Simplenote does exactly what it says: takes notes, simply.
But for all its minimal charm and auto-syncing awesomeness it is currently only available as a native app on Mac OS X, iOS and Android.
Could this be about to change? If you have the skills, yes.
Simplenote Linux App Request
Matthew Mullenweg of Automattic, the makers of Simplenote (not to mention a few lesser-known projects like’WordPress‘, ‘Gravatar‘ and ‘Akismet‘) posted a request on his blog at the weekend asking for help in bringing the minimalist note-taking app to Linux:
“We have a great Simplenote for Mac client…but nothing first-party for Linux. If anyone is experienced with Linux desktop development and would be interested in creating something extremely minimalist like our Mac app please get in touch!”
What is Simplenote?
Note-taking applications are far from being a rare breed on Linux. From Nitro Tasks to Springseed, via GNOME’s Bijiben and panel-based options like StickyNotes Indicator. But few, if any, of these are also available as first-party apps on iPhone, Mac, Windows or Android.
Across the current crop of supported platforms users of Simplenote get the same clean look and feature set. They can create lists, to-dos, notes and random snatches of thoughts, keep them organised and in sync across devices and desktops for free.
“The Simplenote experience is all about speed and efficiency,” explains the official website, a claim the feature set certainly backs up:
- Tag, pin and organise notes
- Instantaneous search feature helps you find what you’re looking for
- Notes and lists can be shared publicly
- Changes are instantly saved and backed up, no need to hit a ‘sync’ button
- Time slider lets you view older versions of saved notes
As great as many Linux-only apps are few match this list.
For Linux See Chrome
A native desktop Linux app for Simplenote would certainly make my life a tad easier (possibly even wean me off of Wunderlist) but what would be the best way to make one? As a GTK+ app adhering to GNOME’s HIG? As a lightweight Vala implementation with Unity desktop features? Or as a Qt/Qml “click app“ exclusive to Ubuntu for Devices?
I’m not a developer but I am a fan of cross-plaform apps. To this end, making a Simplenote Chrome App would be one way to provide a first-class client not only to Linux users, but to those on Windows and Chrome OS, too.
By using a standard set of APIs and familiar web technologies, a developer would only need to make an app once for all OSes — Windows, Mac, Linux and Chrome OS and, soon, even Android.
Chrome Apps are more powerful than web-based apps — known as hosted or URL apps in Chrome speak, and as glorified bookmarks by users — that most people are familiar with. Chrome Apps offer near-native capabilities, can leverage system hardware, integrate with the local file- ystem and work offline.
Going this route would unshackle the service from the browser (where it has a capable online-only web version) to put it slap-bang in the middle of our desktops, in its own window, with its own app launcher and with all the benefits that a “traditional” implementation would.
With more and more of us spending our days stretched across multiple operating systems — from an iPhone on the commute, to Windows at work, to an Ubuntu PC at home — the boon of cross-platform apps is evident. They help to blur the barriers, soften the edges and keep transitions seamless. Many of us barely have enough time to eat, much less relearn different apps that do the same job.
Having Simplenote on Linux would help the app continue to do what it does so well, but for more people on more devices.
Interested in helping out? You can get in touch with the developers via the link below.