--- title = "Smart tools for smart writers" ---

2012-06-06 19:03:19

My personal summary on the topic, in plain text, after the meeting. Thanks again to @xbelanch for giving me the opportunity to share, discuss and continue learning.

Defining the problem

  1. We keep using word processors from the past century, which were designed for paper and with the paper sheet as a logical unit of measure and unit of destiny, when most of the texts we write no longer have their end point in the printer: they are emailed, posted in blogs, in ezines, in the social networks, in virtual learning environments, etc.
  2. Traditional word processors’ file formats are the offspring of this received view. They are end formats that define what to print and aspire to the full control of the page. In this way, they hinder the insertion of the documents in other workflows: web publihing, ebooks, etc.1
  3. Last, but not least, the user interface of traditional word processors have become unnecessarily complex and confusing.

Proposed solutions

  1. The plain text (.txt) revival.
  2. Semantics first: Markdown (and other lightweight markup languages).
  3. The wave of minimalist text editors.
Editors Mac Windows Linux iOS Android Markdown
ByWord      
iA Writer    
Writeroom        
FocusWriter      
WriteMonkey          
Ommwriter      
Ulysses      

And there are many more. Just search for ‘distraction-free editor’ o ‘markdown editor’ in the app stores or google.

Sync

Dropbox is at the moment the most successful solution.

Google Docs/Drive?

Beyond Minimalism

And what about the remaining 1% of cases in which a complex project prevents can’t be comfortably managed using a minimalist editor and a small number of plain text documents? Should we then return to Word, as the prodigal son? The answer is no:

  1. Have you ever tried to copy from Word and paste in a blog, e. g. Wordpress?

  2. HTML, Word, OpenDocument, EPUB, PDF, etc.