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9/1/2016: I'm no longer maintaining nomadic. The tool I use now for managing my Markdown notes is nom, which is basically nomadic without the web interface (I didn't use it much).

(more screenshots at the end)


  • is a simple daemon/web service that makes managing notes nicer.
  • supports a simple directory structure of markdown, txt, and pdf notes and any other files which are referenced from them.
  • provides an easier way of searching through and browsing those files through either the command line or a simple web interface.

For example, you might have a folder like this:

├── math
│   ├── my math
│   └── assets
│       └── some image.png
├── programming
│   └── scala
└── some

I recommend using nomadic with SyncThing to keep notes synced across devices. With this setup, nomadic becomes a decentralized, simplified alternative to Evernote and other note-taking services.

Since nomadic runs a small server for browsing files, you can access your notes remotely that way as well.


  • Supports GitHub-Flavored markdown
  • Supports MathJax syntax
  • Supports references to images and other files, and will automatically update those references if the files are moved
  • Full-text search (across txt, markdown, and even pdf files)
  • A tool for saving copied html as markdown (external images are automatically saved locally)
  • Serves a browsable site of all your notes
  • Complete command-line interface
  • Export notes as portable presentations or as standalone html documents



$ git clone
$ cd nomadic
$ pip install .

# install front-end packages
$ cd nomadic/server/assets/
$ bower install

# build the highlight.js library
$ cd static/vendor/highlight.js
$ npm install
# ...with all languages
$ node tools/build.js
# ...or with only specific languages
$ node tools/build.js python ruby javascript scala java bash http sql cs cpp css json objectivec xml markdown apache nginx

# install search dependencies
# ubuntu:
$ sudo apt-get install silversearcher-ag
# osx:
$ brew install the_silver_searcher

If you wish to use nomadic clip (to convert clipboard HTML into markdown notes) on OSX, you also need the following:

$ pip install pyobjc

If you wish to be able to search through PDFs, you also need the following:

# ubuntu (package manager's version may be out of date, must be >= 1.4):
$ sudo apt-get install libpoppler-cpp-dev
$ git clone /tmp/pdfgrep
$ cd /tmp/pdfgrep
$ bash
$ ./configure
$ make
$ sudo make install

# osx
$ brew install pdfgrep


Create a config file (optional) at ~/.nomadic in YAML format. See Configuration for more details. If you don't create this config file, nomadic will create one for you.

The Daemon

The daemon watches your notes directory and automatically updates the index as they change. It will also automatically update references to other notes as they change.

The daemon also runs a small server which allows for easy browsing/searching through notes as well as a quick way of previewing notes as you work on them.

To get the nomadic daemon to run automatically on startup...

Linux (Upstart)

If you're on a Linux distro that uses Upstart, you can do:

$ sudo cp scripts/nomadic.conf /etc/init/nomadic.conf

Then to start the daemon right away:

$ sudo start nomadic

If you're on OSX, you can do:

$ cp scripts/com.nomadic.plist ~/Library/LaunchAgents/com.nomadic.plist

Then you can start the daemon right away:

$ launchctl load ~/Library/LaunchAgents/com.nomadic.plist


nomadic checks for a configuration at ~/.nomadic. If you start nomadic without a config, one will be created for you.

For example:

root: ~/notes

Whenever you change this file, you must restart the nomadic daemon:

# Linux (Upstart)
$ sudo restart nomadic

# OSX (there might be a better way)
$ pkill -f nomadic-d; launchctl start com.nomadic

Custom CSS

You can specify a custom stylesheet to override the default one. In your config, specify the path to that stylesheet:

override_stylesheet: ~/path/to/my/styles.css


Run the nomadic daemon if it isn't running already.

$ nomadic-d

Primary interaction with nomadic is through the command line.

$ nomadic --help

Usage: nomadic [OPTIONS] COMMAND [ARGS]...

--help  Show this message and exit.

browse   browse notes via the web interface
clean    remove unreferenced asset folders
clip     convert html in the clipboard to markdown
export   export a note to html
new      create a new note
search   search through notes

Browsing notes

You can browse this notes site by running:

$ nomadic browse

which opens up the root directory ('notebook') in your default web browser.

You can immediately jump to a specific notebook by passing its name in:

$ nomadic browse economics

If the specified name matches multiple notebooks, you'll be given the option to select the right one.

Searching notes

You can search through your notes by running:

$ nomadic search <query>

This will present a list of results, along with snippets where the keyword was found, for you to choose from.

nomadic can search through markdown, txt, and pdf files.

Adding other files (images, etc)

If you are going to be referencing other files in your notes, you should put them in a directory called assets in that note's notebook directory. nomadic recognizes these directories and handles them specially.

Exporting notes

You can export a note to a standalone html document pretty easily.

For example:

$ nomadic export path/to/ path/to/export/to

This compiles the note to the specified folder, copying over images.

If you will be making changes to the note, you can specify --watch to recompile the note when it changes.


Similarly, you can export a note as a standalone html presentation:

$ nomadic export --presentation path/to/ path/to/export/to

The compiled HTML includes a script which breaks the note into slides according to <hr> tags (specified in markdown as ---, ***, or ___). Slides resize to take up the full window height, and any slides that are too tall are automatically scaled down. You can use the up/down arrow keys to navigate.


  • You can view the 20 most recently modified notes using the /recent/ path in the web browser.


$ git clone
$ cd nomadic
$ pip install --editable .

This installs the package locally, allowing you to work on it and test it easily.

To run the included tests:

$ pip install nose
$ nosetests test


blockquotes and images

embedded pdfs

you can copy and paste articles easily through the web editor

highlighting support

nice images

code and mathjax galore

list and filter your notebooks

search your notes