Sciter.Notes 2.0

Last week I’ve published Sciter.Notes 2.0 – pretty much direct port of my Notes application that was using old Sciter.TIS. This time it is implemented with new Sciter and JavaScript.

Foreword, what is the Notes?

Sciter.Notes is a personal notes and documents manager with the following features:

  • Stores documents in single place – local database. That database can be encrypted by your OS means .
  • Allows to edit/view notes in HTML WYSIWYG editor, Markdown editor and HTML source view. Therefore it can be used as quick HTML<->Markdown convertor for your documents.
  • Allows categorization of documents not just by folders (Book in Notes terms) but also Tags for parallel classifications schemas.
  • Supports free form text lookup across all notes.
  • Export/Share/Backup of all or selected notes as plain HTML files that can be viewed by a browser on any of your devices.
  • Sciter.Notes does not send any data anywhere. No “telemetry” or anything like that. It does request though for last Notes version available once per day but that is it.

Porting Notes from SciterTIS to Sciter

TIS (TIScript) used in old Sciter is not supported anymore and so in order to evolve Sciter.Notes further I have decided to port Notes to new Sciter.

While porting I also wanted to accomplish the following tasks:

1. Verify Reactor feature completeness on relatively large project

Reactor is Sciter’s native mechanism that covers ReactJS and WebComponents use cases. It is quite simple and implemented by just two entities:

  • native JSX support by QuickJS++ compiler. JSX expressions get compiled into VNode literals.
  • native Element.patch(vnode) function that takes VNode literal and updates DOM.
  • on top of that I’ve enabled existing DOM functions to accept VNodes too. For example standard Element.append was extended to support JSX expression directly: document.body.append(<h1>Hello world</h1>);

To my surprise such simple mechanism allows to do UI without need of any other mechanism or framework. It covers all use cases of ReactJS, VueJS, Svelte and also use WebComponents alike componentization.

Sciter.Notes is just a proof of that – no framework used in it, just pure JavaScript (ES2020) enabled by JSX.

2. Verify Signals as a mechanism of intercomponent communication

Signals were introduced in PReact as “reactive primitives for managing application state”. Personally I like them significantly more than those cryptic hooks/effects of ReactJS and so I’ve added native implementation of Signals to Sciter. The only one task left is to battle test them.

Sciter.Notes uses 9 signals that various components (views) are subscribed to.

Signals are very convenient and quite flexible. But I’ve discovered that one feature is missed – ability to fire (activate) signal unconditionally. Therefore I’ve added signal.send(value) function to original PReacts API. This allows subscribers to react on sequence of signals that have the same value. Consider this:

signals.noteChanged.send(thisNote); // notify observers

User may change current note by many ways: typing, adding tags, changing book, etc. On each such change interested observers shall react somehow. And signal.send(value) allows to accomplish that.

Alternative to signals are plain DOM events but their sinking/bubbling propagation nature could be an overkill in some cases. In any case Sciter.Notes uses both notification mechanisms: signals for application state management and DOM events for communication inside low level components.

3. Verify JavaScript data persistence mechanism that is built into Sciter

Sciter uses QuickJS engine that implements ES2020 spec. In order to support JSX and data persistence natively I have extended it to QuickJS++ – that’s the version used in Sciter.

The persistence is based on DyBASE of Konstantin Knizhnik , and JavaScript data persistence is built on top of it with relatively simple adapter. Essentially Sciter’s Storage is a JSON DB tightly integrated with the language – MongoDB alike functionality but without dedicated client lib.

While the persistence was battle tested in Sciter.TIS ( SciterTIS.Notes worked for 5 years ) it was new for JavaScript. And indeed, while implementing SciterJS.Notes, I’ve found couple of problems that were fixed.


By design Sciter is an embeddable engine. Most of the time is being used as an UI layer of native applications where core application logic is implemented in other that JS languages – C++, Go, Rust, etc.

Sciter.Notes is not a typical application in that sense – logic of the application is implemented in JavaScript too. Sciter.Notes is a proof that functional UI applications can be solely implemented in JavaScript/TypeScript and so Sciter can be used instead of Electron if someone needs performance, compact distributions and reasonable RAM and CPU consumption.

If interested, you can download Sciter.Notes or build it yourself from sources using Sciter.Quark.

2 Replies to “Sciter.Notes 2.0”

  1. Congrats!!!
    BTW, here is ChatGPT answer:
    Sciter is a lightweight, embeddable HTML/CSS/scripting engine designed to render modern desktop applications’ user interfaces. It allows developers to create dynamic, highly responsive user interfaces using familiar web development technologies, such as HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.

    Sciter is developed by Terra Informatica Software, a company based in Russia. It is available in two versions: Sciter Engine, which is a C++ library that developers can integrate into their applications, and Sciter.JS, which is a JavaScript library that runs in the browser.

    Sciter offers several features that make it an attractive choice for developing desktop applications, such as native look and feel, hardware-accelerated rendering, support for dynamic UI updates, and a small memory footprint. It also supports a wide range of platforms, including Windows, macOS, Linux, and Android, making it a versatile option for cross-platform development.

    Overall, Sciter is a powerful tool for creating modern, responsive desktop applications using web technologies. Its ease of use, small footprint, and cross-platform support make it a popular choice for developers who want to create rich user interfaces quickly and efficiently.

    1. Interesting, but where did it get this “Terra Informatica Software, a company based in Russia” ? Terra Informatica Software Inc. is and always been a Canadian company.

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