1Writer: The Best Text Editor (and Blogging App!) for iOS
1Writer has been living in both my iPhone and iPad docks for a number of months now. It’s high time I wrote a proper review! It’s easily my favorite text editing app for iOS.
Here’s a paragraph description of the app from the 1Writer site:
1Writer provides a distraction free writing environment. You can create and edit plain text or Markdown files. It does have many features including inline Markdown preview, word count, dark theme, TextExpander support, insert photo, an extra keyboard row, and many more. The extra keyboard row is a convenient row of buttons for navigation, formatting, special characters and actions. See the formatted results with inline Markdown preview while you write and a full, rich-text preview when you’re done.
My favorite feature is its ability to insert images right from an iOS device, making it the first iOS app I’ve found that is actually suitable for blogging.
1Writer: The Pros
Whether you want to use Dropbox or iCloud, 1Writer has excellent syncing capabilities. I have a couple Dropbox folders I sync to 1Writer, which is now where I keep blog post drafts. I can update a document from iPhone or iPad–or even use a Mac to update a draft with an OS X Markdown app.
You can blog from 1Writer. It has been surprisingly difficult to find an iOS app that can do this well, including WordPress’s native blogging app. One downside is that you can’t resize the images once you insert them into the post, so it’s still not as flexible as blogging with images through the WordPress Web interface on OS X. The fastidious among us may want to double-check layout in WordPress itself before posting anyway, so this is not a deal-breaker, if not ideal.
Works Great with an External Keyboard
You can type CMD-B for bold and CMD-I for italics, and it both inserts the markdown markup and shows you the inline preview. Not even Editorial can do this. You can also insert links with a keyboard shortcut.
Built-in Web Browser
Because 1Writer has a built in Web browser, you can search for images without even leaving the app, and then insert them into your document. There is also a really nice hyperlinking functionality, and you don’t have to leave 1Writer to find a link you want to include in a document or Web post. One especially nice touch is once you’ve got a link copied, the hyperlink button gives you the pop-up option of just pasting the clipboard contents (your link), so you can save a tap there.
The interface is easy to look at for a long time when writing:
1Writer has a built-in tagging system, so you can even more easily organize your documents.
Like Drafts 4, 1Writer has a number of actions you can perform on your text. Whether you want to use a pre-installed action to export your document as plain text or PDF, or install something from the 1Writer action directory, there’s not much missing here.
My personal favorite action is “Jump to Section,” which allows you to navigate by headings. This is especially useful for long documents where you quickly want to go between sections. The interface of this feature is not quite as smooth as Editorial’s similar function, but it still gets the job done.
Speaking of Editorial… that’s a fine app, but it’s still not iOS9-ready. 1Writer is, so you can utilize Slide Over and Split View functions.
Customizable Keyboard Row
There’s an extra, customizable keyboard row–including the ability to assign a character or even action to a button.
The developer is amazingly responsive. He totally knows what he’s doing, and has built an excellent app already. Insofar as there are small, desired improvements, he takes feedback seriously.
1Writer: Just a Few Minor Drawbacks
The built-in Web browser does not allow for multi-tabbed browsing. I found this to be a limitation, though since iOS9, when I want to search the Web, I tend to do it via Safari in Split View with 1Writer open separately anyway.
Another drawback: you can’t sync actions between devices. You have to manually set this up in any iOS device you use. Documents themselves sync perfectly, of course, just not these custom actions.
There are people who swear by Drafts (I am one!) and Editorial (there’s a lot to like about that app). But 1Writer is exceedingly underrated. (Though that may change now that Viticci reviewed it!) If you’re a blogger, especially, this is the app that will finally allow you to blog from your iOS device.
It’s (no question) the best thing on iOS for bloggers. And maybe even the best note-taking app, too.
You can find it in the App Store here. And, yes, I did write much of this post in 1Writer, exported the Markdown to HTML (from 1Writer), and then published.
Thanks to 1Writer for the review copy of the app, given to me for this review but with no expectation as to its content.