Resolve issues by Clearing your Browser Cache

As more users sign up and start using Clibu Notes we are seeing it used on a wider variety of devices, operating systems and web browsers. This is in turn surfacing issues we’ve not seen with our in-house testing. Our focus continues to try and replicate and resolve these issues asap.

One thing you can try which definitely resolves certain issues is clearing your Browser Cache. Start with “Cached Images and Files”.

Yesterday’s new release caused an issue for Scott, where he wasn’t able to access our Server. His Internet was fine and our Server monitoring showed no issues.

I couldn’t see any issues and no other users reported any problems. This didn’t make a lot of sense.

In the end I asked Scott to clear his Browser Cache and that resolved his issue.

Clibu Notes just keeps on working on or offline

A great thing about Clibu Notes is everything keeps working even if you aren’t connected to the server. When you are back online all changes update and conflicts resolve across all devices. Most applications don’t offer this freedom and flexibility which is good for the soul.

Will I lose my local data

Scott asked if clearing the Browser Cache also deleted your local Clibu Notes data. In my testing the answer is no it doesn’t.

I asked Google Gemini:

Does clearing the Browser Cache delete IndexedDB data?

Yes, clearing your browser cache can delete IndexedDB data in some cases. It depends on the specific browser and how aggressively you clear the cache.

Here’s a breakdown:

  • Default Behavior: In most modern browsers (like Chrome, Firefox, Safari), clearing the browsing data with the default settings might include clearing IndexedDB data alongside cookies, cache, and other temporary files.
  • Customizable Options: Many browsers allow you to choose what data to clear when you select “Clear Browsing Data” or similar options. You can often deselect “IndexedDB” if you want to keep the data while clearing other temporary files.
  • Browser Variations: The exact behavior can differ slightly between browsers. Some browsers might have separate options for clearing cache and IndexedDB, while others might group them together under “Site Data.”

Here are some resources for specific browsers:


  • Check your browser’s settings: Before clearing data, review the options available in your specific browser’s “Clear Browsing Data” or similar section. See if you can deselect IndexedDB if you want to keep that data.
  • Test in incognito/private mode: If you’re unsure about the impact of clearing cache, try it in an incognito or private window where no data is persisted by default.
  • Consider server-side storage: If you need data to persist across browser sessions or clearing cache, explore storing it on a server-side database and retrieving it as needed by your web application.

By understanding these factors and your specific use case, you can effectively manage your browser data and avoid unintended deletion of IndexedDB information.

So the answer is maybe it will, maybe it won’t.

My suggestion is to do a Backup (Settings | Backup Database) before you clear your browser cache. Then you can always restore that if you are sure you’ve lost content.

Backups, backups and more backups

This is a good time to remind everyone to do regular backups of all of your important data and ensure these backups are stored off of your device in a safe secure place.

That’s it for now.

– Neville

Collaborate with friends, family and colleagues

The latest release of Clibu Notes V0.83.020, enables you share specific sets of notes with other people. You can control whether they have full editing rights or can only view the shared content.

When you create a Share you are given a special link which you send to the people you want to sharing with. They do not even need to be registered Clibu Notes users.

Real time collaborative editing

Clibu Notes enables multiple users to edit the exact same notes at the same time. All changes coalesce, so everyone eventually sees the exact same content.

This goes even further enabling changes made by users who are offline to become consistent when they next come online.

This collaboration extends across all aspects of Clibu Notes. For example drag & drop of notes in the Notes Tree, changing note icons, title colors etc.

Automagic Content Synchronization

One way or another most PKM / Note Taking applications enable you to synchronize content. Often though, they do not enable collaboration. This quickly leads to notes overwriting each other and loss of content.

It can get even worse where the application relies on copying files from one device to another in order to synchronize. And if you forget to do this or can’t, well too bad. You then have content which may never become consistent.

With Clibu Notes you never, ever need to worry about content loss or inconsistency. The entire process is seamless and invisible to our users. As I’ve stated in several places, this is truly magically liberating.

For anyone technically interested in how this magic occurs Google CRDTs.

Our recent 4 day road trip

An excellent example of the joy this brings is a recent 4 day road trip we did. With me is a Windows Laptop, Android Tablet, Chromebook Tablet and an Android phone. Along the way I was making notes of places we’d visited, cafes and restaurants we’d go back to etc. These would be taken on the Tablets and Phone.

