Journler - It's Alive!!!

This may be of interest to some and I cant see that it has been referenced anywhere else

Great. Journler is one of my most important applications, even while I’m aware that I still haven’t discovered about half of its features. Too sad Phil Dow seems not to realize what a stroke of genius Journler is: In comparison, his new project - “Per Se”, an application that (yawn!) is going to mimick a handwritten journal - is just boring. If I want to write a journal by hand, I simply do so. (In fact, I do.)

Fortunately, Journler is almost complete. No serious bugs, no functions missing seriously. All that’s needed is someone who will help it survive into new OS versions.

Anyone care to explain what they use Journler for? I evaluated it some years ago and found it a curious mix of interesting functionality but relatively poor scalability. I was effectively asking it to store the material that I was trying to organize. I found that Devonthink dealt much better with large amount of data and so I went that route.
Luckily it dawned on me later that storage and massaging of data/writing are different things or else I wouldn’t have included Scrivener in my workflow.

So, where is Journler’s place with Devonthink and Scrivener out there?


DevonThink is where I store what I find on the internet and want to keep, just in case I need it one day.
Scrivener is where I write.
And Journler is where I think.

It looks terrific, and its functionality is good – except that I wish it had a quick-entry feature (as MacJournal has).

I am keeping writing and thinking together so far. I am not trying to be witty here, I am genuinely interested. Seeing that I was wrong about assuming that storing, exploring and making use of pieces of information required a single tool (see above), the same applies here. Enlighten me, if you would.

Thinking and writing is not the same for me. Although I am, of course, writing while thinking, it’s more of a diary-like, slow, step-by-step development of ideas and thoughts, ideas that may concern my private life, a novel project, philosophical brooding, the evolution of some checklists or just the journaling of what’s going on. It’s great that Journler allows to have the same entry in several folders, because very often, what I think belongs to several areas of my life at once: I jot down how I feel about my current writing project and what insight I had - this is not only a diary entry but belongs to the journal of that project as well as into the collection of insights about writing. And so on.

“Writing”, on the contrary, is the production of a text. A novel, mostly. For this I need an environment that contains only what belongs to the project. Scrivener, for example. Journler, which contains “everything” in one place – recipes, some information I copied from DevonThink to work with, story ideas, first drafts of important letters or potential exposés etc. - would not feel right for that.

The requisites for good note-taking and storage are now:

  1. is there a quick-entry mode?
  2. can I write RTF notes, using keyboard commands?
  3. does that include embedding links and/or thumbnail images?
  4. can I store in the notebook URLs that load, PDFs that display?
  5. will the notebook also store media files, or links to them?
  6. may I enter & arrange notes from an app, but also from a web page?
  7. do notes automatically synch from source to my other machines?
  8. including desktop, laptop, phone, and iPad?
  9. are the app and storage costs affordable?

Right now, I think Notational Velocity --> SimpleNote --> DropBox
And EverNote on its own are the best apps for such tasks
You could easily make a journal with these tools.

I still love DevonThink Pro for big projects, but EverNote is very appealing.

While I have a completely different list of priorities, I pretty much agree with the assessment and conclusion (although I don’t much care for Evernote, as I prefer to control the data storage myself, and its interface feels like a bludgeon to me). The only thing missing from this equation is a calendar. That’s not important for every type of journal, but a lot of people really do like it. For myself, a home-brewed system of tools is fine, and I don’t need a calendar, but that is something a tool like Journler or viJournal can provide.

Journler is very simply the best Journal (Diary) I have found. (I tried MacJournal and found it to be a buggy copy of Journler with more bells and whistles but less rock solid dependability.)

The way I work is that every morning, first thing, I sit down and write in my journal. I write down everything that comes to mind—and the way my writing talent is wired, a good deal of it comes out as story ideas, articles, blog post ideas, and stuff I can actually sell. I’m a painter too, and Journler is kind of like the artist’s sketchbook… you just put weird stuff in there and not all of it has to be good.

With Journler, I like hitting command-n and simply start typing. That’s it. Really basic; gets you going fast; but the glory of the program is the amount of tags and Categories you can add to each entry. Tag the sucker every which way, and create nested Smart Folders to sort every thought in your head into their individual places. Story ideas… blog ideas… article ideas… articles about culture, politics, art, whatever… as AndreasE said, the same entry can show up in multiple folders.

Officially, Journler says it can do more than just text: pictures, video, blah blah… all of that is really beyond what I need, and frankly I think Journler should stick to text files. Diary entries is where it shines. Things like DevonThink and Together are for pictures and movies and other files.

