Emergency Release of Last Known Good Version of NotesPlus

#1

Hi Team

I have posted this before and I would appreciate a formal response from the NotesPlus team !!

You have a disaster on your hands.

It’s going to take time to fix the problems and test the solution.

What exactly are we to do in the mean time ?

Real people rely on NotesPlus for their jobs, their study and their futures.

Please IMMEDIATELY release a NEW app called “NotesPlus Classic” that is the last known stable version of the product and which is FREE of the disastrous NPN code base that has corrupted data, duplicated documents in the user interface and trashed backups.

This means anyone who has a backup can at least get back to work and study.

For many of us who rely on NotesPlus, we have those high quality backups. I would like to be able to use my good backups with a bug free stable OLD release of the product.

Another point to note is that you cannot guarantee that the bad release is not doing more unseen damage inside people’s precious notes libraries. I have seen weird behaviour like the magnified writing window being out of sync with the greyed window in the upper port of the page. I’ve seen parts of documents I’ve just written being discarded when I exited and opened another document and then returned to where I’d just left off. This points to many problems with the current release. You need to have an extended testing program after you have fixed the current problems with the software.

Please respect the importance the application has to serious users and provide a “NotesPlus Classic” release that is the last known good release WITHOUT the NPN disaster.

Thank you in anticipation.

Richard
New Zealand

#2

Hi Richard,

Although the 6.1 and 6.2 releases have been troublesome, 6.2 is so far fairly stable once you get past the migration pain, and dedupe your library.

I’m aware that’s not ideal nor perfect, but I’m now about week 2 or 3 in, and everything is functioning correctly.

This experience has taught me two things:

  1. Backup all notes in Evernote as an absolute failsafe.
  2. All apps probably run the risk of complicated storage issues that have the potential to lose data and render it totally inaccessible.

A couple of things that made NotesPlus recoverable is the fact that copies of the NotesPlus folder were present on numerous devices using iCloud. That meant manual backups could be taken to local storage.

The second lifesaver is the relatively standard format in which NotesPlus stores it data. SVG which can be rendered by any browser. What’s more, the internal file structure is relatively straight forward. In dire situations there’s even png thumbnails of the pages.

I’m quite aware that a lot of people had pretty significant loss. Based on that, I wouldn’t actually trust any iOS app to keep your data totally safe. The one massive flaw Cloud based storage like iCloud, Dropbox and Google Drive all share is the way they merely cache data on any one device, and keep a “magic” copy on the Cloud.

The Cloud copy itself will have a reasonably high degree of resiliance. Local copies not at all. The downside and upside of local caching is the space it poentially consumes. The fact some services like Dropbox blindly sync all files to your local cache is very annoying.

Short of having PDF backups I just won’t trust any app to retain data. I suspect as personal app databases grow beyond developers expectations, they are likely to encounter problems they never envisioned. I imagine that this is what happened with NotesPlus. Short of managing your own data in a manner that you fully understand, I think you’re always going to be at risk of data loss.

Maybe in the future Apple might introduce some feature where you can view and manage data. It’s somewhat unlikely as the trend is towards making everything so dumb and simple, it’s removed completely from people’s control. That said, visibility of iCloud Drive and it;s contents was a step in the right direction.

Anyway, a classic version wouldn’t ultimately solve the Cloud sync problems that 6.1 and 6.2 were trying to address. On storage constrained devices with big notebooks there would be a lot of erratic behaviour.

Personally I’d recommend manually backing up your NotesPlus folder to local storage, exporting your critical notes to PDF somewhere, then doing the 6.2 migration upgrade. It takes several attempts, causes a lot of duplicate files that you need to manually delete afterwards, but once completed, you’ll be back where you were pre 6.1, without the Cloud storage issues it was fixing.

#3

Davobot

You completely miss the point.

NotesPlus was working fine for most of us.

The cloud sync issue never worried me at all.

I work on one device.

I backup to DropBox.

That data is echoed to my Mac and my Windows PC.

I back that up SIX ways.

  1. StorageCraft SPX Disk images

  2. Mac Time Machine

  3. Scripts that I run periodically to copy files out of Dropbox to disk.

  4. DropBox Rewind.

  5. Periodic exports to PDF of all notebook content.

  6. Offsite to BackBlaze.

My data is extremely precious and valuable to me (lecture notes, study notes, research notes, ideas, design notes).

IF I HAVE ACCESS TO AN OLD STABLE VERSION OF THE NOTEPLUS APP I CAN LOAD IT FROM MY BACKUPS AND KNOW THAT MY DATA CAME FROM A PURE SOURCE NOT AFFECTED IN ANYWAY BY THE NPN FIASCO.

THEN I WAIT UNTIL THE BUGS HAVE ALL BEEN FIXED, TESTED AND THEN FIELD TESTED BY OTHER USERS BEFORE I MIGRATE BACK TO THE ADVANCING VERSION OF THE PRODUCT.

THAT WAY I END UP WITH AN EXCELLENT OUTCOME.

Knowing quite a lot about programming, and how things can go wrong … there are people, technical, procedural, coding and risk management errors, issues and misjudgements at play here.

I have seen odd behaviours in the 6.2 version of the app. Such as the magnified writing panel being out of sync with the grey selector area in the upper portion of the screen; sometimes its contents even came from another document [pointing to massive potential file system integrity issues]. Such as the last page of my writing being lost when I close and open the file.

I have NO confidence that the 6.2 version will successfully migrate all of my data or protect the integrity of my data.

What the notes plus team are doing is patching bugs, quick tests and then asking users to beta test the fixes.

I WANT A SAFE POINT TO WORK FROM WHILE THE NOTES PLUS TEAM SORT THEIR PROBLEMS OUT.

