Write iPhone App review - You will not need another note-taking app

-By Vaibhav Kaushal

Write app lets you choose between Dropbox and iCloudSome people hate reading something descriptive. No issues, at times we all do. But it is a matter of fact that details are what play the ‘extra’ in extraordinary. This post is about an app named ‘Write’ which does one utterly simple job – lets you take notes. So in case you wanted to know the gist of what I am about to say, here it is – Write is the most awesome tool for taking notes I have encountered so far. It gets the job done the way it was meant to be.

So what’s special?

The special thing about Write is that it fits right in between a complicated note-taking app like Evernote which is stuffed with features which overdo the note-taking task and Apple’s own Notes app which is the complete vanilla version of note-taking and locked down to Apple. Write opens the gates in all directions and lets you save notes exactly where you want. You are not locked to any one cloud provider, be it Apple, Dropbox, Google Drive or Facebook (Okay, Facebook is not a cloud service but you can save your notes there).

Omen for a good journey ahead

It is often said that a good start is an omen. It indicates a happy and successful journey. When you start off with Write app, you would get another reason to believe that the saying was true. The first launch will ask you a wise question which determines some of your ‘sync’ experience for later – select your preferred cloud – iCloud or Dropbox. Personal suggestion – if you don’t have a Macbook or an Apple desktop, go for Dropbox. Once you have selected Dropbox, you have to authenticate the app from your Dropbox account (you just need to login to Dropbox) and then assign a folder where Write will save your notes. In case you selected iCloud, you just have to allow Write app the access to iCloud and things will set up for you. Simple to setup! If you want to link Facebook (you can publish your notes into your Facebook account) or Google Drive or Sync your notes with the Elephant-ish Evernote, you have those in the settings menu (click on the options icon on the left side on the folder-listing view of the Write app).

Sophistication can be simple too

Da Vinci said “simplicity is the best sophistication”. He forgot to say that sophistication can be utterly simple too. Apple has been producing amazingly sophisticated but utterly simple products to prove the unsaid. Write app carries the idea forward.

Your notes are organized in folders. What you create in the name of notes are simple text files. Those files are synced to your desktop via your dropbox client – nothing special needed to read your notes. This is great if you have a non-Apple desktop/laptop. Also, considering that the notes are text files – no special software of any kind is needed to read them anywhere – be it web or desktop. All your notes are saved separately into new text files and that’s the beauty of it. Click on the name of the note to change it which defaults to the current date and time when you tried creating that note. No databases, no special software, no propriety formats, nothing. Just text files – now that is what I would love in a note-taking software. No virtual notebooks, just folders to manage – the way you love it on your desktop.

You can write notes in rich-textYou long-click on a note in the folder-list view and you get to preview your notes. This is cooler than having to fully open a note when you have a hint about what the note might contain! There are gestures for quite a number of things – changing to a dark theme, to activate and deactivate the markdown editing feature and to enter a cleaner fullscreen editing mode.

Speaking of ‘Markdown’ – in case you did not know about markdown – it is a simple markup language which can be applied to a text file and with a small parsing overload, it can be shown as a rich text with headings, bold, italic and underlined text. Write app uses the same to let you write rich text notes. Rethink about that – you have rich text which can easily be read in a notepad. A lot of usage insight must have gone into the decision of selecting markdown for richtext.

In addition you can add pictures to the note, comments and there is a pointer at the centre of the additional toolbar on the keyboard to let you move the cursor in a unobtrusive way. This toolbar/modified keyboard is the only one of its type that I have seen on an iPhone. It makes me wonder – How do you modify keyboards in iPhone?

Additional Features

That was the crux of Write app. However there are more things that this beauty is capable of. Logically, you can see that set of power in two screens – the note-sharing panel which allows you to do a lot of stuff with the note that you are currently viewing/editing.

The options include actions from 3rd party apps plugged into the app such as post to Facebook, upload to Google drive, save to Evernote (yeah, there is the beast). Even the option to delete the file is in the same panel. You can export the note to PDF, or print the formatted HTML, email the note as PDF, plain text or even publish the note as a webpage. Quite some useful options but I believe the list could have been shorter.

Coming to the second part - the settings section opens a plethora of options. From help, support, app tour and licenses to linking accounts and changing the startup options - it is all there. You can activate and delete the options for pull to save or delete as well. I like it a lot more than Evernote which has too much to offer. So much so that it gets confusing and need significant amount of juice to perform.

Verdict

If you want a note-taking app which looks simple (and especially if you are a fan of touch gestures), Write app will serve you obliquely. Do not expect it to be Evernote, for both good and bad reasons. It starts up fast, allows you to sync either automatically or when you want to sync. The best parts are the use of markdown for letting you write rich-text notes and uploading them as simple text files to a wide range of cloud services. Its simplicity is soothing and sophistication, empowering. The design is clean and simple and you’d love it. Except minor UI glitches (such as the left pane should close when you click on the folder listing area), it does not give you any headaches and you can read and retrieve your notes from anywhere. To me, all the features just fit together and make perfect sense.

If you would like to see more screenshots, please do visit this link.

Posted on Dec 28, 2013 04:23 AM
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