5 Best note taking apps for programmers

5 Best note taking apps for programmers

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Taking notes is a vital part of learning and as a programmer we have specific needs that software such as Docs or Word can't cover. That's why I compiled this list of my 5 most favorite note taking apps.

In the past couple of years I've used all of them, some of them I still use them, some I've stopped using, but any of these 5 will help you.

You will see that all of them use Markdown (either the standard syntax or a custom one) and that's because I find it the fastest way of taking notes since it allows to quickly create documents with simple formatting and also allows you to add code block with syntax highlight.

Note: these apps are all free or have a free tier so you won't need to fork out a cent to start using them.

1) Notion

Available for: Windows, MacOS, Android, iOS, Web.

This is the app I've used to write this blog post.

It's great because it's not just a markdown text editor, you can do so much more, including tables, kanbans, calendar into your pages.

You can sync your notes across your devices and the fact that it has a Web version means that even if you use Linux, like me, you can still use it.

It has very solid support for code blocks, with highlight and ability to wrap the code.

The free version includes enough space that you should be good for a while.

2) Stackedit

Available for: Web

Stackedit doesn't have a mobile app but you can still use it comfortably from the browser.

It's much simpler than Notion, being a straightforward markdown editor that syncs with your Google Drive.

I use it daily for my work notes whenever I need to write down my thoughts and I want to make sure that I can access them from both my office and my own laptop.

It's completely free and the markdown files are stored in your Google Drive so if you want to migrate them somewhere else it's going to be very straightforward.

The support for code blocks is great, with syntax highlight for any language you need.

3) Typora

Available for: Windows, MacOS, Linux

Simple and clean, Typora is a powerful markdown editor. Unfortunately it doesn't have a mobile version or a web client, but the desktop client is solid and powerful.

I've used it write my first JavaScript ebook and I really liked the integration with Pandoc to export my markdown ebook straight into epub, pdf and doc files.

It has great support for code blocks, using prism for the syntax highlight and it also allows you to create your css file to style the exported PDF files.

4) Quip

Available for: Windows, MacOs, Web, Android, iOS

Quip is the first editor that I've used and albeit I don't use it anymore, it's still a great solution.

The mobile app is not the best, but the web client is solid and powerful allowing you to easily add tables and more.

Some features are paid but overall the free version is good enough.

The support for highlighted code blocks is basic and not on the same level as the others

Bonus: VSCode

Available for: Windows, MacOS, Linux

Despite not being meant for it, vs code is a great note taking app.

When writing the second edition of my ebook I've used vs code to create individual markdown files and a simple node script to join them into a single one.

You can also take advantage of a GitBooks to connect your repo and have your notes published online, available privately or publicly.

Editing on the fly is not the easiest since you can't use vs code on your phone but you can still edit directly the files hosted in the Github repo from apps such as FastHub or similar 3rd party clients.

Thank you very much for reading. Follow me on DevTo or on my blog at inspiredwebdev for more.

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