Drafts App

Drafts app icon

Drafts app is like a magical pencil for iOS (iPhone and iPad). It doesn’t draw, rather, it captures notes from your muse.

“A Short Pencil Is Better Than A Long Memory.”

An old aphorism states, “A short pencil is better than a long memory.” The secret to creativity is to capture your ideas, as quickly as possible, before they disappear into the ether. Once you’ve captured a great idea, getting a project started becomes much easier.

Q: When do you do your best visualizations?

For many people, their answer looks something like:

  • in the shower
  • when I first wake up
  • while I’m jogging
  • when I’m alone with nature

My iPhone is almost always nearby, so I can quickly capture moments of illumination with the Drafts app.

Drafts app screens

Plain text and markdown: That’s the ticket. 🙂 The Drafts app has become the starting point of my plain text, markdown workflow. My preference is to use it in landscape mode. I’ve set the apps appearance to a light yellow background and I use the FFTisa font. I’ve set my iPhone documents to automatically sync with the iPad version of Drafts. At my leisure, I’ll briefly edit my best concepts on the iPad before saving them to Dropbox. My best ideas then get fleshed out in Byword or FoldingText on my iMac. One of the beauties of plain text and markdown is that it’s straightforward to move documents between plain text apps.

  1. capture ideas with Drafts app for iPhone
  2. iPhone Drafts’ documents sync with the iPad version of Drafts
  3. edit concepts on the iPad
  4. save to Dropbox and
  5. flesh out the best project ideas with FoldingText and the best blog post concepts with Byword.

Draft’s output options are very impressive. I’ve output documents to Agenda, Byword, Day One, HTML, Mail, Markdown, Things and Tweetbot in addition to Dropbox.

Drafts app output

Drafts is a great value. Consider investing a couple of bucks so that you’re ready for your Eureka moment. You’ll be glad you did.

>> Visit Agile Tortoise, the developer, to learn more.

It takes a very clever developer to create a simple, straightforward app where everything works in an obvious way.

Mac OS X and iOS Apps for a Plain Text Workflow

BBEdit screen capture of plain text

I like plain text.

Although I admire beautifully typset documents, nothing beats plain text for productivity. Plain text is easy to compose, easy to send and easy to receive. Sharing/syncing plain text documents on a Mac and an iPhone/iPad with Dropbox works beautifully.

Mac OS X Apps (I set the font to Monaco 14 in all four apps)

iPhone/iPad (Courier New 14, iOS4 doesn’t have Monaco)

Cloud (for syncing and sharing)

Plain text email

Apple Mail preferences for plain text are set as follows:

Mail > Preferences… > Fonts & Colors
Apple Mail Fonts and Colors Plain Text

Mail > Preferences… > Composing
Apple Mail Composing Plain Text

FYI, my email system closely follows that outlined by Joe Kissell in his TidBITS article ‘Achieving Email Bliss with IMAP, Gmail, and Apple Mail.’

Apple Mail messages are stored in plain text, one message per file (a modified eml format with an ‘.emlx’ extension). Apple Mail archives are stored in the mbox format which is just one big text file.

BTW, I suspect standards organizations and security folks love plain text too.