Vesper received a major feature update overnight bringing one of the most requested features to the note-taking app: support for sync. Vesper, the project of John Gruber, Brent Simmons, and Dave Wiskus under the name Q Branch, was released almost a year ago for the iPhone and decidedly lacked iCloud sync (due to reliability) or any alternative. Simmons has since been journaling his experiencing with building an in-house sync solution for Vesper on his Inessential blog if you are interested in reading the behind-the-scenes work that goes into such a project…
If you haven’t tried Vesper in the past, the gist of it is that it’s an attractive alternative to the Apple-offered Notes app on iOS (with an alternative sync engine now too, right?). Rather than grouping only chronologically, Vesper also focuses on grouping by user-created tags which act as folders of sorts but allow you to file notes across multiple folders. Vesper also handles photos within notes whereas Apple’s notes app only supports images on the Mac and that content does not reach back to the iPhone and iPad.
The sync works as you would expect including keeping your photos and tags up-to-date. I tried the new feature between my iPhone and my iPad (using the scaled up iPhone app) and it’s fast and reliable. Apple’s Notes app has a history of creating duplicate entries over time and knowing which to delete can be challenging, but Vesper hasn’t shown any symptoms of this in my initial usage.
Vesper, however, is still iPhone-only meaning you won’t be able to take advantage of that sync on iPad just yet unless you can settle for the stretched out iPhone app and keyboard on the larger display. It does serve as a reliable way to backup notes, though, without relying on complete iCloud or iTunes backups. With sync out of the way now, I would imagine that tackling other platforms like the iPad, the Web, and possibly the Mac will come next.
Personally, I find the feature set and user interface of Vesper to be far more appealing than even iOS 7′s Notes offering, but I also find myself needing to access my notes across multiple devices including my iPad and two Macs. For someone who lives and breathes solely on their iPhone, though, Vesper is an attractive alternative and sync for backup makes it much easier to recommend.