nvALT and fast software

Craig Mod writes about nvALT, an application all day every day, in an excellent essay about friction-free software:

One of my most used, most speedy pieces of software is nvALT.1 It’s an oddly named, very bland application. Just a database of plain text files with a plain text editor bolted on. But it’s fast. The fastest piece of text cataloging software I’ve used. It opens instantly and produces results instantly. My nvALT database is full of ten years of notes. Open it and your cursor is already in the search field. It is keyboard friendly software: If you’re ever not in the search field, just hit ESC, and you’ll land there. Type a few letters and all the notes with those letters appear. It is the best instantiation of an off-board brain I have. Any piece of text with value in my life gets dumped into nvALT.

There’s almost no thinking involved in using software like this. There’s muscle memory, and there is input. No waiting, no superfluous actions.

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