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Do we need a better note taking app?

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{Diemex}
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Default Do we need a better note taking app?

I am a student and use a note 10.1 and a note pro 12.2 for note taking. I use both tablets on a daily basis for several hours during class and at home. For note taking I mainly use LectureNotes and for pdf viewing I use the only good pdf viewer ebookdroid. I don't use any paper whatsoever.

I am getting increasingly frustrated with my setup, I have the feeling that it is holding me back and my workflow is not fluid/natural. I am mainly getting frustrated with LectureNotes and switching back and forth between lecturenotes for editing and ebookdroid for plain reading.

While LectureNotes is a great app, there are a few things that are really frustrating:
  • Pdfs get dumbed down into pictures/bitmaps: Loss of searchability, export of pdfs is images only, loss of table of contents, links and everything that makes pdf cool
  • Pdf import takes long because it has to render everything into images, import is not in background, i have to sit there and do nothing until its finished
  • Huge memory consumption. I have even increased my max memory per app to 768mb per app to avoid crashes.
  • Everything is in images
    • Large memory consumption
    • I write in portrait, if I rotate the device it gets pixelated
    • If I get a tablet with a different/higher resolution my previous notes are going to look bad
  • Menus are text only, takes long to find something. Ln has so many features, but I dont really want to bother to find them in all the menus
  • UI is in general slow and sluggish
  • notebook overview is slow
  • inserting a page can take a while
  • cant have multiple documents open in tabs (app would run out of memory anyways :P...)
  • opening and closing of documents isn't instant

Ebookdroid is the perfect pdf viewer for me, it has tabs, lots of customization and is very fast. It just cant annotate pdfs.

Basically I am looking for a note taking app with the following feature set:
  • Simply fast and responsive
  • Based on vector graphics which will scale to any resolution
  • Instant pdf import and merging of notes taken in the application back into the pdf
  • Read only pdf viewing, so I dont have to switch to a pdf viewer just for viewing of pdfs
  • Navigating a document of several hundred pages should be easy and intuitive
    • Decent table of contents
    • quick/responsive overview with thumbnails
  • Multi device synchronous editing of documents. I don't want to have to wait 10 minutes for dropsync to synchronize my notes. (Specific to me)
  • Simple way to view documents on pc. Some tasks like creation of a table of contents, reording of pages and things that are quicker and easier with a mouse and keyboard can be done on a desktop client.
  • Can have multiple documents open at the same time
  • App in general should be user friendly and fun to use.

I have programmed in java and android before. I'm considering spending my holiday on writing a notetaking app. Atm I'm still evaluating the libraries, file formats, if I can pull it off, the time I will roughly need and if it's worth my time at all. The app will ofc be open source.

Is there any interest in a better note taking application or is it just me?
Galaxy Tab 7.7 P6800 | Note 10.1 2014 P600 | Note 12.2 P900 | Nook Touch
[GUIDE] Speed up Note 10.1
 
Freakstyler
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I don't believe there is an all in one solution that will do all you that you require in a single app.

But some basic suggestions.

I think Papyrus offers a lot of what your asking in the Note taking department, it's fast, vector based and has PDF import, I prefer 'Write' which is similar, but doesn't support .pdf. Perhaps you could send a message to some of the developers asking for some improvements, or features as they are often quite responsive.

https://play.google.com/store/apps/d...projectpapyrus

https://play.google.com/store/apps/d...yluslabs.write


You could also run two apps like Papyrus for notes and Ebookdroid or EzPDF for annotation in multiwindow mode as a workaround.

In terms of developing.

The new Android 'L' release apparently now has included a native PDF API function, so more apps will soon add PDF support I would imagine.

"New api class: PdfRenderer

This class enables rendering a PDF document. This class is not thread safe.
If you want to render a PDF, you create a renderer and for every page you want to render, you open the page, render it, and close the page. After you are done with rendering, you close the renderer. After the renderer is closed it should not be used anymore. Note that the pages are rendered one by one, i.e. you can have only a single page opened at any given time."

If you are serious about developing your own solution, perhaps check out the development of the open source Omni Notes, the code is already available, it's a simple but has a lot of potential the betas already have sketch mode implemented for notetaking with Spen, they could likely do with some other developer support for advanced functionality. Perhaps check with the dev in the Omni Notes thread.

