May 29, 2017

Notbloko Pays Homage to Notational Velocity

Notbloko iconNotbloko icon

App Store Link: Notbloko on the Mac App Store
Price: Free (In App Purchase of Encryption Feature for $5.99)

Paying Homage to Notational Velocity is Notbloko.

Notational Velocity introduced the unimodal search and input window. Notbloko simulates the same unimodal window. The same window lets you search for text within your notes and also lets you add notes to the collection. Makes the two important tasks relevant to your notes easy: creation and search.

Notbloko misses out on the other defining feature of Notational Velocity and its efficient cousin nvALT. Notational Velocity and nvALT can save your collection of notes in a proprietary database or as individual text files. The ability to save your notes in individual text files gives you the following advantages:

  1. No lock in. You can use any program you want to access and edit your files. You can use any text editor you want and your files are ready to read, edit and manipulate.
  2. Universal Access. Save your files in a cloud solution like Dropbox and your notes are available to you on every device you own. On the iOS devices, there are text editors like, iA Writer, which can read your files from a Dropbox folder. Your notes are portable and accessible everywhere. Text files are the secret behind this portability.

Notbloko doesn't give you this feature. Notbloko is a proprietary database. Which means that the notes you maintain in Notbloko are accessible to you in other programs if you take the additional step of exporting them out as text files.

Features I Am Fond of in Notbloko

Notbloko is well-designed. The developer has attempted to make the ideal note-taking program inspired by Notational Velocity. These are some of the things I like about Notbloko:

Notbloko ScreenNotbloko Screen

  1. You can have multiple Notbloko documents. Each Notbloko document is a collection of notes. Notbloko supports macOS Sierra's Tab Bar. Multiple Notbloko documents can be open in their own tab.
  2. Notbloko is fast. I have a collection of more than a thousand notes in one Notbloko document and it is quick in both search and creation of notes in that rather large document.
  3. Notbloko is minimal. It supports rtf files and text documents. You can write markdown in the text files and Notbloko deals with it as text.
  4. The export function can deal with exporting a single file or many files as text files out of the program. This lessens the fear of lock-in that plagues me whenever I see a proprietary database as the storage mechanism for a note-taking program.
  5. The preferences are adequate and well-targeted to the task of note-taking.
  6. The program is well supported with keyboard commands available for most regular tasks.
  7. Extensive support of tagging to organize your notes. You can search for documents through the tags. Prepend the tag with a / (forward slash) and you can search for notes containing the tag.
  8. There is a Safari extension which lets you add snippets to Notbloko. In Notbloko you have the option of taking the snippets and making individual notes out of them.
  9. If you buy the in-app purchase you have the ability to password protect your notes.

Notbloko PreferencesNotbloko Preferences

Things to Improve in Notbloko

Of course there are things I would like Notbloko to improve:

  1. Notbloko includes an Edit With… function. You can take an individual note and choose to Edit the note in another program. Even when you have explicitly told Notbloko to not use the RTF format, the only choice of editors are RTF editors. In fact, the file that you are editing is a RTF file. You don't have the ability to edit the file as a text file. If you choose a text editor, you are now dealing with the file embellished by the RTF code in the document. That is not something I care to deal with in my text editor. I would like to be able to work on the text file and not the RTF file.
  2. The export of documents from Notbloko is a file with the .txt extension. I want to be able to choose the extension. I deal with .md files. Save me the extra step and let use any extension I choose.


Notbloko is a well-designed note-taking application. It is fast and efficient. If you are comfortable in working in the RTF format for your notes, you are going to be happy in Notbloko. It's support of the text format needs some improvements. It is a good solution for your note-taking needs in a crowded marketplace.

I recommend it heartily.

macosxguru at the gmail thingie

Notetaking Notbloko Notational Velocity

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