Mobile note taking with your private cloud: announcing Joplin/Nextcloud integration


#1

Originally published at: https://nextcloud.com/blog/mobile-note-taking-with-your-private-cloud-announcing-joplinnextcloud-integration/

Open source Evernote competitor Joplin introduced Nextcloud integration, making it easy for users to keep their notes to themselves. Nextcloud is an open source, self-hosted file sync and share server designed to keep you in control over your data. And notes! Joplin and Nextcloud are thus a great match. Read on to learn more about Nextcloud and Joplin or download Nextcloud and get Joplin.

Joplin: making note-taking easy

Joplin is an open source cross-platform note-taking and to-do application. It can handle a large number of notes, organized into notebooks, and can synchronize them across multiple devices. The notes can be edited in Markdown, and each client has an option to render Markdown with formatting, images, URLs, and more. Any number of files, such as images and PDFs, can be attached to a note, and notes can also be tagged.

Development for Joplin started when Evernote changed its pricing model and limited the number of devices that could access the notes. Therefore it seemed worthwhile to develop an alternative based around open formats, free of any proprietary solution. To that end, three apps have been developed: for desktop, mobile, and for the terminal. They have similar user interfaces and can synchronize with each other.

Initially the apps could only synchronize with OneDrive. And while you still own the data on OneDrive, the service remains proprietary and access conditions can be changed at a whim as it happened with Evernote. For example, copyrighted material attached to a note could suddenly be considered to be breaking OneDrive T&C and could result in the account being closed. Or the API could change, or Microsoft could enforce only using its own app to store notes.

Nextcloud: a great fit

This is where Nextcloud comes in. It is a self-hosted, private cloud solution. Think of the cloud as "other people's computers", of course, and of Nextcloud as "same features but on your own computer". Storing documents, images and videos but also calendars, passwords and countless other things and syncing them to your laptop or phone, you need it, Nextcloud does it. More, it lets you edit documents with others, sharing and commenting on files, have audio/video calls and chat, and so on.

The idea is that you host your own Nextcloud server, meaning you own both the data and infrastructure. And, being an open solution, it is compatible with the WebDAV standard and thus support for it was easy to add. The platform is also well supported and with a strong community, so it is likely to be around for a while - since it’s open source anyway, it is not a service that can be closed, it can exist on a server for as long as one chooses.

Of course, running your own server is not easy for everyone. Luckily there are dozens of Nextcloud providers, companies that offer Nextcloud hosting. for free or a reasonable fee. That way, your data is where you want it to be, at a small, local or otherwise more trustworthy party, instead of in the hands of one of the 4 or 5 big Silicon Valley corporations.

Keep your notes yours with Joplin and Nextcloud!


#2

Sounds great, at least the automatic sync (interval can be set) makes a great difference to other mobile (iOS) apps where WebDAV Sync is always a bit tricky or needs to be done manually.

BUT: I downloaded the iOS app, set the Nextcloud WebDAV url, checked sync settings (successfully!), sync and: nothing there. Meaning: notes on the server (folder „Notes“ in root folder) is not synced to the Joplin app. Other way: create a new notebook and notes in Joplin app, sync -> nothing in Nextcloud. Where are the notes stored?

Sync log in Joplin app says 0/2 notes synced. Protocol (Text can‘t be copied… rollingeyes): „There was some errors… Error: not a valid URL: ./sync/…“

From my users perspective everything is set up correctly. Or does the Nextcloud server need a Joplin server app? I thought everything is going through WebDAV, so I don’t think so.


#3

Tried Joplin too.
Two issues I see right now :

  1. On the Android App, Joplin does not get the existing notes in Nextcould Notes. Probably because they were note created by Joplin and don’t have an unique id in the begining of the content.

  2. On my nextcloud site, the notes created by Joplin are synced, but their names begin with id’s like 48dfbf963e4640228d1816ac20ba3b2a and the content of the note itself is followed by all the metadata which I don’t need to see.

I believe Joplin could be a nice tool but it needs first to fix the two issues above.


#4

Hi, if I’m not mistaken this issue is because the target directory does not exist in Nexcloud. For example if the WebDAV URL is https://example.com/nextcloud/remote.php/webdav/Joplin you need to make sure you create this “Joplin” folder on Nextcloud. This is explained in the doc but the process or maybe error messages should probably be improved because it can indeed be confusing.


#5

At this point Joplin uses Nextcloud for synchronisation so you can point multiple Joplin apps, eg on Android and desktop, to the same Nextcloud instance and they’ll both sync with each others. At the moment, the synchronisation data on Nextcloud itself is not really meant to be edited directly - the format is basically designed for performance and reliability, not for direct editing.

Editing the notes directly on Nextcloud is something that I’ve been thinking of - it could be for example by better integrating with the Nextcloud Notes app or by creating a Joplin web app.


#6

Oh, I didn’t know there was a desktop app ! Gona try it now, thanks.


#7

Doesn’t work either. Created folder first, set URL in Joplin once again (https://sub.domain.net/owncloud/remote.php/dav/files/USERNAME/Notes/Joplin) and once again it says „sync settings seem to be correct“, but: no sync at all. That‘s it for me, kicked Joplin because of this very bad start (or no start at all), I‘ll stay with Notebooks-App on iOS and WebDAV sync. Finger‘s crosses for Joplin & Nextcloud, I think they have a long way to go.


