Feeds
90%
WriteRoom

WriteRoom

Oust Apple's overly-arty Notes app

Business security measures using SSL

iPhone App Review Yes, the iPhone has its Notes app, but with its notepad-lookalike graphics and mock handwriting font - which you can't easily change - it was always more a showcase for the Apple graphic design team's talents than a tool you'd want to use.

It has one advantage, though: it's just about text. It's not concerned with presentation or formatting, tables of contents or making sure your boss doesn't realise you can't spell - it's just for jotting.

WriteRoom

WriteRoom: simple text editing with no distracting UI

WriteRoom attempts to right Apple's note-writing wrongs by giving writers a more utilitarian user interface that allows you to focus entirely on what you're writing not what it's being written on, or how.

Tap a document's name to open it, or hit the + button to create a new file, and you get a plain page ready for writing. No lines, no double-ruled margin, no artful torn-out-page-stubs graphic. Use the iPhone's 'part two fingers' gesture and even what little UI there is vanishes to leave you with a literally blank page.

A tap brings up the keyboard. Rotate the phone to swap orientation - the keyboard works on both portrait and landscape - and type away.

WriteRoom WriteRoom

Concessions to word processor users: a word count and font selection

Two-thumb typing in landscape mode isn't actually all that bad, though the iPhone's touch keyboard is a limiting factor. Pinch your fingers on the screen to get back the other controls and you can call up a word count or pass the document to the Mail program.

That's not the only way you can pass on what you've written. WriteRoom has a built in file sync facility, but only with developer Hog Bay Software's own, lightweight web-based service. It looks like Mac OS 6, long time Apple owners will be surprised to see. It's based on open source Google technology so it could well be possible to build your own, private file sync and document editing server.

Files on the device can also be accessed over a local wireless network, but Hog Bay admits it's weak on security: files can be accessed by any machine on the network provided it can sniff out the IP address or have a Bonjour-compatible browser.

But, as with WriteRoom itself, simplicity is the name of the game here. You can change the font, but it'll be applied to all documents throughout.

WriteRoom WriteRoom

Access files over Wi-Fi, or email them

Folk who need the features a word processor provides will be disappointed. But if you just want a place to enter text - thoughts, plots for novels, iPhone app reviews even - when you're out and about, WriteRoom is a good place to start. Sync'd files can always be subsequently cut'n'pasted into a word processor and tarted up then.

Incidentally, WriteRoom is compatible with another app, TextExpander, from developer SmileOnMyMac, which substitutes full sentences from user-chosen abbreviations in a whole range of iPhone apps.

Verdict

As simple a text editor it gets without the fripperies Apple's own Notes, with added online document synchronisation and access over Wi-Fi. And it's cheap as chips too. ®

Compatible with iPhone OS 3.0
Tested on an iPhone 3GS

New hybrid storage solutions

90%
WriteRoom

WriteRoom

A fine, low-cost tool for jotting down everything from thoughts to that novel you always know you had in you.
Price: £1.19 RRP

More from The Register

next story
Half a BILLION in the making: Bungie's Destiny reviewed
It feels very familiar - but it's still good
Apple's big bang: iPhone 6, ANOTHER iPhone 6 Plus and WATCH OUT
Let's >sigh< see what Cupertino has been up to for the past year
Huawei ditches new Windows Phone mobe plans, blames poor sales
Giganto mobe firm slams door shut on Microsoft. OH DEAR
A SCORCHIO fatboy SSD: Samsung SSD850 PRO 3D V-NAND
4Gb/s speeds on a consumer drive, anyone?
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Get your Indian Landfill Android One handsets - they're only SIXTY QUID
Cheap and deafening mobes for the subcontinental masses
Apple's SNEAKY plan: COPY ANDROID. Hello iPhone 6, Watch
Sizes, prices and all – but not for the wrist-o-puter
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.