Trunk Notes 3 – another update

I think an update on Trunk Notes 3 is due. Trunk Notes is a project I work on separate to my day job (which is also writing apps for mobile devices) – and as such it isn’t always easy to find time to work on it, especially when I decided on the big project of rewriting much of the code.

Many of the minor bugs and issues were due to code that was first written in February 2009 still being in place – code no longer fit for purpose when running on iOS 5 and 6. Trunk Note originally ran on iOS 3.2 – and Apple has changed many things in that time. Thankfully my list of things to finish off now has only five or six minor items. A beta will be sent out in the next couple of weeks. I’m not anticipating it being long after that before a release is submitted to Apple.

Most of the work has been behind the scenes – and may only be noticeable to those of you frustrated by lack of iPhone 5 support, occasional toolbar weirdness on the iPad and other such issues. However I’ve also started a minor refresh of the user interface. Trunk Notes has never been about wowing you with skeuomorphic interfaces – rather it has been about giving you a powerful base on which to store information in a mobile personal wiki. I’ve also been taking the opportunity to tighten how words are used in the interface. The concept of notes is gone – where appropriate wiki pages are referred to as pages, which is what they are. Creating a new page is now much more obvious for new users.

Once released I should then be able to power ahead with many of the features those of you in the Trunk Notes community have been suggesting over the past couple of years.

Here are some screenshots (on an iPhone 5 and iPad) of what things will look like in Trunk Notes 3:

IOS Simulator Screen shot 17 Mar 2013 18 18 57     IOS Simulator Screen shot 17 Mar 2013 18 19 29

IOS Simulator Screen shot 17 Mar 2013 18 19 58

Changing the Trunk Notes editor font

I’ve had a recent question via Twitter as to whether you can change the Trunk Notes editor font. I added this as a (sort of) hidden feature a couple of releases ago. However I never really told anyone about it (except for a couple of people via email).

There is now a new page in your Trunk Notes wiki called Special:AdvancedSettings. In here you can set/change variables which are used to modify how Trunk Notes works. A little like about:config in Firefox. Basically it is a lazy way of me allowing people to customise Trunk Notes just that little bit more without having to create a proper interface!

At the moment the only recognised settings that can be added to Special:AdvancedSettings are editor-font-name and editor-font-size.

Here is an example of how to change the editor font to a monospaced font – very handy if you use lots of tables in your Markdown:

editor-font-name = Courier
editor-font-size = 15

Simple! The page Special:AdvancedSettings is just some lines each of which is key = value. Any line starting with a # is ignored (a common convention for comments), and any line which doesn’t properly parse is also ignored. Make sure that you get the case right – Editor-font-name wouldn’t be recognised.

Recent versions of iOS come with a surprisingly large number of fonts which can be used by any apps (certainly compared to Androids 1 font family!) A great resource I often refer to is http://iosfonts.com. It allows you to filter by iOS version, search fonts and see previews in your browser.

I will likely introduce more ways to customise Trunk Notes via Special:AdvancedSettings over time – however for now have fun modifying your editor font.

A Quick Update On The Next Release Of Trunk Notes

Hello. I thought I would post a quick update on what is happening with the next release of Trunk Notes.

The next release will be 3.0! It won’t offer much in the way of new features, but has had parts of it extensively rewritten. Trunk Notes was the second iOS app I wrote back in February 2009. Since then much has changed, both in what is offered by iOS and my own knowledge at developing for the platform. Although much of the code for Trunk Notes is fairly well structured, some it had become confused and kept introducing and reintroducing bugs. Many of these issues were to do with layout of the UI, particularly with the toolbars, and annoyingly hard to reproduce problems when not on Wi-Fi. Instead of continually trying to patch up the code I decided on rewriting and cleaning up some of the core UI code. This isn’t quite yet finished but is getting to a state where it can be sent to some kind people who have volunteered to help test Trunk Notes 3.0.

Once I’ve released 3.0 I will be in an excellent position to push ahead with some more radical changes to the UI to bring it in line with some higher marketshare note taking apps. However don’t worry, I realise what makes Trunk Notes special and what it is that keeps you using it on your iPhones, iPod Touches and iPads. Maybe I will even have time to finish the much promised Mac version (and get beyond a prototype for Android).

