwhelming. You will notice whenever you ‘open’ a card (double clicking the title), it will be ‘indexed’ and added to the tree. You can do this manually using the ‘index’ button which can be found the ellipsis menu in the bottom right of every card. At the moment there is no way to automatically display all cards in the tree view – however this will be possible with the release of our graph view.

We are one of the few tools that allows you to have multi-parent hierarchies. If you have the same card in two different parents, it will be displayed in both locations in the card tree. To give you an idea what this looks like please see the screenshot below – I also use SN for my code snippets and info!

@tobeagram Thanks for your quick response.

Yes I plan to use for code reuse. This should make game changing strides in code generation productivity.

Looking forward to the graph view and templates. For now I will just generate the template in a text editor then place into note card by clipboards manager.

It seems the Tree file structure allows only one level and the creation of another child will result in another card displayed (Not duplicate cards, just duplicate displays)