As a blogger, I have been using a lot of online writing software for the last 4 years. Although I have been using Simplenote until recently, I have always been looking for better alternatives. This review is about new online software called TextDrop that I recently came across.
Before I review TextDrop, I need to share the two most desirable features that I expect from good online writing software.
First a Quick and seamless sync with Dropbox.
Dropbox, a wonderful cloud service for file syncing, is at the center of all my writing projects. All my blog posts, notes, and book plans are stored in Dropbox. therefore any useful online writing software must have the ability to sync with Dropbox folders.
Second, full screen mode for fewer distractions.
I am used to using full screen mode in software like Writerom, iA Writer, and Scrivener. A clean blank screen with no menus or other windows helps me focus on writing.
Among many web-based writing programs, Simplenote has been my choice primarily because of its excellent syncing with Dropbox. Now I have been using the software for over 2 years.
However, Simplenote did not fully meet my requirements, namely the two features mentioned above. Although it syncs with Dropbox, Simplenote can only access one Dropbox folder that you must designate in your settings. Since I have a lot of text files in different Dropbox folders, I am seriously limited in terms of choosing which files to work on when using Simplenote. Also, it does not have full screen mode. There is simply no way to hide the left panel that contains the list of documents.
Therefore, I have been looking for an online writing program that can offer access to all Dropbox folders and full screen editing mode. And I found a solution in brilliant software called TextDrop.
Main characteristics of TextDrop I find the following very useful.
First, can access and sync with all Dropbox folders.
The left pane of TextDrop seeds a list of documents. You can move between the top folders and subfolders easily because the ignition works like Windows Explorer or Mac Finder. Synchronization between TextDrop and Dropbox is fast and reliable. If you are not sure which copy to use between TextDrop and Dropbox, the software asks you to make your choice, which is a very good way to avoid data loss.
Second, TextDrop has full screen editing mode.
TextDrop’s full-screen mode isn’t as good as those of distraction-free writing software like Writeroom or Writemonkey. While this software mainly uses black and green background fonts as the default theme, TextDrop only offers white screen and black font. But it can still be used. You can hide the left panel by dragging it to the left to have a full screen editing mode. If you are using Windows, you can also hide all the top menus by pressing the F11 key of the browser.
Third, it has a simple design with minimal options.
The TextDrop edit screen has no settings to change or enlarge fonts. Actually, there is nothing to do with text formatting with this software. The only options available are to share documents using Dropbox and publish to a Dropbox public folder. In the past, this would have been considered incomplete for a program. However, these days, with many minimalist writing software like iA Writer and OMM Writer barely having any options, this seems more like a better move made by the developer to avoid the distraction of the writer. By the way, if you need larger fonts, you can have them using the built-in keystroke in your browser. In my case, I just enlarge the characters using Control + Mouse Up Scroll in my Chrome browser.
Fourth, Texdrop has powerful search functions with Omnibar.
TextDrop uses Omnibar located at the top to create and retrieve files. What this omnibar does can best be explained by saying that it works like the top bar in Notational velocity, the famous minimal text editor for Mac. If you type certain words, the following list shows documents that contain the same words. Creating a new document is easy. Type certain words and hit Enter key, then you will have a new blank document.
Fifth, Real-time preview of the rebate available.
TextDrop supports real-time markdown preview. To the right of the edit screen, you have another window. This is a preview of the sale. All sale symbols are displayed as real-time formatted text. If you use Markdown frequently, this will be very useful.
Although TextDrop is good software as it is now, there are I would like to see some improvement.
First, the word count necessary. Word count is one of the most important characteristics for writing software. Even minimalist software like iA writer has word counts.
Second, additional topics for the screen will be welcome. The edit screen could look better and be more useful if some themes are added, such as black background and green fonts, as used in other distraction-free software.
Third, ability to create or delete folders necessary. Currently, TextDrop can only create and delete documents. You cannot do anything with the folders.
While it lacks some features, TextDrop is great at the main tasks that web-based writing software should perform, such as fast cloud syncing and easy writing. I highly recommend TextDrop for those looking for a good online writing tool.