The first public preview (beta) of Nottingham 2.0 is now available. I wasn't planning on releasing this just yet — I was aiming for a preview release in the middle of February — but Notational Velocity released a great new update this weekend and forced my hand.
Ever since first releasing Nottingham in November 2009, I've made it clear that the app is first and foremost inspired by Notational Velocity and the great work Zachary Schneirov has done. But I wanted more. Specifically, a note taking app like NV but tweaked to the way I work and with Simplenote sync support. So that's what I made.
The original release of Nottingham was a built-from-scratch clone of NV with sync support and Markdown previews built-in. But still, despite the vision I had in mind for what I wanted Nottingham to ultimately be, that first release was a clone — and I took a lot of flack for it. I can't begin to count the number of hateful emails I've received and blog comments that were directed my way. And while it's completely fair to say the original idea and interface were not my own, I don't believe there is anything wrong with taking that idea and trying my best to move it forward in the direction I see fit. Nor is there anything wrong with selling it — especially when there's no code shared between the two.
My opinion has always been that you get what you pay for. With Nottingham, you're supporting an independent Mac developer. That means you're entitled to prompt, courteous email (and sometimes IM) support with any questions and problems you have. And you can also (to a certain extent) dictate the feature set with your suggestions. While Notational Velocity is a fantastic app, it's ultimately Zachary's discretion as to what features get added and which bugs get fixed — or, you also have the option of forking his code and building what you want, yourself. Both approaches are valid and serve different audiences.
As I mentioned above, I've had lots of Notational Velocity users digitally spit in my face for daring to create a competing app. In general, once you get past the spit and vitriol, most of their complaints boil down to not wanting to pay for Nottingham. And I understand that — I'd love it if OmniFocus, MarsEdit, TextMate, and 1Password were free — but they're not. And neither is Nottingham. However, I do find those apps essential to my workflow and am happy to pay for them. The same goes for Nottingham. If it's useful to you, it would be awesome if you purchase a license. If it's not useful, or you don't think it's worth the money, don't buy it. There are plenty of wonderful alternatives out there.
Finally, and this is the last point I'll make in my rant, quite a few people have offered up the argument that Nottingham should be free simply because Notational Velocity is free. If Zachary is willing to put in so much of his time for free, shouldn't I? Well, maybe. I don't know what Zachary does for a living, but I'm guessing he gets paid for it. NV is the open source project he's chosen to put his free time towards. I've simply chosen to charge for Nottingham while donating my free time to alternative open source projects. Of which there are many.
Now that my rant is over, let's get back to the topic at hand — Nottingham 2.0. Earlier, I mentioned that Notational Velocity's latest release prompted me to go ahead and release this public preview. As my private beta testers can attest to, N2 has been underway since September and contains a few new features that (amazingly) Notational Velocity added this weekend. In what's probably going to be a futile attempt to curtail the hate mail, I decided to go ahead and put the latest beta version out in the open so everyone can see what I've been working on.
In no particular order...