Back

Show HN: I made a Note-Taking app for people who keep texting themselves

212 points2 daysstrflow.app

This project began when I realized that despite trying many fantastic note-taking apps, I often defaulted to dumping notes into chat apps like Slack or iMessage. I wanted to bring that effortless “text yourself” note-taking experience to a dedicated note-taking app.

Originally developed as a macOS app, Strflow is now also available for iOS. Strflow is designed to make note-taking as quick and intuitive as possible, centered around a chronological timeline UI.

Here are some of its features:

* Tag system

* Rich editor with text formatting, images, and note linking

* Global shortcuts for quick access

* Share extension

* Encrypted iCloud backup & synchronization (becomes end-to-end encryption if you enable iCloud’s Advanced Data Protection)

Hope you find Strflow interesting. I’m happy to answer any questions.

## Some implementation details some of you might be interested in:

* The app is implemented natively using Swift.

* On macOS, it’s based on AppKit, and on iOS, it uses UIKit, with SwiftUI used partially.

* The editor intensively utilizes TextKit.

* The sync engine is custom-built using CloudKit.

dewey2 days ago

This somehow seems to be a solution in search of a problem. The reason people use self texting is that they _don't_ want to use another app. Not because the existing apps are somehow missing features.

> I often defaulted to dumping notes into chat apps like Slack or iMessage

What makes you think people think differently about this app?

If people wanted all these features they would already all be covered by Apple Notes (Including the quick note feature, included in the OS when you mouse into the bottom right corner of your screen) but for free, encrypted and synced to all devices.

golly_ned2 days ago

I text myself notes, and it’s not because I don’t want to use another app, but because I like the streaming append-only log style of notes. I don’t like how hard it is to search through them stores in iMessage. I’ve thought about building an app like this, just since I haven’t been able to find one. So the problem does exist, though it’s not for you.

And it’s plainly not the case that if people wanted these features they would be built into Apple apps. There is a massive ecosystem of iOS apps for exactly the reason that the Apple apps don’t cover everything. Same for any case where there’s a startup vs. an incumbent.

pdimitar2 days ago

Sure, but I just use a personal Telegram channel for this. It's quite well-searchable too, and it serves me 95% perfectly.

mmcclure2 days ago

This is my flow too. I know it’s silly, but 90% of why I pay for premium is just for the tags in my saved notes messages.

brewdad2 days ago

I use Signal's Note to Self. It's often easier than dealing with a notes app or file syncing for one offs or interesting links I want to read on another device.

IOT_Apprentice2 days ago

What about using a discord server?

+1
pdimitar2 days ago
suriya-ganesh2 days ago

Discord is much much slower than the telegram client IMO

dheera2 days ago

I just use a 1-person Slack message for this. Split categories into channels.

I can also write my own plugin bots to respond to specific queries.

I considered Discord but I hate its UI, especially every time I go to the website it wants to do a phone verification. F that, I'm out. If you are a nonessential "fun" app you need to be as low friction as possible.

+1
mcintyre19942 days ago
alsetmusic2 days ago

I email myself notes and reminders as a way to time-shift them. I send to my work account so that I see them the next day, as I don't have a position that requires me to be available or respond during off-hours. It's a way to reduce how many reminders I have blasting notifications on my devices, a sort of mental cheat / hack by spreading them out.

The only time I text myself is to get data from a personal device and a work device. All my "real" notes still go in a plain-text Simplenote document that syncs between my devices. I've started using Apple Notes just in the last few months even though I've had access to the app since its inception (call me old-fashioned and a curmudgeon about plain-text, I guess).

emeril2 days ago

try resophnotes as a good clean windows client for simplenote if you haven't already

eguchi19042 days ago

I understand your point. For me, though, existing apps like Slack or iMessage were insufficient because, at the end of the day, they aren’t “note-taking apps.” By creating a dedicated note app combined with a chat-style timeline-focused UI, I feel that the speed and quality of note-taking have improved.

However, I understand that it might not be for everyone, and I appreciate your feedback!

JohnFen2 days ago

It is really interesting how different people are in their preferred solutions. The thing that I've learned makes an application good for note-taking is a lack of features. Simplicity is key for this use case for me. Even on the desktop, my "note-taking" app is just notepad on Windows, kwrite in KDE, and a very bare-bones text editor on my phone.

None of this is even remotely a criticism of your effort. I was just pondering how different people can be in their needs.

dylan6042 days ago

> The thing that I've learned makes an application good for note-taking is a lack of features.

The best featureless app I've ever used for taking notes is the pen and paper sitting next to me for the specific purpose. Admittedly, it's not convenient at any time other than sitting at the desk and focused. There are plenty of studies about the process of writing notes vs typing notes when it comes to long term retention. There are times where I'm wrestling with a problem that is just a bit more data than my L1 cache (my head) can remember and need to offload some of the data to RAM (scratch pad), but I can just jot down the data without actually looking at it. Even being able to try to sketch data has helped. I have yet to ever find an app even remotely as effective to the point, I'm stopped trying anything else. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

JohnFen2 days ago

> The best featureless app I've ever used for taking notes is the pen and paper sitting next to me for the specific purpose.

True! At work, I carry a pencil and small notepad for this reason. But outside of work, I don't always have one at hand and so other methods come into play.

eguchi19042 days ago

Thank you. I can relate to the importance of simplicity. When there are too many features, I find it distracting and difficult to focus on the content I’m writing.

There really are so many different needs when it comes to note-taking apps, including my own. This discussion has highlighted that for me once again.

livrem1 day ago

I take notes in emacs with org-mode. It is not simple at all, in a way, but there is nothing that gets in my way either. No distractions since all features are hidden behind keyboard combos (I disabled the menu). Never felt like I had to switch to a simpler editor for certain tasks. And it runs on my phone in Termux (syncs with git) so I just use org-mode as my note-taking app.

lelanthran2 days ago

> Even on the desktop, my "note-taking" app is just notepad on Windows, kwrite in KDE, and a very bare-bones text editor on my phone.