I DO NOT WANT TO BE LIVING INSIDE AND THROUGH THEIR DISASTER.

I WANT TO DRIVE AROUND IT COMPLETELY.

I WANT TO GET MY BACKUPS AND RUN WITH THOSE.

THEY HAVE NOT BEEN “SCREWED OVER” BY A DUD CODE BASE.

You may well find in six months or a year that some unseen problem in the current release had mixed up the data in parts of your library that you were not initially aware of.

#4

“I back that up SIX ways…
2. Mac Time Machine . . .”

Richard,

Aghh, the cloud issues with v6+ is sounds maddening. While you await a response on your request you might be able to restore an old version on your own. The good thing is you use Time Machine. You probably know that beginning with iTunes 12.7 (released mid-September 2019) Apple removed management of apps, books, and tones, which means it stopped syncing those items between the Mac and iDevices. However, Apple continued a version of iTunes for businesses to deploy apps. Some users (including me) use iTunes 12.6.5 to still manage apps and it works with the latest iOS 12.3. (Download the old iTunes at https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT208079 )

To get an older version of Notes Plus on your iDevice

  1. If you use a newer version of iTunes, download and install version 12.6.5 (link above)
  2. Get the old version of Notes Plus from your Time Machine back up by navigating back to the date of the last good version you want.
    Path: ~/Music/iTunes/Mobile Applications/Notes Plus x.x.ipa
    Select the app and click the Restore button. (It should copy that app file back to its original location on your hard drive.
    Note: Release versions of recent Notes Plus versions: v5.6 Nov 28, 2018; v6.0 Apr 1, 2019; v6.0.1 Apr 3, 2019; v6.0.2 Apr 15, 2019; v6.1 May 15, 2019; and v6.2 May 23, 2019
  3. Launch iTunes and check if the restored version of Notes Plus is listed in the Apps section. If not, drag and drop the old version from your backup into your iTunes “Apps” section.
  4. On your iDevice, delete Notes Plus by pressing the app’s icon for several seconds. The apps will start to jiggle and a small X will appear in the upper left-hand corner.
  5. Press the X of the Notes Plus app to delete it. NOTE: This deletion method might retain the data. (YMMV) ***Do NOT delete app from iDevice storage as it deletes the data too.
  6. Press the home button after the app is gone from the screen to stop the jiggling and get out of delete mode.
  7. Next, connect your iDevice to your computer. Open iTunes and select your device. ***Do NOT sync at this time.
  8. Select “Apps” in the iTunes sidebar.
  9. In the right-hand window, scroll the list of iTunes Apps and find the Notes Plus app you want to reinstall. Click the “Install” button and then sync your device. The version you have backed up in iTunes will copy back to your iDevice.
  10. WARNING! The new .npn files are probably not compatible with the old versions of Notes Plus, so consider rolling back the Notes Plus data files on your iDevice too.

I keep a separate back up of most of my iOS apps and have reinstall old versions of several apps. I manually update apps; and fortunately, I’m still using v5.6 of Notes Plus. Earlier this year, I upgraded to a new iPad and all the resources files took a long time to sync over from Dropbox. I’ll look forward to the .npn packages.

Good Luck!

#5

Thanks for your thoughts.

I back up the NotesPlus data to DropBox using the NotesPlus backup facility then six ways from there.

The iPAD itself is not backed up so well - just to iCloud.

I’d just reinstall apps from a clean slate if I had to recover from hardware repair / loss of device.

The NotesPlus app auto updates itself so even if you did the rewind it would just roll itself forward again.

#6
The NotesPlus app auto updates itself so even if you did the rewind it would just roll itself forward again.

Consider disabling automatic app updates in Settings > iTunes & App Stores. Toggle Updates to “OFF.” Of course you will then need to manually update apps when they become available.

Manual app updates allow me to assess the changes and other users’ feedback on the new versions. This method has saved me from quite a few bad updates. My thinking… if I do not allow a stranger into my home, why would I allow an unknown app (new version) on my device.

#7

I don’t believe I have the old version of NotesPlus software anywhere.

I thought IOS backups only gave you the latest version of data to restore.

Are they like Time Machine where you can pick a restore point in time ?

#8
I don’t believe I have the old version of NotesPlus software anywhere.
Not in any of your Time Machine backups? Bummer.
I thought IOS backups only gave you the latest version of data to restore. Are they like Time Machine where you can pick a restore point in time ?

iCloud backup or iTunes backup? See the differences in what gets backup is here. I know with the old iTunes, manual backups are dated and store separately versus syncing. Then when one restores, she or he can choose a specific dated backup.

As for data, you’re only planning to restore Notes Plus data, yes? If yes, then perhaps there is a way to restore from Dropbox versions…

#9

I backup using the my iPAD using the standard iPAD backup option within the iCloud feature on the iPAD.

This specifically excludes app content which is available from the app store that can be re-downloaded.

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I don’t use iTunes for backup.

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I think this highlights the appropriateness of my request to the NotesPlus team.

Just release a known good version of NotesPlus PRIOR to the NPN disaster ( call it NotesPlus Classic ).

Let users import their backups into that and get on with business as usual.

The NotesPlus team can sort out their software, test it, field test it and advise us when they have a new version of NotesPlus release that is ready for serious use.

Then we will just migrate from “Notes Plus Classic” to the go-forward version of the product.

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In the absence of “Notes Plus Classic” I will stop using NotesPlus until several versions downstream from the botched NPN versions 6.1 & 6.2 and THEN import my trusted high quality backup.

I may also decide to give them roasting on the app store.

Thanks for your well intentioned help ‘oylil’.

:slight_smile: