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App reviews for the WebOS

A homebrew solution to webOS Memo's – ClassicNote

Posted by groovdafied on January 8, 2010

With Palm focusing on other crucial matters, the webOS community are not receiving any answers for the bare bones tool Memo’s. It’s time for the homebrew developers to step in and fill in the much needed gap, to have a tool featured enough to help keep your notes organized and accessible. ClassicNote is your answer.


Some of the issues that plagued Palm’s Memo’s app, were the lack of features. Granted, it had its aesthetics with a cork-board, some thumb tacks, and sticky notes that gives the impression that it has been carelessly stuck onto the board. However it delivered disappointment with the lack of universal search, organization and simple formatting. One of the past webOS updates included a feature to email your notes, but still failed to reach the possibilities to make this app useful within the OS.

A developer by the name Seppel, released an application that filled a lot of gaps that Palm unfortunately missed. Available as a homebrew application, it definitely starts a new game for application standards when it comes to features. You can find additional information from Little-Stick webOS Productions, and according to the developers changelogs, there’s a some updates coming to this app which add’s some nice features. For now my review is for version 0.1.6, but i will be sure to update my review as soon as the new update is available. Good news that the developer is still adapting to this application for everyone to benefit from, and the best part is it’s free.

Getting Started

The application is basic in appearance, mainly working with default API buttons, no graphics or splash screens. If you’re seeking eye candy applications, this will not quench your thirst; however the features provided by this app is worth the attention. After the app launches, the page is directed to a page that will display your saved notes with quick access to start a new note or search for around.

The top left corner is the list of categories created by the user, where the user can add, edit and delete your categories. To edit or create a category, simply tap the Category button and Edit Categories, here you’ll tap the Add button to create a new category or tap an existing one to edit its name or swipe to delete. To return back to the main page, you must use the back gesture. The ‘Sort By’ button, at the top right, allows you to sort your notes when it was last edited, alphabetically, when it was created and the note’s file size. When tapping the Created option, the blue arrow will point down to organize your notes from newest to oldest or point up for oldest to newest. The Alphabetical and Size options have the same principle as the Created option, having the arrow point down will organize the largest to smallest file size (or Z – A) , and the arrow pointing up for smallest to largest (or A – Z). Although there’s date stamps for each note, there isn’t a label for how large the notes are. It’s possible for the user to plug-in via USB link and verify the file properties from your computer, or the developer could possibly implement this in the next update.



Features

The bottom two buttons is a “+” plus and magnifying glass symbol. The plus symbol will create a new note for the user to edit and the magnifying glass that starts a search window. The developer implemented a universal search feature that is very easy to access, by either tapping the magnifying glass or typing on the device’s keyboard. The app will immediately respond when the first letter has been entered and the notes will minimize the selection by matching the searched word(s) to the note’s content. So if I typed eggs, it will pull up the notes that contains the word eggs; typing additional words to search for will provide fewer results, allowing the user to find the note quicker.


Last, but not least, is the “+” button, which will create a new note for the user. The developer took this opportunity to minimize screen interaction by implementing hot keys. Tapping the top left menu ‘ClassicNote’, you have five sections with options: Edit, Formatting, Append, Send To and Undo Changes (the About will only display the app name, version and developer). As usual, the edit menu has the cut/copy/paste, the Formatting tool allows for bold, underline, italics and strike-through (example of strike-through). All are hot-keyed except for the strike-through feature:

= Holding the Gesture Bar

Bold:          + B

Underline+ U

Italics:        + I


The Append menu will update your notes with information where ever the cursor is placed with the current date, time and GPS location. Just like the Formatting options, these commands are also hot-keyed.

Date:            + D

Times-tamp: + T

Location:       + L


The ‘Send To’ menu will allow you to select the text within the note and use it in a different application. Selecting the coordinates information that was added by the location function, will launch Google Maps and plot the location. E-Mail will copy the selected text and compose a new message and Phone will launch the dialer app and paste the selected phone number. The Web option will launch the browser, but will paste the selected text as a .com site and not as a search result. This part could be better described in the application as Go To Site or Launch Site, and the developer should also take into consideration to implement clickable hyperlinks into the notes. The same goes for the other options as well, by allowing the user to create links to different applications, without selecting the text. Users may make a common mistake by selecting too little or too much, and the application will not process the data correctly. Here are the following hot-keys:

Google Maps: + M

Email:             + @

Phone:            + P

Web:               + W

Last option on the menu is ‘Undo Changes…’ which is a great addition that could use fine tuning. Unlike desktop operating systems, this is undo feature will undo all changes made to a note, therefore if you’ve made a mistake by deleting or altering the text, the changes will not be saved. This is sorely needed within the webOS platform, and will come in quite handy on this application as well. I’m sure there’s been requests to have an undo history, allowing the user to tap + Z to undo the small mistake without having to wipe out all changes and starting over. Of course, we’ll leave it to the developer to organize this.

As mentioned earlier, the hot-keys allows for quick access to the features and options of the application. When typing the note, the user can quickly enable and disable the formatting feature by entering the hot-key. The user also has the ability to go back and select the text, then add additional formatting without having to retype the information. Once the note is completed, tap the button labeled ‘undefined’, assign a category to the note and perform the back gesture to return to the main menu.

According to the website, the user can plug-in their handset and locate a folder “.app-storage”. The unfortunate part for OS X users, revealing hidden folders is not the easiest process and may need to type a few commands into Terminal or find a application to do this for them. Windows does offer an easier solution, by opening Folder Options and disabling the option that hides system files. With all this said, it would be a great idea to implement a server side backup solution; for example, backing up the notes to Google Docs. Therefore the risk of losing your data when a critical issue has occurred will not be as severe. The user does have the opportunity to email the notes to themselves, but that can be a tedious process for the user when backing up 10 or more notes. The application deserves an 8 out of 10, for simplicity and features, I would like to see a hot-key assigned to the strike-through option and I will update the review with the new update as soon as it’s available.

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