I want to update an old, discontinued app: NoNonsense Notes

F-droid has this app, NoNonsense Notes, NoNonsense Notes | F-Droid - Free and Open Source Android App Repository
which I still regularly use, even if it was last updated in 2015.
The source code is here GitHub - spacecowboy/NotePad: NO LONGER ACTIVELY DEVELOPED and the project is abandoned.
The project is not mine, I am just a user.
The app still works, but i would like to pick it up, update it and provide a newer version to f-droid, so that you just add my new version to the existing f-droid page.
Is something like that possible ? Or do I have to start a new project with a different icon & app name ?

I have not yet informed the original developer, I want to know first how you think I should proceed.

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Yes, you’ll need make a fork.

Why do you still like that old app and the currently developed ones (Orgzly or Markor or the other 35 Notes/Todo apps) are not good enough? :slight_smile:

Thank you for your quick reply.

Yes, you’ll need make a fork.

The inclusion policy says:

  • […] Forks which only re-brand an app but do not add value for users might not get accepted.

Since I basically just want to change the color theme and update the target sdk version, I was worried that my edits would not be accepted.
Will I be ok even if the changes to the original app are very very little ?

Why do you still like that old app and the currently developed ones

Eh, I tried many of them, but I just feel very comfortable with this one.
The navigation and the reminders just work very well for me.

If I understood correctly, here’s what I have to do:

I did not notice any requirements like a mandatory build tools version, or sdk version, or anything else. Did I perhaps miss something ?

Depends, @linsui ? @Izzy ?

Those are up to you

I thought we don’t really force a large update and there is few cases (I don’t know if there is any). I thought it’s OK as long as you make some useful changes, bug fixes, tool updates, etc.

I think having an active maintainer would be considered to be adding value. :wink:

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Let’s sum up a few facts:

  • the original app was last updated 2015 if I understand correctly, so it’s most likely abandoned. So firt point on the pro site (“+1”): the fork will be (more recently) maintained. If you plan to keep it maintained (no promises, one never knows how life proceeds), even +2 to that (including the vote of @Baggypants).
  • the app still works (±0), but who knows a) how long and b) due to its targetSDK, on which devices? Which makes an updated fork another +1 to me.
  • “I basically just want to change the color theme and update the target sdk version” (+0.5 for the targetSDK if it includes testing that it won’t break something in the app): the term “basically” implies you might have more things in mind. And once you’ve started on it, might continue. So rounding this up to a +1
  • “I just feel very comfortable with this one”: another +1 IMHO. This kind of diversity can be a good thing.

If my math didn’t leave me, this makes a clear “5 stars”, doesn’t it? :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

Please inform the original developer. If there’s no response – well, can’t be helped. But at least nobody can complain you didn’t even try. But I’d say go for it. Include credits also in the app description (along the lines of “this is a continuation of the (unfortunately no longer maintained) XXX …”), which might even give existing users an incentive to take a look and potentially switch over).


I must say, the app really is very good. Even though not maintained. I also vote for you to give it an update if possible mate. :slight_smile:

Instead of making a fork, why don’t you just try to convince the current developer to give you access to the repo? Maintaining the original is almost always better than starting a fork, because it keeps the name and user base. @spacecowboy is quite active on GitHub, and even registered on the forum here - I’m pretty sure they will reply if you ask them :slight_smile:


Sounds good to me

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Everyone, thank you for your support.
@spacecowboy contacted me and we will reopen the github repository to make some updates to the app.

Now, my main goal is to update the build tools, dependencies and sdk versions so that this app is more “future proof” (remember that the f-droid version still targets android 4.4 kitkat!).

I also noticed a bug that adds too many reminders to notes, so i will try to fix that.
And I will update to a more modern material design, with new icons.

But as far as functionality is concerned, in my opnion the app is already very good, so I don’t have many new ideas.

Of course we are on f-droid so do not expect stuff like dropbox or google play services integration, I will not even look into those.

I’m working on it in GitHub - CampelloManuel/NoNonsenseNotes2: Minimal maintenance of the old version just keep in mind that I’m not a very experienced android developer, so have pity :pray:

Now, as far as the f-droid team is concerned, since I will simply push my updates to the old github repo GitHub - spacecowboy/NotePad: NO LONGER ACTIVELY DEVELOPED then my updates should go to f-droid automatically, since we already have an f-droid page NoNonsense Notes | F-Droid - Free and Open Source Android App Repository

Is that correct or do I need to submit some kind of request somewhere else ?


Currently update checking is disabled because the app hasn’t been maintained in this long: metadata/com.nononsenseapps.notepad.yml · 84acda7e142b0365749acc9a981246f745d363b5 · F-Droid / Data · GitLab

So, it will have to be manually added once after a new release is tagged (and the unmaintained notes removed) but after that automatic update checking could be re-enabled :slight_smile:

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Great, I was using the app until it got abandoned.


An update: the original github repository is now open, so the discussion will continue there, https://github.com/spacecowboy/NotePad/issues/387


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