When comparing Simplenote vs nvALT, the Slant community recommends Simplenote for most people. In the question“What is the best note taking app for Mac?” Simplenote is ranked 1st while nvALT is ranked 9th. The most important reason people chose Simplenote is:
Unlike alternatives (such as Evernote) that are laden with features, Simplenote is fast to use and sync. Reviews from the [Verge], [Lifehacker], and a variety of other sources all describe using the Simplenote apps as very fast. While it may not be as feature-rich as other apps, the responsiveness of the app and simple interface keep it easy to use while never slowing down the user when they need to quickly take a note. : http://www.theverge.com/2013/9/18/4741908/simplenote-reborn-first-great-notes-app-ios-android-mac-web : http://www.lifehacker.com.au/2010/07/the-holy-grail-of-ubiquitous-plain-text-capture/
Ranked in these QuestionsQuestion Ranking
Pro Geared towards fast usage
Unlike alternatives (such as Evernote) that are laden with features, Simplenote is fast to use and sync. Reviews from the Verge, Lifehacker, and a variety of other sources all describe using the Simplenote apps as very fast. While it may not be as feature-rich as other apps, the responsiveness of the app and simple interface keep it easy to use while never slowing down the user when they need to quickly take a note.
Pro "Time machine" style revision control on the notes
Each edit of a note is saved in order to allow the user to go back to a previous version of a document. This way, if mistakes are made or something is deleted, you can go back to the previous version without any hassle.
Pro Very simple and clean interface
Simplenote takes a minimalist approach to its interface. There are no toolbars full of formatting options or extra features like notebooks to group notes. The entire desktop interface consists solely of a sidebar with your tags and trash filters, the list of existing notes with search, a button to add a new note and a simple view for looking an existing note or writing a new one.
Pro Works offline
Users can edit and create documents offline, can then sync their content the next time they are online. This way a user can work even when there's no data connection without the worry of losing work.
Pro Markdown support via web interface
There is support for Markdown when using the web app. This can be convenient for those who want to use Markdown in a particular note.
Pro Wide range of great clients with great sync
Official native apps are available on popular platforms such as Android, iPhone, iPad, Kindle, OS X, Windows and Linux. Open-source clients extend this support even more widely to various other platforms, such as webOS and the BlackBerry PlayBook. These apps embody the core philosophy of Simplenote: minimalism and focus on the note taking.
Pro Linux client available
Pro Desktop app is open source
The desktop version of Simplenote is hosted on the GitHub and since it is open source, it can allow developers to fork the code in order to improve the app.
Pro Can export your data
The program enables exporting of notes as text documents.
Pro Excellent iOS app
Pro Collaborative features
Notes can be shared with others or worked on collaboratively.
Pro Excellent desktop client in the form of nvAlt
Pro Powerful search syntax
nvALT has a simple text box at the top (similar to that of a web browser) and when you start typing inside it, nvALT immediately displays a drop-down box of all the notes that contain the text you are searching for. The more you type, the more the search is narrowed down.
Pro Powerful note-taking features
nvALT is not only used for simple text editing but also as a powerful tool for taking notes, TODOs, phone numbers and every other piece of information that can be stored in a plain-text file.
This is because nvALT is not designed only as a tool to write text, but also as a powerful search and organize tool for plain-text files.
Pro MultiMarkdown 3 support
Has built-in support for MultiMarkdown 3.
Pro Right to Left support
Con Search is limited to one tag
There seems to be no way to find notes that have both tag X and tag Y. This isn't a big deal until you have a large library of notes, and want to cross-search for two things at the same time to vastly narrow down your search.
Con Limited ways to reorder notes
You are able to sort your notes alphabetically, date modified, or by last created. There is no way to drag and drop the notes to create a custom order.
Con No Widgets on Android
There is no way to view a list of the notes in Simplenote via a Widget on Android
Con No support for file attachments
Simplenote doesn't provide support for embedded attachments. This can limit the use for some as many other note-taking apps do support this type of feature.
Con No reminders
You cannot set reminders to revisit a specific note or complete a task.
Con No 32-bit version
Con The search function doesn't see tags
If you search for 'foo' you won't find notes with tag foo. In that regard, tags are completely isolated from the search.
Con No way to bulk-apply a tag
This is a typical workflow action in other apps: Do a search, multi-select notes among the matches, then apply or de-apply one or more tags to all these notes at once.
There's no way to do this in Simplenote. The only bulk operations are Delete and Pin-to-top.
Con No notification when changes made on a shared note
Currently, there is no way to be alerted when a change is made by another contributor on a shared note.
Con Save-to-disk feature is poor
The only way to download your data off Simplenote is via a "download zip" feature that unfortunately loses all the semantic structure of your data (tags, for instance).
Con No integrated social media sharing
The only way you can share notes with others is with a link you're given when you publish your note. There is no integrated social media sharing if you directly want to post your note to Twitter, Facebook, etc.
Con Lack of color impacts usability
There are two themes available, the default theme and a dark theme.
Both use only the single solid color (either white or black) for the background, so there is a lack of visual cues to separate what you're looking at.
Con Not very powerful as far as text editing goes
nvALT's strength is its search feature. It has some basic text-editing features such as cut, paste, find-and-replace and so on. But it doesn't have any advanced text manipulation features available in other editors.