Newton is a desktop wiki applet for the GNOME2 desktop environment. You enter your notes and information in a simple wiki-like syntax and Newton formats it in rich HTML for you! It is designed to make the creation of richly formatted documents of any type as simple and quick as possible.

For instance, if you want to make some bold text, you input **My Bold Text** and Newton will bold it for you. A pre-made wiki page called NewtonSyntax comes with the program that has example of all available formatting so that you can get started right away. Also, the editing screen displays a toolbar with tools to make formatting easy. You don't even have to know the syntax in order to get started!

You can see both the NewtonHome and NewtonSyntax files that are available in the development version by following the links to the "Previews" in the right column on this page. Both of these pages will appear just like they do in the program, in fact, they were created in Newton and exported using the "Export to HTML" feature. This will let you see what Newton is capable of as of now, and will also let you see what the wiki syntax used in the program is like (as shown in the NewtonSyntax page.

Please report any bugs, feature requests, or usability issues on the Newton Trac website. Comments and discussions can be sent to the newton-user mailing list at You do not have to be a member of the list to post to it. Thanks for your comments and bug reporting!

July 12, 2008

Where can I get the source code?

I've obviously stopped working on this project, but I've also been overlooked the fact that this website still points to my web server for the Subversion repository. That repository doesn't exist anymore. Source code for this project is available at LaunchPad using Bazaar and the following command: $ bzr co lp:newton I'll update the install page with this information as well. I apologize for my neglect in this issue.

Posted by Dennis

October 1, 2005

Editor Syntax Highlighting

I was using Newton yesterday and decided that the editor was a little weak. In response to this observation, I replaced the vanilla TextView/TextBuffer with a GtkSourceview widget. Then I created a language file for Newton's own syntax. The result of the experiment is shown in this screenshot:

                image of syntax highlighting
Syntax highlighting in the Newton wiki editor.

I think it turned out pretty cool, and that it might be useful for some degree of syntax verification on the fly. I'm not too excited about the chosen colours just yet, but that will come. This is currently checked into SVN and is available for testing. I haven't had any of my testers jumping at me just yet over it, so I'll assume it's safe for now :)

Posted by Dennis

September 11, 2005

Debian Sid Packages Available

One of the members of the Newton mailing list, Carlos Liu has created an install package for Debian Sid and was kind enough to make it available to everyone!

Please see the Install Page for more information on how to get this package if you are using Sid.

Posted by Dennis

September 2, 2005

Newton Development Flash Demo

I've been seeing these vnc2swf Flash demos of various applications around the web, so I thought I'd make one that demonstrated a couple of the new features of the svn version of Newton. The demo can be seen here.

You'll obviously need Flash installed and enabled in your browser to view it. I hope it's not too slow to watch effectively.

Posted by Dennis

September 2, 2005

Newton Goes Non-Applet

Well I've recieved several queries as to why Newton is a GNOME applet, and suggestions that it maybe should be stand-alone application. The reason I give them is that it started out as quite a simple idea, and an applet seemed nice and handy. I like having Newton available on my GNOME panel, and I didn't want to abuse the notification area as many other projects seem to do. The problem is, however, that with it being an applet it can only really be used in GNOME.

Therefore, I've taken an hour this morning and made Newton work similar to the way Tomboy does. In the svn version, the program can either be run as an applet like always, or started from a menu entry just like any other program. Your choice. This (should) enable Newton to work on other desktops like KDE or *box etc. It still does require the GNOME libraries of course. In fact, the dependancies haven't changed a bit.

With this addition, I'd really like to get another release out to the public but I'm not yet comfortable (bug-wise) with the whole category thing just yet. There are only a few people using the svn version, and still fewer reporting useful bugs which makes it a slow process. If you are using svn, please join the mailing list or send an email to letting me know whether or not you have encountered any problems. Without feedback it's difficult to tell whether people are finding bugs or not. I don't trust my own testing abilities anymore :).

Posted by Dennis

August 27, 2005

Newton Translations on Rosetta

This news comes both a little late, and a little prematurely. Newton has been registered with the Rosetta Project, and can be easily translated there. This was done a couple of weeks ago now.

