Not just for notes. P.S. Notes is a Writing App!

Straight to the point: Get the latest version of P.S. Notes. I can no longer build for the PPA so you will need to download and install the new version. Instructions at the page.

Folders, Markdown, and Writing Apps

Folders will show up in the notes list! They are shown with a “/” before their name, so a folder named SubFolder will display as /SubFolder in the notes list. When you go into a folder, select the / … from the notes list to go back.

There are also new markdown editing shortcuts. Ctrl+B and Ctrl+I will **bold** and _italicize_ your selected text. Ctrl+1 through Ctrl+6 toggle ## Headings to the current line of text, and Ctrl+\ and Ctrl+Shift+\ will increase or decrease the heading level. I plan to update these shortcuts to function more naturally as they add markdown styles to your text, knowing when to un-bold and remove markdown styling when you want them to, for example.

Finally… There’s no app I’ve found that provides a great plain-text writing environment in Linux. The great app Notes-Up gives me hope that we can someday get a fantastic looking, highly functional Ulysses-like app for Linux. It excels at what it does as a simple writing app or for locally saved note taking (try it out!) but it has a different purpose than P.S. Notes or the ideal writing app I’m looking for.

A lot of apps will save data in a special format, so they are very closed (dare I say, proprietary) in the sense that data you put into it stays there unless you take action to specifically export it. The apps control and own the data, not you. The goal with my apps like DayJournal and P.S. Notes is to be completely open – all the data you put into them is 100% completely accessible without the app, and can be manipulated elsewhere seamlessly. You own the data, not it.

I’ve found that once I got used to my data being open and available outside the apps I use to manage it, the benefits are huge and there are no downsides! With DayJournal and Blip Journal, the real product I want to create is a simple standard structure of saving journal entries, and the apps themselves are just examples of how an app can manage fully open plain-text data and be as functional as any other app that isn’t open. With P.S. Notes, the idea was to create a note-taking app that stored everything in plain text files in my Dropbox folder, letting me use any various mobile apps to access those notes (the best app for this is Jottings for iPhone). There’s no manually naming files, no file dialogs to open a single file to edit, no hassle.

So, the point is that I’m making P.S. Notes into the writing app I need in Linux. Under the hood is some magic to assist with writing!

In the big update last year, I added a Write Mode to P.S. Notes that hides the notes list and centers your text while perfectly preserving the width of the text, leaving nice margins for a distraction-free writing experience. This detail of preserving the width of the text is a necessity to calling a writing experience “distraction-free” but sadly it’s not found in many markdown writing apps available for Linux (and the ones that do have it don’t have a file list/tree available in the app, which is an even bigger necessity! And none have both, which is why this blog post exists).

P.S. Notes also assists with writing books. A folder is treated as a “book” if it has the right file structure, and features like automatically compiling your work into an .epub file are available to try out. If you are interested in trying this, leave a comment to get in touch!

There’s no other open plain-text writing app that can do the things I need for Linux. I honestly don’t want P.S. Notes to be the best at what it does. The best should be much better than what P.S. Notes is. But as long as it needs to be the best, I will try and make it so.

P.S. Notes has been updated

P.S. Notes isn’t the only thing that has been updated, either! DayJournal, DayTasks, and P.S. Notes have all been updated. Here are the notes about what’s new.

DayTasks, DayJournal, and P.S. Notes have been updated to use the HeaderBar so they look better and sleeker on your desktop. DayJournal has also been improved to import journal entries made on Blip Journal for iPhone.

Updates To P.S. Notes.

.txt or .md

P.S. Notes now has an option to work with .md files as opposed to .txt files. You can work with one or the other at any given time.

Write Mode

There’s also a new Write Mode you can toggle from the settings menu or by hitting Ctrl-w. In Write Mode, the notes list will hide and the text will perfectly align itself so you can focus on writing. Take a look:

Screenshot from 2016-03-15 23:11:14
Write Mode in P.S. Notes.

The width of your text is perfectly preserved when switching in and out of Write Mode. Try making the notes list wider or the window larger before going into Write Mode to find the best setup for you. P.S. Notes remembers how you like it the next time you open it. Try it out now by installing from the PPA!

Install From the PPA

The apps I make here are free. There are various ways you can donate to support what I’m working on whether it be through Gumroad or the Ubuntu Software Center. But the versions of these apps on the Ubuntu Software Center will not be updated. You can always have the latest versions by installing from the PPA or downloading the individual installers from the PPA packages page.

Set up the PPA by doing this, for example, to install P.S. Notes:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:thejambi/thejambi
sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install psnotes

If the PPA does not work for you, or you want to simply download the .deb packages without using the PPA, you can do that from the ppa package details page.

I recommend using elementary OS to have the best experience with your computer. The PPA will be best supported on the latest version of elementary.

Please say thank you for my work – and spread the word!

I have worked hard to create the best plain-text, future-proof journal for Ubuntu, the best plain-text no-nonsense note taking solution for Ubuntu, and the best task manager that works with todo.txt for Ubuntu. To support my work, visit http://gum.co/thanksZach and pay what you would like for any of these apps you enjoy. I appreciate the support and encouragement!

I can’t get by without these on my computer – they are that essential! Please spread the word to Ubuntu users you know who might benefit from using these tools.

Check Your Word Count in P.S. Notes.

An update to P.S. Notes is available that adds a word count feature. In honor of NaNoWriMo, I added this feature for anyone using P.S. Notes for any kind of writing that lends itself to having a word count be handy. The word count will show up automatically after you get the update, and you can turn it off by unchecking the Word Count option in the extra options buried in the far right side of the toolbar.

Speaking of “in honor of NaNoWriMo,” take a look at this short bit of code I wrote to randomly print 50,000 words. (Seeing how that doesn’t quite end up as a real story, a next programming challenge for NaNoWriMo could be: take in some text and print that text, but with the words “so very, very” added in front of every adjective to jack up your word count!)