Posts tagged with "text editor"

Editorial 1.2 Brings Powerful New Text Editing Features, More iOS Automation

If I had to pick one iOS app I couldn't live without, that would be Editorial.

Developed by Berlin-based Ole Zorn, Editorial was the app that reinvented text automation in 2013 and that pushed me to start working exclusively from my iPad. Editorial is a powerful Markdown text editor that combines visual Automator-like actions with a web browser, text snippets, Python scripts, and URL schemes to supercharge text editing on iOS with the power of automation. I spend most of my days writing and researching in Editorial, and my workflow depends on this app.

Editorial also has a slow release cycle. Zorn likes to take his time with updates that contain hundreds of changes: Editorial 1.1, released in May 2014, brought an iPhone version and custom interfaces, making Editorial feel like an entirely new app. The same is happening today with Editorial 1.2, which adds support for the latest iPhones, iOS 8 integration, custom templates, browser tabs, folding, and much more.

Editorial 1.2 with iOS 8 support is launching right after Apple's announcement of iOS 9, but the wait has been worth it. The new version builds upon the excellent foundation of Editorial 1.1, and the enhancements it brings vastly improve the app for users who rely on its automation features and Python interpreter.

Rather than covering every single change, I'll focus on the 10 new features that have most impacted the way I get work done with Editorial on a daily basis.

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Part of Speech Highlighting in Editorial

Editorial developer Ole Zorn has created a workflow showing how the new Editorial can tag parts of speech in text to highlight lexical classes like nouns, verbs, adjectives, and more.

The linguistictagger module is a new Python addition in Editorial 1.1 and it's reminiscent of the part of speech highlighting found in apps like Phraseology and Writer Pro. In Editorial, you won't get any editing features, but the basic syntax highlighting will still come in handy to understand how you write when reading a document in the Syntax preview.

Also from Zorn, check out two UI workflows to display a sidebar for Wikipedia and a Markdown preview while writing in the text editor.


Nebulous Notes Updated for iOS 7

Nebulous Notes, a Dropbox-enabled text editor with a macro system, has been updated for iOS 7 with a design refresh and fixes for iOS 7.1 (via Macdrifter).

Nebulous Notes is the app that kickstarted my interest in automating tasks on iOS thanks to its macros, and while I've switched to Editorial for my daily writing, Nebulous Notes is still a great choice on the iPhone. Combined with Byword for publishing, Nebulous Notes lets you speed up writing on the iPhone to assemble posts on the go; the macros that I published in October 2012 still work today, and some additions to the macro system were brought with version 6.1 released in November 2012.

Nebulous Notes is available at $4.99 on the App Store.


Matching URLs In Editorial with John Gruber’s Regex Pattern

Editorial for iPad

Editorial for iPad

When I'm writing in Editorial, I often need to make sure I'm dealing with a valid URL in the system clipboard, the document editor, or in a variable. To do so, I've long employed John Gruber's liberal, accurate regex pattern for matching URLs, which has reliably allowed me to confirm that a workflow is about to handle a proper URL rather than a string of text that contains something else. Gruber recently improved the regex pattern again, and that seemed like a good opportunity to briefly detail how I've integrated his pattern in my workflows.

The key to match URLs and provide error-handling features in Editorial is to use a conditional block based on a regular expression pattern. Editorial comes with this functionality built-in: given a regex pattern, a block of actions can be run only if a value (plain text or variable) matches the pattern. In this way, you can run a set of actions if you have a URL, and another set if you don't have a valid URL.

I've created a simple workflow that can be installed and reused as a preset in other workflows. The workflow, called Match and Open URL, consists of a single If block that checks for a URL contained in the clipboard. If you have a URL that matches Gruber's pattern, the URL will be extracted from the clipboard and launched in the browser; if you don't have a URL…it's up to you to provide an alternative.

Editorial makes it extremely easy to build this kind of advanced workflow with just a few built-in actions. Gruber's single-line version of the regex pattern can be pasted in Editorial's If action with no modifications; inside the If block, the text in the clipboard is passed to a Find action that extracts a URL using the same, untouched single-line regex pattern. The extracted URL is opened in the browser and a HUD alert is displayed.

Combining Gruber's regex pattern and Editorial's workflow system can yield interesting results. You could use a variable instead of the system clipboard to match URLs; you could implement the pattern in a Repeat block that performs a set of actions for every matched URL found in the target text; instead of having my workflow inside an If block, you could match a URL among other bits of text, extract it, and do something with it. Editorial is a text automation playground and your imagination's the limit.

You can download the workflow on Editorial Workflows' website, and check out John Gruber's regex pattern here.

Note: The screenshot above shows a beta version of Editorial, currently in testing.

TextTool: Text Manipulation On iOS



It used to be that, to do nerd stuff, you had to get a Mac or PC. As iOS progressed over the years, however, developers saw that users were spending a lot of time trying to do work on their iPhones and iPads, and started building utilities that packed powerful functionalities in what looked like “just an app”. We got Drafts and Launch Center Pro, calendar apps and password managers just as powerful as their desktop counterparts, and, of course, apps to script iOS and a text editor with its own workflow system. To sum up: iOS is still maturing, but there's no shortage of nerdy apps and utilities at this point.

iOS is great for quick text entry thanks to the portability of an iPhone or iPad mini, but doing advanced text manipulation is a bit tricky unless you want to get dirty with Editorial and Python scripts. On the Mac, it's easy to fire up Automator and create a workflow that takes a line of text and turns it Into Title Case or UPPERCASE; even going the extra mile and building services to take selected text and indent it or swap spaces with tabs takes a few minutes, but it's doable with a basic knowledge of built-in OS X tools. On iOS? There's no Automator (yet?), so, until today, if you wanted to do automated text transformations you'd have to get Editorial and Pythonista or use some of Launch Center Pro's (limited) text filters.

Craig Pearlman noticed this problem and built TextTool, a $4.99 Universal app that comes with 28 built-in text transformations that you can use inside the app's text editor or chain to other iOS apps with URL schemes and workflows.

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First Look at Editorial 1.1

Ole Zorn:

Editorial 1.1 will require iOS 7. I know that some of you won't like this, but sooner or later, it's inevitable, and all iPad models that run iOS 6 also support iOS 7, so this doesn't mean leaving any older devices behind. iOS 7 is so different from its predecessor that it's a lot more difficult to support older versions than it was with previous upgrades.

I'm especially a fan of the last point in the "New Features" list. Editorial's looking good on iOS 7.


Review: Tyype HD for iPad

Text editors on iOS are always difficult to review. More or less everyone who writes on a computer or other digital device has a favorite mobile and desktop text editor, and is accustomed to the workflows connected to it. To give an example, I am totally in love with iA Writer. Its easy iCloud sync options, readable typography, and Focus Mode fit my needs. I don't need Markdown, lots of different fonts, or an extensive amount of settings. I just want to write, and with iA writer I found the perfect, distraction-free environment to do so.

However, when I recently discovered Tyype, a new iOS text editor by Polish app development company Appvetica (who also developed apps like QRSight, an OS X QR code scanner), I got curious. Their clean, minimalist website and product video promise a text editor with easy text navigation, selection, and copying using custom gestures. Its interface seemed easy to understand, and the icon looks gorgeous. So I went ahead, downloaded Tyype HD for the iPad (which I'll refer to as "Tyype") and starting writing with it. Unfortunately, I have to say that Tyype does not work as great as it is shown in the demo video on the app's website. But it's certainly not a bad app either. Read more