jrnl: Focus, grasshopper

Now that I think about it, I haven’t seen many journals or diaries during this little adventure. It may be that they fall into the note-taking bracket and are relegated to text editors, or it may be that you see your old calendar entries as a journal of sort.

Seeing jrnl might change your mind.


jrnl is going to win some points from me for a lot of different reasons. For one thing, adding an entry is basically how it would happen with pen and paper: jrnl yesterday: I sold the farm. It’s very simple.

More complex entries are possible, and for that, jrnl jumps to your $EDITOR. Don’t ask me why, but I always find it appealing when a program allows you to stick with the editor (or pager) you know, and is already part of your system. That makes it easier for everyone involved.

And even if you aren’t a fan of your own $EDITOR (in which case you really should set it to another O_o ), you can just redirect a text file back into jrnl, a la jrnl < boastful-event.txt.

Showing your previous entries is a breeze, with the -from and -to flags for date matching, plus the ability to add tags preceded with an @ sign. From there, you can filter by topic. Very clever.

You can also star entries, for particularly exciting moments in your past. And you can encrypt a journal to keep it from prying eyes. And you can export it to markdown (and thence to HTML, meaning you can plop your journal into a rancid little blog or site :\ ) or json, and dump the journal into a folder with individual files for each entry.

jrnl has all the hallmarks of an application that was well thought out and designed to meet include specific abilities. Sometimes programs are organic collections of scattered features, obviously added as time went on or as the public suggested them, and without any focus.

I don’t get that feeling from jrnl. This has the distinct impression of having a specific end in mind, and the features it offers work very well together. I like it for that. 🙂

2 thoughts on “jrnl: Focus, grasshopper

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