Clibu Notes, Been awhile

At a guess this is the longest time between blog posts in many years. It has been a turbulent year for us all and our thoughts are with you, wherever in the world you may be.

Here in Victoria, Australia we had two long and hard lock downs last year. We couldn’t travel more than 5km from home, couldn’t see family and friends, and couldn’t do any of our normal activities like Gym and Golf. And we had to wear masks all the time outside the house. Having said that we’ve done incredibly well with very few community infections and deaths.

There weren’t many upsides to the pandemic, however it did mean lots more time working on Clibu Notes. Out of that has come considerable progress.

Clibu Notes has been designed with offline use and data privacy from the very start. Along with the ability to use it across devices, operating systems and Browsers. Unfortunately there is no getting away from the fact that full Offline use is hard. Different users working on the same Clibu Notes database can be offline for unknown amounts of time. When back on line the changes for all users must be synchronized amongst each other.

Collaboration is part of this picture as well, where several people can be editing the same document at the same time and their changes must be merged into one cohesive whole. This is further complicated when editing is done offline. The initial release of Clibu Notes is unlikely to include full collaborative editing.

There has been an explosion of Note Taking apps in the last year, which is pretty interesting to watch. Competition in any space is good, however one needs to be careful not to be distracted from your own goals. Adding features for features sake, making apps more complex to use, along with code bloat do not benefit anyone.

In these new apps Backlinks is an often touted feature that seems new, however our earlier application, Surfulater had two way ‘See Also’ links years ago. Clibu Notes does of course have back links. These are a bit of text anywhere in a note that links to another note and the other note has a backlink to the source. This is actually an improvement over the ‘See Also’ links in Surfulater. These links can also be used to create and link to a New Note, which is a feature found in some Wikis.

Most applications enclose these links in square brackets ex. [[Mercedes-Benz EQC]] which can be a distraction, whereas Clibu Notes shows pleasant clickable buttons Link buttonInbound links have a different background color. More on these links in a future post.

For Clibu Notes we are using a new text editor which is extremely powerful, but also complex to code for. It does however provide an incredibly rich set of capabilities, which enables us to do a lot of interesting things. Examples so far are backlinks, mentioned previously, todo lists and WYSIWYG markdown support.

We’ve recently changed both the front-end and back-end databases we are using in Clibu Notes. In the Browser this has improved and simplified some complex work flows. This work is currently ongoing.

The Clibu Notes User Interface continues to evolve. We’ve recently enabled side by side note panels. In other words you can see and work on two possibly related notes at once. The Tabs for Selected, Search, Viewed etc. have been removed as they complicated the user interface and duplicated tasks that can be done elsewhere.

After a way too long hiatus from Blogging I hope I’ve given everyone a good feel for the state of Clibu Notes development and look forward to posting regularly again.

As always we welcome your feedback. You can comment below or reach me at info@clibu.com

– Neville

Clibu Notes, Fast Full Text Search. v0.45.00 Released

This Clibu Notes release continues laying the foundation for our simpler, faster, private, Note capture application. It includes important new capabilities such as fast full text search, a range of user interface changes based largely on user feedback and plenty of tweaks and bug fixes.

Fast full text search

Let’s start with Search. We’ve replaced the search engine used in Clibu, which unfortunately wasn’t as good as we’d liked.

The search in Clibu Notes is lighting fast and includes fuzzy and partial matching along with word stemming. For example “camping” will find “Camper”, “Camping” etc. as will “camper”, “camp” etc. as shown below.

Search results are displayed instantly as you type, with no waiting to get data from the cloud. Search results are available in the Search Tab, so there is no need to redo a search. Results update when you select either the Search Tab or Search prompt, so they are always reflect reality.

The Clibu Notes Tree, Notes List/Grid and Editor all update to include just the search results as shown here.

Search results will be highlighted in the Note editor in a future release.

Selecting a note in the tree will show only the search results in that tree branch, letting you drill down to a subset of results. Click on the Home icon goes back to showing all search results.

In a similar way, Filters can be used along with Search to home in on specific notes. For example you could show only search results with a green title or a certain icon.

Being independant

Every combination of View Group (Notes, Archive, Trash), Sort Type (Title, My Order, Date Updated,…) and List View Tab keeps its own set of Filters and Hoisting properties. This flexibility lets you have independant and specific sets of Notes displayed for each of these combinations.

When these change a notification is displayed summarizing what’s on view.

Streamlined user interface

We’ve simplified and relabeled various user interface components in this release. Click/tap on the Filters button now toggles filters off/on and the dropdown arrow opens the filters menu. Changing any Filter setting now activates it’s filter and turns Filtering on. The New Note button is also more prominent.