I've done this years ago in my .bashrc and use it almost daily:

      alias todo='vim ~/.todo'
I suppose I should change `~/.todo` to `/.todo.md` for syntax highlighting, but the list is already quite large and I'm not adding in anything that isn't absolutely required.
benatkin2 days ago

> I feel that the speed and quality of note-taking have improved

In your case you’ve gotten over any learning curve and you’re accomplishing three things at once - taking notes, testing your app, and giving yourself satisfaction that you’ve built something you can use, so of course it’s going to feel better! But it’s more important what potential users think because they’re less biased and there’s more of them. However you seem to be at least slightly dismissive here.

Dwolb2 days ago

Honestly I love the direction and I do this all the time.

If you could 1) integrate directly with iMessage so I'm literally just texting and 2) have your interface provide me some sort of LLM summary tool/weekly digest/remind me of things smartly (I dunno it's up to you to figure out), I'd probably do this.

eguchi19042 days ago

Thank you! 2) is an interesting idea. I plan to add functionalities that can smartly suggest and categorize notes in the future. Thanks for the suggestion!

bozhark2 days ago

What did I do last year?

Last month?

Last week?

How does that correlate with what’s ahead?

Something like that would keep me from relearning the same stuff over and over would be very helpful. I suffer from a TBI and do my recall/remember well. Whenever I do technical work, I have to constantly relearn steps. Would be nice to have those steps easily accessible, without effort from the user.

j452 days ago

It's also a form of journaling throughout the day whether it's a note, thought, reflection.

hexmiles2 days ago

As a counter: I love the concept, I often message myself not because I don't want to use another app, but because I like the workflow and the UI. Most notes app work with a concept similar to files organized in a structure (be tags or folder) instead chat app are primarily chronological, also the UI is more oriented for quick addition than most note's app; I get that this don't make sense for everyone but an app like this is exactly what I want.

eguchi19042 days ago

Thank you, your kind words are very encouraging. Your perspective closely aligns with the issues I was trying to address.

realjohng2 days ago

For a note taking app, launch speed is critical. Keep it super fast.

sensanaty2 days ago

I write "notes" to myself all the time not because I don't want to use another app, but because I prefer the chronological, quick way that those kind of notes work. I'm too chaotic for regular note taking, I've tried a million times, so for me the flow of just dumping a stream of consciousness down for me to read through later on works much better than trying to organize dozens of files.

I'll definitely be checking this app out, personally!

arjvik2 days ago

What I'd love (and what has been on my to-do list of things to write) is an app that I can literally text, which takes my notes and collects them somewhere. Would love to get some real searchability, etc while still not needing to launch something seperate to send notes!

danem2 days ago

In obsidian I have a template to insert a timestamp. I have a "Work Log" file I refresh each month where I just jot down whatever with the timestamp. No further organization required.

pjot2 days ago

Same here - I’ll typically leave my message to myself as unread as a visual reminder to go back to it.

codegeek2 days ago

Not always. I do text/slack myself to make a note at times because it is the fastest way to log something and come back to it later. If a tool creates a note out of it with all the other goodies, it may not be a bad thing. I however agree that I have to test something like this but having lost my mac notes recently, I am seriously considering a notes tool that is super easy to log.

havefunbesafe2 days ago

I think the problem was OP wanted to build an app, and the solution was building the app. Totally fine!

dewey2 days ago

This is fair, and I've done a fair share of that myself!

whalesalad2 days ago

I actually want an app like this, but I want something cross platform and web based so I can use it on mac/linux/phone.

hidelooktropic2 days ago

To me it doesn't need to be a solution-to-a-problem so much as a different paradigm for using a familiar tool that is more pleasant to use.

HarHarVeryFunny2 days ago

Yeah - another place to have to check for messages seems to be cluttering mindspace rather than helping.

What might be useful, if done well, would be adding tags to messaging similar to GMail's use of tags in lieu of folders, as a way of grouping related messages (e.g. notes to self). OTOH, maybe with message search, perhaps "AI" assisted, it might not be needed.

One use case for this sort of occasional "notes to self" and later search/gathering that I've been thinking of recently is for a shopping list, but it would have to involve basically zero effort to be useful. The idea would to allow you to say things like "shopping list: milk, bread", then next day "shopping list: cat food", then next day "show shopping list", or something similar.

j452 days ago

Not always.

There's an app called Voiceliner that is quite decent for a different use case but capturing notes nonetheless.

Audio notes are usually much quicker than typing on a phone.

Helping people capture their thoughts happens in many ways, and it's valid.

I have been using apps like this for a very long time, and it's an unfair advantage because it can seem like I don't forget much, when really I reinforce remembering it by recording it somehow and working through actioning it (or sharing it to get help)

hnbad2 days ago

Another benefit is that self texting means you have access to your notes wherever you have access to your messages. Using another app makes that more tedious.

hartator2 days ago

Yeah, Slacking one-self is reassuring because you Lonnie it won’t be lost or forgotten.

keb_2 days ago

[flagged]

allenu2 days ago

This is really cool stuff, OP. Congrats on the launch! I like that you've taken an actual problem or use case you have and turned it into an app.

I love seeing how other people solve similar problems. I've seen this other project [1] that is similar in idea, but the author there has opted to go for something that looks literally like a texting app. Yours looks more Slack-like, just going by the Mac version.

Likewise, I also wanted to create an app for keeping track of short notes, but I thought it would be neat to give it the UI of something like Twitter or Tumblr, so I built Minders. [2] I have to admit that not all the design ideas in my particular app work quite well together yet (such as "hearting" and replying to your own posts), but I do end up using it regularly for journaling and keeping track of interesting links.

[1] https://zhenyi.gibber.blog/gibberish-is-now-available-on-tes... [2] https://minders.ussherpress.com/

Terretta1 day ago

Please let me add an iCloud family member to Minders.

Offer a "Family Plan" price to cover selling two copies that feature-enables you to make Minders into you and another person's private twitter feed.

Don't make Path from 2010 for 50 people (amazing when it started in 2010, lost its way a bit, gone now):

https://www.lifewire.com/what-is-path-3486483

Just make your thing, but for a couple or a family, exclusively in their own shared iCloud storage.

And yes, please, add one-time purchase.

