byword

Byword Still Gets the Job Done

 I was looking at the latest sexy text editor, Typed from RealMac. Over the years I’ve had several friends that worked at RealMac and I’ve got a lot of respect for what they do. I bought Typed because RealMac makes it and I’m one of those guys that does stuff like that once in awhile.

So I was playing with the new app, testing features, listening to the embedded soundtrack (that always makes me roll my eyes a bit in a text editor) and I found the experience quite enjoyable. As I finished writing about 3,000 words in it, something occurred to me.

I really love Byword.

I first fell for Byword the way I had my first crush, with reckless abandon. (Although Barbara O’Leary never had a clue.) Over the years, my love with Byword has become something a lot more comfortable, like Carl and Ellie.

The thing about Byword is that it just delivers. The design is solid and unobtrusive. Its developers understand iteration and avoid change for the sake of change. Byword was one of the first multi-Apple-platform text editors and continues to lead in this respect. It supports Dropbox, iCloud, and most recently adds support for Handoff. When I need to replant myself in a tea shop and pick up writing something, Byword has me covered whether I’m using my Mac, iPad, or iPhone.

Byword has great typography but at the same time doesn’t tell me it knows what’s best for me and prevent me from using a big, clunky, ugly monospace font when I want to change things up for a proofread.

Byword doesn’t have every feature on the market. It does, however, make it possible for me to write just about anywhere and when I’m doing the hard work of moving the cursor across the screen, Byword gets out of my way and lets me get on with the work at hand. I’d guess that at this point I’ve written something like a half million words in Byword. You’d think I’d be ready to move on to something different. I’ve got nothing against Typed or any of the other Byword competitors. Many of them are fine applications but the thing is … Byword, I still love you.

Byword 2.0

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Byword (Mac App Store) (iOS App Store) is one of my writing staples. I work in it every day. Indeed, I’m writing these very words in Byword. Yesterday MetaClassy released version 2.0, which is free to existing users and includes some nice upgrades. Byword now can save a Markdown document to rich text on the clipboard. Now you can write in Markdown and copy to rich text with one keystroke for later pasting in Mail, Pages, or a rich text web interface. Byword also now retains your scroll position in preview mode. This is a small thing but appreciated. There are several other small improvements, like smoother animation, speedier sync, and other under-the-hood improvements. It’s a great upgrade.

This new version also includes an in-app purchase ($5) with one-step blog publishing. You can now publish your Byword documents directly to WordPress, Tumblr, Blogger, Evernote or Scriptogram. If you are writing for any of those in platforms with Byword, this is a no brainer. Now it is just three steps: 1. write your text; 2. push a button to publish; 3. go drink like a tortured author. This is a nice upgrade and further solidifies Byword’s prominent position in my writing workflow.