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Plain text backed web based note taking app

Project description


Pervane is a bare minimum plain text file based note taking and knowledge base building tool. It doubles as simple file server to render server files in web browser. It's like python's built-in SimpleHTTPServer but a little bit feature richer like WYSIWYG note taking experience, infinite number of nesting, blazing fast text search etc. Main use case is to edit, serve and search the markdown notes in combination with example source files.

If you are using plain text based note taking, this can be helpful for adhoc mediums like operating systems which don't have large desktop app ecosystem like ChromeOS or mobile OS like Android and iOS.

Personally tried many alternatives as file server like allmark, mdserv, markdown-server but none of them seem like providing all features I'm looking for. I just want to be able to see the folder hierarchy and fuzzy text search and some better-than-basic markdown rendering.

For the other note taking and knowledge base building apps, there is always something missing although how advanced they go.

What I need:

  • Privacy, my notes are my eyes only.
  • Be able take notes from multiple entry points: desktop, web, phone, tablet.
  • Quickly search notes in any medium.
  • Hold my whole knowledge accumulated over the course of the years (around 4k notes).
  • Easy export so it doesn't lock me in.
  • Easy import so I can onboard without any problems.
  • Be able to self host
  • Nice markdown editor
  • Respect my folder hierarchy
  • Don't mess with my file names
  • git-able so that I can maintain the versions.
  • Hackable with standard CLI tools (ag, rsync, scp, tar, git etc)
  • Be able to show source code files not only markdown.


Inspired from this one from notable author.

  • Google Keep: Always my choice on mobile. Need a long term place for my things.
    • Can not do markdown - only bullet lists.
    • Can not do inline images.
    • Really hard to export.
    • Note limit is not that big.
  • Want to love it but...
    • Impossible to bulk import multiple files.
    • Copy/paste is a hussle. It has its own blocking system which makes it hard to copy all and paste somewhere else.
    • Not free.
  • Trello: Kanban approach is great,
    • not so good for knowledgebase building.
    • Search is weird, hard to make it one shot.
  • Notable: Good for desktop use, no mobile option.
    • I can not control file names. It has its own convention for folders (folder != notebook).
    • Source is closed.
    • Could be used as a markdown editor.
    • Bulk import is hard to use.
  • Trilium: My all time favorite.
    • Based on a database which causes lots of conflicts to me in each upgrade.
    • Web UI is not so good in mobile browsers especially on iPad.
  • Evernote
    • Hierarchy level is limited.
    • Overall free sync size is also limited.
  • Onenote: Old favorite
    • Hierarchy is limited
    • Hard to bulk import
    • Hard to bulk export
  • Joplin
    • Renames the files in its own way.
    • Hard to integrate with any other system.
  • Boostnote: Another old favorite
    • Uses files but uses cjson format which is not actually markdown.
    • Not under active development
  • QOwnNotes: Nice but meh
    • Doesn't give much joy while using.
  • Vnote: Perfect for desktop use.
    • No web option
    • Creates _vnote.json files.
    • Creates index for search.
  • NextCloud with carnet and NC notes
    • Extremely slow.
    • Not so pleasent in mobile.

Please shoot an email if I miss anything.



  • Completely private, your files, your computer, no database, no installation (apart from some general python packages).
  • Self hosted (working on a managed version if anyone is interested, drop a messsage!)
  • Notes are stored as plain text files with the names given by yourself. Pervane doesn't rename automatically.
  • No added metadata files etc. Just globs your files, caches for N seconds and creates the file tree.
  • Source of truth is your own file system so you can use your favorite markdown editor to modify your notes: QOwnNotes, VSCode, Sublime Text etc.
  • Ignore some files in order not to be shown on the sidebar.
  • Single python file.
  • Flask based server, totally hackable, just modify, it's all yours.
  • Minimal dependencies, single binary.
  • Uses silver searcher (ag) for searching in an instant throughout the whole folder.
  • Thanks to ag, no indexing or prework is done for search. You can just start using Pervane with one line command.
  • File tree with proper infinite number of nesting, works well for hierarchical note taking and knowledge base building.
  • Basic http authentication.
  • No stats collection, all private.
  • Rich text editing experience thanks to
  • Spell checker
  • Find an replace within the editor.
  • Hide/show preview
  • Full screen editing mode with F11 or toolbar
  • Hide/show toolbar
  • Lots of themes thanks to


Generel view of the app

Table preview in markdown editor

tex and katex preview in the markdown editor

Flowcharts preview

Sequence diagram in the editor


Create new directory

Edit recently created file

Folder hierarchy in file browser

Editing this file from this app


Via pip

pip install pervane
pervane --username=foo --password=bar --dir=example/

Package details here:

Without pip

  • Fetch the single python script to somewhere in your machine.
  • Run it in screen or tmux.
# Run it in screen to make it always run.

# Download the latest version.
git clone
cd pervane/pervane
python3 --username=foo --password=bar --dir=example/


  • --dir: Note root directory. File tree will be generated from this.
  • --host: defaults to Hostname to be binded.
  • --port: defaults to 5000. Port number to be binded.
  • --username: defaults to 'hakuna'. Username for basic http auth.
  • --password: defaults to 'matata'. Username for basic http auth.
  • --front_page_message: / message.
  • --cache_seconds: Seconds to bust the cache. Mainly used for file tree re-reading.


# Init:
git clone

# Set up local env.
virtualenv -p python3 env
source env/bin/activate
pip install flask markdown2 Flask-Caching Flask-HTTPAuth

# Run

# Run alternative:
export ; flask run
  • Modify's configuration section to add your folder to be searched.


  • Fix repetitions in the file tree
  • Simple expand/collapse logic in file tree.
  • Files with spaces sometimes cause filenotfound
  • mermaid.js integration (Comes for free with TUI editor)
  • Mindmap and flowchart rendering support. (Comes for free with TUI editor)
  • Maybe delete file/dir functionality? Maybe not - security reasons.
  • Edit the files?
  • Some editor view?
  • Keyboard shortcuts
  • Image uploads
  • Image/video previews in the folders

Keep the engine running

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<style>.bmc-button img{width: 35px !important;margin-bottom: 1px !important;box-shadow: none !important;border: none !important;vertical-align: middle !important;}.bmc-button{padding: 7px 10px 7px 10px !important;line-height: 35px !important;height:51px !important;min-width:217px !important;text-decoration: none !important;display:inline-flex !important;color:#FFFFFF !important;background-color:#FF813F !important;border-radius: 5px !important;border: 1px solid transparent !important;padding: 7px 10px 7px 10px !important;font-size: 22px !important;letter-spacing: 0.6px !important;box-shadow: 0px 1px 2px rgba(190, 190, 190, 0.5) !important;-webkit-box-shadow: 0px 1px 2px 2px rgba(190, 190, 190, 0.5) !important;margin: 0 auto !important;font-family:'Cookie', cursive !important;-webkit-box-sizing: border-box !important;box-sizing: border-box !important;-o-transition: 0.3s all linear !important;-webkit-transition: 0.3s all linear !important;-moz-transition: 0.3s all linear !important;-ms-transition: 0.3s all linear !important;transition: 0.3s all linear !important;}.bmc-button:hover, .bmc-button:active, .bmc-button:focus {-webkit-box-shadow: 0px 1px 2px 2px rgba(190, 190, 190, 0.5) !important;text-decoration: none !important;box-shadow: 0px 1px 2px 2px rgba(190, 190, 190, 0.5) !important;opacity: 0.85 !important;color:#FFFFFF !important;}</style><link href="" rel="stylesheet">Buy me a coffeeBuy me a coffee

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