Related note to iOS devs: if you only offer IAP, companies can't buy your app for employees on company devices or BYOD. Apple doesn't support a company any way to provide IAP. My employees get company-paid-for iOS apps... but only apps the apps and books manager can buy for roles or individuals.

wonger_2 days ago

Another chat-like notetaking app I saw posted a while ago: https://site.ducknote.app/

That one reminds me a bit of Discord.

Love the design of yours, though.

eguchi19042 days ago

Thank you! Yeah, it’s interesting to see apps with similar motivations, and thank you for suggesting your app. The idea of a private SNS with a Twitter-like UI for note-taking is definitely another interesting direction.

entropyie2 days ago

My number one problem with notes apps is that they all take too long to open a new note, and try to sync themselves when opened, often slowing everything down. Especially if you have a slow / choppy connection (fully offline is usually ok, but barely online is the worst).

I have a literal supercomputer in my pocket, yet not one app let's me open and start writing a critical note in less than 500ms.

To this day I still use plaintext editors on my desktop to dump short strings or notes into, because they load faster than any other app. And don't try to be clever with smart quotes, fonts and butchering my code snippets.

vladxyz2 days ago

Just as a counter-example, my workflow works very quickly for me:

On mobile, my launcher has four pinned favorites on the homepage - one of which is a shortcut to go straight to the new note activity in my notes app. From typing up this comment I can swipe up to home and touch that button in (probably?) under 500ms and type in a new note.

(launcher = KISS Launcher, notes app = Joplin. though I'm sure similar things work with other launchers and note apps.)

It is unfortunately an electron app on desktop, but I'm invested enough that I never close it, and can start a new note just as quickly (super + 1 to launch it from my task bar, ctrl+n to start a new nearly plaintext note). This is the same on my windows and Linux computers. MacOS (as it is with most things) is somewhat more annoying: I keep a Space dedicated to Joplin and never collapse to the icon, which allows me to similarly go two chords - ctrl+9, cmd+n - to a new note.

Joplin doesn't need sync to complete before opening a new note.

rsanek2 days ago

try Google keep. there's a shortcut you can make that with a single tap from the homescreen creates a new note and brings up your keyboard for typing. after you're done you don't have to even click save to persist it. it also auto syncs in the background.

I've been using it on iOS for years

kwhitefoot2 days ago

And you can invite others to share a note and edit it together in real time. My family uses this feature for shopping lists. Any of us can add things to the list and when one of us does some shopping they just trick the items off.

And it works offline and in the web browser.

eviks1 day ago

But that’s not true, even on decade-old iPhone the time from hot open to typing response is about 0.5 sec (if you unload an app and load it again it might be slower) Same with the "new note" long tap on newer models

Granted, you need to use native apps for that like Simplenote or Notes

Not sure about choppy connections, though, haven't measured that

rubymamis2 days ago

Give a shot to my note-taking app! https://www.get-plume.com

It stays hidden in the background, and you can summon it immediately using a shortcut key like control + N on macOS/Windows key + Shift + N on Windows.

It also starts very fast from scratch since it's a Qt C++ app, not Electron.

happyopossum2 days ago

> yet not one app let's me open and start writing a critical note in less than 500ms

IME Apple Notes does this with Quick Notes (accessible a bunch of different ways depending on platform) on iOS and macOS.

wonger_2 days ago

What are the different shortcuts/ways to open Notes? And do you know if these shortcuts are available for other app developers, or are they dedicated solely to Notes? Just curious

sturza2 days ago

I had the same speed issue and i solved it using email drafts. They sync automatically and i have rich text.

Tiberium2 days ago

Telegram's Saved Messages (essentially self-texting) is also commonly used for saving info, somewhat recently they even added tagging and the ability to view messages that you forwarded into there per chat (so you can see all messages that you ever saved from some group you're in). Of course it all lives on their cloud and is not local.

bayesianbot2 days ago

Though tagging is only available for the (kinda pricey) Premium subscription.

eguchi19042 days ago

Tagging is actually available for free, so just wanted to correct that.

bayesianbot2 days ago

Huh? I just tried tagging a message, which opens a popup for Telegram Premium. Also web search brings up "Tags are already available to all Telegram Premium users." from Telegram website - it's an old post, but I don't see anything anywhere that says otherwise. Or do you mean #hashtags?

naught02 days ago

They're (OP) almost definitely referring to their own service which has tagging built in for free.

eguchi19041 day ago

oh, you were talking about Telegram. I misunderstood it. My bad.

compootr2 days ago

This sounds like memos[0] with the asterisk that I must pay the apple corporate overlords to use it, trust you with my data, and ultimately lock myself into what you allow me to do with my data

memos is FOSS, and I run it on my machine, without the need to trust you. it also has a nifty API around it

[0]: https://usememos.com/

toyg2 days ago

A self-hosted docker-based system has a different audience from an Apple AppStore app. Don't be that "dropbox is just ftp and rsync" guy.

quaintdev2 days ago

Love memos. I've it running on my Pi server and it's really good. It doesn't get in the way of note taking. After a while you forget about app itself and just get used to the interface for noting things down.

andrei-akopian2 days ago

I read through the comments, here are the "core" issues/features an app like that has to meet:

- 1. Fast startup - 2. Fast adding an extra note - 3. Editing - 4. Sync - 5. Crossplatform - 6. Easy to forward messages - 7. Stable/Trusted/(Encrypted?)

2, 4, and 5 are the main ones probably

- Telegram lacks 1 (fyi I use telegram) - WhatsApp lacks 1 and kinda 3 - Discord lacks 1 2 and 6 (I don't remember discord working well offline) - All other note apps lack 2, 4, and 5 (core features) and focus on markup instead.