Since I don't have any idea how to use Rosetta properly, the only po template that is available there is the one that came with the last released version of Newton (0.0.9). Obviously some strings will be added and/or changed between now and the next release. Most will likely remain unchanged however, and will be merged with the new template file when it is ready. Notable exceptions are the NewtonHome and NewtonSyntax page strings. Currently on Rosetta, these are single, large strings. They will be broken into smaller chunks so that they are easier to maintain by translators in the next release.

My point is, that if you are interested in translating Newton to your native language, you can start on its Rosetta page here. But I wouldn't bother translating the big NewtonHome or NewtonSyntax strings until I get the new po template uploaded. I will announce this event at least a week or ten days prior to release so that they can be translated then.

Please direct any questions or concerns you have about this to the mailing list.

Posted by Dennis

August 27, 2005

Public Subversion Repository and Trac Page

The Subversion repository for Newton is now available to the public. See the Install Page for details on how to get and use this code for testing.

Also, there is a Trac page up here. Please use this to report bugs or feature requests. The mailing list is of course still available for discussion too!

Posted by Dennis

June 29, 2005

Category Support Partially Implemented

Newton now (almost) has category support. The idea is that we need a way to deal with different categories or namespaces so that the user can have pages with the same name in different contexts. This is implemented to look just like directories and files in the treeview (which is exactly how it's implemented in reality).

There still are many bugs that need to be fixed prior to the next release, but it's getting there. In hindsight, this should have been implemented from the beginning as it would likely have been simpler to do :). The screenshot below illustrates what the categories look like. Notice the subtrees in the treeview. The page names are now of the form CategoryName::PageName.

                image of early category implementation
Illustration of category support at work.

This change implies many other changes in the program, not just in the UI.

  • Many functions that once dealt with a flat file list now deal with directory trees.
  • The treeview functions now must be written recursively as well to deal with full subtrees.
  • Drag and drop support must be implemented in the tree so that pages can be dragged into their appropriate category. Pages, however, must not be dragged into other pages. When a page or pages are moved, all links to this page from other pages should be updated accurately and automatically.
  • What should happen when a category is clicked on in the tree or clicked in an embedded link? At the moment, the contents of the category are recursively (including subpages and subcategories) displayed in the HTML view. Categories are not documents, but containers that hold pages and other categories.
  • The tree is now reorderable via drag and drop, and subtrees can either be in an expanded state (ie. you can see it's children) or a non-expanded state. These states, and the order of the pages and categories in the tree should probably be remembered between sessions. I'll have to save this info in another file.

These are the things (along with their related bugs) that I'll be dealing with for the next week or so... :)

Posted by Dennis

June 23, 2005

Newton 0.0.9 Released

I think I have most of the big bugs covered that appeared in the last release, so I'm going to try again. There appears to be an issue with gtkspell in earlier releases of gnome-python-extras that caused Newton to crash on startup. I've worked around that for now by testing whether the bug is present when the program starts, if it is, Newton will continue without the ability to check spelling. Otherwise it will continue as normal. This way if the bug get's fixed (either by upgrading gtkspell or otherwise), the option will just magically appear.

I also think the .deb file will work better now, although it seemed to work for some before...

This is mostly a bugfix release with a few formatting fixes, and the files now install into FHS compliant locations. Please uninstall your current version before installing this one so that the files in the old locations get cleaned up.


* make schema install to /usr/share/gconf/schemas (.deb) * install components to FHS friendly dirs * confirm on cancel of modified buffer * implement gtkspell workaround * don't specify font size for monospace in edit view * remove dependancy on pil * use font-family instead of font in CSS for codeblock (thanks Artis) * make lists containing code blocks work * make code blocks not ignore leading whitespace
Posted by Dennis

June 16, 2005

Bad .deb file in 0.0.8 Release

It turns out I don't know how to properly create a .deb package. The package that was originally included in the 0.0.8 release was poorly configured, and therefore doesn't work. I've removed the file from the download location until it is fixed.

