Journler: Blog

Restarting Sprouted, Open Sourcing Journler, and Per Se: New Journaling Software for your Mac

Couple of big announcements today after being dormant for so long. I’m happy to announce that I’ve decided to restart Sprouted software. I’ve been out of indie software development for over a year now, and it’s just too damn long.

This is a significant decision for me, and one which did not occur spontaneously. It follows two others which naturally led to it. The first involves a new application I’ll be releasing in the coming weeks and the second involves Journler.

Per Se: New Journaling Software for the Mac.

For the past couple of months I’ve been working on a new journaling application. Unhappy with the current crop, including Journler, I decided to get back to basics. Per Se is the outcome.

Per Se is dead gorgeous, dead simple journaling software. The goal is to provide the most enjoyable journaling experience possible. To that end Per Se focuses on design and usability, emulating as closely as possible what every writer is already familiar with: the handwritten journal.

Per Se Preview
Per Se looks and feels like a real journal, as much as a digital version will allow it. No panes, no divided interface, tabs, columns or extraneous windows demanding your attention. No flipping through dates and creating entries. No dead white screen staring back at you. Instead it’s you and your journal, two open pages ready for the writing.

Of course Per Se is more that just writing. Here Per Se takes its cue from Journler. Add anything to your journal and Per Se knows what to do with it. Embed media and files of any kind and view them right in your journal. Or if you’re in the mood make a quick video or audio entry, right in Per Se.

As befits a good journaling application, Per Se features custom page layout for your media. No blocky images occupying the entire line this time. Place the media wherever you like and Per Se wraps the text around it, no matter how complex the layout. Just how you’d do it in a real journal.

Per Se Tags
Although Per Se is not for information management, you still need to find your entries. Per Se includes a luscious calendar for selecting dates, super fast searching, bookmarks and everyone’s favorite: tags. None of these features are obtrusive, but they are all readily available and fade right into place when you need them.

Per Se is also fun. Journaling should be enjoyable. Embellish your entries with the included icons and images or add your own. Take zany polaroid snapshots of you and your friends. Add attention grabbing notes. And print it all out just the way it looks on your screen.

Under the hood I’ve endeavored to learn from my mistakes with Journler. Per Se is built on the newest and greatest core Mac OS technologies at every turn. The data and file management is rock solid and everywhere else the code is lightweight. Per Se does a lot with a small footprint. Additionally, you’ll be able to create as many journals as you like and store your data anywhere you want.

I also hope to have learned from my business mistakes with Journler. I will be charging for Per Se from the outset. There will also be a renewed emphasis on customer support and email response time. With Per Se, Sprouted becomes a business, not just a full time hobby, and I aim to treat it like one.

Per Se will be available for public beta testing in the coming weeks. If you’d like to know more about this great app or would like to get your hands on it for early testing, have a look at the Per Se page over at the new Sprouted website. You can sign up for beta testing at the bottom of the page.

Open Sourcing Journler for Leopard

I have also been pondering the decision I made over a year ago to end Journler. I wasn’t happy with the decision then, and I’m still not. The abrupt move left many thousands of users stranded. It also failed to give me closure on an application I was dedicated to for so long.

Since that announcement I have received a number of inquires regarding the possible sale of Journler. I pursued few of these solicitations seriously. I was uncomfortable selling the application, despite wanting it to continue.

I’ve finally decide to open source Journler 100%. Some of Journler has already been open sourced but the aim over the next few months is to release all of the code into the public domain. If you’re interested in helping with this effort, see the Sprouted Developers page.

I do this reluctantly. Quite frankly the code is a mess, and it’s a personal embarrassment to make that work available to scrutinizing developers more capable than myself three years ago. Nevertheless, I believe it’s the best decision and the best opportunity for closure. In a sense I am freeing Journler from myself and releasing it to anyone who’d like it. It also paves the way for future development.

At the same time I will be modifying the code so that Journler continues to work on newer versions of the Mac OS. Many people still use the application every day, and I’d like to ensure they have the option of continuing to do so. Journler for Leopard will come. It may take a number of months, but it’ll get there.


All of this is an effort to restart Sprouted. As part of that endeavor everything related to Journler will be moving to the Sprouted website in the coming months. I will be winding down the forums during this time and will eventually discontinue the Journler webpage.

In the next few days I will also be closing the Journler forum to new user registrations in an effort to get a handle on the debacle of spam which has overrun it.

To new beginnings.


18 Responses to “Restarting Sprouted, Open Sourcing Journler, and Per Se: New Journaling Software for your Mac”

  1. phloem Says:

    This is a pleasant surprise. I look forward to Per Se. Will we be able to import Journler into Per Se?

  2. shg Says:

    I must say this is great! I am still actively using Journler because I keep testing several other competitors and always come to a conclusion that Journler is the best. Actually I didn’t even found one that can be compared with Journler. So, for me, primarily, it is really a happy news that Journler gets fresh lease of life by being open-sourced. I also look forward to trying Per Se. It looks very new and gorgeous (and the UI makes me dream of the iPad version of it ;)). Thank you for your work Phil.