Omni Notes:
http://forum.xda-developers.com/show..._utmk=38510752

Good Luck.
 
Terrorhuhn
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I think Papyrus would handle things like you want it!

It has PDF Import with noteability and Vektor based Drawing

But what I'm Missing are the Drawing features of LectureNotes like Diagrams, Arrows and so on... they are very basic in Papyrus!
Would be awesome if you decide to work on such a program!

I'm also a student who uses his Note 10.1 for notetaking!

If you want a tester, it would be cool if I can help you!
My Java is very basic, so in programming i wouldn't be a huge help. But studiyng the source code would be fun^^

Greets
Terrorhuhn
 
ionflux
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I have interest in a better note taking app!
 
smac7
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I'm with you 100%. I use ezpdf but it isn't great. There is something wrong with every note taking app that makes it annoying.

Sent from my SM-P600 using Tapatalk
Formerly known as hockey4life0099


Devices: HTC ONE; Note 10.1 2014; HP Touchpad
 
sam2c
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I'm all for a good note taking app and I'd pay good money for it. Papyrus is my go to app, but it has its flaws....main gripes being no easy way to navigate large PDF files and no stylus button support on Samsung ROMs
 
motfis
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Terrorhuhn View Post
what I'm Missing are the Drawing features of LectureNotes like Diagrams, Arrows and so on... they are very basic in Papyrus!
Would be awesome if you decide to work on such a program!
Currently I use also papyrus. But yes, I miss many other features, specially easy page navigation.
I am really interested with your idea!
 
Vasishtha
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(Last edited by Vasishtha; 4th July 2014 at 08:48 PM.)
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I've been using the note 10.1 series for the past 1,5 years to study with and my conclusion while I was using the 2013 model has been that the only apps that were noteworthy were S-note and papyrus and lecturenotes.

On the 2014 model I eventually got bored of S-note and decided to look around:
-Papyrus's graphics were better then S-note on the 2013 model however with the 2014 model the graphics do not scale appropriately and well...it now looks pretty ugly.
-LectureNotes has the res. scaling, but not the beauty associated with the writing experience- although I've heard it provides nice functionality.
-Tried around 2 to 6 apps for writing, all with sucky writing experiences and expected functionality.
-INKredible: I recently stumbled across it (an iOS app port) in the playstore, it has the best writing experience that I've ever come across on android.
It has amazing graphics (vector based I assume) so you actually enjoy writing on a piece of glass. The app is free ,but provides in app purchases. You get the fountain pen for free.
The app itself is pretty barren when it comes to functionality (there are some bugs and you don't even get individual notebooks), but as the dev has stated they will include most of the missing functionality with their upcoming updates (they are focusing and the core necessities first). This app made me enjoy taking notes that much that I prep'd all of my exams on it in the past month (I manually managed my notebooks).

For me the common denominator for having a great note taking experience when I was still using my iPad was the writing experience, it didnt matter for me if an app was missing x,y,z functionality as long as I was stimulated to write more in the app for the sake of writing (cos of the awesome xp). INKredible seems to be very promising in that regard and with the promise of more functionality it'll put the current selection of available writing apps to shame. So support the dev's for more sweet development!

Regarding workflow:
I know its not on everyone's prioritylist/mind, but rooting will unlock the full potential of any device and this is no exception on the note 2014. Though you probably already know that.
The apps that i love, dont necessarily support splitscreen, so I tell them to.
The addition of GMD gestures, xposed modules (app settings, s-pen only, multiwindow plus, wanam) provide an overall enhancement of my workflow.
Coupled with Xluco's kernel Touchwiz feels more functional and it gives you the general impression that your device can keep up with your multitasking demands.

I've just finished finished with my exams so I thought I'd share my bottled-up experiences with this device, hence my long story
I hope some of my input helped you.

Also does anyone have little bubbles appearing underneath the glass (near the edges of the screen)?
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{Diemex}
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I tried out Inkredible, looks promising, not sure how long it will take to become stable/usable.