Feature 1 - fast startup seems to be the only problem with existing messengers. The best solution would be a custom crossplatform telegram client or similar that piggybacks off existing trusted messengers for sync etc.

jskherman2 days ago

I think Telegram is plenty fast enough re:(1) on Android especially with a Home screen shortcut to your private Channel. It just gets quickly cluttered with mixing messages and file uploads.

andrei-akopian2 days ago

This means we need to add management features without removing any of the above.

amadeuspagel2 days ago

I made a web app with a similar goal, but with one additional feature: the text field is also the search field, as you type a new note, the existing notes get filtered based on the text of the new note: https://thinktype.app

jmhammond2 days ago

This is really neat. It reminds me of my use of Notational Velocity from (holy cow!) almost 20 years ago. https://notational.net/

amadeuspagel2 days ago

One difference between notational velocity and thinktype is that thinktype has no concept of a title. You write full notes in the searchfield, and you see full notes as results.

wonger_2 days ago

Very novel feature I haven't seen in other notetaking apps - well done

tylerdinner2 days ago

Personally I love this concept! Looks really well done and I would pay for it once in a heartbeat, but the subscription requirement is an immediate deal breaker for me. This looks like a $2.99 - 9.99 one time purchase. I also don't understand the name.

inheritedwisdom2 days ago

Same here I’d pay 25$ one time but won’t touch a subscription service unless there’s an ongoing cost associated with its use.

jwr2 days ago

I like it a lot. I currently mostly use Simplenote for quick note taking, but that often takes too long and I have to come up with a "note title", which I do not like. I just want to jot something down, quickly.

I'll be trying this over the next couple of days. My immediate worry is that the app will not find its business model and will get neglected and then disappear in a year or two…

eguchi19042 days ago

Thank you! I felt the same way about note titles, which is why Strflow intentionally adopts a style without them.

Developing Strflow has been very fulfilling for me, and I plan to continue its development regardless of revenue. Of course, I aim to grow the number of supportive users and make it sustainable as a business.

jwr2 days ago

> I plan to continue its development regardless of revenue

I would respectfully suggest that this can be understood by some as a promise, and I think it is not a promise anyone should make. Doing things for free is not sustainable. We all need to earn a living, that's how our current societies are built. So I really hope you will get enough subscribers at reasonable price points to make this sustainable.

eguchi19042 days ago

You’re right, there’s nothing more certain than money. I aim to generate enough revenue to develop Strflow full-time. Thank you for your support!

BhavdeepSethi2 days ago

This looks great! I use Signal's "Note To Self" quite heavily. I also use it when I want to have some pictures/files/links transferred between my phone and web browser (mainly for image uploads) without going through airdrop/dropbox.

Love that this is exactly like that, but with ability to organize as well.

eguchi19042 days ago

Thank you! It’s really interesting to learn about everyone’s “text-yourself” habits. I hope Strflow fits your needs.

bonaldi2 days ago

Quick thoughts:

- This is a good fit for how I manage to-dos: a stream of actions that I can tag and process. But with no simple way to remove a tag or mark a thing as "done" I can't filter the tag streams and see only undone items

- £14.99 to use Apple's iCloud syncing which a) I already pay for and b) is free to you feels a bit much.

dchest2 days ago

"- £14.99 to use Apple's iCloud syncing..."

Obviously, this isn't priced based on the cost of materials. Almost no software is.

jaysonelliot2 days ago

I like this a lot. It's very close to something I've wanted, basically a Twitter that no one else can see but me.

I could see myself using this all the time, and making it my primary note-taking app.

But I won't.

Here's why. In order to make an app a trusted and regular part of my daily flow, I have to trust that it will always be there for me. This has a subscription model. That means that if the company who makes it goes away, I can't trust that the app will still be there for me. I'd happily pay a one time fee to own it forever. But a subscription model is a deal-breaker for me.

Best of luck, hope there's an ownership-based version someday, I'd love to use it.

langcss2 days ago

It is a phone app so the pricing model makes no difference. Either way they could pull it from the store or not.

Subscription seems to be only for backup to iCloud and encryption anyway.

Forever apps on mobile are probably only possible on Android using an apk and open source repo. Even then they could bitrot.

jwr1 day ago

A subscription is actually better, because at least there is a chance of a sustainable business model.

Your phone app will stop working within 2-4 years of being abandoned anyway, whether you "bought" it or whether you were paying a subscription fee. So I'd rather not pretend that I "bought" anything, and pay the subscription, hoping that the business will be able to make ends meet in the long term and not abandon the app.

gnicholas2 days ago

I have a different perspective. When considering purchasing an app, I always weigh the possibility the app will go away. This can happen because the back end disappears, or because the app is not updated and Apple phases it out (so you can't install it when you get a new device).

Having a reliable stream of revenue makes it less likely that the app dev will give up on it. I don't love subscriptions, but I do recognize that they help ensure ongoing maintenance/development.

jbaber1 day ago

I have the same concern, but usually insist on being able to make simple regular downloads of my data, ready to port to the next similar service.

I'm fine paying a subscription for thestorygraph and bitwarden, for instance knowing if they fold or suddenly charge triple, I've got my data. Keeps them honest, too.

al_borland2 days ago

I used a journal app that worked like this for a little while. I ultimately stopped for a couple reasons.

1. It didn't allow editing of past posts. It was on the roadmap, but never came. To fix a typo or something, I'd have to copy the note, paste, fix, post again, delete the bad one.

2. I was always worried about putting anything important in there, as longevity was always a question. There was an export option, but if I remember correctly, it was in JSON. Which is fine I guess, but the idea of having to write some kind of parser to take that and turn it into something I'd actually want to put into whatever solution I might have in the future kind of annoyed me.

Does your app allow for editing past posts? How is data stored, markdown in a folder I can simply browse, or some kind of DB?

eguchi19042 days ago

You can easily edit both the date and content of past posts. Notes are stored locally in a SQLite database. You can also export your notes in JSON format from the macOS app by going to the menu bar and selecting File > Export. I plan to extend the export options in the future to support other formats like markdown.

Regarding privacy, it is my top priority. Data stored in the cloud is encrypted with your iCloud Keychain, and I have no means of accessing it. If you enable iCloud’s Advanced Data Protection, it becomes end-to-end encrypted, so even Apple cannot see your data. For more details, please check our [privacy policy](https://strflow.app/privacy-policy).

nusaru2 days ago

To answer your first question: no, past posts can’t be edited (at least not in the iOS app).

Answer to second question: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=40927209

eguchi19042 days ago

To clarify, you can edit past posts in the iOS app by tapping on them.

royaltjames1 day ago

This is awesome! I truly want to continue texting myself, and push the texts to searchable note apps since iMessage query experience is 1/10 imo.