Internet access was often non-existent for long stretches or patchy at best, but this made absolutely no difference to my use of Clibu Notes. As soon as any of my devices came back online all content changes resolved and became consistent. When I turned my Windows Laptop on of a night it updated with the changes from the tablets and phone.

If others had been using a Share they also would have been updated.

The bottom line is it “just works’ and it is truly magically liberating knowing all of your content on all of your devices is either up to date or will be when they come online. Without any user intervention!

Details in the Clibu Notes Help

For full details on Clibu Notes Collaborative Sharing open, select Help – F1 and the open the Collaborative Sharing note.

To Finish

Clibu Notes has had full collaboration from its inception, however implementing Sharing in V0.83.020 was a complex task. We needed to ensure it was robust and capable of being enhanced as needed in the future. I’m pleased to say we’ve met these goals.

Now that Sharing is ready for mainstream use we’ll get back to more frequent releases again. The next release is very close.

Thanks for reading – Neville

More new releases, more improvements

On average we’ve been putting out new Clibu Notes releases twice a week for the past few months. These typically include a mix of new and updated capabilities along with bug fixes. See the Release Notes for full details.

As we get more people using Clibu Notes, more issues come to the surface. I’m pleased to say the turn around time to resolve a problem and release an update is typically just a couple of days.

We also proactively monitor for issues and often times the user isn’t even aware that something may not have quite worked as expected.

I’ve recently been asked whether this monitoring includes any access to users content and the answer is absolutely not. We get details of whereabouts in the code an error occurred, what may have caused it, the email address of the user and the type of device, operating system and browser being used.

We’ve also been improving and optimizing the user experience across devices. The way we use applications on Smartphones, Tablets and Desktop PCs differ considerably and we need to adapt applications to meet the needs and work within the constraints of each device.

Delivering a good user experience on Smartphones with their small screens and virtual keyboard is the most challenging and I feel we are doing a pretty well. That said we are continually looking at ways to make Clibu Notes easier to use.

To that end we’ve recently added the optional blank like toolbar: Blank line toolbar

When you have a physical keyboard it is easy to tap / to open the Slash commands menu. This is not the case with the virtual keyboard on a Smartphone, where you may need two or more taps to use / and another tap or two to return to the normal keyboard.

This is where the blank line toolbar comes to the fore, providing similar functionality as the Slash menu, without having to perform keyboard gymnastics. The blank line toolbar is enabled by default on Smartphones and can be enabled or disabled on the Settings menu.

On the topic of Smartphones we’ve worked hard at improving the usability of Clibu Notes on Apple’s iOS. Until Apply implements viewport updates when the virtual keyboard opens & closes we remain hamstrung. This has been on Apple’s list for well over a year now and hopefully we’ll see it sooner than later.

As an aside Clibu Notes works wonderfully well on Chrome on Android and also installed as a PWA. See the Clibu Notes Help for “Installation” details and “Share from other applications”.

That’s if for this post.

– Have a great week, Neville – Author of Clibu Notes

Personal Knowledge Management: Why It’s Essential for Your Success

In today’s fast-paced world, we are exposed to a plethora of information on a daily basis. As a result, it’s vital to have an effective system for managing knowledge that enables individuals to find information easily, recall it when necessary, and apply it to their work or life in the most effective way. This process is called personal knowledge management (PKM).

What is Personal Knowledge Management?

Personal knowledge management is the process of collecting, organizing, and analyzing information to enhance one’s understanding of a subject or topic. In simpler terms, it’s about how we store, retrieve, and use the knowledge we gain through various sources like web sites, books, articles, videos, or conversations. It allows individuals to create their own personal library of knowledge, making continuous learning and development possible.

Why is PKM important?

  1. Efficiency: Personal knowledge management enables us to access information quickly and efficiently. A well-organized system of knowledge allows us to retrieve information without wasting time, leading to better productivity.
  2. Innovation: Innovation requires a deep understanding of technology and the market it operates in. By continually organizing and reviewing our knowledge base, we can understand trends and identify new ideas and opportunities.
  3. Career Advancement: Employers want individuals who are not just knowledgeable about their field, but also show initiative to stay current and apply their knowledge effectively. PKM allows professionals to maintain a competitive edge and advance in their careers.
  4. Lifelong Learning: Personal knowledge management is an enabling factor for continuous learning. It allows individuals to acquire new knowledge, retain it, and enrich their understanding of the world around them.

