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I need a desktop RDBMS to conveniently manage a bundle of rich text notes -- CRUD, adding tags, search inside notes, backups, etc. In a way, I need a light, abridged, desktop only version of Evernote that can also add metadata ("custom fields" or "properties" in Notion) to the rich-text notes.

Critical functionality:

  1. Windows
  2. CRUD
  3. Rich text editor
  4. Pasting formatted text and images from clipboard preserves formatting
  5. Using tags
  6. Adding custom fields to the notes (aka Notion's "properties")
  7. Searching inside notes with real-time suggestions
  8. Working offline seamlessly (in fact, at this point I'm not interested in online/mobile at all)
  9. Backups

Declined candidates:

Evernote Does not allow to add custom fields to the note entries -- those little things Notion has and calls them "properties".

Notion Does not support offline working with your notes.

KeepNote Severely outdated

TagSpaces Very different concept

Simplenote No rich text; No custom fields

OneNote Similar to Evernote

Keep Similar to Simplenote

Bear Can't assess, for Mac users only

Zim No custom fields; Pastes don't keep source formatting; No in-text images

Very far from what I look for are CintaNotes, NixNote, Turtl, GNotes, Laverna.

As a raw idea -- can it be implemented with Django and where do you recommend I start? Vibrato Notes might be worth trying once deployed, if and when.

Any recommendations?

PS Similar queries:

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  • Why desktop (instead of offline-first)?
    – Pacerier
    Mar 28 at 18:38
  • Budget range....?
    – Pacerier
    Mar 28 at 18:38
  • @Pacerier: 1. "desktop", because I'm not keen on syncing between devices at all. But "offline-first" would also work, if available. 2. "budget range" – free for personal use. Apr 1 at 17:39

2 Answers 2

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Perhaps Obsidian in combination with the dataview plugin would work? This is how I think it scores on your requirements:

  1. ✅ Windows - It has a Windows app.
  2. ✅ CRUD - You can create, read, update and delete the notes and properties.
  3. ❌ Rich text editor - As far as I know Obsidian only works with plain text Markdown files. They are shown with formatting, but editing is in plain text.
  4. ❌ Pasting formatted text and images from clipboard preserves formatting - Same as above, editing happens in plain text only.
  5. ✅ Using tags - Tags can be added to each note.
  6. ✅ Adding custom fields to the notes (aka Notion's "properties") - Properties can be added to each note.
  7. ❌ Searching inside notes with real-time suggestions - Search is available but I don't think it provides suggestions.
  8. ✅ Working offline seamlessly (in fact, at this point I'm not interested in online/mobile at all) - You can store all your Markdown notes in an offline folder.
  9. ✅ Backups - You can back-up your vault folder to any location you like.
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  • Good things come to those who wait :-) Thank you @saaru. After 3 years of searching, Obsidian is actually where I ended up. There's definitely a learning curve, but it's worth it. No app is perfect (other than the one you would have made yourself), and I still have some unresolved issues with Obsidian, but I'm pretty happy now. Especially compared to my experience with Evernote. PS Joplin isn't bad either, but Obsidian is still my choice. Apr 1 at 17:42
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Have you taken a look at https://standardnotes.org? It meets most of the requirements I think, minus the requirement for custom fields. It being open source and able to build on top of it, with the extension system.

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  • 1
    Thank you ZucchiniZe. However Standard Notes does not seem to offer anything useful above Evernote -- only privacy, maybe. Out of the box it has less useful features than Evernote -- eg. no rich text editor. And presence of custom note properties is critical -- it's the lack of those that pushes me to search for Evernote replacement. Mar 14, 2021 at 11:41

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