I recently became aware of a browser-based information organizer called Bublup. The app was originally brought out of beta in 2016, but didn’t get its first paying subscriber until 2020. Still, that is three years ago, so I am surprised that I had never heard of Bublup before a week ago, because I am finding it to be very capable of replacing Evernote — at least for me — as well as serving other information management needs.
In Bublup, you manage information is in boards called folders. In this way, it is kind of a cross between Walling and Milanote. If you’re familiar with those two apps, you know they are essentially white boards on which you can paste cards with various kinds of information. Like Milanote, your boards in Bublup are nested, starting with your Home board. The variety of elements you can drop into a board facilitates keeping information where it is useful.
In addition to nested folders, you can add notes, checklists, links, Google docs, images and a variety of file types, including PDFs, of course. You can also upload a folder from your computer with all its contents.
For the most part, this all works very intuitively. There is a Chrome extension which enables you to add URL links directly from the browser. You can choose to put the link into a specific folder, or into the temporary Review Later space. From there it is easy to move to the appropriate folder.
You can forward emails to Bublup. They go into your emails space, from where you can move it where it belongs.
You can’t clone folders, but you can create shortcuts for them, so that you can create multiple access points.
Bublup automatically arranges your boards for you, so you can’t move elements around free form as you can in Milanote. But you can select the sort order, including date added, alphabetical and manual (which allows you to move positions, but within the grid). You can also switch from tile view (the view all my screen shots are in) to list view to gallery.
You can customize the folders, by choosing an image to display.
Another nice feature is illustrated in the following two screenshots:
A few note editor deficiencies:
The note editor could be improved. These days, we’re used to documents like the ones you can create in Notion or even Walling, in which you can put a lot of different elements. If you’re expecting that kind of functionality, you’ll be disappointed. Bublup’s editor only has the most basic of formatting options for text. It doesn’t do markdown. Text formatting is through selecting buttons or keyboard shortcuts. There are only a limited number of element types you can use in the editor. There is no divider, for example. No way to automatically add the date or time. When you create a new note, you are put into the text panel so you can start writing. I usually like to write the title first. There is a field for the note title, but you need to use the mouse to move from the title field into the body text field. All this creates some friction if you just want to create some quick notes.
Is this a small squabble? Yes and no. This doesn’t change my feelings that Bublup is an attractive information manager. While it isn’t frictionless, it is fun and easy to use. It feels to me as if it can easily replace Evernote as a “junk-drawer” info app, which is how I use Evernote. But it is also a fine place to organize project resources.
There are a load of features I haven’t touched upon yet, because I haven’t tried them out, including the mobile apps.
After I’ve lived with Bublup more, I will post a progress report.