I have been hunting hard for a good Markdown app and I think I’ve found the best. Here were my requirements:
Must be iOS 7 designed – I didn’t want to be using something that was full of bevelled edges and faux paper panels. I want my editor to be beautiful like the system I’m using. This requirement alone made it very easy to discount many editors. So many of them look like they haven’t been updated for years.
It must do one thing really well – write with Markdown – and not try to do everything. So many tools that I looked at tried to be everything a writer could ever need. With so many features and options, I felt like these apps were bloated and overloaded. I didn’t want that at all. This editor needed to be light and quick to open and type on. Evernote is normally my note taker of choice, so that gives you an idea of what I’m used to.
The typing font must not be ugly – by ugly I mean the Courier font. This is fine if I want to be a coder or write scripts all day, but I don’t. My usual font of choice is Times New Roman because this is the standard font which Agents and Publishers accept. Failing Times New Roman, I just didn’t want to see Courier on my screen – anything else (contemporary) would be fine.
The app must either have good support or regular updates. I don’t want to feel like the developer has created one thing and then moved on to the next project, leaving the app to grow old and die. Therefore, new releases are vital.
Good feedback or lots of promise. Many apps I looked at has lots and lots of reviews, and I read them! Many apps started off well, but then as iOS 7 came along, some of the best apps appeared to struggle to please other buyers. Their feedback was negative and somewhat miffed at the loss of a good app. Failing good feedback, the app should be free and/or have lots of potential.
The app should have export options. Writing on an iPad is never where my words stay – and I don’t always want to publish it somewhere. Therefore, exporting to Dropbox is a must, or Evernote, or Google Drive (in that order). I don’t need a million options, just the basics.
So that is an extensive list! Is it possible one app could deliver all that? Well it appears so. Whilst I was browsing the App Store under the ‘markdown’ search term, I flicked the ‘sort by’ setting over to ‘most recent’ and it was here that I found InkMark.
InkMark is clean to view (iOS7 designed), does Markdown writing really well, the font isn’t courier (it isn’t Times either, but no matter), it appears to be well supported, there is no feedback yet but lots of promise, and finally, it has dropbox support.
All this means it’s pretty damn good.
The negatives? It’s quite pricey. It was free to ‘buy’ initially, and then I discovered it was £3.99 a year to store more than 3 files at a time, plus a number of other features become available in the settings. This was a great strategy for app discovery, because everyone loves a good app for free (Evernote), and I did feel cheated somewhat at the hidden cost for storing more files, however, after thinking about it, I do want more updates and I do believe developers should get paid for good apps. If this business model keeps everyone happy and the updates coming, then it’s all good with me.
The thing I like most about InkMark is the live Markdown preview panel – I don’t need it, but I love the feature. It’s easy to swipe it away from view, and pull it back again if I want to see my formatted version, and this feature was a deal breaker for me. I should add this to the requirements list, because I discounted many apps which didn’t have it.
So, I bought the app, then found a bug which meant it didn’t respond well with my bluetooth keyboard. A quick click about in the settings and I turned off the Keyboard Experience (or whatever it was), then, bingo, my problem was solved. The devs say a new update is in the process, so that should be sorted soon, I hope. So with this sorted and the devs responding to my cries for help, I dropped the £3.99 per year to ‘upgrade’.
Want to take a look at it in the App Store? Here’s the link.
Fingers crossed this was a good move, and it gets supported. I’ve got a good feeling about this app. More news as I have it.