Feeds
90%
WriteRoom

WriteRoom

Oust Apple's overly-arty Notes app

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

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

The essential guide to IT transformation

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
So, Apple won't sell cheap kit? Prepare the iOS garden wall WRECKING BALL
It can throw the low cost race if it looks to the cloud
Samsung Gear S: Quick, LAUNCH IT – before Apple straps on iWatch
Full specs for wrist-mounted device here ... but who'll buy it?
Apple promises to lift Curse of the Drained iPhone 5 Battery
Have you tried turning it off and...? Never mind, here's a replacement
Now that's FIRE WIRE: HP recalls 6 MILLION burn-risk laptop cables
Right in the middle of Burning Mains Man week
HUGE iPAD? Maybe. HUGE ADVERTS? That's for SURE
Noo! Hand not big enough! Don't look at meee!
AMD unveils 'single purpose' graphics card for PC gamers and NO ONE else
Chip maker claims the Radeon R9 285 is 'best in its class'
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Advanced data protection for your virtualized environments
Find a natural fit for optimizing protection for the often resource-constrained data protection process found in virtual environments.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.