#8

@e-raser: IMHO you have a strange understanding about community and Free Software.

On the one hand you expect anyone to help you with your issues, even if you misuse announcement threads for that, you have been asked to stop this just recently.

On the other hand you don’t demonstrate any respect to the contributors of Joplin and Nextcloud, they spent their time and effort to bring phantastic pieces of software to the public.

And as with all complex software projects, there are bugs and issues.
As all they do and you do is voluntarily, it’s up to you if you use it or not. And also if you want to contribute to all of us and help fixing issues, or if you just want to consume others work, for free, and “being out” after the first obstacle.

Your decision, but maybe you could take your decisions silently and not that sneering.

Regards,
Michael


#9

Don´t get me wrong: Joplin is exactly the solution I was searching for for a long time back in ownCloud times and there simply was not one with cross-platform support and file storage based (WebDAV, not in database). Up to now I have a quite OK solution, but Joplin & Nextcloud would be it. And as I read this announcement I was like “Wow, that must be X-Mas today!” :slight_smile:

It´s just that the user guidance in the iOS app (that´s the only software product I´m talking about) is improvable. Tried several server URL settings and it always said “seems to work” - but it didn´t. Of course there are small UI improvements like iPhone X screen support and so on and from my perspective in the end there´s a bit of work needed to help users starting very quickly.

If I upset anyone by honestly talking bout my experiences after not being able to get the iOS app run in half an hour, I´m really sorry for that. Anyway, I´ll pay close attention to this project as I still believe it´s the perfect notes syncing solution.


#10

This is awesome! :blush:
I tested Joplin under iOS, macOS and Ubuntu (snap). It syncs to Nextcloud without any problem.
Thanks a lot!


#11

I just installed Joplin on my Linux System (Fedora 26) and on My Android Phone.
I created a folder in my nextcloud, and filled th conficuratiobs Settins as asked
There was only one problem: the URL on Joplins Github

https://example.com/nextcloud/remote.php/dav/files/USERNAME/Joplin

didn’t work for me. The Error on testing this url was not very clear.
Than I tried the URL found in the Explantion by jcgerhard:

https://github.com/laurent22/joplin/issues/61#issuecomment-373282608

He suggests as a correct URL:

" The standard root url for webdav access is http(s)://yourcloud.tld/remote.php/webdav which points directly to the root path of your Nextcloud files"

This did the job for me.
On android and with exact the same URL was even simpler.
Both maschines sy with each other whitout an problem.
GREAT :+1:

Even greater would be, when one could edit Joplin-Notes directly in nextcloud …


#12

It seems that both the Joplin documentation as well as the Nextcloud documentation refer to the webdav link as being of the form:
https://example.com/nextcloud/remote.php/dav
where the actual link right now seems to be of the form:
https://example.com/nextcloud/remote.php/webdav
as mentioned by @PaulB

It seems that the documentation may simply be outdated, so it should probably be updated. But in order to avoid this in the future, it may be better to instruct users to copy the root WebDAV url from their Nextcloud directly. If you go to Documents in Nextcloud, you can click on Settings (bottom left corner) and the root WebDAV url for synchronization is provided. Users just need to extend this URL with files/<your-username>/<your-notes-dir>.

Of course, some kind of integration with the Nextcloud app (as with DAVdroid) would simplify this quite a bit. But a custom Nextcloud option in Joplin, where you only have to specify the hostname and account credentials (same as in the Nextcloud app) would already help a lot.


#13

Right, the example URL was indeed incorrect and it’s also incorrect on the Nextcloud doc, so I’ve fixed the URL and added instructions how to get it by clicking on Settings.


#14

yes :slight_smile:


#15

I tried the app on Android and Ubuntu, looks both good :slight_smile:
But as already mentioned by @gverdun the main downside for me is the cryptic file names it creates. This makes it impossible to read the notes without the Joplin app because you can’t find the right file without opening them one by one.
What I also don’t like is that the created notebooks are just another reference file instead of a sub-folder, but I guess the reason is for compatibility with different storage options where folder creation might not be supported.
So for now I will continue to use different apps on web (NC Markdown app), desktop (Typora) and mobile (still trying…)


#16

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Content preview: You can just create a folder (e.g. Joplin) and extend your


#17

Nextcloud + Joplin to replace Evernote. I’m excited about this!!! Thank you.


#18

Looks good, but nonexistence of web client is still a show-stopper for me.


#19

This is very exciting. I’ve been looking for a great note taking app forever. (I refuse to use Evernote.)

Thanks @laurent


#20

@laurent, hey it could be possible to integrate Joplin with @brantje into NextNote as a web client backend. You can join their telegram chat here to discuss with him directly.

  • App is based off TinyMCE, which is the exact same WYSIWYG system used by Evernote and Wordpress — already has many of the features currently on Joplin’s roadmap, including the ability to attach any arbitrary file within Nextcloud and share/edit notes among multiple users or groups.

This app used to live under the old name ownNote in Owncloud, had Android support, and is currently testing before being released into the Nextcloud appstore. Works fine as an “Alpha” in Nextcloud 13 if you’d like to install the latest Git release.

Example Image A, with photos added by drag and drop!


Example Image B, with table added by copy and paste.


Nextcloud Notes could adopt NextNote and overhaul their app to support WYSIWYG, attach any file, and more!