The Sort Order button and menu have also been changed. The button text and icon indicates the current sort order, which can be changed using the direction button on the right. We’ve removed the sort direction buttons from the menu itself, which were confusing.

That’s all for now

This release adds important new functionality, addresses a range of issues which weren’t working quite right and improves overall usability.

Next steps include major updates and added functionality to the Note editor along with work on the server to finish the multi-device synchronization. This builds on the current multi-tab synchronization currently in place.

The About page in Clibu Notes includes a roadmap I suggest you read. About can be accessed via Help or the Settings menu in Clibu Notes

As with earlier releases send an email to info@clibu.com to get access to this release. For continued early-release access we need your comments, criticisms and suggestions, so please do get in touch.

You can add comments below and open tickets in our Help desk, accessed via. the Settings menu in Clibu Notes. Or get in touch via email if you prefer. You can also follow us on Twitter.

Stay well, stay positive and be considerate to all around you.

Neville Franks, Author of Clibu Notes, Clibu etc. ©Soft As It Gets P/L 2020

Clibu Notes, Simpler, faster note taking, Part 2

If you haven’t read Part 1 yet, I suggest you do so first.

Seeing only what’s relevant

As you create more and more Notes it’s easy to get overwhelmed – you can’t see the wood for the tree’s. Filters remove the clutter, so you see only the notes that matter, for the task at hand.

For example let’s say you want to see only the notes updated in the last month, with a title color of red and whose title includes vaccine.
This screenshot shows how easy this is.

Title Search does a live fuzzy search on note titles. A tap on Show toggles each filter between show and hide. Show will only show notes that match the criteria, whereas Hide will hide them. Tap on Icon etc. lets you pick specific items from a menu. The switch to the right of each filter either enables or disables that filter.

Finally there is the Match All / Match Any toggle. Match All means notes must match all enabled filters, whereas Match Any means include notes that match any of the enabled filters. This has no effect if only a single filter is enabled.

For a more exhaustive demonstration click on the image below.


As Filters change, the Tree and Notes grid update to show only the notes that match the filter. Tree items which are filtered out but need to be displayed because they are ancestors of matching notes are displayed dimmed to identify this.

Keeping everything synchronized

The ability to update all copies of Clibu Notes as you add, edit and rearrange them, both efficiently and in real time,  has been a major undertaking and is a must have capability.

Pictures speak a thousand words, so without further ado. 
Click on the image to enlarge.


This shows Clibu Notes open in two Browser Tabs, positioned one above the other.

Editing is occuring in the top tab with the bottom tab updated in real time to match. Of course automatic content synchronization isn’t restricted to Tabs in the same Browser (except in this release).

Clibu Notes instances in any Browser on any device, anywhere, will be updated in exactly the same way, using exactly the same Clibu notes synchronization engine you see working above.

Taking this further you can continue using Clibu Notes even when you don’t have an Internet connection, including full editing, adding new notes, rearranging the notes tree etc. Then when you are next online, your changes and other online users changes will be synchronized with each other.

The ability to seamlessly access and work on your notes both offline and online is important to many of you and positions Clibu Notes at a level above similar applications.

In Conclusion

The About page in Clibu Notes includes a roadmap I suggest you read. About can be accessed via Help or the Settings menu in Clibu Notes

To be added to the evaluation list and get immediate access to Clibu Notes v0.42.00 simply email info@clibu.com

You can also follow us on Twitter.

As always we look forward to your suggestions and guidance.

You can add comments below and open tickets in our Help desk, accessed via. the Settings menu in Clibu Notes. Or get in touch via email if you prefer.

Neville Franks, Author of Clibu Notes, Clibu etc. ©Soft As It Gets P/L 2020

Clibu Notes, Simpler, faster note taking, Part 1

Clibu Notes Alpha V0.42.00 has now been released. We’ve made considerable progress since the last release, both in what you see and what you don’t.

Clibu Notes functionality, user interface and overall attention to detail have all taken big steps forward since the last release.

We’ve added “Help” to get you going quickly and “About” which provides an overview of what’s available now and lays out a Roadmap outlining where we are heading.

Privacy and speed

Clibu Notes stores your notes privately on your device. Unlike most Web applications Clibu Notes does not need to query cloud servers located half a world away. This enables Clibu Notes to deliver a level of performance well above most cloud based applications.

For Clibu notes to synchronize your notes across your devices, we need to maintain a copy in the cloud, however this is encrypted so it continues to remain completely private. If you don’t need synchronization then you don’t need the cloud either.