How to Develop an Effective PKM Strategy

  1. Identify your goals: Determine the areas of knowledge you want to acquire or improve upon. Identify your strengths and weaknesses, and set goals accordingly.
  2. Gather information: Curate information from various sources, including books, articles, podcasts, and videos, related to the topics of interest.
  3. Organize your knowledge: Organize the information into categories or themes using tools like Evernote, OneNote, or Trello. Create tags, labels, and folders to find information quickly and easily.
  4. Review regularly: Review your knowledge base regularly and update it with new information. Reflect on your learnings, synthesize your takeaways, and apply them efficiently in your work or life.
  5. Share your knowledge: Share your knowledge with others through social media, blogs, or speaking engagements, to create new connections and gain insights from others.


In today’s data-heavy world, personal knowledge management is an essential skill for those who want to be better learners, innovative thinkers, and effective professionals. It is an enabling strategy that allows individuals to develop and maintain a deep level of knowledge that enhances both personal and professional growth. By following the tips shared in this post, you can create a system that works for you, leading to a lifetime of success.

There are many good and not so good PKM applications, all have their strengths and weaknesses. We welcome you to evaluate our PKM, Clibu Notes and see how well it meets your needs.

Clibu Notes V0.80 new cleaner look and feel

Following on from reviews by designers and from user feedback we’ve given the Clibu Notes user interface a thorough makeover.

It now has a simpler and much cleaner look. We’ve also moved some UI components off of the main screen to a new sidebar slide out panel.

This has free’d up space, making Clibu Notes easier to use on Smartphone’s.

Clibu Notes - UI Makeover

The screenshot above shows the Notes Tree and a note opened in an editor. Background colors have been removed and the active panel now has a highlighted border.

Clibu Notes on an iPhone

This is Clibu Notes V0.80.060 on an iPhone showing an editor panel.

The new hamburger button opens this panel with items moved from the Settings menu and navigation bars.

The notes list/grid also has a new cleaner look and now includes brief note content. Both it and the notes tree panel can now be closed and are reopened using the bottom navigation bar buttons.

Grid view is available on wider screens. The grid/list toggle button is hidden when grid view is not available.

In V0.80 we’ve started using a new styling (CSS) library. We’ve moved from a using ad hoc colors and styles to a standardized set. This is fundamental to the new look and feel. We’re most of the way there, but still have more to do.

A related change is a new enhanced color picker with a much broader choice of colors.

In addition to all of these look and feel improvements we continue to fix issues we find and our users inform us about. And of course enhancements and new features are ongoing.

As you can see this is an important new Clibu Notes release and moves it closer to Version 1.

As always I look forward to your feedback.

– Neville Follow us on X

Why are so many apps so complex – Part 2

Feature Creep

Continued from Part 1

I want to start with a small rant. One fairly common user interface action that irks me is having to hover over an area to reveal a hidden icon which you then tap/click to reveal a toolbar or menu. I don’t know about you but I find this awkward at best.

You randomly move your mouse around and out of the blue some icon appears and if you don’t stop at just the right moment it disappears again.

It gets even worse on touch screen devices, like your smartphone, which have no concept of mouse hover. So the designers/developers have to come up with others ways of enabling the user to perform the actions that are behind these hidden icons.

The end result is a different user experience and user interface for the very same application across different devices. Rant over.

Creatively, A publication about creativity and productivity-boosting tools.

Philipp Temmel writes a fantastic weekly newsletter named Creatively which I can highly recommend. As I’ve said to Philipp I don’t know how he is able to produce such high quality, insightful content on a weekly basis.

Creatively issue 243 is what prompted to write these two articles. My plan was to write a short intro and then with Philipp’s permission, republish the opening part of issue 243. However as I started writing Part 1 I couldn’t stop, so here we are now with Part 2.

And now with Philip’s permission the excerpt I mentioned.

Hey and welcome to Creatively 243

I am observing a trend I am following unconsciously. Over the course of the last couple of months, I simplified loads of my workflows. Based on that, I also started using new tools, got rid of some I used previously, and explored different integrations. While it all was exciting when note-taking and PKM tools introduced “self-organizing by AI” and everyone screamed at me that I do not need to use folders, tags, or anything else, it is simplicity for me to organize my notes freely, following a simple system, knowing where I can find stuff if I am looking for it. As we are evolving Scrintal, introducing new features and functionalities, we want to be sure that everyone can get started taking notes, building up a knowledge base, and managing projects. There should be no need to take a course, read through docs, guides, or tutorials. If you have a dedicated system, you should be able to apply it, but if you have no system that should not hinder you from starting out.

