FoldingText removed from sale, trying to decide what's next

Thanks for keeping us updated, @jessegrosjean. And @mutahhir, thanks for keeping FT alive for so long. It’s become essential to the way I think and work — no joke.

  1. Will the next version of WriteRoom have Markdown support?

  2. I’d be willing to pay more than a single user license to keep FT alive. @jessegrosjean, I’d absolutely support a crowd-funding project, if you have a financial goal in mind. Maybe us die-hard FT users could help fund the maintenance?

I would hate to see FT go. It’s my everyday thinking/planning app. I’ve been using outliners of various sorts for many, many years all the way back to Acta. Before FT, my goto was CircusPonies notebook, but that died. Guess I’ll take a look at DevonThink again. No fan of markdown, I just like the idea of pure text and the ability to collapse block. Always wished for drag and drop, though.

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I also use FoldingText as my primary text editor – essentially all of my writing (and I write for a living) starts on FT. I’ve tried other Markdown editors, they’re fine, but they don’t work as well, as quickly or as cleanly as FT does.

For my part, I’d be willing to pay more, or even pay a subscription, for continued development, whether by @jessegrosjean, @mutahhir and/or someone else. I’d be all for open-sourcing it as well. (If I knew anything about app development, I’d offer to help!)

I’m hugely grateful to both of you for all that you’ve done in creating, improving and maintaining the app. I hope it’ll keep going in some form.

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I created an account just to comment on this.

First let me echo everyone here. Folding Text is my daily driver on all my writing/planning projects. It’s so powerful and subtle. I love my Mac more because of it. In fact, the Mac wouldn’t be the same without it!

Now as a product marketer, allow me to take a different cut at this:

  • You have something magical here @jessegrosjean. If this thread is any indication, we’re diehard users who would be sooo disappointed if Folding Text dies. (Even I felt motivated enough to write this post, and I almost never do this kind of thing! I just couldn’t see FT die).

  • I think one problem is that we, diehard users, haven’t been asked about our expectations from Folding Text, its biggest benefits to our daily work, and what more we want to get out of it. Think about it. Where’s the survey that asks daily users like me about FT’s greatest benefit to me, and how it can be even more awesome? I would fill that survey in a heartbeat!
    P.S. If you’re skeptical about surveys or why this works, I hear you. Take a few minutes to read this post by Rahul Vohra of Superhuman. It might change not just your perspective, but how you actively develop ALL your products, let alone Folding Text!

  • If FT is not selling well, maybe what you need is not more features, but better marketing (big shocker from a marketer, but hear me out!). I know all your landing pages are low-key, but Folding Text’s webpage is a massive undersell!
    I don’t mean that you should go overboard with bells and whistles, but think how easy it is to miss FT’s unique features if you just happen on this page (on your quest for a minimal text editor, with 10 other products to compare). I get the simple aesthetic that mirrors what Folding Text is like, but that’s only evident in hindsight for someone already using FT.

TL;DR I honestly think that you shouldn’t dismiss a) talking to users (get more out of us, we’re ready for it) and b) making an effort to market FT more persuasively to highlight its unique features to more people like us diehard users. You’d be surprised how far these two things can take you (Hint: Grab a cup of coffee and read Rahul’s post for more on that).

Finally, a huuuge thank you @jessegrosjean and @mutahhir for bring us Folding Text! It’s here for us every day, and now we’re here for it too!

Do not go gentle into that good night. – Dylan Thomas

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If I could only keep one writing app, it would be FoldingText. I tried out every app through the years, and I have to say: this is it. It feels so pure. It is uncluttered. It is intelligent. To me it completes the idea of markdown. Markdown is great, but it is not enough without a good interface, which is FoldingText. The folding and unfolding of text comes so natural. What I like is that it happens right in the text space, which is free of any bells and whistles and distraction. Oh, and those tags! Wonderful.

All other apps are just UIs shouting in my face with controls and complexity. Sure, some apps have a focus mode, but the rest of the app remains complex.

I think I would pay yearly to have this app maintained – just maintained, not needing any new feature – so this is saying a lot. Look, most apps have these version upgrades every year or so, and I actually hate it. These apps already hold my data hostage in their proprietary format that changes with each upgrade. It’s such a hassle. And if I don’t pay, I can’t use the app on the new system, or access my old data. Markdown has changed that for me. But it all comes down to interface. FoldingText is it. If only there was an iPad app too.

