end kvetch

Macs, productivity, &c.

Software Sumo: Journler vs. MacJournal (Rematch)


Some people did not like the agèd nature of MacJournal during the original match. So now, considering that MacJournal has just released a new version and Journler will soon be going commercial, I figured I would do a “fairer” match-up.


I must say, kudos to Mariner for the improvements in the MacJournal interface. It is starting to look like a nice, Leopard-worthy app. However, one thing I simply do not get is the fact that some of those godawful toolbar icons from v2 are still hanging around. I mean, they have a new dock icon, I don’t think it would kill them to get some new toolbar icons as well. Those hideous, Panther-y icons are what’s really killing this interface. I’m not crazy about the fullscreen here (but I’m not really big on fullscreen writing anyway) but it is quite customizable. The option to display entries either in the sidebar or above the actual entry text (like you would see messages in Mail) is nice. The calender looks a bit odd swimming in a see of white space when one’s sidebar is extra wide but otherwise it looks a-okay. One thing I do not like is that while in three-pane view, the entry list does not have an alternating background. The entry selection buttons (on the far left of the toolbar) are a little odd because they go up and down rather than left/right. Although this makes more sense I still think it looks a little odd (however, the plastic finish on the buttons is nice).


The Journler interface recieved a pretty small facelift with the latest update. The main change is that I noticed is slightly more spacing in the entry list. Overall, the Journler interface is quite similar to that of MacJournal. I prefer the calender in Journler and I obviously prefer Journler’s toolbar icons. Magically, Journler finds out what your system folder icons and uses them in its sidebar. I also like the more integrated header in Journler because it is both easier to fill out and, in my opinion, looks better.


MacJournal: 7/10 – This would be a really solid interface if Mariner would just redo those buttons!

Journler: 8/10 – A nice, consistent interface that could use a couple tweaks.


I’m not sure if journals in MacJournal are supposed to act like folders, but I’m not feeling it. Although journals can be placed inside each other, I really don’t like how the hierarchy works. Bad folder structure aside, MacJournal has all the features I would expect. It has wiki-linking, labels, fullscreen and blogging as well as sound and video recording.

Journler has finally brought real tags, a feature I have been waiting for for a while. Journler has all the features of MacJournal except blogging support which was recently dropped because the developer decided it was an underdeveloped feature. However, I do feel that the fullscreen (which includes all three panes rather than just the text) isn’t as strong as the fullscreen in MacJournal.

MacJournal: 7/10 – Bad folder hierarchy aside, a very nice set of features.

Journler: 7/10 – Good features but no blogging and fullscreen is lacking.


Journler is ahead by just a little bit and because it will be selling for ten dollars less, I think it’s the better choice.

MacJournal ($34.95): 14/20 – Needs more polishing, but it’s a good app at the core.

Journler ($24.95 as of v2.6): 15/20 – A good journaling application that needs a bit of work in some areas.

Look here for more screenshots from this edition of Software Sumo.


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

8 Responses

  1. […] Sumo: MacJournal vs. Journler 28Jun07 There has been a rematch!  After complaints that an old version of MacJournal was used, I have reviewed these two apps […]

  2. billy says:

    You’re nuts. I’ve used both and Macjournal 5 kicks Journler’s butt. Toolbar icons? Isn’t that purely subjective? I use MacJ as my blog client – that in itself puts MacJ WAY past Journler.

  3. Gnome says:

    While something like “MacJournal’s toolbar icons look like elephant turds” is subjective, saying that the icons have not been updated for years is, in fact, a objective remark. You will notice that while time has passed those toolbar icons look exactly the same. If you’re still hot for Panther’s style, I suggest you high-tail it back to 2004.

    You may also notice that Journler lost points for it’s lack of blogging. However, I’m reviewing journaling apps not blogging clients. Thus, the lack of blog support is not a deal-breaker.

    Now, why don’t you justify the claim that “MacJournal 5 kicks Journler’s butt.”? That’s an unsubstantiated subjective statement if I’ve ever heard one. (I’ll let “you’re nuts” slide because many licensed professionals have come to the same conclusion.)

  4. Matthew says:

    I think the $24.95 price you have listed for Journler must have only been a limited time offer, because right now, on February 5th, it’s $34.95.

  5. Gnome says:

    You’re right. I believe the price he gave on his blog was $24.95 but he changed it on the official purchase page.

  6. Amafortas says:


    Could you please explain how you generated the outline list in the Journler program? (Did you have to add the various heading levels, (A, a, 1, and i) by hand?



  7. Lex says:

    I have the both and I lean towards Journler. I like being able to associate contacts/photos/emails with a particular entry and I’ve not be able to find similar functionality in MacJournal.

    What both products lack, and what I’d really like to see, is better image handling. Even though I’m the only one who sees them, I want my entries to be well laid-out, and that includes text flowing around images, etc.

  8. Gnome says:

    @ Amafortas: Yeah, I just did that by hand. I’m generally don’t like to use built in list options anyway.

    @ Lex: I agree, I would really like to see more Pages-esque layout handling in apps like this.

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