I guess everyone has very different requirements for a notetaking application. For me management of notebooks is important. Atm I already have 200 notebooks only from 2 semesters. If an app doesn't provide an ability to create folders I have a big problem. Also usually I need multiple documents to be open at the same time. When I practice for exams I need my formularies, the exam and my notes. So I have the exam on my laptop, the formularies on the 10.1 and write on the 12.2. Dunno if anyone has used linux and is used to the concept of workspaces. That is something that I would like to see. I open up my "electronics exams" and have all my pdfs and notes in one place. Changing workspaces should change the opened documents on all my devices. I have 3 tablets and a laptop, I would like to be able to use them in conjunction with the least hassle. Most people will have a tablet and at least a phone and laptop. So some kind of advanced multi device support would be pretty cool. Im babbling a bit, I have tons of ideas, that would be really cool.

What is also important to me is that that the file format that the notetaking app uses should be a format that I can open on my pc and modify with other programs. If I would to write an app I would probably use svg as a format for drawings. There are many tools to edit svgs and they can be viewed in a browser.

I need an app that is not just a notetaking app, I need an app that helps me work with lots of documents. I need to read, edit, take notes and understand the topics. I have noticed especially the past semester that writing on tablets has actually held me back. I didn't really want to read through the notes I took. A real book is still a lot easier and quicker to navigate than notes I have taken on my tab.
Galaxy Tab 7.7 P6800 | Note 10.1 2014 P600 | Note 12.2 P900 | Nook Touch
[GUIDE] Speed up Note 10.1
 
Vasishtha
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(Last edited by Vasishtha; 6th July 2014 at 12:15 AM.)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by {Diemex} View Post
I tried out Inkredible, looks promising, not sure how long it will take to become stable/usable.

I guess everyone has very different requirements for a notetaking application. For me management of notebooks is important. Atm I already have 200 notebooks only from 2 semesters. If an app doesn't provide an ability to create folders I have a big problem. Also usually I need multiple documents to be open at the same time. When I practice for exams I need my formularies, the exam and my notes. So I have the exam on my laptop, the formularies on the 10.1 and write on the 12.2. Dunno if anyone has used linux and is used to the concept of workspaces. That is something that I would like to see. I open up my "electronics exams" and have all my pdfs and notes in one place. Changing workspaces should change the opened documents on all my devices. I have 3 tablets and a laptop, I would like to be able to use them in conjunction with the least hassle. Most people will have a tablet and at least a phone and laptop. So some kind of advanced multi device support would be pretty cool. Im babbling a bit, I have tons of ideas, that would be really cool.

What is also important to me is that that the file format that the notetaking app uses should be a format that I can open on my pc and modify with other programs. If I would to write an app I would probably use svg as a format for drawings. There are many tools to edit svgs and they can be viewed in a browser.

I need an app that is not just a notetaking app, I need an app that helps me work with lots of documents. I need to read, edit, take notes and understand the topics. I have noticed especially the past semester that writing on tablets has actually held me back. I didn't really want to read through the notes I took. A real book is still a lot easier and quicker to navigate than notes I have taken on my tab.
3 screens at a time for prep'ing? In my eyes that seams like overkill, for my last semester I just combined Wolfram ,Mathlab, Dolphin, 2xeBook readers(one for the problems and one for my theory/solutions) and INKredible/s-Note on my note 2014 via 3 way splitscreen and it worked like a charm. The bottom half for notes, the upper 2 halfs for for the rest, when I need to (fully)use one of the upper half apps I can just minimize one to make room for the other or swap apps within a 1/3 screen. Heck I even split youtube for the occasional online crashcourse.
This setup has proven very productive and I'd only use my laptop to convert word documents containing formulas too an android friendly pdf format.
If the multi-windowplus xPosed module had been updated to fully work on Kitkat I would've been able to have an additional layer of functionally through popup/floating windows.

I guess my only negative for working this way was that I had the occasional stiff neck once in a while, I'd then just relocate too my bed to resume my number crunching.
11 hours, that was my last screen-on-time running this setup, that's just...well..damn impressive.

I can imagine that you need all that functionality within one note app, but to be honest I think that's asking for to much for the Android platform. We'd need a pretty big dev team to be able to cram all that goodness in one smooth and hiccup free package...which I don't see happening anytime soon (iPad's note apps are draining to many of the dev's attention I guess).

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