Day One review: journal app that syncs with Dropbox and iDevices

My readers know I have a thing for journaling. I like me some Moleskines. I also like to waste time experimenting with various ways of keeping track of stuff electronically, and I increasingly favor that method because I generally have a computer or phone near me and don't generally have my physical notebook.

I've been using a new system---"app" doesn't do it justice. It's called Day One and is available on the App Stores (TM, apparently) for Mac and iPhone. The Mac version costs $9.99, and the iPhone version is $0.99. It syncs with Dropbox, and everything about it facilitates actually writing stuff down. I'm impressed with it; the developers seem to kick out regular updates but make sure that everything is solid before tacking on a bunch of fluff. I'm hoping for a bit more fluff (see below), but not too much.

Day One sits in the menu bar of your Mac. You click it to add an entry, and then the box goes away. You can open the whole app to read your journal, which is intuitively navigable with the keyboard. If you want, you can instruct Day One to pop the box up at definable intervals to remind you to write something. If you have the iPhone version, you can journal snippets while you're away from your Mac, and it all syncs with Dropbox. Back to being impressed with the developers: this all WORKS, and it works quickly and without any effort on my part. I've been using it for several weeks, and I haven't had a single solitary syncing glitch. That impresses me. Syncing is generally the tricky bit for stuff like this.

The developers just added passcoding for the mobile version. Here are additional features I want, all of which they list as being in the works:

  • Ability to add photos
  • Search function
  • Usable export (currently, there is NO export, and I derive warm fuzzies from the fact that they state this before you buy and surprises or false claims from these folks)

Day One is sort of bare-bones and sort of not. The stuff I just listed is pretty necessary for a journaling system, yet the basic setup and sync are extremely impressive. I prefer it as it is to a complex program such as MacJournal, which eats data and can't sync or export correctly to save its life even though you can include photos and videos. I hope the Day One devs keep on their current trajectory and add this stuff in as they solidify it: it's an app worth following.