Notes and Cards

Clibu Notes display their content in two varieties of cards. The first is a summary card, which includes the Note icon, title, date created & modified, number of times viewed and it’s ancestors (if any) in in the notes tree, which are termed breadcrumbs.

A click or tap on the note icon lets you change the icon and the title’s background color as show in the image below.

The other style of card displays the full note content along with rich editing capabilities.

This animated screenshot shows both types of Note card. Click on the image to enlarge.


A few things to notice in the screenshot

  • The date ‘Updated’ (date/time ago) is continuously updating.
  • Changing the icon or title background in either card updates them everywhere.
  • Clicking in the note editor switches it into edit mode. Click Ok or tap anywhere outside the note card editor stops editing.

The note editor card is either displayed beside the notes list or over the top of the notes grid – read on.

List and Grid views

Clibu Notes presents two ways to view selected Notes as shown here.
Click on the image to enlarge.

The List / Grid view toggle button changes views.

The currently selected note is highlighted via a change to its background color and shadow.

List view displays a single column of notes with an overview of their content. The selected note is open to view or edit to the right of the list.

Tap or click on a Notes Title opens it in the editor in view mode, whereas the Edit button opens it for editing.

To toggle Notes from view mode to edit mode, click anywhere on the notes editable content.

Grid view lays out the note cards in a grid. Clicking anywhere outside of the Note editor or on the Ok button closes the note editor.

In Conclusion

Our preview coverage of Clibu Notes will continue in Part 2, due out tomorrow. We have a much to discuss and a lot more to accomplish.

To be added to the evaluation list and get immediate access to Clibu Notes v0.42.00 simply email info@clibu.com

You can also follow us on Twitter.

As always we welcome your feedback and comments, either below, on our Support Center or via. email shown above.

Neville Franks, Author of Clibu Notes, Clibu etc. ©Soft As It Gets P/L 2020

Clibu Notes Alpha Demo Release v0.20.21

I’m excited to release another major milestone version of Clibu Notes. This version continues the complete rewrite and redesign of Clibu based on your feedback and use cases. It also brings back some of the sought after capabilities of Clibu’s predecessor, Surfulater. In particular a Folder tree with Notes, selectable icons and background colors, full drag and drop, sorting, date views, filters, user controlled tree item ordering and archive and trash groups.

The user interface is being redesigned to deliver a more streamlined experience with less clutter and be more visually appealing. This screenshot will give an idea of where we are heading, although changes are highly likely.  Icons and labels assist with identifying context. Of course we have a live demo (link below) you can play with.

Another major update is a new and far more capable and robust rich text editor.  At present only basic editing capabilities have been included. To follow we’ll deliver Markdown support, Tables, Checkbox items and more. The overall editing experience will be much improved.

The new Home content panel gives quick access to Recently Updated, Recently Created and Most Viewed notes.

You can quickly move between Note content/editing and Home.

Also new in this release are Notes, Archive and Trash groups. Notes can be freely moved between groups. Home content is specific to the selected group.

In Archive and Trash groups, ancestor Notes which are in a different group are displayed dimmed and Notes in the selected group show either the Archive or Trash icon. Notes can’t be edited in Archive or Trash groups. Empty Trash is coming.

Clibu Notes stores everything locally in a database in your Web Browser ensuring complete data privacy and fast data access. Import and Export/Backup will be available.

We plan to deliver full offline capabilities where you can continue working without an Internet connection. Much needed when you are on a plane, train or just getting away.

We’ll also offer optional real time synchronization across devices as Clibu provides now, along with synchronizing changes when offline devices come back online.

Noteworthy in this release is the addition of Note URLs in the Browser Address Bar. You can use these URLs to open Notes from other within applications or by pasting them into the Browser address bar.

For additional application information click the “About [i]” button in the Demo app.

Other items on our roadmap include:

New full text search engine
Tags with drag & drop
See Also cross reference links, with drag & drop
Attachments and Image support
Drag and Drop everywhere
Tablet and Smartphone support
User activity tracking and permissions
Document versioning
Collaborative editing
Content Sharing and publishing
Import/Export and Backup
Your suggestions

In earlier posts we’ve showed Hoisting, Filters, Tree drag and drop etc. These are recommended reading – see: Sample Clibu ToDo App with our new Tree and Unveiling our new Clibu Tree Widget

You can play with the new Clibu Notes Demo here. As I mentioned above, all data is stored locally in your Browser.

The Settings menu lets you remove the demo content and add it again. Certain demo content is created at random, for example date created and Note text.

Please let me know your thoughts on this early alpha release of Clibu Notes and help us guide it, to best meet your needs.

– Neville