Over the past few weeks I’ve learned about and have been trying out two browser-based organizers, Amplenote and Organizedly. I was going to write reviews of each individually, but they are so similar in their functionality that I though it might be more interesting to introduce them and then discuss their differences. Because an article like this could be very, very long, I am not going to go into too much depth.
Both are web-based apps that aspire to be the center of your note-taking and task-planning universe. Organizedly is currently exclusively available through your browser, while Amplenote has mobile apps — which I haven’t tried. The subscription fee for Amplenote is $5.84 for the Basic plan and $10 a month for the Pro plan. As I write this, Organizedly is released as “early access” for free. There is no word on what the subscription will be, but the developers promise to provide early access users a discount.
Amplenote and Organizedly each provide a daily note feature (much like Obsidian, NotePlan and Roam). In Amplenote this feature is called a “daily-jot” and in Organizedly it is simply called “Daily.”
I like that Amplenote concatenates the daily-jots, so you can see the past few days in one view instead of having to flip through the days. Also, each daily-jot can be opened as its own full-fledged note. Organizedly displays your daily schedule in the Daily view and includes what tasks are due that day.
Both apps use markdown for formatting notes. I think Amplenote is a closer to being a full-fledged markdown editor.
Both Amplenote and Organizedly do a good job with task management, although fall short of dedicated task managers like TickTick or Things. The nice feature of both is that the Task view pulls tasks from within your notes and displays them in a separate list.
While they look very similar, the two apps view of tasks provide a very different experience. Amplenote uses a simple algorithm based on due date and important/urgency to prioritize your tasks for you. This is probably a nice feature when you’re dealing with dozens of tasks. You can’t create a new task in Amplenote’s Task view, so you have to create tasks within notes.
Organizedly on the other hand allows you to create tasks in its Tasks view. You can choose to sort your tasks by start date, due date, priority or alphabetically.
Amplenote and Organizedly allow you to add important task details, but have different approaches that are significant.
Amplenote collects meta data that allows it to set a “task score,” which it uses to prioritize the task among all the other tasks. It also allows you to make a task repeat. It doesn’t allow you to set “sub tasks.” A nice feature is that with Amplenote you can choose to hide a task until a specific date. So, for example, if you were setting a reminder to pay your bills later in the month, you can set that task to be hidden until two days before you want to pay those bills so it doesn’t needlessly clutter your task list.
The biggest advantage that Organizedly’s task function has is the ability to add subtasks. Organizedly currently does not have a recurring task feature, though that is in the developers plan.
Seems every new notes app these days employs bi-directional linking, and with good reason. Amplenote and Organizedly both handle bi-directional linking well.
I suspect I haven’t explored all the ins and outs of bi-directional linking with these two apps, but here is one observation: I’ve found that if you change the name of a linked note in Organizedly, it will update the link name wherever it is referenced. In Amplenote, the links still work, but the link names are not updated.
A Key Difference
In addition to the Links Panel (talked about above) in Organizedly’s Notes view, you can toggle a sidebar open and closed to view a variety of related information.
We saw the Link panel earlier. But there is also a Sidebar on the right which provides access to four types of information:
- Your schedule
- Your task list
- Other notes you choose to open
- Graph view
Organizedly provides a Graph View, which is one of the most notable differences between it and Amplenote.
You can access the Graph View in two ways: From the sidebar in the Note window (as depicted in the screen capture above), or choose Graph View from the Notes List view.
I would be remiss in not pointing out that from my limited experience with the Graph View in Organizedly, the developers have some work to do to make it as smooth as Obsidian or Roam.
Another key difference between Amplenote and Organizedly is the methods they provide for organizing your information. They both eschew folders. Amplenote relies on nested tags to provide hierarchy and categorization of your notes and tasks. Organizedly has two methods: You can assign any note or task to a Collection. You can think of Collections as folders, but I think it is probably more effective if you use them like contexts or workspaces. I’m still experimenting here, but it feels like limiting Collections to a few key contexts will work best. You do not have to assign a collection to a note or a task, but if you do, you can only assign one.
Organizedly also allows you to assign tags to your notes, which can then be used as a filter for which notes are viewed via the Note View. You can also assign tags to tasks and then view lists of tasks with specific tags.
Other Views in Organizedly
Another view in Organizedly is called Queiries. These are basically saved searches, where you can specify tags to look for, tags to exclude, text to look for and text to exclude.
In Organizedly, you can view a calendar for for getting an overview of upcoming tasks and for scheduling unscheduled tasks. (A calendar is planned for Amplenotes.)
Some Amplenote Advantages
I’ve mentioned features of Organizedly that Amplenote does not have. But Amplenote has advantages over Organizedly. One important one is that you can attach images and PDFs to Amplenote notes, which can’t currently be done in Organizedly. This is a pretty big hole in the latter app. I believe attachments are in the works for Organizedly.
Another big difference (though not significant to me) is that you can collaborate with others through Amplenote. I have not tried to do this, so can’t comment on how well that works. Amplenote also provides a method for publicly sharing a note online. They call it Publishing. Here’s a link to a sample note I just published:
Both Amplenote and Organizedly have a lot of promise, but both fall short of the mark I believe the developers have for them. This is obviously true for Organizedly, since it isn’t in official release yet. And it is true that Amplenote is closer to being “mature.” I trust that each app will continue to be improved and that both will be worthy of consideration for people who are looking for an app in which they can manage tasks and notes, but without the fuss and fidgeting of an app like Notion.
When I began this entry, I didn’t expect to make my personal opinion known about which of the two apps I preferred. But as I wrote this and dug around deeper, I decided that I prefer Organizedly — though I’m not crazy about the name. I like the look and feel of Organizedly better. It seems to make better use of screen real estate, which is especially important on my MacBook. Amplenote could also be improved by creating workspaces; that is, a way to quickly distinguish between work data and personal data. Organizedly can do this with its Collections feature, though it isn’t perfect.
Anyway, I hope I’ve given readers enough information to decide which — if either — of these apps might be worth their time to check out.
Note: After writing this, I did experience some hinky behavior with Organizedly… weird things happening in the browser window. I didn’t lose any information, but I feel it is essential to point this out.