Just a bug free FoldingText is what I need, and I don’t need a gazillion features added in the future. I would be happy using the same writing tool for the next ten years.

It’s awful when an app you love disappears. Consistency is what you need in life. And this goes for the tools we use every day too. Creativity and productivity lies in consistency. Losing this app would seriously cripple a lot of people, I think.

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Thanks again for all the thoughts.

I also don’t want to see FoldingText disappear.

I am happy and proud of the 2.x version. I don’t use it much, but I do like to just open the user’s guide, scroll around and see how things look… for me the design is standing up well over time. The UI is clean. The menus are clean. I still find it an attractive place to type out a few thoughts from time to time. I’d love to launch it in 30 years and still see the same thing.

My problem is time/focus/money. Hog Bay Software’s sales aren’t great the last few years. I need to focus on my apps that make money and I have future ideas for: TaskPaper and WriteRoom. I’m slow enough updating them without another project to think about.

Even open sourcing FoldingText is problematic. It would require time to cleanup and document to give people a chance: and still there’s a good chance the project would just disappear anyway. Or would turn into something that I’m not really proud of.

The last few (just keep it as it is) comments are appealing to me, thanks! They very much align with my own thoughts for what I would like from the project. I don’t see it as a project that I want to build future features onto, but I would very much like to see it continue working as is long term. If other’s see value in that then maybe there’s a way forward.

I’m not making a final decision now, but unless something changes I think that’s a good goal and one that I can likely accomplish. Keep FoldingText working as is long term. With that in mind I see the project as “good” right now.

The biggest future risk is that it needs to eventually move away from using old and deprecated WebView API.That’s a doable job, but one that I don’t have time for right now, but could likely find time for post WriteRoom 4.

I’ll think about this a bit more, but keeping FoldingText going as is is an attractive option.

Thanks,
Jesse

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I‘m a computer science teacher and I love using FoldingText. It’s the perfect tool for organizing my teaching material in Markdown files. So please keep FoldingText working as long as possible. Maybe donations on the FoldingText website could be an idea to compensate for the ongoing work - count me in!

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I am a real fan of TaskPaper. I just posted to the TaskPaper forums, asking if lists can be implemented in TaskPaper in the future.

Looking at the movie for FoldingText, I get the clear impression that FoldingText is primarily for those who love writing in markdown. More power to them, nothing personal, but I am not one who uses - or is ever likely to use markdown.

Unless I am missing something, I think that FoldingText cannot replace TaskPaper in my workflow. No less files, focused mainly on using markdown syntax, OK, it folds which is nice but then, so does TaskPaper.

Is there any way to fold any of the features in FoldingText, over to and into TaskPaper? Or, are the two concepts just totally foreign to each other? What if FoldingText could use TaskPaper less files and or TaskPaper could use the smart list feature in FoldingText?

Just my two cents.

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I agree with your concerns, open sourcing a project is not easy if you want to publish code in a clean and understandable (to some extent, at least) state. On the other hand, keeping FT in the present version and with no further updates/fixes, will make it unusable quite soon.
It is a hard choice…

Coming late to this I realize but wanted to echo quite a few of the comments above.

FoldingText is, as Merlin Mann described TaskPaper, ‘plain text with magic juju added’. The simplicity of the idea embedded in both apps is the joy of it.

The magic added to FT is key for my productivity. I have an FT window open as my catch-all for notes and tasks and when I need to blast through things, I set up a schedule.

The other use I have is for long form text where I can fold sections and headings down.

I don’t need anything else frankly, I’d keep it as is but ensuring compatibility with upcoming OS’s would be good. Happy to pay for an update, just to say it, even if that update was no more than keeping things running.

I agree with this perspective.
I also volunteer to support this initiative because, like so many others on this forum, I think FoldingText is, in a word, AWESOME.
Can I suggest that the price on the website be raised to its original price, can I suggest that we all demonstrate our collective powers by recommending the product to our friends and colleagues and lets see if we can demonstrate our commitment to the product the same way that @mutahhir and @jessegrosjean have with their development time. Perhaps some might be able to get a post on LifeHacker? Perhaps reach out to HARO?
@foldingsheets - I agree with your sentiments on the home page - I’m guessing you have some specific thoughts - perhaps you can create one?
Anyone teach marketing? Might there be an opportunity for a real time landing page test of different copy - as an assignment? Perhaps we can encourage them to share with their classmates based on the fact that x% of the grade will be based on the actual revenue that comes in on their pages?

