Plain text files are great because they are low on file size, but they are extremely limited when it comes to presentation. To that end, noted blogger John Gruber created a simple markup language called Markdown, which allows for easy formatting for writers and increased readability when displayed. The syntax used in Markdown is simple to learn and use, and can be processed by a number of programs. So what’s all this got to do with your documents?
Most text editors for mobile devices typically allow either plain-text editing or rich document editing, which are both cumbersome to deal with when it comes to posting your content on the web. With Markdown, you can create formatted text documents that are as light as plain text files, read them using any plain text editor and display the content with headings, bold and italic text and active hyperlinked text. And now, you can do this on the go with Draft.
Draft is a simple text editor for tablets and smartphones that supports Markdown and plain text formats. It can work with documents stored on your device or in your Dropbox account, and can thus sync documents between your devices and computers easily. The app also features a clean Holo-inspired UI and allows for simple folder-based document organization, and is perfect for students, bloggers, and content creators.
Getting Down With Markdown
Markdown uses very simple syntax that you can learn here by trying it out for yourself and seeing the results. Once you’ve got the hang of it, you can type up your documents in Draft using Markdown or even type as usual and apply formatting using the on-screen Markdown toolbar. Once you’re done, you can save your file as a Markdown document or export it as HTML to paste into any webpage and have your formatted text display as you intended.
Writing With Draft
Draft is a joy to write with — the elegant interface lets you get to work quickly, and includes a Markdown toolbar that you can toggle on and off while you type. You can also choose between any of four light and dark color schemes to suit the lighting in your work environment and select a font from a concise list while editing. By default, your files are stored on your device’s local storage, but you can connect your Dropbox account to store everything in the cloud.
I prefer to use a Bluetooth keyboard with my tablet — doing so allows me to not only hide the on-screen keyboard but also launch Draft’s distraction-free fullscreen mode, which is perfect for when you need to buckle down and focus on your writing. Plus, you can name your files and organize them into folders, and find files by searching for words in the title or content.
Is Draft Worth the Price?
So here’s the thing: Draft is great for those who work with Markdown, or want to do so, in order to be able to create formatted documents that are ready to ship. The price isn’t too bad for a well-built app that you’ll use regularly to write with, but there isn’t much of a value-add over free options like Denote and MarkDrop, save for a better interface. If you like your text editors clean and hassle-free, give Draft a shot.
Don’t care for Markdown? Try Jacob Ras’ excellent free app Notes, that also syncs with Dropbox.