I have a limited access to a server running PHP, which is allowed to read/create files in my user area on the server. Here I would like to set up a small "self-hosted", "collaborative" online note taking tool, written either in PHP (as I cannot run other kind of server processes, e.g. Ruby, on that server) - or as a pure HTML/JavaScript application (open-source), which would allow:

  • Writing in Markdown, with live preview
  • No user management - anyone can sign themselves as any username they wish (if I need more protection, I'll set up authentication from Apache)
  • Timestamped revisions with username are saved upon each edit+save of a document/article (like on StackOverflow/StackExchange)
  • Revisions/documents/posts are saved either as files on the server filesystem, or in a local database like sqlite (although I could manage with a MySQL backend, too); alternatively I could also call git through a shell on the server (but from non-installed/non-standard location).

Nice features, but low priority:

  • (drag & drop of images with upload to server's filesystem and replacement link, as on SO/SE)
  • (tagging of documents/posts/articles; search by tags + fulltext as on SO/SE)
  • (comments as on SO/SE - but no voting)

Some related alternatives I've seen so far:

  • https://firepad.io


    No Markdown, no explicit revisions

  • https://stackedit.io


    Looks great, but saves files either in browser storage, or in cloud; JavaScript? (so I can put it up on server - but seems to require node.js?), otherwise not PHP

  • http://etherpad.org


    No Markdown (but has explicit revisions); JavaScript? (so I can put it up on server - but seems to require node.js?), otherwise not PHP

  • https://laverna.cc


    Has Markdown, but no live preview; no user/author signing; no explicit revisions; stores in browser local storage, JavaScript? (so I can put it up on server - but seems to require node.js?), otherwise not PHP

  • http://paperwork.rocks/


    The demo doesn't work for me, otherwise PHP + MySQL (but npm is required?); has users, but not sure if it has Markdown editing with live preview, or explicit revisions (which would anyways be saved in MySQL, not on the server file system).

(Ultimately, it would be great to solve this in the manner of http://tiddlywiki.com/ - i.e. the changes to a .html file are saved in the file itself [though, note that twiddly gives you a download for the new version of the html file, it does not edit the source html file in-place]; but otherwise to me it seems a bit complex, and Markdown is also just a plugin for TiddlyWiki, and not sure if (or how) it handles revisions or user/author signing …)

So is there anything in this vein, but closer to my wants?


1 Answer 1


Right, well, I ended up coding my solution that fits this; please see


To get it:

git clone http://git.code.sf.net/p/spnoter/code SPNoter

Otherwise, check README.md in the repo and the help in-app for more...

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