Last year, I spent a significant portion of my spare time developing Heynote — a scratch pad app specifically designed for developers. I announced Heynote on Hacker News just before Christmas. It was built primarily for my own use-case, but it seems to have struck a nerve because it got 1000+ upvotes, and in general, the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. For some reason, I never got around to writing about it here on my blog, so here we go!

Screenshots of Heynote

What is Heynote?

Heynote is a minimalist yet powerful note-taking application tailored to the needs of developers. Inspired by my personal workflow, it aims to provide a simple, efficient way to quickly jot down notes, code snippets, chat messages I don’t accidentally want to send, and other bits of information that I want to keep around for a while.

Key Features

  • Block-Based: Heynote has a single large (persistent) buffer that is divided into blocks. Pressing C-Enter creates a new block, and pressing C-A selects all text in the current block.
  • Syntax Highlighting: Automatic syntax highlighting for various programming languages. You can also auto format code blocks.
  • Math Blocks: Math blocks are calculator scratch pads that can be used for both simple and advanced calculations. They also support variables, functions and unit conversions (including currencies). Great for some quick napkin math!
    Math block
  • Cross-Platform: Available for both Windows, macOS, and Linux.
  • Multi-cursor editing
  • and much more…

Tech stack

Heynote is built with web technologies using Electron, CodeMirror, Vue and Math.js. I hesitated a bit before deciding to use Electron, but in the end, it was a good choice. The app is fast and responsive, and there’s no noticeable CPU overhead. Every Electron app comes with a couple of hundred megabytes of memory overhead, but it’s still only a small fraction of the 24 GB of RAM i have in my laptop, and considering how much I use Heynote, it’s a small price to pay. Besides, there’s no way I could have built Heynote for three different platforms in the same amount of time without Electron.

Heynote has become a central part of my daily workflow, and I hope it can be useful to others as well.

And of course, it’s also available in a dark theme:

Screenshot of Heynote in dark mode