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Notational Velocity

Notationalvelocityreview_2 I’d been seeing a lot of gushy notices about Zachary Schneirov’s note-taking app, Notational Velocity, and I think I now see why. This is really pretty neat.

All Notational Velocity does is record little notes, but it does that in a way that is completely elegant, intuitive, and incrementally searchable. It does this by an uncanny dual use of a single text field for both searching and creation of your notes. If you’re just typing in the field, it acts as a full-text, incremental, live search on all of your notes and their contents. If you hit RETURN at any point, you generate a new note with its title set to whatever you just typed. It takes a minute to get your head around the concept, but it’s a powerful idea and brilliant in practice. NV supports all the Cocoa goodness (key bindings, spell checking, drag and drop, etc.) plus it’s ace at handling export and import of notes.

Definitely not for everyone, but if you just need a simple app for capturing bits of information, this may be the answer to your prayers. I’m thinking if you combine this with i-search (to incrementally sub-search within your actual text field) you may have something approaching a killer app.

Hint: As the author notes, you really get the most bang from keeping your notes very short and atomic. That way when you do incremental searches, you won’t have to dig through 1,000 lines to find all the references in one note.

Merlin's picture

Good catch, Nick. That's actually...

Good catch, Nick. That's actually for a reason that's sort of cool, if a little limiting, I suppose. NV is all a self contained app that keeps your info locked up tight, and, like all the good ones, stores your password stuff in the OSX keychain.

It would be neat, to me, if this worked just a bit differently: if NV were just a functional front end to a directory of text files--if it retained almost all of the same functionality, but kept each note in its own separate text file. That would be golden for my particular workflow.

Whatcha think, Zachary? You up for a little Lazy Web? :)




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