I was a big fan of iAWriter until the recent deadlocks when using it together with DropBox to keep my files. After many months, the problem persists on both my iPad and iPhone. It clearly looks like a deadlock where the synchronization hangs, and the only remedy is a drawn out quit-restart-quit-restart sequence. Luckily no data is lost, yet the writing flow is interrupted.
I’ve been on the look out for an alternative solution. The requirements are few:
- Support for Markdown. It is an open and simple format. It is easy to read, easy to work with, and future proof.
- My data is my data. My files are my files. I want the Markdown files stored as files, and accessible outside of the of application. One reason is that I use Blot.im as a blogging platform, powered by Markdown files in a specific Dropbox directory folder. Many applications will wrap the files in their own (database) system to allow for faster searching, linking, graph diagramming, etc. Often, the data is no longer stored in Markdown files, and you are beholden to the application to access your data. Obsidian does a hybrid solution, where their “vaults” are an Obsidian owned folder where individual Markdown files are stored. The issues is that I have many Markdown files already and (on iOS) there doesn’t appear to be an easy way to point to existing file structure, let alone a Dropbox folder.
- Support for platform independent synchronization. I want a solution which I can use on many platforms. iCloud synchronization is popular, though only works on Apple devices, and makes it hard to make your files available on a work computer. Application specific synchronization is worse, as it ties me to the application. The only options I’ve found to be platform independent are DropBox, GitHub, and Google Drive.
In other words, I am seeking an application, which I can point to a file structure of Markdown files, and which supports DropBox (or GitHub, or Google Drive).
Recently, I revisited Bear, Obsidian, and explored FSNotes. None of them support my scenarios. They all try to do just that bit too much, requiring them to take control of my files.
Obsidian is a powerful knowledge base on top of a local folder of plain text Markdown files.
The start up experience on iOS is a clear tell of how complicated the synchronization game is . It is a mess.
1Writer to the rescue.
I am writing this post using 1Writer. It does exactly what I was looking for. It is a nice looking and simple application, that does one thing very well: editing Markdown.
Let’s hope it doesn’t suffer from the same DropBox synchronization deadlock. If it does, I know where the problem is and who to contact next.