My workflow is WriteRoom + Git, and I’d like a couple of things related to that.
When a file that’s open in WriteRoom gets changed by another program (e.g pulling changes from a remote git repo) I wish WriteRoom would notice this and offer to reload, or just reload without asking. My current workaround is to close and reopen the file.
I don’t know whether this is related to Git, but WriteRoom often asks me “Do you want to save the changes made to the document …” when I close a document but really haven’t changed anything since last hitting Cmd+S and committing the file. It even happens when I haven’t changed anything at all since opening the document. I’ve learned from experience that the correct answer is “Save”, after which Git correctly shows I have no uncommitted changes. “Revert Changes” often backs out changes that have already been saved and committed. I find this very counterintuitive.
Unrelated to Git, but I often have several documents open in full screen windows side by side. After rebooting, WriteRoom reopens them all (usually) but doesn’t arrange them in the same order, which is annoying because the order is important to me. Particularly, I keep the document I’m actually writing on the left, so it’s next to the desktop that has the Git client, then the documents I’m referring to in decreasing order of usefulness.
Waiting for preview version of WriteRoom 4. My current wishlists:
Export files to other major formats like RTF, DOC, EPUB, etc.
Publishing to various Web services.
Localization. Would be great if I can translate my whole document to a different language inside the app.
One great feature ( i don’t know) which will make WriteRoom 4 again great. That one great feature should not be available in any other writing Mac app. just like WriteRoom discovered and made the tagline “Distraction free writing” famous in it’s early days for Mac users.
Writemator app is based on the old WriteRoom app for iOS. Updated for iOS 11 with all bug fixes and some some new features. Check it out if you are missing WriteRoom for iOS: WriteRoom for iOS lives on as Writemator
One thing I really want is a way to set a preference to default new documents to RTF. I use WriteRoom for essays and articles and often need italics and nested lists, and it’s a little thing, but it would be a nice streamlining feature for me.
And I’ll give my +1 to these things listed by others before:
Export control in multiple formats (esp lame but necessary doc/docx)
Time logging, either native or w/integration with another app
Framework for citations
Better handling of large files
That said, there’s much to be said for keeping it as simple/lightweight as possible. I’m still having major lag/incomplete document display issues with longer documents and it’s driving me nuts.
A way to email all the documents, I love Writeroom, but since my iPad is dying I feel the need to ask this: is there any way we can email the documents from the app to an email directly?
If not, PLEASE ADD IT.
I guess one year on - is it time for a progress report on v4? As a daily user of Writeroom since 1.0 (I think I got my free license for 1.0 from you in exchange for a tweet!), I would really like to NOT see it become bloatware. Obviously desirable would be the ability to work with a novel size documents without the machine locking up, a document library feature, the ability to split and merge documents and folding would be nice à la FT and that’s it. More is not needed.
It’s not so much bloat (I hope!), but just lots of work writing an editor up from scratch. And a bit of a slowdown in the worker (me) recently. Nothing in particular, just a bit more lazy then I used to be.
What I’m working on now
A fundamental feature of WriteRoom 4 is to make it a “rich text” markdown editor. This isn’t a new idea (see http://www.texts.io), but I think (for my vision anyway) it’s the best way. Markdown is the standard for writing, plain text documents have many benefits, but I hate dealing with the actual syntax as I write. I added a bunch of magic to FoldingText to try to work around that, but I think just switching to rich text editor style (but still saving/loading plain text Markdown) is better.
I just (2 days ago) got span (within single paragraph) level formatting working pretty well now. So for example to bold text, you just select and choose “bold” command it as you would in any rich text editor. Markdowns **'s are inserted automatically when you save, but you never type or edit around them.
Block level (paragraph) formatting is more difficult to figure out in some cases. In particular the trouble is how I should map it to my existing underlying outline model.
For basic block level types, such as headings it’s a pretty clear mapping. I will just set the “type” of the item that contains the heading to “heading”. Easy!