Nowadays, there are loads of note-taking, PKM, and productivity tools which are forcing systems on you. As those apps get packed and bloated with features, the simplicity gets lost. Back in the day, taking notes was as easy as grabbing a pen and paper. You could jot down anything you wanted, whether it was a to-do list, an important meeting point, or just a random thought that popped into your head. It was simple, effective, and didn’t require a computer science degree to figure out. But then technology came along and disrupted everything. Suddenly, there were all these fancy note-taking apps that promised to revolutionize our lives. And sure, they did bring some cool features to the table. You could now organize your notes in different categories, add tags, and even sync everything across devices. It was like having a personal assistant in your pocket.

But here’s the thing: these apps got so caught up in trying to be the best, they forgot about the one thing that truly mattered – simplicity. They became bloated with unnecessary features, confusing menus, and an absurd number of customization options. Suddenly, taking a simple note turned into a complicated task that required a user manual. The same thing happened with PKM apps. They started off as a promising way to manage our personal knowledge, allowing us to store articles, links, and ideas in one place. It was like having an external brain to rely on. But then the developers decided to throw in a bunch of additional features – smart filters, complex search algorithms, and even machine learning. Suddenly, managing our knowledge became a PhD-level task.

And don’t even get me started on productivity apps. They used to be all about helping us stay organized and get things done. But now they bombard us with notifications, reminders, and all sorts of time-tracking features. It’s like they’re constantly breathing down our necks, making us feel guilty for not being productive every second of the day.

As of recently, I have the feeling that simplicity is making a comeback. Users are starting to realize that they don’t need all these complicated apps to be productive. They’re looking for tools that are intuitive, easy to use, and don’t require a steep learning curve. In the end, simplicity is not about dumbing things down or removing features. It’s about understanding what truly makes a tool useful and optimizing it for a seamless user experience.

This really resonates with me and the landscape I see. I encourage you to visit Creatively and Sign Up for the newsletter.

That’s it until next time.


PS. Follow us at X on Medium and on LinkedIn.

Why are so many apps so complex – Part 1

Feature Creep

Developing software to meet the diverse needs of a broad range of users is hard. You are continually be pulled in different directions and can eastly find yourself adding features your noisiest users want, only to find you’ve just complicated things for 90% of your users in order to satisfy that 10%.

Learn to say no

Designing software that is easy to use and delivers the functionality that the majority of your best users need is as much a craft as it is a science. As I recently posted on X, it is often times too easy to add a new feature (especially if you love writing code) and much harder to sit back, carefully weigh up the pros and cons and then conclude it is better not to add this feature, documenting the reasons why.

If you don’t carefully and thoughtfully follow this process you will most likely end up with a bloated, overly complex and hard to maintain application that may well be attractive to a small group of power users but not so the wider community. This could easily impinge on the success and longevity of the product.

Say no early and beware of hype cycles

Once you’ve built an application and have lots of users it can be extremely difficult to remove features or some would say cripple it. So you need to cull unnecessary features as early on as possible, or better still never include them.

With all the recent hype about AI, many applications have added some level of AI, so they get to join the AI hype bandwagon. In one case I’m aware of they’ve moved so heavily into AI that the app has morphed into something so different that the users are far from happy.

Experience counts

Having years of experience building user facing applications has made it easier for me to say no to creeping featuritis, code bloat and unnecessary complexity.

Having said that, every day I’m still learning and hopefully improving. In fact if I was to start Clibu Notes development today their are some user interface aspects I would do differently. Hindsight is such a wonderful thing.

Iterate and improve

Clibu Notes is our third generation of Note Taking application, each one a complete redesign and rewrite from the ground up. We started with a Windows only Desktop app, then a Cloud only Web app and now with Clibu Notes an application that works online in the cloud as well as completely offline. It can be installed like any native application on Windows, Mac, iOS, Android and Linux and also works in the Browser.

With each generation we’ve refined the user interface and we’ve made some quite major changes along the way. Each time the goal has been to try and further simplify the application and at the same time make it more useful.

