Standard Notes

A standard notes app with an un-standard focus on longevity and privacy.

Notes so standard, they'll last forever.

What I write is important to me. I want to be able to read it fifty years from now. A hundred years from now. So where do I go? Apple Notes? Google? Other private, short-lived, growth-oriented companies? No. What we need is something that focuses on durability and not growth.

Standard Notes is a basic notes app that delivers only the essentials in note taking. Because of its simplicity and resistance to growth, users can count on:

  • A standard data format that allows portability and an extended lifetime. The more complex and custom an app becomes, the more likely your data becomes locked in to that platform, and the more buggy and laggy the application becomes. Because Standard Notes focuses on the "standard" format of a note, this data format, along with respective user-facing applications, are easy to maintain, and can exist for decades without issue. This means a less nomadic lifestyle for note takers.

  • A set of cross platform applications that don't deteriorate over time. Simply put, applications that are simple are simpler to maintain. Applications that aim to survive an apocalypse must adapt to a different lifestyle. Because of this focus on durability, you won't be forced to switch over to a new system every time developers of your favorite notes app decide to change everything around or just completely abandon the project. And because the data format is built on top of the Standard File format, your Standard Notes data can be used with any app that supports your Standard File account.

  • High security and privacy. Because Standard Notes uses the Standard File format, all your notes are encrypted on your device before being sent over the wire. This means that even if the server was hacked and all your data was stolen, the attacker would only see gibberish - only you can decrypt your notes with your password key. Standard Notes applications also do not use any analytics tracking services and will never require you to agree to any "Terms of Service".

What makes the cut for note "basics"?

The basic form of a note is timeless: it has existed since the invention of paper. Most things we know about history is known through the journals of our ancestors.

Standard Notes aims to simply translate the "journal" standard into its digital form. This means:

  • a basic note with a title and text
  • basic tagging system that allows a note to belong to one or multiple tags
  • the ability to search and filter notes based on tags or keywords

And because data portability and durability are of utmost importance, Standard Notes allows you to easily:

  • export all data as a human readable file
  • import data from a previously exported file

Getting Started

To get started, download Standard Notes for your platform.

If you're tech savvy, you can even host your own Standard File server.

Extensions

To keep the core application as simple and as uncluttered as possible, Standard Notes allows for the installation of arbitrary extensions. These extensions are URL based, and anyone can build an extension.

Extensions are simple yet extremely powerful. Extensions allow for things like:

  • 3rd party data sync
  • Revision control
  • Publishing your notes to your blog

For example, you may want your notes and tags to be synced to your Dropbox for added redundancy and peace of mind. Extensions make this really easy.

For a list of available extensions, see extensions.

Open Source

All Standard Notes apps are open source. This means anyone can inspect the code and make sure it's not doing anything you wouldn't want it to do. And because the Standard Note format is openly published, anyone can build their own Standard Notes app. This means that you're not locked in to using our own suite of Standard Notes applications. This also means the lifetime of your notes is not limited by the lifetime of the Standard Notes application suite.

It's not something we consider often, but odds are, you as a human will outlive most of the private services you rely on today to manage your data. By building on top of a more open format, Standard Notes users don't have to worry about what would happen if Standard Notes got run over by a bus.

FAQ

How do you know you'll be here for a while?

What makes software difficult to maintain is a growing feature set that constantly introduces a myriad of bugs and stability issues. Because we're committed to "freezing" our feature set as-is, the only maintenance work required is OS level compliance updates every year. While this is still a non-zero amount of work, it is far more manageable than a typical software project that aims to grow and grow every year. Because we're also not interested in "scaling", our costs should remain relatively low and allow us to sustain these applications for an extended period of time, if not indefinitely.

How can I get involved?

We love community contributions. If you're a notes-enthusiast, share with your friends and followers, and help create a more sustainable notes environment. If you're a developer, check out our repositories on Github and see where you can help. You can also host your own Standard File server for other community members to use and join. If you launch your own community server, let us know.

You can also join the Standard Notes Slack group to get involved.

How can I get in touch?

You can follow us on Twitter for updates and announcements. Or say hello at hello@standardnotes.org.

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