I found phonetonote [1] and they provide a textable 310 number which pushes to kinopio (which is how I found it), roam, logseq, zapier, etc. I think they have a telegram bot and chrome extension but I haven't tried them yet.

[1]: https://phonetonote.com/

geor9e2 days ago

I'll narrate my user journey trying this out, just for constructive feedback.

I did not understand what it is, from the post or the website. It sounds strange enough to get me to try it though. Using the hotkey popup entry box, immediately I hit a bug where the chatlog doesn't auto-scroll properly (I don't see what I last entered, unless I manually scroll). I think my Macbook is pretty stock, not sure what's causing it. I see "All Notes" in the main window, and a search box. So I can filter to messages that match my search. Okay, so it can do what Telegram or any chat app does - basically a chat room of just myself. I don't see any other buttons of features to try in the window or menu.

I kinda see the appeal for the very narrow niche of people who want (1) a hotkey entry box and (2) enjoy taking notes as a chat log and leaving them that way.

I am not (2). While I do take all my notes to a chronological inbox space at first, I need to be able to quickly triage and organize it, delete things that are done/obsolete, move things to categories and order by priority or due date. It doesn't look like this app has any abilities like that. I do like (1) but I already have many solutions for jotting down notes fast using hotkeys and such. Alfred/Tasker scripts, personally.

eguchi19041 day ago

Thank you for your detailed feedback.

> I hit a bug where the chatlog doesn’t auto-scroll properly

It seems that this issue occurs when the window size is small. I’ll investigate this further.

Strflow is specifically designed for writing and accumulating notes, and it currently doesn’t have features related to task management. While some features may be added in the future, the app will remain focused on simplicity.

Thanks again!

kirubakaran2 days ago

It looks great! I'm building https://histre.com/ and I find that some people do prefer to use a chat app they're already using. I built a Telegram bot so that they can keep taking notes on Telegram and not have to switch, but still get all the benefits of a real knowledge tool: https://histre.com/features/take-notes-with-telegram/ Perhaps you could build something like that to ease the transition?

dewey2 days ago

Like the other commenter I also had a very hard time connecting your main landing page to that Telegram feature. I even checked if you accidentally posted the wrong url.

A lot of landing pages (especially built by technical people) have the same issue, they list a bunch of "features" but don't talk about the actual problem that is being solved.

kirubakaran2 days ago

Yeah that's 100% my problem. I'll work on it. I really appreciate the feedback.

justusthane2 days ago

This looks potentially neat, but I'm having a ton of trouble figuring out what this actually _is_ from your website.

kirubakaran2 days ago

Thanks, I need to fix that.

It is primarily a knowledge management tool with a ton of integrations to get data in, and also get it out easily, has powerful search etc.

ramon1562 days ago

The whole point of self texting is that its easy, quick and just works. If I don't have an apple product, I already can't access this app. Cool idea but not very useful when the labor is there.

dougdimmadome2 days ago

I get your argument but I see real value here.

Texting yourself is an imperfect solution to the problem. Note taking apps like obsidian also have "labor" in that you have to pick a location for your note, maybe navigate a folder structure etc. This is a "stream" of notes which is closer to how some of us work. I sort of want my reminders to disappear upwards into the past and not clog my interface, but still be searchable.

attilakun2 days ago

What's the labor?

vidyesh2 days ago

Using yet another app.

I use Obsidian, OneNote for note taking and I can easily create a note just for taking quick notes when using my phone but I still self text on multiple messaging apps because those are something I already use, they are quick and simple.

Having yet another note taking app just puts my reliance on that app and keeps it for a purpose, it also becomes a barrier of sorts for me to enter quick text, that I now need to do it on separate new app/platform.

bulubulu1 day ago

Thank you for building this! I've been looking for something like this and even tried to build some for myself. As a non-developer, I've only been able to port some existing services and use very rudimentary structures. What I like about the chat-style interface is that I can always write little pieces that are easy to send, but hard to edit afterwards. It forces me to keep writing and sending, rather than stopping at a sentence and rethinking the wording and getting halted. I'm actually writing thesis and scientific papers this way. I'm curious about the data storage: I noticed that you mention data is stored in SQLite database. Can you share the path?

eguchi190423 hours ago

Thank you for your kind words!

The SQLite database is located at: ~/Library/Group Containers/KXMRPURL69.app.strflow/LocalFiles/data/database.sqlite

Please avoid directly editing the SQLite database, or any other file under ~/Library/Group Containers/KXMRPURL69.app.strflow/LocalFiles/, as it can potentially cause issues with the app.

bulubulu19 hours ago

Thanks! I'm only using it to learn about the structure (and perhaps for backup, a periodical export seems more reasonable though). Can I export/locate data from ios without syncing to mac?

eguchi19044 hours ago

Currently, you can export all data in JSON format only in the macOS app. I plan to add the same feature to the iOS app in a future update.

enriquto2 days ago

You will take self-texting from my cold, dead hands.

benoliver9992 days ago

Signal has a 'note to self' function and it's perhaps a sad reality that this is my most contacted person

theabhinavdas2 days ago

Haha, love this. I use WhatsApp though and am able to organize/categorize ideas using a community that only I'm a part of :)

PMunch2 days ago

Haven't heard of self-texting before, didn't even know it was possible. But I've been having a similar idea to this based off-of writing in a physical notebook. Basically my notes there end up sequentially, and I was missing this with my digital tools. My idea however was more of a "book mode" for a regular note-taking app where notes would be placed one after another on a long scrolling page.

jameszhan959219 hours ago

Just wanted to chime in and say that I LOVE Strflow. It's the only app that solves a specific but major pain point I've always had regarding digital note-taking.

I've been using it since it first came out and it's remarkable.

As someone who NEVER takes long or extensive notes, every note-taking app I tried left me with a bunch of note documents with just 1 or 2 lines of text.

Document-based note-taking apps simply don't meet my needs, and yet almost ALL note-taking apps out there treat a "note" as a single document. I get it; it's like notes in real life, but it doesn't work for me digitally.

Strflow's chat-style UI is flawless for this specific style of note-taking. There's nothing else like it in the market.

