Here’s what I want from an ideal note-taking application.
- Runs on every conceivable platform. May or may not include a degenerate web app. This is the one thing Evernote nails.
- Uses keyboard input intelligently. For example, a quick, judicious asterisk creates a list on the fly. A tab can easily kick off a table. Quick calculations are performed inline. This is something OneNote has done well.
- Allows completely free-form control over what’s already input. I can select and cordon off something and pull it aside somewhere else. Whitespace expands infinitely in any direction to accommodate. Items (be they drawings, text, or whatever else) can be moved around, side by side or similar.
- As a corollary, input with structure can be restructured. Lists are dynamic outlines that can be rearranged, re-nested, and so on. Tables’ rows and columns can be dragged around. Grippy handles on things abound to accommodate this.
- Accepts any manner of input and handles it intelligently: audio recordings; drawing with mouse, finger, or stylus; dragged-and-dropped files, which can be inlined as images or rendered as documents if applicable.
- Bonus points if the app can index all these things (handwriting analysis, image OCR, audio speech recognition).
- Organizational scheme with at least two tiers above the note level. OneNote had/has notebooks, sections, and pages (notes).
- Extremely configurable appearance of notes, easily templated. Organizational scheme is easy to configure (names, colors).
- Preferably professionally designed.
- Rock-solid brain-dead sync between devices, preferably with encryption on the client side.
I can sum up the above by saying that I want a large, free-form space that accepts anything from anywhere and tries to do something smart with it. I realize this is a tall order. I’m surprised to hear that this doesn’t exist, though, not even for an exorbitant price (which I’d pay for something which came close). If someone comes across something like this, let me know.