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Meet Vesper, a notes app with an all-star development team

Jason Snell | June 7, 2013
Vesper is a new iPhone notes app with an impressive pedigree—it's developed by John Gruber, Brent Simmons, and Dave Wiskus.

Vesper and Q Branch are James Bond references. Why the homage?

Gruber: Bond's gadgets have always been at the intersection of utility and elegance. Serve a necessary purpose, reliably, and look good doing it. That's as good a motto for a software company as any.

What does Vesper bring to the table that other apps don't?

Gruber: A few things. For one, the design supports any size note, naturally. I have two-word notes, and 200-word notes. Vesper supports photo attachments, which few others do, and the ones that do tend to be complex, fussy apps. But the three big things are organization, prioritization, and feel.

With tags, I feel organized. I've got everything in my mind in Vesper. But with tags I can focus on just one area at a time. (E.g., I have a tag for articles I want to link to on Daring Fireball.)

With drag-and-drop reordering, I can keep important stuff at the top of my list. This drove me nuts in other notes apps, which sort by date. I'd always be opening week-old notes and adding meaningless changes, like an extra line at the end, just to get them to sort back to the top of my list. Vesper notes are like cards in a stack—it's easy to move one to the top of the stack.

The last, feel, is the most subjective. But I think we've achieved something special with Vesper, where it feels both efficient and pleasing to use. I think this is more than just superficial. Our goal was to make it such that, if a quick little thought entered your head that you might want to put in Vesper, the appeal of using the app would push you over the edge to do it, to put it in Vesper rather than just keep it in your head. A complete reduction of friction.

Wiskus: Most apps of this type enforce some kind of philosophy. Some have books you need to read just to understand them. We wanted something that worked the way our brains did naturally.


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