It is an exciting time to be a mobile developer, and although personal wikis aren’t exactly mainstream they are very powerful tools and developing Trunk Notes is great fun. There is more than one personal wiki available for iOS – however as a mobile app Trunk Notes is arguably the most powerful, and despite my lack of marketing a search for “personal wiki iOS” on Google has Trunk Notes the first named app in the results. Hopefully 2013 will see Trunk Notes gain more momentum and reach out to more people looking to manage information on their mobile devices.

Matthew
Apps On The Move

Trunk Notes Early Access Build – minor update

A tiny update to the Trunk Notes for Mac “Early Access Build” is now available. The tiny update refers to it now sorting the page lists so that the most recently changed is at the top. The next non-tiny update will make this configurable and include file watching so that if a page is updated on Dropbox or by another app Trunk Notes will pick that up immediately.

If you are using the previous version it is probably best if you keep it around (and backup your wiki) before trying this – just in case!

Download Trunk Notes for Mac EAB 20120807

Trunk Notes for Mac – Early Access Build

WARNING! WARNING! WARNING! If you don’t want to run potentially buggy, pre-beta, pre-release software on your Mac turn away now!

Trunkicon128

UPDATE: If you tried the 20120729 build and found searching caused a crash try updating to the 20120730 build (link at bottom of page)

I hope the above warning is dramatic enough to deter users who only want a polished, finished version of Trunk Notes for Mac. Lots of distractions such as my day job, girlfriend, Word Frazzle!, Trunk Notes for iOS, … have colluded to me missing many self imposed deadlines for getting Trunk Notes for Mac finished and released. As such I have decided to throw caution to the wind and release what I’m terming an ‘Early Access Build’. There are some (but not many) additional features to implement and already identified bugs to fix before I would call Trunk Notes for Mac 1.0 a beta, however it might be interesting for some users to have a play with a build now – and not wait another month or possibly more.

Some details about this build:

  • It is sandboxed – which is great for keeping everything secure and partitioned away from the rest of your data and apps. By default all your notes are installed in the sandbox environment. If you want to store your wiki somewhere else set a default location from the preferences.
  • It is developer signed. This way you know that this has come from Apps On The Move (Matthew Kennard).
  • I have been using a slightly earlier build for keeping notes for a couple of months and so far haven’t had too many issues.
  • It isn’t advised that you use this with Trunk Notes for iOS. However, if you really want to and are aware of the consequences (i.e. it might mess up your data), you can hook it up to use a wiki you synchronise using Dropbox. Bring up the preferences, select a custom location for the wiki, and choose the folder containing the notes/ and files/ directories. You will need to restart the Mac app to detect changes to the wiki – however Dropbox will be updated fairly quickly as soon as you save a page.
  • The icon is an example of programmer art – I will be shortly commissioning an icon. However I am interested to hear what people think of the concept, rather than the execution, of the current icon.
  • The only functions implemented are {{image}} and {{lua}}.
  • You need to be running Mac OS X 10.7 or above. This build has only been tested on the GM version of Mountain Lion.
  • Although the preferences indicate that you can change the syntax highlighting style and viewing CSS this isn’t operational in this build. It will be once I have some nice defaults created.
  • Search is very basic – and the pages are listed in no particular order in the sidebar. This is the next feature I will be working on.
  • The list continuation still needs a little work before its really nice to use.
  • This build does not expire – however it is also completely unsupported.

Some tips on using Trunk Notes for Mac:

  • Switch quickly between Markdown and HTML mode using the keyboard shortcut SHIFT+CMD+E. HTML mode and Markdown mode will be renamed to something more friendly in a later release.
  • Use the keyboard shortcuts CMD+[ and CMD+] to go quickly back and forwards in the history. This works in both Markdown and HTML modes.
  • CMD+L will take you directly to the search field.
  • CMD+N creates a new page. Type in the page name, press return and start typing. If you are currently focused on the search field then the search text will be used as the basis for the new page name.
  • To import images or PDFs files into the wiki simply drag them to the Trunk Notes icon on the dock.
  • Clicking an image/PDF on the File: page will open that image/PDF in Preview.
  • There are some Markdown specific editing features. For example select some text and press CMD+B to make it bold. The text stays selected so you can press CMD+B a second time to remove the bold.
  • You can tag notes – bring up the inspector to see the list of tags. The tags applied to the current note will be ticked.
  • If you want to open up a page in another editor simply drag the proxy icon to the icon of the other app.

Finally, what you have been waiting for, is the download link:

I look forward to your feedback. Feel free to email your comments to mgkennard@appsonthemove.com or add to the Apps On The Move forum!