There are so many note-taking apps right now: Notion, Roam Research, Joplin, Standard Notes, Obsidian, Logseq, Zettlr, RemNote, and many more.

Unfortunately, all of these note-taking apps are lacking in quality; most of them are, and their desktop apps are made in Electron, which is equivalent to running a website in Google Chrome, as an individual instance, mind you. It would take less resources to just open another tab.

So, what do I propose developers do?

Native Desktop Applications

Build the application using a compiled language and a GUI that does not ship an entire web browser with it.

There are many options out there, including the following:

  • QT

  • GTK

  • Dear ImGui

So, if these GUI toolkits are cross-platform and efficient, how come they are not seen much more?

Simply because they require more expertise and time, and time == money. Many of the Software/Platform as a Service (SASS) applications want to maximize profit and minimize development time, and this is also somewhat true for local note-taking applications like Obsidian and Logseq, even if they are not seeking profit as their primary goal, they are still trying to minimize development time, especially regarding cross-platform compatibility.

Regarding performance, loading a page packed full of content takes a long time to render, while having significant stutters and input latency.

Searching is also just as bad. I have no idea what Obsidian and Logseq use, but they should interface to something like ripgrep. And even if they would, the bottleneck would still be rendering all those notes.

The graph would also be much more efficient on a native GUI. Obsidian does a pretty good job rendering the nodes, but it chokes really hard after a few hundred notes; for those people with better computers, it usually lags really hard after a few thousand. But the situation could be a lot better if the applications were native.

Personally, I use Emacs with Org-roam for note-taking. It lacks a “user-friendly” and “beautiful” interface, but it is a lot more responsive than the alternatives.