Launched in 2019 by Bonanza.com and alloy.dev CEO and founder Bill Harding and CTO Jordan Phillips, Amplenote is a note-taking and to do list application on web and Android, which focuses on optimising the development of the user's ideas into the realistic application of those ideas and the concrete pursuit of the user's goals. It features four layers of organisation which are intended to be a sequential process:
- Jots: Capture and Write - A simple quick-entry interface, Jots compile thoughts on a given subject or tag, on a given day, making them easy to find and organise later into a more structured form. This is the "brain dump" phase of the process, disgorging everything that comes to mind in the hope of later sifting it for a few kernels of excellence among the chaff.
- Notes: Organise and Revise - The meat and potatoes of Amplenote, and the part that Noders are likely to find interesting, Notes have not only bidirectional hyperlinking between one another, but they can also be treated as pipe links and soft links, with the software's "rich footnotes" utility, popping out alt text when mousing over a link, or expanding it into an entire note-within-a-note, featuring an outbound link, an image file, or/and as much text as one cares to squeeze into the inset. One can easily create a private wiki of one's notes, formatting their commonplace book or Zettelkasten for instant transitions between ideas. Notes also make use of a tagging system for organisation from the top down, and backlinks showing pages that link to a given Note, for organisation from the bottom up, resulting in extremely robust mind mapping potential.
- Tasks: Plan and Prioritise - The tasks interface allows tasks to be given deadlines, expected durations, and levels of importance and urgency according to the Eisenhower Matrix. Each of these features, combined with the others, compile into a "points" value for that task, and the software automatically organises tasks so that those with the highest points value are most visible at the top of the list, and those with little value (low urgency, little importance, and no deadline) are sorted to the bottom of the list. When tasks are completed, the "score" is tracked and visualised by the software as a graph of productivity, which the user can toggle off or on according to their preference. Tasks can be placed directly inside Notes and Jots, but they also have their own organisational tab, to see them without the clutter of context.
- Calendar: Schedule and Complete - The final step of the process is actually assigning a specific date and time to accomplish the selected tasks, and Amplenote offers a full-featured calendar, able to sync with Google Calendar.
While this list is not at all comprehensive, and 2019 through 2022 featured an explosion of new note-taking and productivity applications, Amplenote's main competitors in 2022 are Roam and Obsidian for their similar bidirectional linking structures, and Evernote and OneNote for their already enormous established user bases. Amplenote's main advantage over Obsidian is that Amplenote allows users to publicly publish their notes in a manner similar to a blog, or privately share their notes in a manner similar to Google Drive. Amplenote's advantages over Roam are both that it costs significantly less to use at a basic level than Roam costs, and Amplenote also offers privacy options which Roam does not, in the form of "vault notes" which are end-to-end encrypted; Roam in comparison treats users' notes as a property held in common among all users, as its business model was originally intended for networking among academics who might be willing to share notes freely and gladly, and this has resulted in complaints about privacy. Evernote and OneNote are less comparable in features to Amplenote, but Amplenote's developers have gone out of their way to ensure that all Evernote features are found in Amplenote, to make users more willing to migrate from the one application to the other.
Amplenote's founders run a Discord server and a subreddit where they take feedback from users, and they use the site Feature Upvote to allow users to express which software features they would prioritise most highly to be fast-tracked for development. Prominent YouTube reviewers of note-taking systems and Getting Things Done software, such as Shu Omi and Demetri Panici, have made multiple review videos demonstrating features of Amplenote, and several of these reviewers are active participants in the Discord server as well.
Iron Noder 2022, 16/30