For those who used the bad .deb file, please uninstall it using the command dpkg -r newton.

I'll make a proper deb file available as soon as I figure out where I went wrong. Until then, sorry for any inconvenience.

Posted by Dennis

June 16, 2005

Newton 0.0.8 Released

There have been enough changes to Newton to warrant another quick release I think, so here it is :)

New Features Include

  • Embed local or remote images easily with several position and scaling options.
  • Link to any file or document on your local filesystem. No more "Upload Media" stuff.. The links will open in your default application for that document type when clicked.
  • Rename a wiki page, and automatically have links to that page found in other wiki pages updated accordingly.
  • Built-in spell checker while editing wiki pages. This option can be disabled in preferences.
  • The release now includes a Debian/Ubuntu package file (on


* add option to fix wiki links due to page rename * make dialog labels selectable as per HIG * add gtkspell capability * add "Enable spell check" to preferences * create preferences dialog only once * present window if already active, but not on top of stack * ready all strings for internationalization * select wiki page under cursor when right-clicked on tree * rename a wiki page * update relevant links in other pages when a page is renamed * position images in document * scale images in document * add image insertion tool in edit toobar * make dialog to aid in the insertion of images * update NewtonSyntax with newer features * version bump to 0.0.8-test * make applet appear as a flat image instead of toggle button * add context menu to tree list * link to any local file (no more "Upload Media" stuff) * embed remote or local images in documents * add clearer div to stylesheets
Posted by Dennis

June 2, 2005

Embedding Images Made Easy

I've spent some time in the last couple of days getting lots done code-wise. I've added the ability to embedded images in various layouts (positions in the document) and sizes. Both remote and locally stored images are supported. I've also added a tool to the edit screen so that the images can be added easily via a graphical dialog. This dialog could use some UI love no doubt, but it'll do for now :). Here is a screenshot of what it looks like right at this moment.

                image of edit screen
The "Insert Image" dialog as will appear in 0.0.8.

Here is a screenshot of the new NewtonSyntax page with a remote image (Google logo) embedded with "float-right" positioning.

                image of edit screen
NewtonSyntax page with a remote embedded image.

This feature will be available in the next version of Newton. I think it might be released within the next week or so. Further testing has to be done first of course...

Posted by Dennis

May 31, 2005

Newton 0.0.7 Released

It hasn't been a long time since the last release, but in the spirit of "release early, release often" I am making the changes since 0.0.6 public.

New Features Include:

  • Search feature implemented. Find any text in any page or note easily.
  • Edit tools toolbar added to the editing screen for simpler formatting. See screenshots
  • Insert the current date or time into your document with a single click.
  • Export page to a local HTML file so it can be viewed and/or printed in your web browser.


* make applet and icon resize with panel * don't overwrite NewtonHome page when installing new version * allow lists to decrement more than one level * search (find) feature added to toolbar * version bump to 0.0.7 * add edit toolbar to edit widget * add ability to insert current date * add ability to insert current time * add bold, italic, underline, and strikethrough to edit toolbar * add web link creation tool to edit toolbar * add email link creation tool to edit toolbar * fix link-message for email addresses
Posted by Dennis

May 26, 2005

Newton 0.0.6 First Public Release

This is the first public release of the Newton Desktop Wiki! There has been some testing done by the daring and generous users in the #ubuntu channel on Freenode. I think the program is generally sound at this point, and quite usable.

Features Include:

  • Simple formatting syntax includes bold, italics, underline, and strikethrough text.
  • Five levels of formatted document headings or sections.
  • Ability to embed both internal and external (Internet) links and images in your documents.
  • Ordered (numbered) and unordered (bulleted) list formatting.
  • Misc. formatting such as horizonal lines etc..
  • GNOME applet so that your documents are always one click away.
  • Pages are listed in a tree pane for fast access.
  • Ability to ignore "CamelCase" links.
  • Ability to switch between wiki styles (two are available, blue and brown). See screenshots.
  • Save media files for storage in the wiki, and embed links to them in your document. the files will be opened with your default applications.
Posted by Dennis