Byword

I don't often get excited about new software. I tend to get all giddy about major OS revisions (those are right around the corner too!) but I'm really very picky about 'apps'. I'm also the kind of guy who when in possession of a tool designed for a job will use that tool so long as it is suitable. A good example of when this didn't work for me is the iOS weather app, which kinda sucks. I found an alternative I liked and used for a year or so before the weather widget came along in Notification Center - which suits my needs perfectly.

I now have an example of a situation where I had a great app for writing, called TextEdit (it comes with your Mac). TextEdit does everything: rich text, document outlining, all kinds of useful stuff. To be honest for anything except the most advanced document formatting TextEdit is ideal. Why would I need something else?

Then this picture piqued my interest.

Byword from Metaclassy

This speaks directly to my inner minimalist nerd. All white space and beautifully rendered text. This is exactly the screen I can see as I type these very words (well, with my words and not theirs). I'd also been interested in getting to grips with Markdown. I'm a programmer, I hand coded crappy websites when I was a kid in HTML 4.1 and CSS2: frankly I had no excuse for ignoring a simple writing tool like Markdown. Byword was pretty much taunting me. It also syncs with iOS via iCloud... totally unfair and playing perfectly to my weaknesses.

Byword has some additional premium blog publishing features that are of no use to me as Squarespace 6 has no API but would likely be excellent for users of the services supported. Other than this it really does only a handful of jobs:

  • Writes plain text files with the option of converting to RTF.
  • Has restrained syntax highlighting for Markdown notation.
  • Looks incredible on OS X and iOS.

This is a quintessential example of great software that does one thing well. Byword is from Metaclassy, and available in the Mac and iOS App Stores.