On walkabout in life and technology

Back to Byword From iA Writer

For as long as it has been available, I have been using Byword for writing in Markdown. All blog posts, all knowledge base notes, all written using Byword. But I really liked the look of iA Writer, so I made Byword’s font look more like iA Writer’s (see Text Editing Fonts and Colors). Perfect.

I even started a “why I prefer one over the other” post, but it only contained one item:

* Prefer the font size in Byword (too big in iA Writer)

At the beginning of November, iA Writer for Mac was updated with their new responsive design, which varies the font size based on the window width. Perfect, the font was no longer too big when the iA Writer window takes up the left half of my 15” display. So I switched the default Markdown editor over to iA Writer.

I really do love iA Writer: the amazing Nitti Light font, the lovely and quirky blue caret, the fading title-bar, and the reading time display.

But iA Writer quickly started to annoy me. No shortcuts for lists (which I use a lot) and no list continuation (press return at the end of a list line, I want the next line to have a new bullet, so I can continue typing in point-form). Bold and italic only work when text is selected, whereas in Byword it creates a placeholder with the cursor in the middle. And the outdented title # and list marker * look great until the cursor starts the next line in that gutter instead of in the text area, then jumps back into the body when the first character is typed. Oh and italic text is displayed underlined. What?

I know, I seem over picky. But anything that slows down writing or distracts from deep thought (as if!) is bad for productivity. I’d rather write in continuous thought mode than be distracted by having to format as I go.

So I’ve set my defaults back to Byword, am using it right now, and I feel productive again. I have the keyboard shortcuts I love back, bold and italic working as I like, lists auto continue and italic is italic again.

Now the “why I prefer one over the other” post looks like this:

* Prefer the shortcuts in Byword
* Prefer the blue caret in iA Writer (sigh)

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