Notes SE is a simple modern notepad app that can be used in all Apple devices. I’ll go through how the app was developed and show the key features of the app.
The initial app idea came in while I was working on a Mac. I personally use multiple writing apps for various use cases. iA Writer, Apple Notes, Day One, My Wonderful Days, etc. When writing down quick notes or when I need to keep text temporarily, I often used TextEdit.
I like how TextEdit works with its simplicity and clean window but as I use it from time to time, I wanted more. One foremost thing I wanted was for entries to be synced on all devices without managing separate files. Even if it’s just a temporary thing, it would be nice to check on it if it’s needed on mobile devices. Another would be somewhat better looks than its current form.
With that in mind, I started writing down a simple notes app that handles plain text which can work as scratchpad, notepad and sticky notes.
It was pretty straight forward on making a Mac version of the app. One window shows a note and it’s done. You can open multiple windows and you can move between notes with top right button menu.
Everything should be available through keyboard shortcuts. I made an initial page that can be used to navigate easily with arrow keys and select with an enter. Going back to this page from a note is done with a simple shortcut too (CMD-O).
Key feature to work as a sticky note is to have the window float on top of others. It can be easily done with a keyboard shortcut and can be set separately per window.
Coming from the Mac version, a window metaphor has been used on the design of iOS version. As you write a new note or open a note, a window comes up and gets added to the right side. You can simply tap red dot on top left to close the window.
Long tap will close all the windows that are opened. Start with clean state anytime if needed.
Opened windows can be swiped left and right. You can see the windows status with green dots on top. Tapping it and swiping it will let you move through notes too.
Saved notes can be opened with the button at the bottom. If it’s already opened, it’ll move to that note. If not, it’ll simply open it at the end.
One important thing on iOS version is to make it easy to write down a new note. Tapping button at the bottom opens up a new note with keyboard to start writing right away.
Since the notes taken here shouldn’t be handled seriously, I didn’t want to give any hassle on deleting notes. Closing the window will keep the notes but you can simply delete them on the top right menu. (Or delete key on the mac while selected on initial page)
It’s stored in trash inside settings for safety just in case you may need it later.
Trash is saved locally and you can empty it anytime if needed.
You can add a widget of any size which will show you the recent note you were editing. You can specify a note if you want to by long tapping the widget.
On the watch, you can view a note at a glance. Appending text or writing a new note can be done easily too.
Support for Shortcuts app is fully done too. You can select a note, create a note or open one to manage text and notes with other apps.
Even though the app is focused on managing plain text, handling links would be useful in many situations. On iOS version, the link gets highlighted if you’re not editing the note. On Mac, link gets highlighted after a second if you’re not editing.
‘Copy link’ can be done per note which will let you move between notes inside the app or other apps via URL scheme if needed.
So the app was almost done and I was thinking about the name. The app itself is pretty light-weight and simple compared to other powerful note-taking apps. So I took SE from iPhone SE which is a lighter simpler version of the iPhone.
To give the app its unique character, the cursor, selection and links are kept identical with its green accent color. The red dot is added to the icon to show its identity and the character.
And so, there it is! Hope you like the app. It’s free to use so use it well and share it with your friends and family. :)
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