21 May 2010
What is NoteSync?
NoteSync is a fast way to take notes and sync them with Google Docs. Automatic syncing happens every minute or when you feel like it by pressing the sync button. Keyboard shortcuts like CTR-L put the cursor in the search bar to easily search for notes or create a new note. Offline mode fully supported.
How I Made NoteSync
After watching my buddy take notes, I wanted to create a solution for users that would be fast, simple, and effective, using Adobe AIR. I started with a prototype that connected to a SQLite database to test how fast I could take and search notes in Adobe AIR. It exceeded my expectations. I sketched out the user interface on paper and then transferred it into Adobe Illustrator. Once my designs were finalized, I put them into Adobe Flash Catalyst to transform the designs into MXML graphics for Flash Builder. My next large step was to interface with the Google Documents List API. There wasn’t a client library written for Actionscript, so I had to write one myself. Once I had successfully connected to Google Docs, I had to build a sync engine to detect changes to notes that were stored locally in a SQLite database with notes that were on the server. After much testing, I had successfully set up the sync engine. I then designed and built a web site based off my designs in illustrator and launched www.notesync.com.
NoteSync allows users to take simple notes fast by not being limited by software. All notes are synced to a user’s Google Docs account to a folder titled “NoteSync.” With the cursor in the search bar, every keystroke filters notes allowing users to easily search and find the note they are looking for. Keyboard shortcuts like CTR-L put the cursor in the search bar to easily search or create new notes. All data is sent securely via HTTPS protocol and all notes are stored encrypted on the user’s computer.
As part of my managerial economics class at Brigham Young University (BYU), I conducted a note-taking survey with 170 different participants. Thirty of the participants used the NoteSync prototype and then were asked specific questions regarding their experience. This survey provided great insights into what features were necessary to include as well as a pricing strategy to make NoteSync successful.
Within the first month of being published in the Adobe AIR Marketplace and launching www.notesync.com, the web site had attracted over 16,000 visitors which resulted in over 4,800 installs. Reviews of the app have been written on various websites in four different languages. Because of this success, NoteSync’s website took first place in the 2010 Crexendo Online Marketing Competition at BYU.
Future of NoteSync
As of April 2010, NoteSync is currently free of charge in an open beta to allow users to fully test the RIA before its first release version, targeted for mid May, 2010. Due to high-demand from user feedback, I am also developing NoteSync for the iPhone to allow users to have their NoteSync notes everywhere they go.