Reverse engineering the Notability file format

Reverse engineering the Notability file format by Julia Evans.

From the post:

I spend a fair amount of time drawing comics about programming. (I have a new zine called “profiling & tracing with perf”! Early access is $10, if you want to read it today!)

So on Thursday, I bought an iPad + Apple Pencil, because the Apple Pencil is a very nice tool for drawing. I started using the Notability app for iPad, which seems pretty nice. But I had a problem: I have dozens of drawings already in the Android app I was using: Squid!

Notability does have a way to import PDFs, but they become read-only – you can draw on top of them, but you can’t edit them. That’s annoying!

Here’s the rough dialog that ensued:

I don’t use Apple products so I’m very unlikely to encounter Notability, with or without its limitations.

However, practice at reverse engineering a format? That’s a useful skill!

For non-Apple users, suggestions of a format to reverse engineer?

No promises but curious what looks interesting and useful.

PS: We should all be taking a chance on Evans’ new zine called “profiling & tracing with perf”. I will get paid soon so will report back on the zine.

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