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Evernote and OneNote

I was curious to know more about OneNote for Mac, released yesterday on the Mac App Store, from an Evernote user’s perspective, and I’m glad that Justin Williams wrote up his impressions so far.

I’m not switching from Evernote: I need some of the service’s more advanced features (saved searches, shareable notes, web clipper) and, overall, I’m happy with it. I like Evernote as a company – I’m a fan of the business model and the idea of a service that can stick around for many years. I appreciate the work they’ve put into improving the apps and service in 2014: as I wrote in January, there are still things I would like to see, but the iOS app has improved dramatically since September.

I also agree with Justin’s take on the API. In my limited experience with using the Evernote API in Python, I found it painful to simply send HTML to the service to create a new note or to try to retrieve HTML content from a note (Evernote uses a superset of XHTML called ENML, which has its own set of restrictions). Other developers I’ve talked to shared their frustrations with the Evernote API, especially for integration with iOS apps. One of Evernote’s biggest advantages over OneNote is the rich ecosystem of apps they’ve built, but Microsoft’s launch yesterday showed that they’re not kidding with third-party OneNote support either. Perhaps Evernote should add the API to the list of improvements for 2014.

It’ll be interesting to see how Microsoft will continue to support OneNote on iOS and OS X – they have an uphill battle against Evernote’s frequent updates, but they’re off to a seemingly good start with the Mac app.