  3. A. Says:

    That’s great for all of the users ! I really love journler (and its icon !). Good luck and happiness to you ! Thank you !

  4. Timjuk Says:

    Delighted to read of the return of Sprouted. First, it’s a brave thing to return from burnout and start again. Well done. May I urge you to ensure this renewed enterprise is sustainable for you as, apart from anything else, we need you, healthy and sane! Second: Journler has been quite simply first class. I came across it about a year ago, liked it a lot but, concerned about the lack of future development, started trying out alternatives. Of what I found, there’s a lot that’s good – excellent even – except that none of it seems to touch Journler for comprehensiveness, ease of use, and elegance.

  5. billsacks Says:

    This is great news. I, too, spent a while looking for alternatives to Journler when it was no longer being supported. But after trying 5-10 alternatives, I came back to Journler. It is an ideal note-taking application.

    Here’s to hoping that some talented people pick up the open-sourced Journler. And I look forward to trying Per Se!

  6. Lagerbaer Says:

    Hooray! And don’t worry about your code being a mess. Most code is :-D

  7. Chris Says:

    I’m stoked about Journler! Per Se looks pretty sexy as well. I’m looking forward to testing out.

    Thanks Phil. Best of luck to you and Sprouted.

  8. Jonathan Says:

    Thanks Phil,
    I appreciate the way in which you are open with the community of people using your creative developments (Journler being the most significant so far).

    I also appreciate you taking the move to open source Journler. I look forward to seeing what eventuates from that. I trust and hope a wider community of developers make the most of this gift you are giving away to them. As for what you judge to be “messy code”… I hear it was a genuine concern for you, and I’ve also gotta say… don’t lost any sleep over it. It was your creative license to hack together the code in whatever way worked for you. Once the OS community starts to work on it, that’s all part of the fun and games… figuring out Phil’s particular style of creative expression (3 years ago), and fine tuning it in a way that will take the development of Journler to the next level, here and now.

    I wish you all the best with your endeavours.

    With heart,


  9. Sean Says:

    Awesome :)
    Looking forward to Per Se, as Journler was and still is the best journaling app for the mac!!!

  10. madra Says:

    >> phloem: “Will we be able to import Journler into Per Se?”

    what he says.

    please be one of those rare few developers who bears in mind that some people have a lot of time invested in whilst you’re getting caught up in the excitement of releasing

    good luck with the comeback!

  11. bassoon33 Says:

    This is fabulous news! I have always loved Journler in all its incarnations and also witnessed your hours of dedicated help without sufficient renumeration. Here’s to Per Se and the new life for Journler in the wide open source world.

  12. Wouter Says:

    This is a big relief! I’m still using Journler on a daily basis and had not yet found a decent replacement.

  13. ruben Says:

    i have journler but it stopped working can i export fils to pe se?

  14. Andek Says:

    Yeah!! I am so glad to hear that. It spears me to become a programmer myself… :-D

  15. Phil-is-a-Fraud Says:

    Wow! This is great news. I am really excited to learn about your significant decision Phil! Can you write some ore self-absorbed posts detailing your personal life direction, because I can’t get enough of that, it’s just fascinating. Learning about the various whims of your mood and your endless contemplation of whether you want to write software or hang out with your friends makes it totally worth the software I paid for. The fact that you bailed out on the people who paid you really is irrelevant when we all get to learn more about what makes you tick. Could you post some videos showing you going through your day or something? I would totally spend 3-4 hours a day watching that, you are such a fascinating person and I want to know more about you. Do you need more money Phil, let me know, I will send some more. And just because you get the money doesn’t mean you should feel obligated to deliver a product, if you feel like you need more “me time” just take the money and go do other stuff for a few years, and then when you need even more money you can come back again - we’ll all just hang out and wait for you, because you are so amazing.

  16. pj Says:

    You know, I too left journler a couple years back and searched for alternatives due to you dropping the project. What I found is that Journler is still the best of breed. Evernote has cool synching and image recognition, but I can’t stand the way it handles formatting messages. It just doesn’t really feel like a mac application to me. I can tell they are writing it for several different platforms at once.

    Seriously, journler is a phenomenal product. Glad to see you aren’t allowing it to die.

  17. drawman Says:

    Thank you so much for returning to Journler. I’ve been reluctant to migrate to Snow Leopard since I use Journler almost every day and haven’t really liked any of its replacement programs. Sadly, I am not a developer and cannot assist with your open source efforts, but hit me up if there are other things you need to make this happen.

  18. Tim Says:


    as pj said, i have installed and auditioned the whole crop of competitors for a Journler replacement, but find nothing as good. I still rely on Journler daily. I use it for all my projects, ’scraps of paper’, etc, and can only wish for little updates to tag managemetn, formatting, speed, etc - i love it!

    Thanks Phil!

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