Archived Post

AWT News Update: March 30, 2015

Today’s Apple News:

  • 1Password for iOS receives a significant update providing new features and more speed.
  • 9to5Mac reports on the special ‘kid glove” treatment that will be provided for those who plan to purchase the gold Apple Watch Edition.

We’re now broadcasting the AWT News Update live on Periscope; be sure to follow @AppleWorldToday to be notified when a broadcast begins — replays are available for 24 hours after the broadcast.

For writers, it’s impossible to have too many text editors. Every one seems to have some feature that works better in one situation than another, so I find myself bouncing back and forth between the different Mac text and Markdown editors on the market. One of my favorites has been developer John Saddington’s Desk (US$29.99), a simple-to-use editor with some surprising power built into it. Now Desk has been updated to version 1.2, adding some new features while retaining all of its user-friendliness.

First off, Desk has added themes. At the most basic, it’s possible to toggle between day and night themes. The latter is useful in low light conditions and provides light text on a dark background. If you’re not using a responsive layout on your blog (meaning that the page automatically re-formats based on the width of the page on various devices), you can now create custom layouts with small/medium/large fonts and column widths. There’s also a larger selection of typefaces to select from.

But the big change is in how Desk handles both the WYSIWYG mode and Markdown. Previously, the app let you both use standard Markdown shortcuts (# for H1 header, _ for a horizontal rule, etc…) and my personal favorite feature of the app — the popup style menu. Apparently that was causing issues for some users who were confused about the two ways of editing, so Saddington now lets you select one mode or the other as a default. 

That’s actually a good thing, as it means that as Desk progresses into the future, “more advanced Markdown syntax and flavors is now possible” (to quote Saddington). 

You may want to consider giving Desk a try, particularly if you’re new to writing or blogging and want an app that can just get out of the way and let you write. You don’t need to learn Markdown to get started, but Desk lets you stretch youself and become a Markdown genius as your skills increase.

To show you just how the app works, I’ve created the following video. Enjoy, and if you’re looking for a very simple way to write or blog, consider buying the app and supporting Apple World Today at the same time (affiliate link). 

Steve Sande
the authorSteve Sande
Steve is the founder and former publisher of Apple World Today and has authored a number of books about Apple products. He's an avid photographer, an FAA-licensed drone pilot, and a really bad guitarist. Steve and his wife Barb love to travel everywhere!