Researching and writing blogposts is time-consuming, eating into our art-making. A faster, efficient workflow with Notebooks liberates time for making art.
Criteria for a Great Writing App
Research, File, Organise - Images Included!
- a fully functional iPad app - where I do most of my writing (less aggravation of my repetitive strain injury).
- a customisable iPad keyboard - to speed up my typing.
- an iPhone app - for when I get a sudden insight to add to a current piece.
- cloud back up - so my hard work is safe (preferably Dropbox for ease of access on any device anywhere).
- a clean interface with a full screen, no distractions option for focussed writing.
- a Mac desktop application so I can cut and paste from there into my blog, newsletter and other programs.
- Infinite hierarchy of notebooks - allow you to organise your information in the most intuitive way for you: create notebooks (folders) for different research topics, drafts, ideas, or even your entire blogging year plan. Or create a blogging template with different documents for different sections within your post.
- Full move and reorganise features on the iPad and not just on the desktop (or in only in Dropbox) makes mobile working extra-productive. Think coffee shop writing!
- Create and visit hyperlinks without leaving the app - great for for storing relevant web research and checking all your blogpost hyperlinks are working.
- Import images - collect images for your blogpost whether from your camera roll, hard-drive or on the net. (For the last feature, click in the image, copy, then open new doc from clipboard.)
- Import videos and add voice memos - great for impromptu recordings of your creative process and even scribble a basic sketch.
As I mentioned, all your files can be accessed directly through Dropbox (or WebDav) making it easy to import collected components into your blogpost application when you're on your desktop.
Built-in Task Manager
without leaving the Notebooks app
You can tell Notebooks to automatically extract tasks from your documents or convert a document into a task list as well as turn a sketch, PDF or voice memo into a single task. Nested books can even be turned into hierarchical task lists.
Notebooks also gives you the possibility of assigning context (@)tags to your tasks and documents or, if you just want something simple and visual, assign a coloured label to your document, although not to a folder as yet. The task functions also integrate with an-ever growing list of to-do apps including Things and 2Do.
No App is Perfect but Notebooks Comes Close
- Spellcheck is not supported in Formatted documents on the iPad. The developer tells me that this problem arose with iOS7 and is on their to do list to fix. For blogging purposes this isn't really an issue as it is best to write in plain text to avoid conflicts when you import into your blogging software. Spellcheck works fine in plain text on iPad and in all document types on the desktop.
- There is a bug connected with deleting empty folders - they reappear again! Again the developer is aware of this and tells me that forthcoming implementation of a new sync method should do away with this problem. Until it's fixed there's a workaround here.
- Dropbox sync can be a bit unstable at times, causing the creation of duplicate files rather than loss of data. Again, a fix is in the pipeline with the next major update to include "full automatic background sync" for Dropbox.
Scoop on Forthcoming Features for Notebooks
- Notebooks will be integrating PDF annotation as an in-app purchase. You can already store and read PDFs, but this new feature will enable you to search, annotate and highlight PDFs as well as set bookmarks, and browse pages. This will make it possible to do even more of your blogging research within the app and make Notebooks a serious contender for Goodreader's crown. UPDATE MAY 2015 - This feature is now available and it is very lovely!
- Notebooks will also be implementing support for the iOS 8 'Today' extensions which will mean further enhancing its task-management capability by integrating it into the notifications menu.
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