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RetroNote - A simple distraction free note taking app on web!


I have been running the my blog - for a long time now. It runs on put markdown. If I have to publish a new blog post, I just need to create a markdown - .md file in the Github repository and deploy the application. Pretty nice, compare to my previous way of publishing on Medium. The pain point in the current process is that I need to open visual studio code to commit my new blog post. Visual studio code is not meant for writing. The moment I open VSCode I cannot focus on the writing because of all other stuff I have on IDE. I definitely need a different place for writing alone. I cannot use Google Docs because it is not for Markdown. Even I can, it is really overwhelming in terms of options and the things it has on the screen. I really needed a distraction free writing environment where I can just write peacefully!

I checked for the tools. There are very good tools like IAWriter, Typora in the market. They are pretty good but they are only Mac apps and they are costly as well! I really wanted a simple, distraction free, no overwhelming writing app for my needs. I started exploring if I can build one. I figured out there are many apps like Obsidian, Bear Notes in the space of note taking. They also work on pure Markdown. In the process of my research I got introduced to this new space that I was never aware of called Tools for thought, PKMS - Personal Knowledge Management System. They have different names in the niche but the concept is same. They want to take notes of everything and off load the memory from brain to a secondary knowledge system where they can link the thoughts, search them quickly, easy navigation etc. I inspired from this niche! Though I figured out problems with this approach later. More on it maybe in future posts!

In the process I also considered Journaling. Even though I am not a regular daily journaling guy, I always loved the process. I feel it helps you introspect and shape yourself better if you journal regularly. Alongside, journaling is very personal. The journaling environment should be as simple as possible. It should make your heart calm and let it flow freely while writing. So, this also became my one of the requirements of the app.

With the research I did, I thought I could give it a shot. I wanted to it to give the retro feeling of pen and paper while writing. So I named it RetroNote. After multiple iterations on the app, it is completely usable at

Here are few reasons why it shines at note taking and writing in general!

Distraction free

RetroNote is very simple at core and embraces it from UI to the tools available on it. The editor itself is a clean canvas and with cursor on it. There are very minimal icons, options, menus to distract you. There is even typewriter mode on the editor which will keep the cursor at the middle of the screen always so that your focus is at one place all the time!

Pure markdown

One of the core philosophies of the RetroNote is no proprietary format, no lock-in! I used Notion for different purposes at different times. It is a great tool but the format is always unclear for me. I can never see the underlaying format except for what they show on the screen. Unlike Notion, you write in pure markdown along with one click export of all your notes. Your notes are always yours and can be ported to any other app. Absolutely no lock-in!

All the markdown formatting is available out of the box including stylings, images, tables, lists, quotes, etc.


RetroNote makes the journaling experience simple and easy. You can create your daily journal entry with one click and start journaling about the day. Along with daily journal entries, you can even put your own time stamps in the notes. There is even a Timeline view on the app where you can see all your journals and timestamps are viewed as timeline of events!

Privacy & Sync

Pretty quickly I understood that notes are very personal and we put all our thoughts over there. I really wanted the information to be as secured as possible. So, I made the app end to end encrypted and local-first. By local-first I mean that there is no cloud for the app and it runs completely on your browser. All your data resides on your browser. There is also multi device sync option available on the app. If you enable it, the data is synced to the sync servers in encrypted form. Privacy is the priority!


Writing is thinking and giving shape to your thoughts!

I always believed in it and because it is, it consumes significant portion of our daily time. Because it consumes a significant portion of your daily activities, I wanted it to provide basic productivity tools. You can create To-dos, reminders (via Google Calendar) for your tasks on RetroNote. You can use the app for all basic time management.


There are so many other options available on the app like quick share, themes, support for Google Fonts, note linking, code blocks, LaTeX math expressions, outlines etc. Visit RetroNote now to figure them out!


I am experimenting with publishing part right now. In the process, there is an option on the app which converts your notes into a publishable Ebook. I have been working on it for some time now. This will be really helpful for people who write long form content like Books and want to quickly publish them on Kindle book store or Apple books etc. Follow the journey on Twitter or Discord. I build this app in public on these platforms. Love to help the community! Thanks for reading! Cheers 👋