Your notes. Your Dropbox. You're welcome.™

Introducing… A URL Scheme for Notesy

We've implemented a few URL schemes for Notesy in the past six months. It wasn't until we settled on the x-callback-url protocol that we were comfortable releasing it into the wild. Our earlier versions did not give us the flexibility to enhance Notesy's URL support in future releases. We think you will find this URL scheme for Notesy to be very useful.

Most of the actions involve opening a note, or adding text to a new or previously existing note. But we also have an action which allows you to use Notesy as a service for other apps. And we have ideas for other actions which we may provide in future releases too. If you have ideas for actions which will benefit you, please let us know and we'll consider it as well. We believe that the protocol we settled on will allow us to add more features to the URL scheme for Notesy in the future.

The protocol for Notesy's URL scheme can be found below. The next release of Notesy will include this URL scheme, which we expect to be available within two weeks. We'll be happy to answer any questions you may have and we're always open for comments and suggestions.

Notesy x-callback-url API

Notesy supports a URL scheme based on the x-callback-url 1.0 ( protocol. The format for Notesy's URL scheme looks like this:

  • notesy://x-callback-url/[action]?[x-callback parameters]&[action parameters]

The x-callback parameters are defined by the x-callback-url protocol, and are optional for all actions.

The action parameters are defined in the API below, and are unique to each action.

Some actions will return information to the calling app. When an action returns information, the parameters passed back to the calling app are documented with the API below.

Supported x-callback-url Parameters
All of Notesy's actions will accept all of the x-callback parameters: x-source, x-success, x-error, and x-cancel. There are some cases where the action and callback do not make sense. For example, when the open action successfully opens a Note, there is no reason to callback the x-success URL. In these cases, the x-callback parameter is ignored.

  • x-source - The name of the calling app.
  • x-success - A complete URL to call when the action completed successfully.
  • x-error - A complete URL to call when the action failed.
  • x-cancel - A complete URL to call when the action was canceled by the user.

Note: The following examples assume that Notesy uses .txt file extensions by default. Also, to simplify the documentation, URLs below are not URL-encoded. Parameters passed to Notesy from an app must be URL-encoded.

Open Notesy to a specific note or folder.

  • path - The directory path. If not specified, defaults to the root folder.
  • name - The name of the file to open. If not specified, the folder specified by the path param will be opened. If the file extension is missing, Notesy's configured default file extension will be used.

Open Notesy to /:

  • notesy://x-callback-url/open

Open Notesy to /foo.txt:

  • notesy://x-callback-url/open?name=foo
  • notesy://x-callback-url/open?name=foo.txt

Open Notesy to /dir1/dir2:

  • notesy://x-callback-url/open?path=dir1/dir2

Open Notesy to /dir1/dir2/foo.txt:

  • notesy://x-callback-url/open?path=dir1/dir2&name=foo
  • notesy://x-callback-url/open?path=dir1/dir2&name=foo.txt

Append text to an existing note, or create a new note if the requested note does not exist. The text to append can come from the clipboard or from a parameter passed to the action.

  • path - The dir path, creating all directories if needed. If not specified, assumes root folder.
  • name - The name of the file to append. If not specified, the note name will come from the first line of text. If the file extension is missing, Notesy's configured default file extension will be used.
  • text - The text to append. If not specified, the text to append will come from the clipboard.

Append contents of clipboard to /foo.txt:

  • notesy://x-callback-url/append?name=foo
  • notesy://x-callback-url/append?name=foo.txt

Append hello world to /dir1/dir2/foo.txt:

  • notesy://x-callback-url/append?path=dir1/dir2&name=foo&text=hello+world
  • notesy://x-callback-url/append?path=dir1/dir2&name=foo.txt&text=hello+world

Append "hello world" to an unspecified note in the `/dir1/dir2` directory:


Append contents of clipboard to an unspecified note in the root directory:


Open Notesy to the note or folder displayed when Notesy was last closed. This action has the same behavior as the basic URL (notesy://), except for the potential to return an error back to the calling application.

Open Notesy to the note or folder displayed when Notesy was last closed:


Use Notesy to render Markdown-formatted text. The text to render can come from the clipboard or from a parameter passed to the action. The resulting HTML will also contain the inline Markdown Header defined in Notesy's settings. The output can be copied to the clipboard or returned to the calling application.

