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You shall know us by our Notational Velocity

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.

Needle's picture

Hmm. Too bad NV is...

Hmm. Too bad NV is totally borked in a Japanese (and probably other China/Japan/Korea) environment.

As users of CJK languages face the need to enter thousands of different characters on a keyboard with only 100 or so keys, we use a small program called "input methods" to first enter the phonetic representation of the kanji characters we need, hit space, then choose the right kanji from a candidate list of homonymous characters. All while doing this, the text I just typed is essentially in limbo: it resides in the input method's buffer, but has not been typed onto the text field yet. Only after I hit return for the second time does the text get "released" into the field.

As NV seems to track individual keystrokes in the search/create field, when I try to type Japanese text into the field, the keystrokes - which hasn't been "released" from limbo yet - erroneously registers, rendering NV basically unusable. (iTunes, BTW, properly waits until the text has been finalized, before using it for incremental searching.)

The input method turns out to cause trouble in many other keyboard-based apps, including Quicksilver and AutoPairs. TypeIt4Me also cannot be used in CJK, because TypeIt4Me itself is another input method program, mutually exclusive with the CJK input methods.




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