I love that it's minimalist and feels so lightweight. It just makes jotting down quick notes throughout the day so much easier.

chresko2 days ago

This is awesome! I use the iOS notes app in a kludgy/txt way. This is so much better. Great work getting this out there!

srid2 days ago

Very interesting app. I wish there existed more "timeline-based note-taking" apps. Are there any plans to let the user "aggregate" these notes in some form over time?

cf. "Fold" idea in https://github.com/srid/chronicle?tab=readme-ov-file#folds

eguchi19042 days ago

Thank you! I plan to implement features like a calendar view to make it easier to review notes over time. The “Fold” idea in Chronicle looks quite interesting. I’ll try it out to see how it works. Thanks for the suggestion!

srid2 days ago

Effectively you can visualize a "calendar tree". So, at the end of 2024, the user can add a summary note to the "2024" node. They can also do this at month level ("2024 Septermber"). Or at decade level. Sometimes they may want to add custom parent nodes spanning certain date range (if year/month/decade granularity is rigid for the use case). In the end, you just have a "tree of memories".

In the end, I recommend keeping your app's UX as simple as possible.

dougdimmadome2 days ago

I've been look for exactly this! (or planning to build it)

I abuse the telegram "Saved" channel to send myself thoughts, notes, reminders, pics, etc as if I'm chatting to the me who's back at his desk.

I wanted to get away from that and not rely on telegram.

Unfortunately I'm an android user so I'll probably have to keep using Telegram for the time being. Is there an android client in the works?

delecti2 days ago

If you aren't opposed to Google, "Keep" seems to be fairly well suited for this kind of thing. You can share to it easily on android, it supports a bunch of organizational things (labels, colors, archiving) but they're not in the way if you want to ignore them, and the browser version works great. If you're attached to the chat style, then it might not be perfect, but it's easy to use it as a continually appended log style experience.

eguchi19042 days ago

Thank you! I can really relate to that habit. Unfortunately, I haven’t started working on an Android version yet, so it doesn’t seem likely to be available soon. Sorry about that.

sva_2 days ago

You can also message yourself in Signal

J_cst2 days ago

Self messaging is also available in WhatsApp

NayamAmarshe2 days ago

Yeah but the whole experience of using WhatsApp is kinda sub-par compared to Telegram.

oulipo2 days ago

There's also the "Defer" app which works both on iOS and osX with a nice UX for quick todos https://apps.apple.com/us/app/defer-task-inbox/id6480421520?...

amai1 day ago

I‘m sending emails with notes to my own gmail account since years (I have a filter that moves emails to myself to a notes folder). It works from everywhere, costs nothing, support all kinds of attachments. I can read them with every email client on every OS out there. No note taking app comes close to the flexibility and usability of emails.

blackbear_2 days ago

Apologies for the self-promotion, but as several people here mentioned Telegram already...

From a similar motivation of minimizing friction when taking notes, I created a Telegram bot that saves all messages you send it into a Google Spreadsheet. Hashtags can be used to split the text into columns, if so desired. Besides jotting down quick thoughts, this is very handy for short-form journaling such as tracking expenses, workouts, mood, period, etc., with the added bonus of easy charting and summarization from within the spreadsheet. It also supports pictures and other attachments that are uploaded automatically to Google Drive.

Feel free to check it out, all feedback is appreciated: https://t.me/gsheet_notes_bot

sintezcs2 days ago

Looks really interesting! Is it open-source? I’d probably prefer to spin up my own bot instance, if it is possible

Beijinger16 hours ago

That is great man. My own sheet gives a parsing error for the date. But really gread stuff. Can you be reached by char or email?

amandasystems1 day ago

This is just what I wanted, with one exception — there’s no obvious way to export all the data in a machine-readable way. I’m not going to journal in something I don’t know I can move on with if the app dies or I move to a platform that doesn’t support it.

eguchi190423 hours ago

Thank you for your feedback. You can export all data in JSON format from the macOS app by going to the menu bar and selecting File > Export. I plan to extend the export options in the future to support other formats like markdown.

kirykl2 days ago

There’s maybe some value in branding as ‘stream of consciousness note taking’ instead of ‘replacing texting’, to which it just adds more steps for the same thing.

To replace texting can I text a phone number that feeds into this app?

eguchi19042 days ago

You might be right; that could be a more accurate branding. Strflow uses a model where notes are pushed into a single timeline and categorized with tags, so there isn’t a functionality to text a phone number that feeds into the app.

andai2 days ago

The key aspect of self texting is frictionlessness. On that note, has anyone used Notational Velocity? I've been looking for alternatives for years and haven't found anything that comes close.

jcynix2 days ago

One more app? I'm skeptical. https://xkcd.com/927/ is about standards, but it could easily be about apps instead.

My note taking takes place either classically via email with mutt in a terminal, not with these gargantuan desktop "apps", or with existing apps like Blitzmail on Android, or Joplin. Joplin just needs a WebDAV server to store notes and is available for multiple platforms, so I can easily swap notes between mobile and desktop/laptop.

champagnepapi2 days ago

Wow this is pretty cool! I'm gonna give a try. For me, this is actually what most of my slack usage is. Just writing notes to myself and then occasionally messaging others.

kochie1 day ago

Looks good! I like the idea of not taking based on a timeline like this. Something to consider in the future is the context of the notes. It would be great to automatically have photos and locations added to a note. Tags and hashtags for people and themes would also be great.

Looking forward to seeing this evolve!

csmeyer2 days ago

I’ve been in the habit of emailing myself a lot, I’m excited to give this a try! I had thought of building this myself, so I’m glad I don’t have to :-)

rolfus2 days ago

I'm also emailing myself a lot. It works well but every time I do it it feels wrong and shameful. Like, I know there are better solutions but I just won't make the effort.

eguchi19042 days ago

I’m glad to hear that. I’m relieved we didn’t end up releasing competing apps!

vidyesh2 days ago

Congrats on the launch!

The app looks simple and good but I struggle with the idea that I need to use yet another app for this. The reason for self-texting is that I am already using that app and now I can send quick notes to myself for later.

The odd thing is, I use most and all the messaging apps for this for some reason. My quick notes or links or text snippets I want to store are in multiple apps I already use.

