Take and Sync Notes with nvPY

Dmitri Popov

Productivity Sauce

Sep 28, 2012 GMT
Dmitri Popov

Notational Velocity is arguably one of the best open source note-taking applications. Sadly, it's available only on Mac OS X. But despair not: nvPY provides a viable alternative to Notational Velocity for Linux users. nvPY is not the prettiest application out there, but its interface is functional and it offers several useful creature comforts. The application sports a global search feature which lets you quickly find notes containing a specific search string. nvPY can handle Markdown and RST formatting, and you can convert formatted notes to the HTML format. Most users will also appreciate the built-in word count feature. nvPY also allows you to create internal links to other notes using the [[note]] format. More importantly, nvPY supports syncing via the Simplenote service.

Installing nvPY on Debian and Ubuntu (as well as their derivatives) can be done by running two commands as root:

apt-get install python python-tk python-pip python-markdown
pip install nvpy

The first command installs the required dependencies, while the second command installs nvPY. Before you launch nvPY, you should create a file called .nvpy.cfg in your home directory containing your Simplenote credentials:

sn_username = simplenote_username
sn_password = simplenote_password

Once you've done that, launch nvPY, perform sync using the File | Sync full command, and you are good to go.


  • A small correction concerning nvPY syncing

    Thank you very much for posting this! We love it when people find nvPY useful.

    I just wanted to make a small correction concerning nvPY's syncing strategy:

    1. When you start it up, it automatically does a full sync, so you don't have to trigger a full sync directly after startup.
    2. nvPY automatically saves and syncs continuously, in two background threads, as you work. You usually never have to trigger a full sync or a note sync by yourself. Even if you edit the same note from a different location, it tries to merge the changes coming from both sides during your next edit of that note.
    3. nvPY does NOT yet automatically pick up on new notes that have been added through a different client, for example the web-app. If you think that new notes have been added, then you can trigger a full sync.
    4. Eventually, even the full sync will happen automatically in the background while you work. I'm working on this, but it's a little more tricky than the other sync functionality I've already implemented.
    5. I'll add this explanation to the nvPY documentation.

    If there are any more questions, don't hesitate to make use of the nvPY discussion group: https://groups.google.com/d/forum/nvpy

    Thanks again,
    Charl Botha
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