Issue #527 (Stashpad Review, JS Libs, Testing, Vue)08/24/23
The following intro is a paid product review for Stashpad, a cross-platform note-taking app with a developer-friendly UI.
At some point many of us have likely tried out a note-taking app to help organize our tasks and to-dos. Note-taking apps have gained popularity over the past few years and there's no shortage of options.
But it's always nice to try one out that's built for modern tech workers in today's market. Stashpad is one such tool you'll want to try out.
Stashpad is a native app available for Mac, Windows, iOS, and Android. It's described as having been "designed for your working memory". What does that mean?
After I initially installed the app on Windows, I was presented with a wizard-like set of steps where I was able to choose between dark and light modes and create my first notes.
The Stashpad welcome intro screen
Once inside the app, the interface is easy to work with. Stashpad is centered around two kinds of note-taking:
- Notes – Anything you add to Stashpad starts as a note with no sub-items or content. This is a bare-minimum note that serves as a starting point, good for adding quick brainstorms.
- Stashes – This is the real power of Stashpad. When you add content or sub-points to an existing note, it becomes a stash, or a note with sub-items and optional content under each sub-item.
One thing that's really cool about the Stashpad interface is that it's very code editor-like. So if you're accustomed to working inside an IDE, like VS Code for example, you'll find it super-easy to work with Stashpad.
The Stashpad UI on Windows
As shown in the above screenshot, Stashpad includes a folder-like view in the left column (with "recent" and "pinned" items), a list of your notes and stashes in the main content area, and an easy-to-access text field where you can start adding notes and stashes (just hit the spacebar to start typing).
Using the text field is called insert mode, and the text field itself is pretty powerful. You'll notice a little toolbar at the bottom of the text field that lets you customize how you add notes and stashes.
Customizing how input mode works in Stashpad
The toolbar buttons define the following:
- Whether to split newlines into separate notes
- Toggle CTRL-Enter vs. Enter for adding a note
- Add emojis or attachments
In addition to the toolbar, there's an up-pointing arrow on the right that lets you select the note or stash to which you want to add your current text.
Once you've created some notes and stashes, the UI again is very developer-friendly. There are tabs
that show currently opened notes and stashes, along with a "Home
" view where you can see a list of your notes and stashes.
The Home view in Stashpad with open tabs
In the above example, I have 3 stashes and one note, with all 3 stashes open in individual tabs. You can see which are stashes and which are notes in the Home view list (stashes are indicated with a piled-papers icon). There are 3 sub-items that I've opened to view under the 2nd stash. You can also tell which items are stashes by the number on each line, which indicates how many sub-items are in a stash. No number means it's just a note.
When you click to enter a note or stash, the UI basically stays the same, but now you can use the text field to add items directly to the current stash.
In addition to Stashpad's input mode, there's also command mode, accessible via CTRL-K (CMD-K on Mac), which opens a command palette, or drawer, where you can enter and search for quick links to various Stashpad functions.
Command Mode in Stashpad (CTRL/CMD-K)
Of course, the real power of a note-taking app is in its ability to allow you to edit, track, and mark your notes as done. Inside of any stash, you can hit the shortcut key X to mark any selected item as "done". You can also access this from the item's context menu (right-click).
Viewing an item's context menu to mark as "done"
Usefully, Stashpad lets you define how "done" items are visually represented. From your Home screen, click the configurations button in the top-right area below any open tabs.
Choosing the "done" behaviour in Stashpad
This gives you the option to hide done items, trash them, or group them at the bottom of a list. If you don't select any of these 3 options, the default is to simply fade the item out. Notice in my screenshot, the 2nd items is faded out, or marked as "done".
Another visual enhancement is the ability to add colors to different stashes (SHIFT-L) or to different items in a stash (just L).
Choosing colors for items in Stashpad
In addition to the basic features I've discussed above, here are a number of other cool things Stashpad includes:
- Markdown support for content within items
- Notes and stashes can be synced across any device where you've installed Stashpad (mobile and desktop)
- Customizable keybindings for many of Stashpad's functions (tip: hold the CTRL/CMD key to see visual hints for many of the keybindings available in the current view)
- On desktop, you can bring Stashpad into focus at any time using the keybinding CTRL/CMD-SHIFT-0
- A "sticky" mode for keeping Stashpad on top (for example during video calls).
For more info on any of these features, with lots of screenshots and GIFs, be sure to check out the full Stashpad docs
All in all, my experience with Stashpad has been fantastic. It's a simple app with an easy-to-use UI and there are a lot of powerful features packed in nicely in a way that's not overwhelming.
Stashpad includes a free plan
with up to 50 notes (which includes sub-items). That's not much, but it's a great way to check out all the features before committing to the paid plan ($8 per month and up).
So if you're a developer who wants a better way to track notes, tasks, and other code-related todos, check out Stashpad today
and see if it will fit into your productivity workflow.
Now on to this week's tools!