Not an app for me but good luck!

tamimio2 days ago

What I personally do is just send them to myself in SimpleX or Telegram, and they are available immediately on other platforms.

NayamAmarshe2 days ago

I actually like saving stuff on Telegram but the only downside is the absence of markdown.

But it's not actually that big of a deal. Telegram supports tagging messages, saving files and more.

This is why I was creating writedown.app, to have something where I can quickly post my notes like Telegram but not have it turn into another app accounting for Telegram's lack of markdown.

msravi2 days ago

A couple of questions. The notes seem to be markdown, which is good. But where are they stored? Are they just markdown files stored in an accessible folder? How easy is it to "export" the notes?

I use "self-texting" on WhatsApp for temp notes that I know I won't need beyond a couple of days and don't mind losing and Obsidian for others.

eguchi19042 days ago

The notes are stored in a SQLite database. You can export your notes from the macOS app by going to the menu bar and selecting File > Export. This allows you to export the notes in JSON format, which includes various metadata and markdown representations.

I also definitely plan to extend the export functionality to support markdown in the future.

toyg2 days ago

My girlfriend doesn't even self-text, she just texts me random stuff on whatsapp followed by "ignore that". When I told her about this app, she said it sounds great and she'll check it out.

I personally think there is something there. The app-switching problem is real though; maybe it would work better as a Whatsapp/Telegram bot.

heliodor2 days ago

You can pin yourself to the top of Whatsapp and write to yourself. Explain that to her. It's what I do and it's been phenomenal.

toyg2 days ago

Yeah but you're still limited to the chat mode - you can't consume the data in any other way. With a bot, you could provide some sort of other interface - either via bot commands, or an alternative web view, with fancy exports etc.

knoebber2 days ago

Like any good yakshaving programmer, i built/use my own note taking / TODO app. Now I want to implement a feature where I can send a SMS to my app, and it will save the text/media to my database. Seems like a lot less friction than using the UI on my phones browser if I just need to save a quick note.

ants_everywhere2 days ago

I use a variety of note taking systems, but one I use for quick notes is Signal. It's always there, syncs to my devices, I trust the encryption and privacy stance, and it has a reasonable search implementation. As a bonus, I can easily forward notes from other conversations, like reminders my wife sends me.

napbree2 days ago

I like the format, an idea to take unstructured data and try to turn it into a plan (could be a paid extra?) would be for a language model to take a stab of taking the data and turning it into a live contextualised overview per notes.

That's then taking the pain away from trying to organise the unstructured thoughts

saasxyz21 hours ago

I love the concept. As someone keeps everything on browser, I can see a demand for the web version.

maxpage2 days ago

There is something in it. I find myself often sending notes to myself on various social media messaging apps :)

mraza0072 days ago

This looks really cool. Out of curiosity how long did it take you to build the application

eguchi19042 days ago

Thank you! It took about 2 and a half years. I worked on it during my free time alongside my full-time job, so it might feel a bit long.

mraza0071 day ago

That’s impressive

nusl2 days ago

Currently I use a personal Discord server for this. Will give this a shot, seems really useful.

farhanhubble2 days ago

Samsung screen off memo with a stylus has been the best note taking app for me. There’s an option to digitise the text and make it searchable. The big issue is it’s not cross platform.

_flux2 days ago

Pretty cool, but I think I'll stick to using Matrix for the same purpose (in particular as I'm not an Apple user).

But I admit a custom app would be nice, still using Matrix for storage.

Void_2 days ago

I made something similar, except by recording audio memos: https://whispermemos.com/

santa_boy1 day ago

Tried and quite like this app. Has most of what I need. Is this built on Expo? I've wanted to build for iOS for decades but never could start on it.

colinflane2 days ago

I created a note with a tag. Then I deleted the note, but the tag remains visible under 'Tags' in the left slide panel. fwiw

eguchi19042 days ago

Thank you. In Strflow, tags can be created independently of notes, so tags can exist even if their associated notes are empty.

flufluflufluffy2 days ago

do people not know about the built in dedicated note-taking app, literally called Notes, by default on the first page of their home screen

cpursley2 days ago

This is neat but I can't seem to get the desktop version to sync - I even upgraded iCloud.

cpursley1 day ago

Derp, I had to turn on iCloud syncing. Working great now!

quirk2 days ago

I loved Squarespace Note, and this seems like a close relative. Downloading now.

torlok1 day ago

Requiring a subscription for iCloud sync feels like rent-seeking.

exsomet1 day ago

This is super interesting to me, and I am definitely going to check it out. It’s worth emphasizing that I am interested in this because it’s _simple_ and deliberately designed for this (unlike a discord message to yourself or channel or emailing notes to yourself or something).

That said, the single most important factor that determines whether this stays or goes for me is going to be whether it is faster/easier at capturing information than an email (which is how I currently send myself stuff).

This type of thing sits at the top of my personal knowledge funnel. For a tool like this it’s job (to me) is to cast as wide a net as possible and capture everything even tangentially related to whatever I happen to be doing at the snapshot in time when I decide I want to take a note, and then later if I decide that it was important after all I will go back and clean/curate, and move the information to another system like a wiki that has a better format for long form searchable information.

But the critical factor for me is the ratio between work required to capture information at the top of that funnel, and the amount/quality of information captured.

A classic example is recipes. If I search for baked chicken recipes, I am probably doing something like:

1. Search google 2. Open 5-10 tabs 3. Flip through them and pick one that looks good 4. Leave them open for a few days in case the one I try doesn’t end up being a keeper. 5. If I find one I like, move it to my KB under the recipes section

(The same workflow happens when I am looking for movies to watch, or checking out different ways to do something for work, etc)

So, there would be a lot of value for me in something that could make it easier to dump those 5-10 links into a note, intuit some tags, automate some metadata, and if I don’t come back to it in a few days, archive it but keep it searchable.

It’s possible to do this with existing tools now, but that gets us back to the original point: if tool A is faster/easier at it than tool B, tool A replaces B and becomes the incumbent.

All that aside, neat tool - I’ll be keeping an eye on this one!

thiagocsf2 days ago

Looking forward to trying this when I have a phone that runs iOS 17+.

