I try to adapt No Paper policy in my workflow. I'm a student of EECS and most of my daily job is doing some research and designing mathematical algorithms, Communication Networks, Math, Ideas,.... I've free myself from pen and paper except when I like (or need) to quickly draw some sketch about an idea/concept on the paper. These are usually some shapes, text and formulas...I like to replace this with sth digital.
I don't just think of Vector based apps any other alternative is welcome. I've not tried sth like Visio but I've used Inkscape and It doesn't have all features I need (e.g. not easy way to insert TeX formulas or being able to insert couple of text paragraphs or notes). MyPaint another open source app (and completely from different domain) has some features which I like (free hand brush, quick sketch) but It lacks text or formula support and not easy to use with Mouse (Maybe some Wacom product make it what I want).
I've tried Inkscape, LaTeXDraw, TiKz (Great but not quick and easy), ipe, xfig, jpicEdt,MyPaint,... but none them was quite satisfactory and much behind of paper experience. Ipe was good to some extend. Currently I've decided to draw on papers and then take pictures of them and import them to my project but I'm searching of good alternative with more digital capability e.g. taking pictures as has two major drawback first it's slow second the taken image is not editable (yes in PS,Gimp,...) and I cannot easily add new concepts, text to it...
p.s. I've also tried freemind, Docear(not relavant), XMind,..but these are mind-map software and just use tree-based mindmap which I don't want. I've tried UML yet.
I don't have enough experience yet but the best solutions are (In my opinion):
Local App (i.e. PC) + External Tablet (e.g Wacom). My personal choice is:
Xournal + WACOM Intious (Pad and Paper) : Medium Size
-However this is a bit overkill.
-Xournal is Opensource and support PDF annotating, inserting image and shape recognition,...Just like Xournal, Cournal is also available with some realtime collaborative features.
-Xournal++ is new rewritten app (in C++) with extra features incluing LaTeX. It's an great app and I believe that this is almost what I want but still to come (https://github.com/xournalpp/xournalpp)
MyPaint or Alchemy or Inkscape are also opensource apps which can be used with any of these devices, I think Wacom tablets are good choice there are might be some cheaper and better suited Input devices since I'm not a digital artist and I don't pay that much attention to pressure level or resolution...
Tablets + apps
- iPad + Stylus pen and some app e.g. bamboopaper (http://bamboopaper.wacom.com/) or IdeaSketch which has been mentioned in the Random O'Realy post.
Android Tablet (e.g. Xperia Tablet Z2 or Sumsung Galaxy Note Pro) with sketch/S Note or any other app such as bamboopaper
-It seems that Xperia Tablets work with regular pencils also (very good feature).
-Tablets usually comes with non-standard file format which are not easy to use with other PC apps...
- With this, It's possible to draw on the paper but simultaneously the sketch is being digitized and stored in the pen then whenever you reach a computer you can send the sketch to the computer using different formats. I think this is very interesting.