Boris Mann’s Personal Blog

Jun 2017

Time for a vNotes Format?

Time for a vNotes Format?

A note sync format across devices & systems

Today we have vCards for person & business contact data, and CardDAV for syncing and sharing. For calendar data we have vCal and CalDAV.

This means that CRMs, for example, can link data to your calendar and your contacts. Any changes can get synced to the native contacts and calendar in your phone or calendar.

But what about notes?

Evernote, Google Keep, SimpleNote, Apple Notes. Never mind other systems that people use for note taking like Google Docs or Dropbox Paper.

They don’t link to calendars for meeting notes, they don’t link to contacts that are mentioned.

Your CRM has a notes field, but at best you can save it as part of a CSV export. You can’t just sync your notes to your phone or desktop, so at best you’re copy pasting.

WebDAV is an existing protocol for sync / access, but is more complicated than “just” notes.

And even with all of these systems, we don’t have support for linking objects – a person, a company, a meeting, another document.

I’ve been using Dropbox Paper as my primary note taking tool, both for business and personally. It supports @-mentions for people and +-mentions for other Paper docs. It has a meeting template for your connected Google Calendar – but you can only connect one account, and it doesn’t write back to that cal event in any way. Also no mentions of cal events directly.

I don’t want to slip down the slippery slope of semantic everything, but I do want to link, annotate, and preserve meaning and entity types as I build information.

We’re seeing a flood of systems across Slack, upgraded wikis, and more. Markdown is prevalent as a good-enough rich text formatting syntax, plus embedding / unfurling of remote content.

Somebody give me a sync / notes format that harmonizes notes and search for me!

Pointers to existing thinking around these concepts appreciated!