end kvetch

Macs, productivity, &c.

Software Sumo: MacJournal vs. Journler


There has been a rematch! After complaints that an old version of MacJournal was used, I have reviewed these two apps again. Click here to see the new review.

I have finally caved to HitTail’s requests and now I am launching a new feature: Software Sumo! Software Sumo will evaluate two Mac softwares (often freeware…in which case I guess it would be Freeware Fencing). Today we will be kicking off with MacJournal vs. Journler. Soon I hope to evaluate NetNewsWire (Lite) and Vienna. Any other requests you have for match-ups can be emailed to me. And now your regularly scheduled programming….

As the names imply MacJournal and Journler are both journaling applications. For the purposes of fair evaluation I have chosen to match up the latest free version of MacJournal (2.6) against Journler.


In this first screenshot we see a comparison of the toolbars:

Journler has a nice unified look going while MacJournal has a split aqua thing going on (however, in the most recent, fairly pricey version they have moved on to unified). The buttons are fairly similar but I prefer the ones in Journler.

Next, lets look at the MacJournal window:

We see there are two drawers, one that holds journals and another that holds entries. In the middle there is a basic text entry area with a title box, a main body area and a small button to lock the entry. Pretty boring stuff especially compared to this next shot of the Journler window:

Here we see a three pane, Mail-style layout. On the side we see the Journals (as well as a nifty calendar), on the top pane we see entries (with plenty of information about them) and on the bottom we have the text. The text pane allows for a title and the body text as well as tags, a category and the date. There is also a handy word count ribbon at the bottom of the window.

I certainly prefer the interface of Journler because it is more compact without drawers hanging out all over the place, it provides more data and it just looks better (if not perfectly integrated with the OS’s interface).

MacJournal: 5/10 – Looks like it stepped out of Jaguar or Panther.
Journler: 8/10 – Doesn’t look completely at home among other windows but fairly nice looking.


Both applications have rich text entry and picture capabilities as well as journal locking and statistics and blogging (which we’ll look at in the next section). In addition to these Journler has labels (arrived in a later version of MacJournal) and better media integration. I personally never use the media features but I’m sure people will find them handy. In my opinion, as long as the application has basic text and organization features it can pass as a decent journaling application (or at least an improvement from using MS Word).

MacJournal: 7/10 – Has the basic features but not much else.
Journler: 9/10 – The only feature I wish it had is new Blogger support.


MacJournal has full support for LiveJournal and Blogger, Journler has support for most every blogging service. Journler clearly says that it does not yet support the new Blogger, MacJournal does not address the issue but I assume that is the case because it would not configure correctly (this is a problem I have had with all blogging clients besides MarsEdit and Flock). Obviously I cannot try out the blogging features (at least not until they get new Blogger support).


Overall, Journler has scored better with 17/20 as opposed to MacJournal’s 12/20. This certainly reflects my experiences, anyone else who has used these apps want to chime in?

Journler – Free ($10-20 Donation Suggested)
MacJournal – 2.6 is Free, Others $29.95

As you can see, at the moment applications are only being evaluated based on two main points, if you have more suggestions please email them in.


Filed under: Apple, Oldies, Software Sumo, , , , , , , ,

7 Responses

  1. Anonymous says:

    Why are you comparing a version of MacJournal that hasn’t been worked on for more than two years? You say it looks like it’s from the Panther days…well, duh, it _is_ from the Panther days. The latest version of MacJournal is as different from this version as night and day.

  2. Gnome says:

    As I said, I compared Journler to the latest freeware version so that I was comparing two equally priced applications.

  3. […] to iCal) and its certainly not the best note-taking system. This is where Journler (the winner of the first Software Sumo) comes […]

  4. Bob Nolin says:

    …and next week, we’ll be comparing a 1957 Chevrolet BelAir against a similarly-priced 2008 Vesta motor scooter.

    See how little sense that makes? Have you ever seen software review where they aren’t comparing/contrasting the latest versions? There’s a reason for that: it makes sense. Your review makes no sense. It is useless information. Someone looking to buy journalling software is only going to be looking at the latest versions of what’s available.

  5. Gnome says:

    As I have said twice (once at the beginning of the review and again right above your comment), this guide is not for people “looking to buy journaling software”, it is for people looking for free journaling software. For that reason I chose to compare Journler to the latest free version of MacJournal (which, at the time of the review, and presumably now, is readily available on the Mariner site).

    I can see why I’ve gotten so much heat for this but I made the decision for a reason.

  6. […] Sumo: Corrections 24Jan08 Recently, I have taken even more heat for my comparison of Journler and an outdated (but free) version of MacJournal.  Because Mariner has recently […]

  7. […] beta rather than the stable version 3. I know I may be criticized for this just as I was for comparing an old version of MacJournal to Journler, but deal with it. (I was originally planning to review […]

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