  • text - The text to render. If not specified, the contents of the clipboard will be rendered.
  • output-param - The resulting HTML will be passed to the x-success URL using this parameter name. If not set, the resulting HTML will be copied to the clipboard.

Render contents of clipboard and copy resulting HTML to clipboard:


Render specific text and set a return parameter:


Notesy 2.1

Hello everyone. Pete and Shawn here, finally! We are the developers behind
Giant Yak Software, and are thrilled to be maintaining Notesy from now on.
We've received so many wonderful emails over the past few months while we
prepared for this release. Of course, these emails were addressed to Dave and
were generally praising him for creating such a great utility. And as long-time
Notesy fans ourselves, we were not surprised by so many positive messages. But
we do know that the pressure is on to keep Notesy great.  We are releasing a
few new features today, and already have plans for future updates that we think
everyone will enjoy.

We would like to sincerely thank Dave again for all of his support in this
transition. He has been extremely helpful with the support emails, feature
designs, debugging, and everything else Notesy. All of his hard work and
dedication during this transition will help us keep Notesy a success.

On to the release notes:



You can now secure your notes by setting a passcode from the advanced
settings screen. This has been one of the most requested features and we are
delighted to announce it. Never be worried again that your kids will see the
Christmas list.

Please remember to enable a passcode for all of the apps that have access to
your Dropbox files if you really want them to be protected.

Next Note / Previous Note Buttons

You can now jump directly to the next or previous plain-text note by tapping
on the up or down arrow buttons at the top-right of the note-view screen.
Previously, you had to back out of a note in order to tap on a different note. This works like the up and down arrow buttons of the built-in mail app.

The up/down arrow feature will skip over non-plain-text files you may have
in Notesy.

Markdown Updates

Notesy is a great plain-text editor, and we believe that strong integration
with other great plain-text technologies is important for Notesy's future.
We've made a few updates in this release to make Notesy friendlier to Markdown
editing. We have updated the Markdown rendering engine, added a Markdown
preview button directly on the toolbar, and updated the default CSS template
for rendered Markdown. You now have quick access to great looking rendered
Markdown. And we already have plans to improve Markdown support even more in
the future.


There are a few other tweaks and enhancements here and there in 2.1, including:
  • Updated artwork to support retina iPads
  • Recognize and properly display RTF files
  • Minimum supported iOS version is now 5.0

A Notesy Update

Alternative Title: “Why hasn’t Notesy had a significant release for a while?”

Hi, this is Dave. You might remember be from such Notesy releases as 1.0 and 2.0.

When Dropbox announced the beta of an SDK for iOS apps back in early 2010, I realized that a note-taking application that synced your notes would be something I’d find awfully handy. It was a good idea.¹

Notesy’s customers have been amazing (I’m not sucking up guys, really): practically everyone has been polite, reasonable, and understanding to a fault: even when enduring some screw up I’d made in Notesy. I always tried to reply as promptly as I could, and I think people appreciated that they were interacting with an actual person who genuinely cared about their issue. I’ve had feedback from people all around the world, and from people I still can’t believe have even heard of Notesy, far less taken the time to use it. One customer (Craig Erskine) even sent me—unsolicited and gratis—the wonderful Notesy icon you’ve seen since 1.4. Thank you again Craig; I don’t think Notesy would have been nearly as popular without your generosity!

Okay, I’ll get on with it. (Sorry, but I’ve been struggling for a long time to try and get this post right.)

A job change means I’m unable to give Notesy the attention it requires. Fortunately a couple of former colleagues and good friends agreed to take it over: Shawn and Pete will introduce themselves in another post soon. They've been getting up to speed, and are prepping Notesy 2.1 with some new features that I think you’ll all like (although there will be a 2.0.4 with support for the new iPad and some bug fixes first).

I’ll still be hanging out on the support email for a little while (it’s proving very hard for me to let go), but Shawn and Pete have the reins now. I know they’ll do great things.

Thank you all so much!


¹ Justin over at Second Gear had the same idea, and Jessie over at Hog Bay did too: Elements came out about three weeks before Notesy, and PlainText came out about three weeks after it. Many others have had the same idea too. I’ve had occasion to correspond with both Justin and Jessie and, though we could be considered competitors, they were both gracious and kind.