Welcome to Bike! (Original Preview)

Welcome to Bike!

We were promised bicycles for the mind, but we got aircraft carriers instead – Jonathan Edwards

Bike is a new, in progress, outline editor for macOS. It’s a small app with some unique features. My goal is to create an enjoyable and fluid place for you to think and write.

What makes Bike different?

  • Bike’s interface is built from scratch with performance and fluidity in mind. Try it out, it feels different.

  • Outliners are powerful but can feel constraining. Text editors a freeing, but weak on structure. Bike has two modes. I think it’s good at both.

  • Bike is a small and efficient macOS native app. Use it to write a todo list. Use it to write a novel. Bike is a small app ready for big jobs.

What can Bike do today?

Open a new document and start typing.

Bike is a text editor. Type a lot, Bike stays fast. Scroll up and down and it’s smooth. Resize a long document’s window. Resizing is fast and maintains your scroll position.

Bike is an outliner. Use Tab to indent. Use Shift-Tab to un-indent. Expand and collapse outline structure by clicking item handles. Drag and drop items by those same handles. Navigate outline structure using the Focus In and Focus Out commands.

Bike has two editing modes: text and outline. In text mode you see a blinking text cursor. In outline mode that cursor is replaced by a green selection bar. Use the escape key to toggle modes.

When in text mode Bike works like a text editor. Item movement commands work on individual lines and are not constrained to the outline hierarchy.

When in outline mode Bike works like an outliner. Item movement commands work on the outline structure and movements are constrained to that structure.

Bike’s native file format is bike which is a subset of HTML. Bike outlines are web pages if you change the file extension. Bike can also read/write opml and plain text files.

Many basic commands work: Cut, Copy, Paste, Drag, Drop, and Undo. Explore the menus. Bike is also a work in progress, other basic features such as spell check and find/replace are still missing.

Performance Notes

Bike is amazingly fast, or a little slow depending on how you look at it. I use Moby Dick as my test file. Haven’t read the book, but I know it’s long!

If you open Moby Dick in most outliners they will freeze and crash. Even some text editors have problems. In Bike opening and editing Moby Dick is fast.

With that said Bike could still be a lot faster on big outlines, or just long lists of unstructured items. Don’t blame the animations, they aren’t the problem. The problem is I’m using some inefficient data-structures and algorithms in the model layer. Thats fixable long term, but not a focus right now.

What’s next for Bike?

Here’s a quick list of some short and long term goals. Much depends on your thoughts and feedback. It’s been 5+ years since I released anything new, I’d like to get Bike 1.0 out the door. At the moment here’s what I think 1.0 needs. Let me know if you’ve got other ideas… I do want 1.0 to be useful.

  • Find Text
  • Spell Check
  • Focus state indicator
  • General polish and bug fixes
  • 1.0 release

Post 1.0 release goals:

  • Rich text formatting
  • Advanced find and filter
  • Additional outline mode commands
  • Script & Plugin system
  • Theme system
  • iOS version

How will Bike be sold and developed?

I think…

The 1.0 feature set will be a free app with an optional subscription membership. The membership won’t be required and won’t enable additional features. It will show your support and help me to keep working.

Post 1.0 features (as they slowly appear) will be included for free with the membership subscription. There will also likely be an option to buy them individually as in-app purchases.

The most fun I’ve had as a developer is when I have an in progress app and I can share early versions every few days/weeks for feedback. This is when it’s easiest to make changes and incorporate feedback. I’m starting that process now and look forward to your ideas on how to make Bike even better.

Again, much depends on your thoughts and feedback. Let me know what seems reasonable to you.

I look forward to your feedback

Please submit feedback by creating new topics in this “Bike” forum. This link will always point to the latest Bike preview. You will get a notification on startup when a new preview is available.