When i first read about Vesper, the note-taking iPhone app by John Gruber, Brent Simmons and Dave Wiskus, I rankled a bit. Really? Another note-taking app? For five bucks? And no sync?
But let's face it: I like Gruber — I like his website, I like his writing, and I like what he has to say about how digital tools work. Five clams for a notes app with no sync was almost a non-starter, but my curiosity got the best of me. If nothing else, I could test this thing out, see what all the hype was about, all the while supporting, in some small way, a guy whose site I've been reading for years.
I've used iOS's Notes app for the bulk of my mobile note-taking, and it's mostly been great. But there's one area where I've needed some help. See, I make this webcomic called Malcontent. And I keep all my ideas for Malcontent — and, believe me, there are a ton of them — in one giant note. And, if I may be colorfully frank, this well and truly sucks major ass.
So I decided to dedicate my experiment with Vesper to this particular problem. I decided to take each and every Malcontent idea (did I mention there are a ton of them?) and transfer each to an individual, tagged note in Vesper. This is all I use Vesper for. It is my dedicated Malcontent comic idea app. And you know what? it works beautifully.
For one, Vesper is very easy to use. I can get a note down and properly tagged very quickly and intuitively. Compare to the olden days, using Notes.app, in which I'd have to scroll to the bottom of the über note, write the note, and then, without the joy of tags, promptly forget all about it until the next time I spent an hour going through the entire über note. Note taking is now far easier.
It's much more functional as well. Because now, with tags, I can find stuff really easily. I have a few basic categories that make doing this a breeze, and these are all easily accessed in Vesper's sidebar.
Also, once I've used a comic idea, I can archive it without throwing it out. Doing this means I no longer have to look at it, but I still have it in the archive, which pleases to no end the completist in me (or maybe the pack rat).
So far this process has been lovely. it works well and makes both storing and accessing these ideas a joy. But did I mention there's no sync?
Now, I always have my phone with me. There's pretty much never a moment when I am phoneless these days. Maybe on a Sunday morning in the brief interim before I've transferred iPhone to jammies, but that's about it. Since Vesper is currently an iPhone-only app, sync is not a huge problem. If I need to access my Malcontent ideas, I get my phone. No biggie.
But sometimes I work on Malcontents on my iPad. And when I do, it might be nice to not have to look over at my phone for the ideas or the dialogue. It might be nice to see these things — drawings and text — all on one device. So: sync.
As time's worn on, and as I've become more and more invested in Vesper as a creative tool, I've hoped more and more for sync. With the advent of iOS 7, Q Branch — the company behind Vesper — released an update. And when it contained no mention of sync, I started to worry a bit.
So I was extremely pleased this morning to read on Daring Fireball that sync is the next big milestone for Vesper. Vesper has turned out to be a terrific tool for me without sync, but sync will make it even better. Mr. Gruber refuses to give an exact timeframe for the feature, and that's okay. Just knowing it's on the horizon is, frankly, good enough for me.
I'm very much looking forward to it.