EDIT: Since I have written this review of DO Journal – the developers have released several updates to the application with a lot of new features and functionality (e.g. writing prompts, journal templates, writing reminders, image processing, memory/performance improvements, weather data, encryption, etc.). At some point I will go thru and update this review to reflect the latest functionality. But in the meantime, you can check out all of the functionality of the product on the web site, as well all all the release notes on their blog. A recent update now allows users of Day One v2 to import their entries into DO Journal.
Why I like Day One Classic:
As I have mentioned before, I am a big user of Day One for maintaining my journal. It is a beautiful and thoughtfully developed application for iOS that makes it a pleasure to write a journal everyday. Just as a note, I use Day One Classic – the first version of Day One. They have since introduced Day One v2 which has some additional features.
The reason I like Day One Classic is that it keeps things simple:
- Maintain entries with a simple interface
- Assign a single picture to an entry (which makes me choose what I really want to attach)
- Allows favoriting an entry.
- Captures other data such as location, steps, etc.
- Most importantly, it lets me keep a local copy of my data (via Dropbox sync).
The need for a Windows Client for Day One:
One of the things that I have always wanted, and that I think was a drawback, was the lack of a Windows / PC client to maintain my Day One journal. Often times, I want to make long, verbose journal entries – and think it is a lot easier to do this on a PC with a full fledged keyboard. Day One is only available for the Mac and iOS. Which means Windows users that want to create / edit entries on a PC are out of luck.
I have been on the lookout for a solid Windows journaling app that is compatible with Day One. And I recently downloaded and started using DO Journal. I wanted to provide a quick review of DO Journal here.
Purchase and Installation:
I purchased DO Journal from the web site (for $14.99). On making a payment, I got an email that had a link to the installer. Clicking on the link, downloaded an installer to my disk (very small file). Executing the installer took me through a simple (and very quick) installation process that installed the app.
DO Journal Settings:
When you first run the app, you are presented with a Settings screen:
A few things here:
- Checking the password box displays the password capture space wherein you can enter a password for your Journal.
- You can pick a font (and a size) to display your entries.
- You can pick a directory where your Journal entries are to be stored. I pointed it to the directory where Day One stores my entries on Dropbox. If you don’t use Day One, you can point it to any location on your disk where you want to store your entries (it will create the necessary folders for your journal).
- Finally, you can pick an application Theme / Style. On picking something other than Windows, I found that this option “skins” the application with a different look and feel. I love this! They have a couple of dark themes (Obsidian and Onyx Blue) and 7 non-dark themes that you can pick from. Experiment with them to see which one you like the best.
- Clicking on Save Settings will save your settings and start the app. (for purposes of this review, I am going to create a new Journal and some new entries – not put up pictures of my own Day One journal).
Getting Started using DO Journal:
After saving the settings, you are presented with a blank application:
Very minimalist in terms of design. A few buttons on the screen – all of them have tool tips that indicate what the buttons do.
Let’s start by creating an entry. Clicking on the (+) button creates a new entry:
As you start typing, the item on the left starts reflecting what you type. Typing is pretty much distraction free. A little label above shows the number of lines, words and characters in your entry. Buttons appear on the bottom right – which are tied to the entry being written/edited:
- the tick mark button saves the entry and puts it into a read-only mode (changing the button back to a pen). This button toggles the state of the entry editor. Only when an entry is being edited can you attach an image to it, assign tags or favorite it.
- the location marker button opens the location viewer (see below)
- the camera button allows you to attach an image to the entry. This is fairly straightforward – it opens up a file selector that lets you pick a JPG image to attach to the entry. If an image already exists for the entry, it asks you if you want to replace it.
- the tag button toggles the visibility of the tag screen (see below)
- the star button toggles the favoriting of entries (shows up as a filled star if favorited)
Location Tagging Support:
If your PC supports location tagging, a location is stored with your entry. If you use Day One on your phone, a location is also stored in your entry. If location data exists for your entry, the location button is enabled. Clicking on it brings up the following screen:
Fairly simple screen that shows the title of the entry, the date and time it was created and the latitude and longitude of the entry. It also shows the location of the entry with a marker on Google Maps.
Clicking on the tags button opens up the tags management “screen”:
A few things here:
- All your existing tags across all entries are shown on the left. Any assigned tags to the current entry are shown on the right.
- Starting to type in the search bar immediately finds the first tag in the available list that matches what you are typing.
- A selected tag can be assigned to the entry by clicking the -> button. Double clicking the tag does the same thing.
- An assigned tag can be removed by clicking the <- button. Double clicking the tag does the same thing.
- If a tag is not found by searching, the + button becomes enabled. Clicking this adds the tag to both the available tags as well as the assigned tags list.
- Clicking on (x) button closes the tags screen. Clicking on the tags button also toggles the visibility of the tags screen.
I attached a screenshot to one of the entries. Now when I click the Image Viewer button (at the top of the screen), the following screen is shown:
It shows the image assigned to every entry (along with the title of the entry and date/time). Left and Right buttons allow you to move forward and back. The left/up and right/down keyboard keys do the same thing.
One of my favorite features of the application is the ability to search for entries. DO Journal allows you to search by:
- text within the entry (a specific word or phrase)
- a tag assigned to the entry
- entries in a specific month
- entries with images
- entries that have been favorited
Changing the search type clears the current results and brings back any new results. Clicking on the (x) button resets the search and brings back all of the entries.
A few miscellaneous things:
- The current selected entry has a blue bar against it (in the list).
- A favorited entry has a yellow bar against it (in the list)
- Changing the date of the entry automatically sorts it in the list (which is always sorted with the most current entry at the top)
- The application monitors the journal folder for any new entries or images. So – for instance, when I added an entry from Day One and it synchronized that entry to my PC, the entry automatically just showed up in DO Journal (without me having to refresh the list).
- Any entries I created using DO Journal showed up in Day One (after Dropbox sync).
DO Journal is a well built application that is unto itself a fantastic journal / diary application for Windows PCs. Its ability to work with Day One Classic fills a gap for users of the app that have been looking for a good, full featured Windows client.
For me it is an invaluable tool to augment my Journal workflow. I hope this review was useful – let me know what you think of DO Journal.