Notational Velocity is one of my all time favorite Mac apps, the built in sync to Simplenote, the text file storage, the instant search; these are things that make an app great. I have been using Notational Velocity for quite some time now, but recently I switched to a ‘forked’ version of Notational Velocity. Essentially Elastic Threads took the Notational Velocity code and re-wrote parts of the app to make it better.
And better it is.
Here is some of what you get with this new ‘forked’ version of Notational Velocity:
- Fullscreen view
- Horizontal layout
- Collapsed notes list
- Menubar mode
- Hiding of the dock icon
- Color themes
- Better tag management
Now I am a proponent of simpler is better, but in this case I must say there are some very nice features added to Notational that make the extra ‘bloat’ worth it for me.
Normally I am a huge fan of fullscreen modes, but this implementation is just off. Instead of reworking the layout to really take advantage of the fullscreen mode it is left the same and just blown up to fullscreen, much like ‘maximizing’ an app in Windows works. This is just not right, you should adjust margins and the display of the notes column if you are going to throw a notes app into a fullscreen mode.
For me fullscreen mode is worthless in Notational as it is currently implemented.
That said I can see some use for it when taking notes in a meeting and not wanting to close your open windows, while still hiding them from prying eyes.
[Updated: 11/2/10 at 3:17 PM] I wanted clarify that fullscreen mode does change the margins, but nothing like what I would be used to for a fullscreen writing environment. I am looking for a narrower column, with more line spacing – best just to let this be user changeable if possible. Every screen is a different size, and so a default setting would be hard to do properly.
The horizontal layout option though is a welcome addition and perhaps one of the biggest reasons to go with this version of Notational Velocity. You get the notes list along the left side, search across the top and the note on the right. Much more comfortable to use on widescreen computers, so unless you use a portrait oriented monitor this will be a welcome addition for you.
The last feature that I want to touch on is the menubar mode. You can add a Notational icon to your menubar and then switch the app to run in dockless mode. This gives you no dock icon, and just a menubar icon. When Notational velocity is active the menubar icon is in color, and black and white with the app goes inactive – a very nice touch.
One thing you need to be aware of, when you change to this mode you can no longer CMD+TAB to get to Notational Velocity – surely a deal breaker for some. I like it because I can still get to it with LaunchBar and I don’t use Notational all the time I tend to keep it open and ready all the time though.
Go Get It
If you use Notational Velocity there are a lot of things to like about this forked version and it is incredibly stable. No reason not to go get it, download it here. If you don’t use Notational Velocity, put down your Evernote and go get a great note taking app.1
I find Evernote to be, well less than stellar. ↩