Seylox2 days ago

Kind of reminds me also what Google Wave could have been, if it wasn't killed.

hagbard_c2 days ago

Or just send those notes to your own XMPP account where they'll show up as "Note to myself" (in Gajim) or something similar in other clients. You get all the facilities your clients offer on whatever platform you happen to be using at that time - web, mobile, desktop, etc. Your data is as safe as your XMPP account is, you can (but are not required to) run your own XMPP server - prosody or ejabberd or something else - on your own hardware on your own connection at home. Cross-platform, free, there are many different clients, standards-based. End to end encryption through OMEMO which works across an ever widening spectrum of clients.

Yes, this is similar to the Telegram "Saved Messages" feature which is another way of doing this. The advantage of using XMPP is that you can run your own service using free software. Also, should the EU "Chat Control" abomination become reality this is one of the ways to avoid having the EU spy on all your traffic.

hidelooktropic2 days ago

Clever idea! Well done.

AlecSwanky2 days ago

Sounds great, I would use this. Will there be an android version?

toyg2 days ago

> The app is implemented natively using Swift [...] On macOS, it’s based on AppKit, and on iOS, it uses UIKit, with SwiftUI used partially.

So I guess the answer is likely to be no.

eguchi19042 days ago

Thank you! I’d love to work on an Android version if time permits, but currently, it’s a lower priority compared to adding other features. Sorry about that.

KaoruAoiShiho2 days ago

I just use google keep and apple notes, works fine for me.

TuringNYC2 days ago

whatsapp's and slack's text-myself was such a killer-feature for me! however, i think that was because i was already inside those apps constantly.

fuzzy_biscuit1 day ago

So, I'm a bit of a to-do app collector. Any chance this will ever make its way to Android? I saw that it's written in Swift, so not holding my breath, but the idea is novel enough that I'd love to try it out.

the_arun2 days ago

I slack myself for this purpose.

sirolimus1 day ago

This is cool, nice job

pshirshov2 days ago

E2EE?

eguchi19042 days ago

Yes, Strflow supports end-to-end encryption (E2EE) if you enable iCloud’s Advanced Data Protection[^1]. For more details, please check our privacy policy[^2].

[^1] https://support.apple.com/en-us/102651#advanced

[^2] https://strflow.app/privacy-policy

j452 days ago

Congrats on your launch!

Simple and effective capture (ideally as few clicks and taps as possible) from mobile can be a huge enabler to capture those random thoughts that aren't.

greenthrow2 days ago

MacOS and iOS already have the Notes app which already syncs across your devices....

cpursley2 days ago

Yeah, and they suck. I have a folder on my iPhone called "iCrap" as most of Apples native apps are hot garbage.

unstatusthequo2 days ago

Maybe rethink the name? People who text themselves can't even think of the Notes app, which is what they are literally making, let alone "StrFlow" which will definitely not be top of mind.

TxtNote? NoteChat? Note2Self? TextMe? Txt2Self?

dgid2 days ago

Built in electron?

eguchi19042 days ago

No, built natively with Swift, using AppKit/UIKit/SwiftUI for the UI.

ocular-rockular2 days ago

> Not FOSS

> Only Apple ecosystem

> Paid tier for local service

:| Seriously?

kekub2 days ago

As a developer of local applications, I take issue with the notion that apps should be free simply because they don't incur server costs. This argument overlooks several crucial aspects of software development:

Development costs: The bulk of an app's expense lies in its continuous development, not in hosting. Even if backend services can be run for a nominal fee, the time and expertise required for ongoing maintenance, updates, and improvements are significant.

Value proposition: Apps provide utility and solve problems for users. The price should reflect this value, not just the operational costs.

Sustainability: Charging for apps ensures developers can continue to support and improve their products, benefiting users in the long run.

Hidden costs: While server costs might be minimal, there are other expenses like development tools, testing devices, and occasional third-party services that add up.

ocular-rockular2 days ago

It's a notetaking app pal, it's not that serious. And certainly not worthy of a subscription model. Kind of ridiculous that they're using this platform as free advertising for what is effectively one of those cashgrab apps.

sAbakumoff2 days ago

In telegram it's called "Saved messages".

Sakos2 days ago

This sounds like exactly what I'm looking for, it sounds and looks great. Unfortunately, don't own an iPhone. Any plans to make an Android version?

eguchi19042 days ago

Thank you! Unfortunately, I haven’t started working on an Android version yet, and it doesn’t seem likely to be implemented in the near future. Sorry about that.

EGreg2 days ago

I like the simplicity, and good job for shipping it.

“Privacy. Always. We promise”

This kind of stuff always gets me thinking. Why should I trust random app developers? I don’t even trust giant corporations with this.

I have seen Chrome extensions bought out and silently changed. And I have sold iOS apps myself!

Capitalism and Competition and Closed source Centralized software distribution just makes me always worried. Whatever promises are given (“open”AI!) can be either false already or enshittified tomorrow.

And then who is foolish for trusting it? https://www.businessinsider.com/well-these-new-zuckerberg-im...

Why not use open source?

Actually, the main reason is The Web. It doesn’t have an effective way to guarantee a file at a URL will be static, the way, say, IFPS does. And same goes for the App Store. Telegram struggles to tell you how to do verified builds.

I think we may need a “trusted app” with IPFS based distribution, and various auditing agencies publicly signing software updates. It doesn’t need to use a blockchain because code only ever accumulates, so it’s a crypto CRDT essentially. But it could be replicated across many networks including DHT based ones like IPFS, Bittorrent and Hypercore.

That at least reduces a user’s Trusted Computing Base to the OS and one app (like a crypto wallet or an authenticator or browser) that they trust. There should be a way to never update that app via the app store.

Frankly, I think privacy will never get better than that because the manufacturer can technically always exfiltrate stuff (as Windows already does and touted with Recall).

But for running TRUSTED PROGRAMS, at least, I feel there can be blockchains and other decentralized networks. Trusted programs (ie smart contracts) are valuable for communities to trust code, even if it doesn’t enforce privacy.

Connector25422 days ago

[dead]

goosejuice1 day ago

[dead]