Be current & take on big issues

To deliver on that premise Clibu Notes works across all of your devices, whether online or offline, merges all changes automagically and has the same clear and consistent user interface and user experience on all devices.

In my opinion many applications are stuck in an old way of software development. Separate apps are built for each platform, Mac, Windows etc. And often the user interface and user experience differs across platforms, especially on smartphones and tablets, assuming they support these.

Progressive Web Applications are a win win.

Progressive Web Applications (PWAs) work across all modern platforms and completely bypass having to build separate applications for each one. With a PWA you have a single unified, platform agnostic, code base which simplifies all aspects of the application.

Designing Clibu Notes as a PWA from the ground up was a clear and obvious choice. The benefits to us and our users are truly significant.

Continued in Part 2.



I’m now publishing our Blog articles on Medium. You can subscribe to those via this link and see our articles on Medium with this link.

PS. Follow us at X on Medium and on LinkedIn.

Offline PKM has real and measurable benefits

Recently a Clibu Notes user had an issue which unfortunately caused Clibu Notes to crash. At that time we hadn’t got around to making Clibu Notes crash resistant. This quickly resulted in user emails telling me the server was down, which I was also aware of through our monitoring tools.

This brings me to the point of this post and that is no matter what happens with the Clibu Notes server (and in future your own hosted Clibu Notes server) life goes on pretty much as normal due to Clibu Notes ability to run with full functionality without an Internet connection.

Knowing that you still have full access to all of your notes and can edit them, create new notes, rearrange the tree etc. is wonderfully liberating. In the scenario above, as soon as the server was up and running again all changes were updated across all devices. Even edits of the same notes on different devices merge and are once more unified.

Online only applications

When applications only run on a remote server all work grinds to a halt when you lose your Internet connection or the server goes down for whatever reason.

Offline applications

On the other hand applications that run only locally will of course keep running, but these typically don’t have the ability to seamlessly merge changes or enable concurrent editing of content on multiple devices or by multiple users.

Clibu Notes – the best of both online and offline

It is clear to me that if you want the peace of mind knowing your content is always available, can always be updated and added to across all of your devices, regardless of whether you are connected to the Internet or not then applications with the level off offline support Clibu Notes has are a must.

You can check how applications you maybe using compare with Clibu Notes offline functionality with the following:

Works without
Devices update in realtime*Awareness
Offline OnlyYesNoNoNo
Offline + SyncYesNo (1)No (2)No
OnlineNoNo (3)MaybeMaybe
Clibu NotesYesYes (4)Yes (5)Yes

* Awareness shows you other users/devices who are online, where they are editing and what changes they have made.

1) Edits on different devices will typically overwrite each other, losing content.
2) Synchronizing changes for offline apps is unlikely to be fine grained and and make take some time.
3) Unlikely to support real collaborative editing of the same content at the same time. Similar issue to (1).
4) The same note can be edited by any user on any device and all changes will eventually coalesce to the same content. This is regardless of whether a user is online or not.
5) When online, otherwise as soon as they go online.

Eventually consistent content

In order to update all changes from all users whether they were made offline or online, we need code the appears to work like magic. This includes edits to exactly the same content on different devices.

We get this magic from CRDT’s or Conflict-free Replicated Data Types. Discussing CRDT’s here is well beyond the scope of the article, however I can highly recommend a series of articles by Jake Lazaroff, starting with An Interactive Intro to CRDTs.


If you want to be able to access all of your notes, add new notes and edit notes on your Smartphone, Tablet or Desktop PC wherever you are, whether you have an Internet connection or not, then Clibu Notes is the solution you need.

PS. Clibu Notes is now Crash resilient. This means that if there is a serious issue which takes the server down it will automatically restart.

PPS. Clibu Notes V0.72.030 has just been released, and continues our steady stream of new releases. See the Release Notes in the Help for details.

How I use Clibu Notes

I’ve been asked to provide some information on how I use Clibu Notes on a day to day basis. Hopefully this article will help you get some ideas to fit into your note taking workflow, whether you are using Clibu Notes or a similar Knowledge Management application.

I use Clibu Notes for several purposes.


Research is one important area. When I invest time in researching an area of particular interest, I want to ensure that what I’ve found is retained and readily accessible. The last thing I want is to have to do the same painstaking research all over again.

This might be about recommended places to visit for a future trip, detailed information I need to keep for specific development work on software projects such as Clibu Notes. Or information to help improve my Golf game or Fitness and maintaining a happy and healthy life.

