Editorial might just make you ditch your computer altogether as a writing machine. It’s a new iPad text editor from Ole Zorn, the man behind the incredible Pythonista app (Editorial actually features a built-in Python editor). Editorial could just be used as a really polished, really well-designed text editor, but it also has customizable, Automator-style workflows that let you do pretty much anything with the text you have in the app.
Don’t worry – I’m not going to write a review so long that it requires a table of contents (although a TOC is something that Editorial can help you with). In fact, this isn’t even a review, as all I have done with Editorial so far is kick its tires. But oh, what beautiful tires they are.
The editing part of the app is enough to make this your go-to editor on any platform. First, it has an inline preview for Markdown. That is, it italicizes and bolds text inline, and color-codes links and so on to make the whole text easier to read. A full preview can be seen at any time by swiping in a pane from the right.
This pane can also be toggled between four functions: Preview, help, an in-app browser and a “console”, or “Python scratchpad”, where you can quickly paste in lines of code to test.
Editorial also has full access to your Dropbox, with bookmarks so you don’t have to keep flipping between folders, and a Recent Documents list (long-press the “hamburger” button) so you can switch between documents quickly. Or you can just save stuff locally.
The keyboard is also great. There’s a customizable top row, which also lets you long-press a button for more options. You could therefore have a button dedicated to square brackets, but a long press would get you to parentheses and curly brackets. And if you run a finger along this row, the cursor runs back and forth in step. This is a great way to navigate a line.
And there’re also built-in snippets for text expansion. The app supports TextExpander, but you could make some more focused snippets here inside Editorial that you don’t need or just won’t work elsewhere.
And then we get to the Workflows. Open up the editor and create a new workflow (using the Edit and the the Plus buttons up in the popover at top right), and get experimenting. You can read the documentation or just dive straight in. Some of the parts are straightforward (you can just drag in steps that manipulate text, or move the caret around) and others are more complex.
You can even open up an editor and paste in full-on Python scripts, of which you’ll find many on the web. I’m currently trying to port Brett Terpstra’s Markdown link-flipping script to the app, but so far I haven’t been successful (in my defense, I did start it at 1 a.m. this morning after a full day spent in planes and airports).
If you want more, you’ll either need to go visit Macdrifter or Mac Stories, where you can add the extensive reviews to your Read Never service of choice. Or you could pony up the absurdly cheap $5 and take it for a spin yourself.