Tie And Jeans

Tool Overload – Text Editors

I popped into the App Store this morning and was shocked to see that I had two OS X text editors that needed updating. That’s two out of the out of the 5 plain-text editors I use on a regular basis (ia Writer, Writeroom, MacVim, Text Wrangler, Notational Velocity, TextEdit). The iPad has even more, since the distinction between narrative writing and code writing extends to keyboard layout, and the basic OS tools (Notes) is so poor.

Why the hell am I so fascinated by text editors? Is this simply tool-obsessed procrastination, akin to the Blackwing nerds who “can’t write with anything else”? Or is there something substantive about choosing good tools?

I wrote all of my posts this month in ia Writer, both on the laptop and on the iPad. I love the look of it, love the sentance by sentance Focus Mode for editing, and the fullscreen mode is a decent substitute for Writeroom. Clearly the finger-to-key experience isn’t substantively different than most other editors, but I found some benefit in having a dedicated tool for just blog writing.

But it’s never enough. When I needed critiques and revision, I pasted the full text into stypi. I still needed to paste into the WordPress client to add links, media and then finally post.

In my head I’m still dreaming of a smooth solution for all of that. (Maybe a Markdown plugin for WordPress?) But I feel like I’m at a comfortable equilibrium with this set of tools. At least until another new text editor shows up on O’Reilly Radar.


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