There’s so many new focused writing apps for the web this year, it’s hard to keep track of them all. But they almost all have one thing in common: they require you to use Markdown for formatting. You could just write in plain text, but if you want italics or bold text, or just want to add a list or a link, you’ll have to use Markdown. It’s not hard to use, per se, but not everyone loves typing extra characters for formatting. That’s why there’s still the tried and true rich text formatting like you’d see in Word, Pages, and even the Gmail editor. It’s just not something most focused writing apps use these days.
If you love rich text editing, and still love focused writing apps without all the clutter and nonsense, you’re in for a treat. The brand-new drft is just what you’ve been waiting for, and we’ve got exclusive invites for our readers.
Rich Text Writing Doesn’t Have to be Ugly
drft is everything you’d expect from a modern writing web app. It’s got a clean interface — one that’s reminiscent of a Windows 8 app in many ways, but could equally be mistaken for an iOS 7 app. There’s no toolbars, no clutter. Just a beautifully clean writing space with your words set in the beautiful Lato typeface. Aside from the toolbar at the top, there’s a faint autosave indicator to let you know how recently your writing has been backed up, and an equally faint word/character counter underneath three basic buttons: a night mode trigger to switch the UI to a dark scheme, as well as a save and delete button.
And then, there’s the text formatting. Select the text you want to format, and you’ll see a Byword-style popover that lets add bold or italics formatting, set text as an H1 or H2 title or a quote, or add a link. Alternately, you could just use standard keyboard shortcuts to add formatting as you’d expect. Then, you’ll be able to add outlines just by typing a dash or a number followed by a period, and the list will continue automatically until you hit return twice. It’s the simple and easy rich text formatting you’d expect.
Then, there’s a library of everything you’ve written under the Saved link in the header, where you can reopen anything you’ve written or share it with a unique URL. That gives you an easy and basic way to publish formatted text online, without having to use any markup — HTML or markdown. There’s also settings to pick an editor UI color — again, Windows 8 style — and that’s it.
It’s not much, but that’s the point. It’s a focused writing app for everyone who likes rich text formatting, and that’s something the web’s been missing.
Go Try it Out!
If all the Markdown powered writing apps we’ve featured this year haven’t appealed to you, but you’ve still wanted a simpler writing app, drft is the app for you. It’s beautifully clean, works surprisingly nicely, and makes it easy to save and share basic notes online without hassle — and without Markdown. It’s not full-featured yet: there’s no search across documents, and no options to download your notes or sync them, say, to Dropbox or Evernote. We’d hope to see extras like that added soon, but for now, it’s the simplest rich text notes app on the web. And that’s quite a nice thing to have.
drft is invite-only for now, but we’ve got invites for our AppStorm readers. Just signup for drft at http://drft.it/s/appstorm, and you can get your own free account today and start doing your rich text writing online.