But it gets more complicated for block structures that contain other block structures. (such as blockquotes) There are standard ways to handle this sort of thing (internal items without text content of their own). But they complicate the API’s and editing model. I’m not sure what I’ll do here yet. I have a few ideas that I’m trying… at worst I might just not support problematic cases such as nested block quotes. Instead they would just be left in plain text form… still still possible, just not supported at model layer in editor.
Another thing that I’m unsure of is how much to use the underlying outline model. For example in Markdown level 1 headings don’t really contain level 2 headings. Visually we understand them that way, but structurally in the document a heading can’t contain other headings. For WriteRoom’s model it would make more sense to just have a “heading” type and to create a subheading you would indent one heading under another. Unfortunately I’m not sure how to map that back to markdown cleanly. For example:
In the above “outliner” style model it’s clear that Heading 1 contains text 1, Heading 2, and text 3. But when it gets saved out to Markdown the result would be:
# Heading 1
## Heading 2
Notice that text 3 appears to be part of Heading 2 in the Markdown output, where in the outline model it’s clearly a sibling to Heading 2, not part of it.
That got a little more detailed then I wanted, but that’s the details current WriteRoom progress.
thanks - well that looks like you’re doing more than an update to WR
i didn’t know about texts, i played around with it a bit after i read your post. it’s limited but quite good!
if only texts would give you a bit more control over what the text looks like on the screen, e.g. adjusting the line height and paragraph spacing
and custom themes.
also, i just remembered : there was a nice feature in the old ulysses called text trash, if you deleted some text using shift delete it would put it in a little window and you’d end up with a list of your deletions which you could reinsert/reuse somewhere else.
well good luck with all the work you have to do. hope you don’t grow too lazy in your dotage
I saw this post about the NYT’s efforts to build a new text editor, and they have some interesting ideas that might help inform WriteRoom 4 development.
I found particularly interesting the way they track changes, comments. Such features would probably be best added as plug-ins for WriteRoom 4? In any case, I’d really to have a dead simple way to commit changes and view history in my editor app, in the way presented here.
I’m a little late to the party, but my biggest wish would be individual ordering of different folders (provided Writeroom 4 has some sort of library). So one could have for example a journaling folder ordered by date, a general ideas folder that’s displayed in alphabetical order and a folder with chapters of your new book that you rearrange manually.
Hi and congrats on updating! For further updates I have a few personal requests I’d love to see.
I am currently writing a book and I love Wr!!!
With writing my book, I wish there were a few more features added to it that would help me along this process (as well as others too I’m certain!):
-footnotes (to the side of course because I LOVE the full screen feature so perhaps maybe a navigational bar you can put your cursor over to pop up?)
-image compatibility as there are images I’d like to incorporate in my book
-smart text to correct mistakes so I don’t have to proof read my entire book time and time again ( which as a writer we spend ample amounts of time doing this anyways, WHOOPS (; )
-Files for easy organization
-Editing and Publishing options
Again, I love love love Wr! And I’ve only been using it for a day! WHOOP WHOOP!
I’d love to see integration with LanguageTool, a very handy spelling/grammar/usage/style-checker with lots of plug-ins. I realize that WriteRoom’s spare interface is one of its greatest strengths, but I’d also like to have the option of flagging problems as I write, because the correction might change things down the line. Thanks for asking and thanks for considering my suggestion.
Thanks for the link, looks like an interesting project. I’ve been looking around for something like this, but don’t remember that I ever found LanguageTool. At the moment I’m deep into Find & Replace for WriteRoom 4, but I’ll try to take a closer look at LanguageTool later. Thanks for the link.
WriteRoom remains my favorite distraction-free writing program.
While I’m super late to this party, I wanted to voice how much I like it as it is, aside from performance issues.
I use it for all first drafts, then just copy and paste into Final Draft or Pages depending on what’s next. But I find it absolutely priceless as a place to think and create.
I use the “Terminal” theme exclusively, with green modified to amber so it looks like my old 1980s Brother word processor that boasted a short, wide CRT screen. So please, whatever you add, don’t forget to retain this theme. And of course a screen full of nothing but blackness and my text.
I think I’ve been around since v1.0, but for sure since 2006. Thank you so much, Jesse, for all the years of this program! It means a lot to me.