Plain Text Review (iPad / iPhone)

This is a test of the App review system. If this were to be a real document, you probably wouldn’t be reading it. It would be locked away in my journal somewhere that you couldn’t find it. SimpleNote, a simple text editing App, claimed little. PlainText, does the same. Hog Bay only claims that the App is easy to use, and will sync up to your Drop Box. With a basic lay out, and some very eye friendly colors, this App is clean and simple. It has less options than their previous App, WriteRoom, but it does have one new feature that I have not seen there yet. Folders! That’s right folks, now you can keep track of things based on folders.

This App is dead simple to use. Just as some of my readers may well remember, that’s the way I like it. Simple is good – simple is my friend. The App is a universal App, so this bodes well. When I was in New York, I was looking to buy an iPad so I searched buy iPad 2 New York City and it worked out well.

In theory, one could update a document on their iPad, and then finish it on his iPhone, thanks to Drop Box syncing. I’ll talk about the iPhone version first here. Once you open up the App, it shows the documents folder, which contains all your documents and sub folders. There are only three buttons at bottom. Settings, +folder, and +note. Careful not to tap the iAd at the bottom though, sure Jesse over at Hog Bay has to make some money, but let’s not interrupt the master here. Let’s make a new folder (tap), now it opens up what looks like a document with a header. The header holds the text “untitled folder” in iPhone select prompts. You can delete this text and implant your own title, and then hit done. It looks like you should be able to put a description of the folder beneath, but you can’t. It was probably done this way to save Jesse some work. Now, while you’re here, those same three buttons are present. The only way to add a document, that I’ve found so far, is to tap on (+note) once you have opened the desired folder. Once you have made a new note, the same template appears. “Untitled Document” at top, and a blank text field beneath, though this one you CAN type in. Also, one should notice that in the top right there is a “hide keyboard” button. This can come in handy when typing up lots of text. Another cool factoid, the title will always be at the top, even when the text has gone on for a while. At top left there is a “back” button. I’m sure I don’t have to insult your intelligence and explain what that will do. Maybe I’ll insult your intelligence for fun, but should I? Nah. I’ll let it go this time. There is no option for you to email your brilliance to a friend, but if this option were available, this App wouldn’t be free. On the iPad, we have some other buttons to talk about. First off the Documents Folder element is always at the left, unless you click on the double arrows button on the bottom right of your new document. To get it back, just tap it again. Erasing files is as easy as swipe, and tap delete, just like we are all used to by now.

Drop Box integration makes this App a wonderful choice for your notes. EverNote would also be good to add, but I’m guessing that the way the App is built, Drop Box is a better choice in order to save Jesse some more work. Remember, the less Jesse has to work, the less you have to pay. Yay for laziness! Jesse explains that “Dropbox sync will only look at what is in your /Dropbox/PlainText/ folder by default”. He also says you can change that if you so choose, but that seems fair enough to me. Once in your Drop Box, you should be able to go from device to device without issue – even to your computer. The reason for this is that the App isn’t just named Plain Text for being plain, it’s also saving your documents in plain text formats. Jesse explains how it works in better detail, so just go hit him up for that explanation.

Alright, so let’s put the short list to bed ’cause daddy is getting tired, and it’s a school night. This App lives up to it’s claim. It’s a simple and competent App that allows you to take notes and keep them all in sync. I should also mention that if you use text expander, that is available here too. At the end of this very long day, for me anyway, I enjoyed Hog Bay’s latest effort. I like the clean and crisp look of the app. I like the little touches, such as when you tap on a button it looks like your finger has a smokey shadow under it – classy. I’m not even going to bother to rate this App in the usual manner though. I just simply give it an A. Maybe it’s being in school that has me feeling like I should grade people, but in truth, the usual number system would just make it seem like I’m handing out a 10 because I can. Truth is, there is a -lot- I could ask of this App, but the truth is that this is Jesse’s way of giving people a free version of WriteRoom, his paid note taking App. That being said, all I can do is say this, it’s a good App that does what it promises, and it’s free. Can’t beat that. Sure it’s iAd supported on the iPhone, but that’s ok. No one is making you click on the Ad.

P.S. I don’t usually do this, but seeing as how I’m not even rating this App like usual, who cares? I’m going to give you guys my wish list of features for the next version of WriteRoom that should have iPad support.

1. Colors, and themes. I’d like to be able to see pretty things when I type up my notes.
2. Fonts. I like being able to choose from a few different fonts. I can’t do that here in Plain Text, but I won’t complain too much ’cause at least the default font isn’t Comic Sans.
3. I’d like to see Folders, Drop Box, and the Hide The Keys options carry over from here to WriteRoom.

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One thought on “Plain Text Review (iPad / iPhone)”

  1. Jesse relates that updates to the WriteRoom app will add many of the features you’d like to see when it gets an update to Dropbox sync.

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