Interview: PlainText For iOS, And A Plan For The Future

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PlainText is the latest text app from Hog Bay Software‘s Jesse Grosjean.

Jesse, as many of you will know, is the genius behind several other apps for iOS and the desktop, including WriteRoom and TaskPaper.

PlainText is very similar to, but not exactly the same as, another of his apps called SimpleText. Where SimpleText was built to sync with a home-made service called simpletext.ws, PlainText has been built from scratch to sync with Dropbox.

PlainText is a simple text writing tool for iPhone and iPad. It will sync with Dropbox, and includes support for TextExpander snippets if you use them. It’s free, supported by adverts. If you want to switch them off, you can for a one-off payment of $4.99.

The new app is a new start. It signals the end of the SimpleText storage service, and a transition to Dropbox for some of the other Hog Bay apps.

It all starts getting a bit complicated at this point, so I contacted Jesse to ask him to explain what he’s got planned. Here’s what he said.

“PlainText started out as a rewrite of WriteRoom for iOS. The goal being to be WriteRoom, but make it look good on iPad. After a bit I realized that a full WriteRoom rewrite was going to take
a long time. So I decided to start by creating a new app with no
preferences and not the full WriteRoom feature set. That’s PlainText.

“Once I decided that PlainText as a separate app started to make more sense: Longer term I plan to add TaskPaper like filtering to WriteRoom. That will be good overall, but I’m sure some people won’t like it, so I’ll have PlainText as an alternative for them. It will always be just plain text with no extra tricks or features. Also I’ve wanted to experiment with doing an ad supported app, since PlainText is new and separate it allows me to do that.

“PlainText is also a foundation project. The next versions of WriteRoom and TaskPaper will be built off the PlainText core. That includes folders, Dropbox sync, etc. Once all projects have moved to the PlainText foundation I’ll be closing down SimpleText.ws. I never really wanted to run a sync service, but there was no other option at the time. Now that Dropbox has a public API my plan is to migrate all sync to them eventually.”

So what does this all mean for WriteRoom? How is that going to be different?

“The next WriteRoom will be PlainText with options. Including color, font, and margins. Longer term I expect WriteRoom to also get TaskPaper style filtering, but that’s maybe a year away.”

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