OpenNote: Web-Based Notebook

Dmitri Popov

Productivity Sauce

Nov 20, 2013 GMT
Dmitri Popov

Although OpenNote is touted as an open source alternative to Microsoft OneNote and EverNote, the application is not on par with both solutions in terms of features and functionality. This doesn't mean that OpenNote is useless, though. If you need a no-frills note-taking web application that you can deploy on your own server, OpenNote might be exactly what you're looking for. Being a PHP/MySQL-based application, OpenNote runs on any server with the Apache/PHP/MySQL stack. To install the application, clone the project's repository using the git clone command and move the OpeNote folder to the root directory of your server. Use then the mysql client to create a MySQL database (e.g., opennote):

mysql> CREATE DATABASE opennote;

Run the OpenNote/sql/notebook.sql query to populate the database with tables and fields (replace username and password with your actual MySQL credentials):

mysql -u username -p password opennote < /var/www/OpenNote/sql/notebook.sql

Open the /OpenNote/modules/core/common.php file in a text editor, and specify the connection settings by editing the following lines:

static $mysqlServer = "localhost";
static $mysqlUser = "notebook";
static $mysqlPass = "password";
static $mysqlDB = "notebook";

Once you've done that, save the changes, point your browser to (replace with the actual IP address or domain name of your server), and create a new account. Since OpenNote is not exactly overloaded with features, it's very straightforward in use. You can create folders for organizing notes, and then add and edit notes. The application features a clean interface with a toolbar that puts all formatting tools at your fingertips.

Since OpenNote is a relatively new application, its list of missing features is rather long: you can't assign tags to notes, it's not possible to rename folders, you can't move notes between folders, and there is no easy way to import and export notes. Hopefully, some of the missing features will be implemented sooner rather than later, which would make this promising application a worthy alternative to existing web-based note-taking solutions.

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