Q&A: someone very knowledgeable please teach me open source

trying to find out how to take open source code
and make it into a working app/tool

simplenote was made open source https://simplenote.com/2016/08/11/ios-android-and-macos-apps-now-open-source/

things i dont understand + questions

  1. i dont understand why nobody has made another simplenote, it so well designed, instead ppl are making all these other apps that are so poorly designed. why havent ppl copy/paste this open source code and made another simplenote?
  2. longterm i want to make another simplenote (but does not have a login). i want to know what are all specific topics i’d need to know to do this ?
  3. what in world is this https://simperium.com/overview/ - is it needed? or?
  4. why did they make this open source, very confused cos wordpress brought simplenote, i dont understand why they did?
  5. are there any open source specific forums/sites to ask btw?
  6. anything else that would be helpful (for goal ofc)

is there anyone on here knowledgae enoguh to answer any of these?

please answer as if i was 4 cos i know nothing about coding. i understand it takes a long time to learn coding

can someone that is very knowledgeable please answer any of these questions fully and helpfully

instead of guesses

for example still dont know why there isnt something like simplenote when the code is open sourced

  • and none of the questions have actually been answered

  • 10+ years is fine, just want actually good answers specifically for the questions aksed

  • only looking for definite helpful answers

quora .com quality answers

understandable to 4y olds

maybe this computational scientist knows about this topic… @jeremylt

someone please within 10+ years, i just want good answers to the fundamentals of these questions

Hey @howtocode!

Just because something is open source does not mean that there aren’t terms and conditions to using that software and modifying it. For example, freeCodeCamp is open source. I can look at all of their source code but I can’t just copy the entire site and pass it off as my own.

I don’t know where you are at in terms of your coding journey. But I would suggest learning some programming basics first and then researching what languages would be appropriate for this particular project. Going through the FCC curriculum is a good start.

It looks like a simple overview page on how everything works with the app. So it would probably be useful if you are going to be contributing to the open source project.

I can’t speak to the motivation behind why wordpress bought simplenote. However, lots of software is open source. Here is an article talking more in depth on what open source is and why it is important. https://www.bigcommerce.com/ecommerce-answers/what-open-source-and-why-it-important/

The first step is to learn the basics of programming before tackling open source projects. Go through the FCC curriculum and then once you feel comfortable with at least the basics then you could look into open source projects.

Here are some helpful links about getting started with open source, git and github.

Hope that helps!

Happy coding!


I really don’t have much to add - @jwilkins.oboe’s description is pretty through.

“Open source” just means that the source code for the software is open - aka freely available. If you want to learn how to write open source code, then you need to know how to code.

  1. If you look at the Simplenote GitHub repository, 455 people have forked and modified their source code. People have made their own changes to Simplenote.

  2. If you want to make modifications to Simplenote, or build something using a similar technology stack, then you will need to learn JavaScript, TypeScript, and Electron, at a minimum.

  3. I have no experience with Simperium, so any answer I give would be equivalent to a Google search.

  4. The press release you linked describes why they made Simplenote open source. You should look for Wordpress’s press release if you want to know why they bought Simplenote. Any answer I give would be equivalent to searching for those press releases in Google.

  5. I do not personally use any specific open source focused websites or forums (other than GitHub), so any answer I give would be equivalent to a Google search.

  6. The most important thing about writing open source code is knowing how to write code. Also, make sure you read and understand the software licenses.

The open source code for Simplenote is already an working app/tool, so I am not sure what exactly you want. If you want to make your own version of Simplenote, based on their source code, then you need to make sure you understand and respect the open source license of Simplenote.

Simplenote’s core feature is cross platform synchronization, so I am not sure that this can be accomplished without some sort of login.

1 Like

this is clearly a much better answer comparatively

1 - ‘455 people have forked and modified… changes to Simplenote.’ -

i dont think ‘fork’ means changes directly to simplenote it could be other things using the code at the point of ‘fork’

if really wanted to know ill have to ask github forum maybe one day

2 - ‘Js, Type, and Electron, at a minimum.’ - too vague, not specific

3 –

4 - ‘should look for Wordpress’s press release’ - no you ask someone that understands the topic and the right person wouldve been a startup/business person/computing historian person etc

5/6 –

‘already an working app/tool’ -
… it literally already said that in the op/post…
"longterm i want to make another simplenote (but does not have a login)."

‘Simplenote’s core feature is’ -
no their core basic fundamental feature is simplicity and good ui/ux design that apparently nobody else and very few ppl in the world have any skill or knoweledge to understand or to make

  • if we use good note taking apps we would know this

i guess ill find out about this in 10+ years whenever i have time or 20+ when have time to learn code

  • asking questions is all about luck if the right person, and if they were someone they didnt see this or not on here

  • and i’ve no where else on this entire web of mines to ask that i knw of o well sad day sad humanity hope humanity progresses faster one day …

thank you to those that didnt reply, this is clearly for ‘someone very knowledgeable’ in said relevant topic as indicated

You seem to have extremely strong opinions on how things are and how they should be without a lot of understanding yet on how things actually work. Curiosity and a goal is good - they will help you fill in your knowledge.

I hope you find answers that meet your high standards on your coding journey, but please be kind to the volunteers here on this forum who take time to try to make an answer that will satisfy you.


While there are a few people here who have 10 years of experience with programming, we don’t have anything substantive to add beyond what @jwilkins.oboe and @JeremyLT said. Their answers covered everything except for specific implementation details of the specific application you are interested in. I doubt that this forum contains developers who have experience working on the specific software you are interested in. The specifics of technical implementation, including what languages you need to learn, are in the GitHub repositories for the individual applications.

1 Like