I have Together, which is similar to DevonThink (but handles the display a little more elegantly in my opinion), and I find it a touch clumsy for journaling. First, Together doesn’t let you set the ruler for every newly created entry, so it has to be set every single time if you want automatic tabbed paragraphs and things. Pain in the rear. You CAN do the same thing with DevonThink that you can with Journler, it comes down to personal preference. Journler has a freedom to it, and is sort of weirdly addictive after a while.

Theoretically I suppose you could make a Scrivener project as a “Journal” and do the same sort of things… but I’d think it would take more work and be a touch clumsy. Really Scriv. is for taking raw ideas and really working them out into finished prose. Nothing beats Scrivener as the best tool out there for the art of writing. If Journler is the sketchbook, Scrivener is the canvas.

So for me, the two programs work hand in hand: I rough it all out haphazardly in Journler (who knows where my thoughts of the day will take me, I can wander anywhere in Journler and tag the sucker to put it in the right place when I’m done) then I take my sketches over to Scrivener, and work them up into a polished final draft.

Four almighty good programs for the writer, according to me:

  1. Journler — journal entries and prose sketching (artist’s sketchbook)
  2. Together — collecting and organizing random interesting stuff (artist’s bin of misc. supplies)
  3. Notebook — better than Scrivener for my story notes, and cuter (paint box and brushes)
  4. Scrivener — professional writing (canvas and easel)

PS: I am overjoyed that Journler is alive again! And that it’s open sourced! That was exactly what I thought Phil Dow should do with it years ago, and I’m glad he came to the same conclusion. I look forward to the great improvements a variety of programmers will add to it, and I hope they keep focused on the main feature: Simplicity.

Thanks for your comments, AdahLael. I had picked up a copy of MacJournal in a Bundle, but was a little concerned with some of the comments about its stability. I had started using it for blogging, but soon changed to Mellel (stability, familiarity, etc., and yes, I know it isn’t true blogging software :wink: ).

Anyway I had participated in the Per Se beta testing; interesting concept, but in the end it wasn’t my style.

In late December I purchased Tinderbox and have slowly been expanding my use of it for many projects. I keep a daily journal/projects file there and for the most part like it a lot; still have some work on exports, etc. But time… time… time.

I just downloaded Journler to see what it was like. As you indicated, it has a simple, clean interface, and I can handle that. I thought it was going open-source and free, though. :confused:

Not sure what my workflow will be with all this. But now I have Tinderbox (notes, course descriptions, notes, etc.), Scrivener (primarily writing and editing a magazine), DevonThink Pro [haven’t really used it yet], and now Journler. So I have some thinking to do.

BTW, for word processing I use Mellel, Nisus Writer Pro, and Symphony (IBM version of OpenOffice, for cross platform and MS Word use). And then Papyrus in the quiver, which I used for publishing a book and InDesign (for proofing work that others have already done the page layout).

You ought to see my closets — and my wife thinks I have WAY TOO MANY books! :smiley:

Guess we have to humor an old codger… :smiley: :smiley:

I too have used Journler and found it to be a useful tool. However it’s been “going open source” for quite a while now and I’ve yet to see anything come of it.

By the time anything does happen, I imagine that apart from the most die-hard users, people will have moved on…

When I first bought a Mac, I downloaded Journler, and used it both as an ideas sandbox and as a drop-everything-in bucket. I thought it had an attractive interface and as a bucket-with-a-calendar, it then led the field. But one feature it lacked was a quick-entry function, partly or completely independent of the main application, which other programmes have since provided. I hope that going open-source will remedy this.

I love Tinderbox! That’s one I forgot. I have one series of stories with a plot so complex that I literally cannot keep track of the thing without using Tinderbox… I too am a software junkie. Just be glad you aren’t hooked on iPod apps!!! (Just one dollar!! Surely I can afford another one!!)

You reminded me, Journler has a little “Register Me” page, but the developer never implemented the time limit on the trial, so really it is an endless trial that never needs to be registered. Eventually someone will remove the registry page entirely, probably the first thing that will be changed. So while it says it’s not free, it is… functionally…

Hi. I’ve used Scrivener (of course), MacJournal, Notational Velocity, DevonThink and pretty much every note taking/journaling/info organizing/writing program on the Mac that had a free trial.

Scrivener seems the best at writing larger works (books and such) but for just dumping stuff into it and keeping it organized, I’ve found nothing as good as Journler. I switched to MacJournal when it showed up in a bundle I bought & they added a Journler import. I’ve also got the MacJournal app for iPhone and iPad.

I’m hopeful to see signs of life in Journler again. I tried to get on the forums but they are shut down due to large amounts of spam. Does anyone know if Journler’s loyal users went anywhere in particular or did everyone just switch to something else?

I’ll be tempted to switch back from MacJournal if the Journler source comes out and it starts making progress again.

The fact that a beta that fully supports Lion was released is a great sign. We’ll see what happens. I’m not holding my breath, but definitely going to be watching closely.