Find it once, keep it forever and access it anywhere. You get the idea.


Project Tracking

Next is tracking the work I’m doing. What new features am I considering, how useful are they to the broader community, how much will they cost to implement, can they be justified and what priority are they given.

When a new feature is in development I also track it’s progress, and ensure Help and other documentation is written for it.

Then there is a need to track bugs, usability and other issues.

I also track and keep notes on work around the house and things that need to be done.

Project Tacking


We like to travel, especially overseas and these trips take considerable planning. This something I do with my wife, so we share and collaborate on the various tasks. It is a combination of research and detailed checklists.

These tend to be intense periods of work which happen infrequently and are very important to us.



When we’ve been to a nice restaurant, drank a bottle of wine we particularly like, visited an unusual and interesting place, we keep notes so we can remember to enjoy these again at some point.

Notes of places we’ve taken for trip planning will find their way here for the ones that stand out. Often times the memories you bring back home are as important as the original visit.

Trees and Work Spaces

In the examples above I’ve shown how I organize my notes using Clibu’s Notes Tree. However not everyone wants to organize their notes in a hierarchy and Clibu Notes in no way forces you to. You can even hide the tree, so you never see it.

For those of you who prefer a flat structure I recommend having a set of top level tree items to organize your notes into collections. This will enable you create (Work) Spaces for each collection.

Spaces enable you to segment the tree and focus on a single branch of notes.

When a space is selected the tree and notes list/grid only shows notes in that that space. Search and Filters are restricted to notes in the space. You can still open linked notes, which are outside the current space.

Nitty Gritty

In order to produce notes that function well for me I make heavy use of backlinks, which enable me to navigate between related notes. Note icons and colors to visually locate notes. Search and less so Filters to drill down to specific sets of notes. I use the My Order view along with drag and drop to arrange the tree just how I want it. And Date views to see notes in a timeline. Spaces to segment the tree into actionable work areas.

A Note with Links, Backlinks & Collapsed blocks

When editing I use a mix of markdown and toolbar functionality for text formatting. Task lists, well for tasks. Drag and drop to reorder lists, block select & move to reorder blocks, details for collapsible blocks and text highlighting. I typically have two note editors open.

I’ll Archive notes that I want to keep, but that are no longer of interest in the context of my current day to day work.

Smartphones & Tablets

On my phone and tablets Clibu Notes is installed as a Progressive Web App (PWA) and added to the home screen. A single tap then opens it. When I’m primarily consuming content, I’ll tap the Editable icon on the bottom bar to prevent any accidental changes.

Using Clibu Notes to take short notes on my phone is very convenient. I’ll typically flesh them out when I’m back on a device with a physical keyboard.

Knowing that Clibu Notes automagically synchronizes changes down to the character level, across all devices is and I’ll repeat magically liberating. Along with the ability to work offline, which is a must in todays mobile world.

Note on Smartphone + Search

To finish up

There are no hard and fast rules about how you use a PKM app like Clibu Notes. Different people have very different ideas about what works best for them and ways of accomplishing that.

You need to sit down and work through your requirements and then see if you can find an application that meets those criteria, or at least comes close.

Think about how you want to structure and organize your notes, but don’t stress over it. Your PKM of choice should make it easy to restructure and reorganize your notes, as the need arises and as you and it grow together.

Unfortunately a common trait is to spend too much time and effort organizing notes. Think more about note retrieval – how can I quickly locate a specific note or set of notes and the notes that are related to them. What tools does my PKM provide to assist in fast and accurate note retrieval.

There are plenty of Youtube videos on organizing notes. Some are focused on specific applications and others more generic or focusing on a methodology. 

Tiago Forte is quite prolific in this area. This is a new video on his PARA method. A methodology called the Zettelkasten method has received quite a bit of attention the last few years.

The ways that people are using PKM’s is exploding in much the same way that PKM applications are.

I hope you’ve gleamed something useful from this article. Please do leave a comment below and follow us on Twitter (now X)

And if you haven’t signed up to use Clibu Notes yet, please do give it a try. We’d love to get your feedback.

– Neville

Clibu Notes: Your data, stored locally, available on all your devices.

There has been a move for some time now, which continues to gather pace where people don’t want their data in the cloud on some large companies servers where they have no idea who might be looking at it or profiting from it.