Lets work together to save FoldingText by supporting @mutahhir

I’m coming to this game a little late – I just discovered folding text, ordered it, and installed it. IMHO, I think this is just the niftiest little product I’ve seen in a long time. It’s simple but got plenty of “swiss army blades” to do just about whatever I need from it. It’s quick, it’s fast, it’s text-based, and it just flat works! I have become very fond of this app in the last couple of days. It reminds me a bit of the old Ecco program in some ways, and that was a jewel.

Pulling it from the market would deprive a lot of folks of what is truly a little gem of a product. As @mcmckinn said, put the price back to where it should be - it’s worth it. I was charged $0.00 the other day, but I’ll gladly upgrade to a more proper price point.

And by the way, thank you!

Another new user here, FT is just fantastic!

My question is: why had I not heard about it until now?

Reading this post, I think the only real options are:

  • open source if you can find a willing maintainer
  • sell it to somebody who thinks they can make it work
  • let it sit at this version and only do emergency/compatibility updates

So I guess it depends how much time/money you want in/out of this thing.

I don’t see the value in starting another, competing, app from scratch. That would be more fun for the developer, sure, but the long term outcome would not be any different to where FT is right now.

First off, thanks for developing this great app. I have had my eye on it for years but never bought it because I didn’t need the folding functionality. I recently started a complex project where I knew I needed something with this kind of folding of focus from macro- to micro. Lucky for me, it was right after you made it free! Thanks again.

So this is one vote for “YES please let it live on somehow!”

I wonder if you’ve explored the idea of licensing the productivity features to a more (ahem) “economically established” markdown editor like Ulysses, Bear, SimpleNote, or Marked? My read on the markdown editor market is that there is a HUGE variety of editors, free and paid, each with 85% of the “full” feature set and each with one or two key differentiating features. Very few are dominating the market and making sustainable money. Other great low-cost markdown editors like Mou, MacDown, and Typora don’t show much evidence of active development.

The cheap bastard frugal pragmatist in me would rather support this project with one-off donations rather than to sign on for yet another yearly contract for a cloud alternative like Dynalist or Workflowy.

I think it’s smart to develop FoldingText-for-Atom, as I assume that supporting this new breed of cross-platform open source text editors (alongside VS Code and Brackets) should open you up to a larger user/donor base?

I like the idea of open sourcing it, just because one’s text editor is so personal that probably everyone has slightly different ideas about how it should work, so the customizability those open editors allow is a nice addition.

I hope these suggestions help, and I dearly hope that FoldingText lives on. I’m just discovering how great it is (and evangelizing it to my coworkers and blog readers). Hoping that the rest of the world catches up!

Keep up the great work,
Ted

Others have said it better, but I would happily pay a subscription just to ensure FoldingText is maintained going forward. Just let me know how!

I just wanted to make sure to let you know that I am another user who has recently found Folding Text and started using it heavily. Huge fan! It has become my standard markdown editor and plain text editor that really is such a killer app because it can scale up so well and can really be great thinking tool. I’m hoping for some way to support Folding Text. If not to support future development, just to make sure it doesn’t go away or break with a future macOS update. Maybe a donation link or something? Thanks for an amazing app!

Just another, very belated post to say that FoldingText is a wonderful tool that does exactly what I need. If there’s a way to keep it working as it is, that’d be grand, and I’d certainly be prepared to pay for it. If it could be made to work on iOS, I don’t think I’d write in anything else. I’ll also be recommending it to students, though whether they’ll take it up is another matter.

I’m new as well.
I would like to see this as an open source project.
very promising.
I would also like to see it ported to an iPhone/iPad app with syncing vis iCloud.

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@jessegrosjean Have you made a decision on FT’s future?

Right now I’m just letting it sit. There have been a few people who started work on an update, but progress on that seems slow or stopped.

As far as my own work on it… my plan is to let it sit as is. If it breaks in some future macOS updated then I’ll try to find a workaround.