Simple, mobile text editing

Something that should be simple has me confounded. Suddenly we’ve got a surplus of simple text editors. Notational Velocity, Simplenote, PlainText and Apple’s own TextEdit hardly represent the beginning of what’s available, and each deserves a thorough examination. For example, spend an hour with TextEdit and you’ll begin to see what it’s capable of.

The problem is that I’m a nerd, and as such feel compelled to check out any system that might be better than one I’m using.

Let’s start with what we know. I know that I love PlainText. Why?

  • It’s beautiful
  • Dropbox support
  • I can create files on my iPad and edit them in TextEdit on my Mac, and vice versa
  • Tidy folders appeal to the neat-nick inside of me

What don’t I like?

  • It works with Scrivener but does weird things as well, like create oddly-titled folders that you are not allowed to move or rename ever under penalty of death
  • It won’t open any plain text file in my Dropbox, only those in the designated directory

The other problem is that I can’t easily find a file created in the PlainText folder from the Mac OS Finder. That requires opening a Finder window, navigating to the right folder, double-clicking the file. [1. Yes, I know there are significantly worse things in the world, like cancer, social injustice and Tim Allen movies.]. But it’s still bothersome. For that reason I’m tempted to use Notational Velocity and Simplenote, but I don’t like the Simplenote web app. I’m not keen on its looks but more importantly, it dumps everything into a single pile. My brain needs folders.

Fortunately, I found this post from CMDComma explaining how to use Notational Velocity to sync with the PlainText folder on Dropbox. It almost works for me. The problem is that, as I said, I’ve got several folders within the main SimpleText folder, and NV makes you choose one. So, I’ve made a “NV” folder within the SimpleText folder. But that’s just added another layer of complexity.

Hopefully, I’ll be discussing the whole mess with Myke and Terry on tomorrow’s episode of The Bro Show, as they’ve been kind enough to oblige me. Believe me, I’m keenly aware of the irony here. Dead-simple text editing has got me befuddled.