My background was developing Windows Desktop software where everything was stored on your PC and you copied files around from PC to PC as needed.  Cumbersome and fraught with missteps which could easily leave you in a pickle.

After many years of doing Desktop software I moved to Web Application development where data was stored on servers under my control and could be accessed from any device effortlessly.

For Knowledge Base applications like our original Clibu App this meant users could access and update information anywhere they had access to a Web Browser and the Internet.

So far so good. However obstacles still remain. First some folks don’t want their data stored in the cloud, second cloud only applications are useless if you don’t have an Internet connection or the cloud server is down and third is what happens if the company hosting your app and cloud data goes out of business.

For Clibu we tackled these issues by releasing Clibu On Premise, a version that you install locally. However this meant the ability to access your data from anywhere on the planet was lost, unless you had the wherewithal to setup and configure secure  remote access. Another downside is we needed to keep our cloud version and on-premise versions in step, which created more work for us and meant on-premise sometimes fell behind.

So what’s the solution. Well we’ve learnt an awful lot developing Clibu, which was our first serious Web Application. Over that time Browser capabilities have improved a lot, often quite dramatically.

This has led us to rethink Clibu from the ground up, how it could function to deliver the best possible end user experience. One where all data is kept on your local device, where it can be accessed without any Internet connection, where the application continues to work should we go out of business or stop development, where data is automatically shared and synchronized across all devices on your local Network and where you can optionally access it from any Browser anywhere if you enable your data to be kept on a central server.

Given we can meet all of these objectives I think you’ll agree this paints a very good picture. You own your data, it is kept on your devices and optionally on a central server either run by us in the cloud or on PC of your own (on the roadmap).

This is all very timely as others are on this same journey. I can recommend reading Local-First Software: You Own Your Data, in spite of the Cloud and a shorter easier to read related article by Adrian Colyer – Local-first software: you own your data, in spite of the cloud from his daily newsletter.

To quote the articles above:

Great local-first software should have seven key properties.

  1. It should be fast.

  2. It should work across multiple devices.

  3. It should work without a network.

  4. It should support collaboration.

  5. It should support data access for all time.

  6. It should be secure and private by default.

  7. It should give the user full ownership and control of their data.

So how does the new Clibu Notes app rate on these criteria. The good news is we tick all of these boxes.

I could be that I’m overly optimistic as:

… we speculate that web apps will never be able to provide all the local-first properties we are looking for, due to the fundamental thin-client nature of the platform. By choosing to build a web app, you are choosing the path of data belonging to you and your company, not to your users.

I don’t see the issue here. The data for a web app that can run entirely locally belongs to the users.

What is a real issue with offline use where you still want online access from any device anywhere, is the accumulation of changes made to your data over time. To be precise in order for users to collaborate and work offline, every change to every bit of data must be retained, potentially for ever.


Performance and memory/disk usage quickly became a problem because CRDTs store all history, including character-by-character text edits. These pile up, but can’t be easily truncated because it’s impossible to know when someone might reconnect to your shared document after six months away and need to merge changes from that point forward.

To handle this ever increasing memory/disk usage some sensible controls can be put in place. For example if you know that worst case any one user maybe offline for a month, then when they come back online you can cleanup up the accumulated data for all users. Or if you know who all the users are and all of the devices they use,  then you can cleanup when they are all online or you can notify them they might lose their local changes if they don’t get back online within a certain time. Best practices here will evolve over time.

So where are we now

Clibu Notes can and does work entirely offline. You can use Clibu Notes in your Web Browser or Install it as an application on Desktop, Tablet and Smartphone.

When you are online, all updates are synchronized in real time with all  instances of Clibu Notes you have open and online. When an offline instance of Clibu Notes goes Online it will synchronize all of its offline changes with all changes made by other online instances. These changes are fine grained down to the character level in notes. In other words edits to a note in multiple copies of Clibu Notes whether online or offline will merge and resolve the changes so the note is identical on all devices.

Just as edited notes are eventually consistent so are changes to the shape of the Notes Tree, note icons and colors. And finally Work Spaces are also kept consistent. Simply put it doesn’t get any better than this.

As stated on the Clibu Notes website. knowing that your notes and associated data is automagically kept up to date across all of your devices is Magically liberating.

If you haven’t signed up for free access to Clibu Notes go and do it now. How well does it meet your needs? We’d love to know.

– Neville