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Luminotes: No-frills wiki notebook

By Dmitri Popov on April 22, 2008 (9:00:00 AM)

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Imagine an application that combines the features of a wiki and a Web-based notebook. It may sound like an unusual mix, but Luminotes wiki notebook is living proof that this combination works rather well.

Similar to TiddlyWiki, Luminotes treats notes as separate items which you can manage individually and show and hide as you see it fit. This makes Luminotes a perfect tool for managing notes in a non-linear manner.

Although Luminotes shares a few similarities with TiddlyWiki, the wiki notebook adds some useful features that greatly expand its functionality. For starters, Luminotes is a multi-user wiki notebook that uses a database back end to store and manage data. You can access your Luminotes notes from any computer, and you can share them with other users.

Luminotes also lets you organize your notes into notebooks, which greatly improves the application's flexibility. By default, Luminotes contains the "my notebook" notebook, and you add notes to it by pressing the Add note button. Luminotes lets you create as many notebooks as you like (limited only by the available storage space) as well as rename and delete them.

Unlike TiddlyWiki, or other wikis for that matter, Luminotes doesn't require you to learn a new markup language. Instead, you can use the main toolbar to access the available formatting options, such as numbered and bulleted lists, bold, italic, and underlined. The toolbar also contains buttons that allow you to create links and attach files to notes. While this doesn't sound like much, the provided tools do cover all the basics and are perfectly adequate for note-taking.

Luminotes also comes with a simple versioning feature, which can help you to keep track of changes made to a particular note. To view previous versions of the currently opened note, press the Changes button. Click on any version in the list, and Luminotes opens it as a separate note. While version tracking can come in handy in Luminotes' multi-user environment, it does have certain limitations. Luminotes doesn't highlight changes, so you have to use your eyes to spot them. Also, you can neither compare two versions or roll the current version back to an earlier edition.

Taking notes is Luminotes' raison d'ĂȘtre, and it sports a few nifty features that make the application both simple and efficient in use. When you create a new note, it is automatically added to the All Notes container (click on the All notes link to display it), which acts as a hyperlinked table of contents that you can use to quickly open the note you need. As you would expect, Luminotes includes easy-to-use yet powerful linking capabilities. To create a link to an empty note, just press the Link button. If you select a text fragment and then click the Link button, Luminotes creates a note and uses the selected text as its title. But that's not all. Let's say that you already have a note entitled "Lorem ipsum." If you select the "Lorem ipsum" text in any other note and click on the Link button, it automatically creates a link to the existing note.

The ability to add attachments can also come in handy when you're working with notes. Using the Attach file, you can upload virtually any type of file or document and link it to a text segment in the currently viewed note. When you delete a note, Luminotes moves it into the Trash. This gives you the ability to restore notes and avoid frustrating "Oh, no!" moments.

Since Luminotes allows you to share notes with other users, you can use the application as a simple collaboration tool. Sharing a notebook is straightforward: press the Share button, enter the email addresses of the users you want to invite, and press the Send invites button. You can also export a notebook as a nicely formatted HTML file, which you can keep as a local backup copy or publish as a static HTML page.

Luminotes is available as a hosted service, but you can also download and install the application on your own server. While this requires some technical knowledge, the download package comes with detailed installation instructions. The hosted version is available in several versions. The free edition gives you 30MB storage space, and the ability to share your notebooks with other users in read-only mode. The Basic plan costs $5 a month; it offers 250MB and gives other users the ability to edit your notes. If 250MB is not enough, you can upgrade to the Standard plan that gives you 500MB storage space and all other features for $9 a month.

Obviously, Luminotes won't replace your regular wiki. But as a multi-user notebook that allows you to quickly take notes and collaborate on them with other users, Luminotes is unbeatable.

Dmitri Popov is a freelance writer whose articles have appeared in Russian, British, US, German, and Danish computer magazines.

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Luminotes: No-frills wiki notebook

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 213.164.7.22] on April 22, 2008 01:49 PM
No source code? This is a hosted app..

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Re: Luminotes: Its GPL & downloadable

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 130.199.3.130] on April 22, 2008 05:37 PM
Its GPL & downloadable at https://luminotes.com/download

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Luminotes: No-frills wiki notebook

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 128.208.60.27] on April 22, 2008 07:49 PM
Thanks for the review! I'm the Luminotes developer, and it's nice to see the software get some coverage here on Linux.com. If anyone has any questions about the product, please feel free to contact me on the web site: http://luminotes.com/

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Luminotes: No-frills wiki notebook

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 190.47.69.30] on April 22, 2008 10:41 PM
Luminotes does not currently support the Opera web browser for editing. If possible, please use Firefox or Internet Explorer instead. Opera support will be added in a future release. Sorry for the inconvenience.

:P

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Re: Luminotes: No-frills wiki notebook

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 128.208.60.27] on April 22, 2008 11:01 PM
Yeah, sorry about the lack of Opera support. I hate being one of those sites that only supports certain browsers, but unfortunately the current state of web UI programming is such that I have to code around the specific quirks of each browser, at least for certain parts of the interface. I do plan on adding Opera support at some point in the future. In the meantime, the source is open, so feel free to submit any fixes to make Luminotes work better in Opera (or Safari, for that matter).

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Luminotes: No-frills wiki notebook

Posted by: Seraphyn on April 23, 2008 11:59 AM
Downloadlink at the end of the page isn't well. first Thing i thought was, <ironic>Nice, linux.com got now ads... wtf...</ironic>
This Downloadlink should be in the upper right corner too.
Just my 2 Cent.
Looks nice, will test it

Greetings Seraphyn

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Luminotes: No-frills wiki notebook

Posted by: toronto on May 02, 2008 03:37 AM
Not to sure how many people will be looking at the paying version. Maybe over time if people start to use their account alot.

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Luminotes versioning improvements

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 128.208.60.27] on May 03, 2008 08:49 AM
I'd like to address one of the few criticisms of Luminotes in this review. Just today I rolled out an update to highlight changes when viewing past versions of your notes. So text that has gone away appears crossed out and red, and new text appears green. Also, I'm planning on adding functionality to compare two different versions of a note and even rollback to an earlier version.

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Luminotes: No-frills wiki notebook

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 84.108.97.23] on May 04, 2008 05:33 AM
They a nice replica of http://www.tiddlywiki.com, for dummies who can't learn a simple wiki sysntax
but it's looking good, lack all the plugins that tiddly has, which are more powerful then a simple notepad.

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Luminotes: No-frills wiki notebook

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 87.118.218.89] on May 04, 2008 11:23 AM
It's wery nice application, i am very happy that it's free and i can place it on my webserver!

Here i've posted <a href="http://www.friendsblog.ru/luminotes-wiki">russian overview of Luminotes</a>

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Luminotes: No-frills wiki notebook

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 116.72.19.90] on May 04, 2008 05:53 PM
I use Wikkawiki as a PIM. (http://wikkawiki.org/HomePage) Which i run on my own server allowing me access from anywhere.

It gives password protection and is easy to manage. Also allows for mindmapping.
Much more than just a notebook.

For advanced users, it is also highly customizable. CSS template is easy to modify to match your own site.

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