Monday, February 20, 2012


Whereas Mac OS X includes frameworks that make it easy to develop applications that produce fully styled text, it’s more of a programming challenge on an iPad, even for something as simple as italics. Plus, the iPad’s physical design and its use of a multi-touch display in place of a mouse make it more cumbersome for a user to manipulate styles and other page elements than on a conventional computer. For these and other reasons, text editors are more common on the iPad than full word processors.

One obvious option is Notes, which is included as part of iOS and works just like the version on the iPhone and iPod touch. Notes can sync with your computer and your other Apple devices. And in iOS 4, it can finally sync wirelessly, which it does by storing notes on any IMAP server, including MobileMe. Plus, Apple has finally provided alternatives to the awful Marker Felt font; in Settings > Notes you can opt for Chalkboard (equally bad) or Helvetica (much better) instead.

Although these improvements make Notes a perfectly decent notetaking app, you still can’t change the size or style of the font that Notes uses. The legal-pad background is cute, but it doesn’t improve readability.

And syncing via IMAP works reasonably well, but you can’t edit notes directly on your IMAP server; you must use the Notes app. For these reasons and more, you may want to use a more flexible app for creating, editing, and syncing plain-text notes. Here are a few suggestions:

• Edito: A text editor designed especially for Markdown, Edito lets you preview your rendered text within the app, and includes shortcuts for entering common tags. (Cognoscens, $4.99)

• Elements: As text editors go, Elements has just about everything, including Markdown preview, word count, and support for Dropbox and TextExpander touch. (Second Gear, $4.99)

• iA Writer: One of the highest-rated text editors, iA Writer offers Dropbox sync and special virtual keyboard controls for navigation and punctuation. It also has a “focus mode” in which all the text on the screen except the current paragraph is dimmed. (Information Architects, $4.99)

• My Writing Spot for iPad: This specialized text editor offers features geared toward book authors, such as word count, dictionary, and thesaurus—and it syncs your documents with the developer’s Web app. (PT Software Solutions, $4.99)

• MarkdownNote: This Markdown editor, unlike Edito and Elements, has a two-pane display with your Markdown code in one and a live preview of the rendered text in the other. It also includes TextExpander touch support. (CodingRobots, $3.99)

• PlainText: This attractive, minimalist text editor offers word count and syncs its files with Dropbox, so you can easily access them on any platform. (Hog Bay Software, free)

• Simplenote: This brilliantly simple universal app stores your notes in the cloud (with local copies, so you can work offline). You can access your notes in a Web browser or in any of several desktop applications (I like Notational Velocity,, free). And, the font is a nice, clear Helvetica—on a plain white background. Although I have several of these text editor apps on my iPad, Simplenote is the one I use most often. (Codality, free)

• Split Pea: If you need to take notes while surfing the Web, this is the app for you. It puts a browser in one pane and a Markdowncompatible plain-text editor in the other. (Martin Gordon, $3.99)

• Trunk Notes: Like many other text editors, Trunk Notes supports Markdown and syncs to Dropbox. What’s unusual is that it’s also a wiki editor—that is, your documents can include live links to each other, as well as to Web sites and documents in other supported apps. Trunk Notes also offers Wi-Fi sync, audio recording, camera support, and numerous other features. (Apps On The Move, $3.99)

• Writings: Writings is an elegant plain-text editor with a number of spiffy little touches, such as adjustable page width. It syncs to your Dropbox and includes TextExpander touch support. (ice cream studios, $4.99)

Text Editors for Programmers
People who write software or create Web sites for a living also need the services of a text editor—but not just any text editor. A programmer’s text editor should offer features such as a monospaced font, line numbering, syntax coloring for a variety of programming languages, and preferably direct support for opening and saving files on FTP or WebDAV servers. Examples of iPad apps with some or all of these features include:

• Editor for iPad: This editor includes syntax highlighting for HTML, CSS, JavaScript, Perl, and Ruby, and has shortcuts for entering common tags and text patterns. (YBOOM International, $3.99)

• Objective-C Editor: As its name suggests, this is an editor for Objective-C code; it integrates with Dropbox for easy file transfer. (Tsuyoshi Hyuga, $$6.99)

• Textastic: Featuring auto-indentation, Web preview for HTML files, TextExpander touch support, and syntax styling for many languages (including HTML, Objective-C, PHP, and Python), this text editor is useful for making quick code tweaks on the go. (Alexander Blach, $9.99)

Source of Information : TidBITS-Take Control of Working with Your iPad 2011
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