Sorry for the length, but this is feedback from someone who started off as a doubter. I would have missed Agenda altogether had it not been for the recent Tidbits article. Indeed, I would have ignored Agenda had the article not been so positive. “Note-taking” is an over-saturated application category, with lots of apps with overlap and with each trying to find a niche, while trying to do everything The result is confusion over the app’s true focus. Is Bear — a gorgeous looking app that I have used daily since its release —for note-taking, task management, or general-purpose writing? It can do all of those things, but none particularly well. It’s most unique and valuable feature is its ability to convert web pages to markdown, then export to the usual variety of forms, text, HTML, PDF, RTF.
I’m a Things fan, but only for its core competency, which I would say is task management. Using it to capture notes, which it is not really designed for, might be doable on a limited scale, but would be a mistake in the longrun: it doesn’t have the search engine, nor the storage architecture.
On the surface, Agenda looked like yet another do-everything-app. I see it as replacing Bear, but not Things. I was skeptical about Agenda’s “task-management” features,but as I thought about it and experimented, linking dates and even calendars to notes it is starting to make a lot of sense. Agenda’s primary focus is on text; not glamorous, but really gets to the heart of taking notes. Importing and exporting Markdown seems to work well. I was able to import a bunch of “notes” that I had captured in Ulysses this way. I don’t consider Ulysses to really be a note-taking tool (even if they do), and I’d like to take notes and then use some of that content to drive what I finish in Ulysses. The fact that I can take notes in Agenda and export them to Ulysses — now, that is useful!
So, I’m increasingly intrigued and optimistic. I’m going to reiterate what so many others have made clear: the iOS version is really, really important, but I know you know that! If you think about it, mobile devices really are the logical place for note-taking. I now do 95% of my computing on iOS devices. I’m willing to wait a bit for the iOS version, but that’s where I’m going to be doing most of my work.
I see all manner of requests for enhancements in these forums, but I would beware of becoming bloatware. If note-taking is Agenda’s core strength, storage and synchronization, along with searching and editing, is what is really important. For example, I was flabbergasted when I discovered I couldn’t do a simple search/replace in individual “notes” in the iOS version of Bear.