Derek Lyons

Other Projects


Independent iOS Development

I'm the developer and designer of Notably, a simple and intuitive iPad app for writers on the go.

The inspiration for Notably came from my experience as an undergraduate and graduate student, where I'd long been accustomed to toting a small stack of notebooks with me to capture and organize lecture notes, meeting summaries, and the occasional mobile brainstorm. When the iPad was first announced, I was immediately interested in how such a device could improve on my trusty (if somewhat cumbersome) pile-of-notebooks method for capturing and organizing writing.

And so Notably was born. Notably 1.0 went from concept to product in 6 days of intense development, in time to reach the App Store as one of the iPad's inaugural native apps in 2010. Since that time I've worked steadily on improvements and refinements, including a ground-up rewrite for Notably 2.0. Some of Notably 2's key features include:

  • Automatic, two-way Dropbox syncing with version conflict detection. This is key to the way I write personally, as it allows me to edit the same notes using Notably on my iPad and a desktop plain text editor on my Mac without fear of losing or overwriting my work.
  • A flexible Notebook (folder) system for organizing larger projects. Naturally, as any self-respecting organization nerd such as myself would demand, notebooks are fully nestable.
  • Practical privacy controls. An in-app passcode can be used to keep private writing like a journal or diary private, even if you prefer to leave your iPad itself unlocked.
  • The feel of the page. Notably's visual design eschews the typical sterility of word processors in favor of a warmer presentation, one intended to evoke the feel of a classic writer's notebook.

Notable Reviews

In these modern times when our own written words burn back at us through harsh, eye-straining pixels, it is nice to be reminded of a simpler time when humans employed fine-textured writing paper to please and inspire the soul.

That's why I love this freakin' app.

What you write looks better. And when it looks better it reads better. You even feel better writing it. And yes, all of that may be an illusion to prop up your beaten and weary soul, but as Shakespeare might have concluded, it's worth $2.95.

–Richard Cameron Cray, App Store review

A graceful fusion of the Arts & Crafts of a past period delivered to the digital age. Simple and, as well, fine design conception... The woodscape background invites you to feel at home, in the confident house of the written word. An excellent contribution. Congratulations.

–Arturo Torrecilla, App Store review

I have just bought your app and am enjoying writing on the iPad for the very first time. The aesthetics make even doggerel look like poetry!

–Mark Tweedie, via email

As one of the first people to get their hands on an iPad in the UK I've been downloading a few apps without the benefit of prior reviews and some have been very poor. Yours is different - so thanks and I've left you a 5 star review on the app store to help others make a good choice when looking for writing and note taking apps.

–Ananga Sivyer, via email