quiver pen holder

Quiver is solid, but missing a few arrows

Quiver has a nice, clean look and feel that appeals to me.

Quiver Review

The makers of Quiver call it a programmer’s notebook. Here is what they have to say about it:

Quiver is a notebook built for programmers. It lets you easily mix text, code, Markdown and LaTeX within one note, edit code with an awesome code editor, live preview Markdown and LaTeX, and find any note instantly via the full-text search.

For this review, I am going to ignore many of the attributes that programmers might find useful. I don’t care about code snippets, LaTex or Diagrams. I just want to judge Quiver on how it does taking and managing notes. And how good a markdown editor it is.

Things I like about Quiver

  • Markdown is one of the types of cells that can be added to a note. It handles markdown well.
  • The organization scheme is “notebooks.” You can nest one notebook in another.
  • You can switch between the notebooks panel and the tags panel to filter your notes by tag.
  • Quiver looks clean and familiar. I feel comfortable using it.
  • You can view the live preview of your note alongside your editing window.
  • You can add live check boxes within your notes.
  • Quiver has several export formats: HTML, Markdown, PDF, PNG, Plain Text

Preview your markdown as you type.

Things I like less about Quiver

  • While it has an iOS version, that version is read only. So you can reference your notes, but can’t write new ones or edit existing ones on an iPhone or iPad.
  • There appears only one style of rendered markdown, and it is not exactly beautiful. You can adjust the CSS file to change how it looks, but that’s not something I want to have to bother with.
  • While Quiver does tags, you can’t add them with a hashtag in the body of the text as you can with other markdown editors. You click in the tags bar at the top of the editor. Not a big deal, but not the quickest route to tagging.
  • Full text search is a nice feature, but Quiver only identifies the notes with the text, and doesn’t pinpoint the reference within the note, so you can be groping to find the word or string of text in longer notes.
  • Quiver notes are kept in JSON format. That might be a plus for some people, but for me I’d prefer plain text files.
  • No RTF or Doc export option

Unique features

  • I’m not interested in this feature, but others might be. Quiver can create shared notebooks that reside on a cloud drive and which other Quiver users can access and work on simultaneously.
  • As I mentioned, markdown is just one of the cell types that can make up a note. Others include text, code blocks, Latex and diagrams.

The verdict

There’s a lot to like about Quiver, but there is also a lot that seems half-baked for the kind of work I would want to use it for. This isn’t surprising, as Quiver is not really developed for how I would use it. If I were “stuck” using Quiver, however, I think I could make it work and be happy about it.


Bullet Journal update

I wrote about adopting the bullet journal approach to capturing information in a previous post. I’ve now been using my bullet journal for over a month and it seems like a good time for an update.

I am finding it way more fun and productive than I expected I would. Also, my skepticism about keeping my bullet journal in a paper notebook has gone away. The notebook is working just fine. Of course, I use the notebook in conjunction with computer and iOS apps, which I’ll write more about in another post. In the meantime, I wanted to share a few ways in which my notebook may deviate from others.

The left page and right page on each spread in my bullet journal serve different purposes.

The left page and right page on each spread in my bullet journal serve different purposes.

I split the spreads in my notebook. The right page is for rapid logging (the main bullet journal technique). Here I add the date, then log items per the bullet journal method. The only small adjustment I make is to use a back slash to indicate notes that I have pushed into my computer/iPad flow. I may make a note as to which app the information is in, so that I know where to look in the future.

The left page I initially leave blank. Then I use it to annotate my bullet items when more information is called for. If I don’t need to add further information, I can use a blank left page (or even a blank space on a partially filled left page) for creating undated lists, or adding any information that suits my fancy. For instance, the first left-hand page in my notebook is where I started my project list. After that is filled up (and it almost is), I’ll skip ahead to the next blank left hand page, forwarding the uncompleted projects to the new page. I’ll mark this page for quick reference with a removable tab.

I’m keeping my index in the back of the notebook, marked with another removable tab. I’ve decided not to use my bullet journal as a calendar, as I have a wonderful iOS application for that.

I’ve rounded out my notebook with a Quiver pen holder in which I keep a black- and red-ink Pilot Precise V5 extra fine pens, though I have yet to use the red pen. So far, this system is working quite nicely.

In a future post I will be describing how I add computer and iPad apps to the work flow.

Happy New Year!

Update: I’ve written about how I am using Tinderbox as my digital bullet journal.