Meet the Developer: Allen, the Developer Behind Noted

If you’re looking for a great new way to take notes on your Mac, there’s a new app you might want to check into: Noted. Our own Stef Gonzaga recently found it to be a simple but powerful note-taking application in her recent review of Noted. With a touch of Things’ design, bright icons, and Markdown support, it sure looks nice.

There’s so many notes apps, it’s terribly hard to choose between them. That’s why it was interesting to get a chance to talk to Allen, the developer behind Noted. Stay with us after the break to learn more about the inspiration behind Noted and what’s next for the app!

Allen from BlankDesk


The notes app space is incredibly crowded, with free and paid apps that are popular enough that they’ve become household names. Why’d you decide to make a notes app?

We are big fans of Evernote and Notational Velocity. In the past few years, we have been using these two applications. We love the simple philosophy of NV as well as the powerful features of Evernote. We have been trying to find a product that combined with the simplicity and functionality, but could not find a perfect one. Then we decided to build the application by ourselves.

Is there a story behind Noted’s cute panda icon?

We want make an easy to remember and identify icon for Noted. There are a lot of note taking apps using a notebook with a pen as logos. In order to make Noted’s icon special, we had tried a lot of designs and eventually decided to use this icon combined a notebook and a panda. So when I tell people about Noted, I could say: “Look, the panda face notebook is Noted!”.

iCloud sync has seemed to be a mixed bag for developers, with some apps working great with it and others seeming to have trouble. How has developing with iCloud been for you?

Syncing is a challenging work no matter what solution we took. We did have some problems during the development of iCloud sync. For instance, strange problems often occurs when we try to using CoreData with iCloud sync. Later on, we had tested the iCloud sync for over a month and decided to use Document sync instead of CoreData in the end. We are very happy that Noted’s iCloud syncing is now stable.

Many other notes apps are designed just to have you search for any notes you need, while Noted has strong organization built in. Why do you think this is important?

Well, in my opinion, organization and search function can complement each other, just like the left hand and right hand. Some people are right-handed while others are left-handed. So my complete solution has both organization and search function.

Most markdown notes apps are aimed at text-only, where Noted allows for attachments, too. Why did you add attachments to Noted, and does this affect its speed versus a text-only notes app?

Noted did not support attachments in the very beginning, but we found attachments is a “good to have” feature during alpha testing. They’re especially useful when taking research notes, as some images, PDFs, and even videos may need to be added. There is not a strong connection between attachments and markdown, but they’re still very useful.

Why’d you go with color icons instead of the more common monochrome ones you tend to see in Mac apps these days?

The use of color scheme is mainly due to the usability considerations. It will be very easy to recognise different notebooks with different colors. Between design trend and usability, we prefer the latter, so we went with color icons.

Hello, Noted!

What’s the most unique feature in Noted that we’d be likely to miss?

As mentioned in the first question, note-taking app space is crowded with various features. What’s unique in Noted is not providing more new features but keep a good balance between simple and powerful, which is the most challenging part in the whole project. We plan to add import, export, tags, password protection and full-text search feature in the following updates, and we will still keep it simple.

What Macs and Mac apps do you use in your daily work?

Hardware: Aa 21.5-inch iMac and a 13-inch MacBook Air.

Apps: Photoshop, XCode, Byword, Things, Espresso, Chrome, MindNode Pro, GitHub, Transmit, Alfred, Noted, and more.

It all started here…

What notes app did you use on your Mac before you made Noted?

Diigo Quick Note, Apple Notes, Evernote, Notational Velocity.

Your website mentions that you make simple apps, but you only have one app for sell right now. Any chance you could share some info about the next apps you’re working on?

In 2013, we plan to release 2-3 apps. Noted for iOS is under development right now. Also, we are planning to do an app for bloggers in the near future.

Thanks, Allen!

We’d like to say a special Thank You! to Allen for taking the time to do this interview with us. It’s always neat hearing how developers build their apps, and the inspiration behind them.

Do you have a developer you’d love to have us interview? Let us know, and we’ll see if we can line it up!