Blind Bargains

Write and Preview Markdown with ease with IAWriter


I a writer, from developer Information Architects GmbH, is a minimalistic markdown writer and editor.

from the Appstore:

iA Writer creates a clean, simple and distraction-free writing environment for when you really need to focus on your words. The New York Times iA Writer is an example of how powerful simplicity and accessibility can be. The Guardian iA Writer is all about textual production writing this phrase, this sentence, this word at this moment." ***** WIRED 4 x Best of App Store Winner

The Simple Writing App

iA Writer removes distractions. Giving you a calm, focused, writing space, so you can express yourself clearly.

Focus

Focus Mode dims everything but the current sentence or paragraph, helping you stay in the flow.

Start Don t worry about the format.

First, write in plain text. Then preview in HTML.

Organize

Search, sort, and quickly swap between documents from different clouds.

Customize

When you tap and hold a key in the command keyboard, you re given the chance to choose your own layout. Rearrange your keys, or pick new ones from the extensive list.

Search

You can open documents and launch frequent actions in no time with the new Quick Search. It lives in the keyboard so it s always close at hand.

Work

iA Writer includes an inverted light-on-dark-mode, perfect for working day and night.

Clean

Spot superfluous adjectives, weak verbs, repetitive nouns, false conjunctions and clean your text of the usual rumble.

Shape

Customize your templates and export to WordPress or Medium, HTML, Microsoft Word (.docx), or PDF.

100% Text

Embed links, pictures, tables and text files in plain text and see them in preview.

Get in Touch -

Visit ia.net/writer for more information - Visit ia.net/writer/support for support and feedback - Let us know what you think on Twitter @iAWriter
This is a feature-rich markdown editor. Unfortunately, several of the most interesting features of the app do not appear to work with VoiceOver at this time. I feel this app is still useful in some situations, and offers a few interesting things other text editors do not. However, there are a number of things which are not possible, making the $8.99 price tag slightly expensive.

walkthrough

launching the app

When first launching the app, you will be placed in a blank document, titled "Untitled." In the left hand corner of the screen, you'll see "iCloud back button", a heading with the title of the document, and then, in the right corner, the "preview" button. Files are stored in iCloud by default, and a new "IaWriter" folder is created.

Double tapping the preview button will not do anything at this time, because the document is blank. However, after typing, you will be able to preview your text. This sounds like a small thing, but this is one of the areas where this app really shines.
Because IAWriter is a markdown editor, you can easily insert links, headings, block quotes, and other common html formatting into your document, either with the markdown syntax or by using the built in commands keyboard, which intelligently inserts markdown syntax appropriately. For example, inserting a greater than symbol, the indication of a block quote in markdown, results in the app automatically adding the symbol to subsequent line breaks until a paragraph break is reached. This works whether you insert it with the smart keyboard, or type it in braille, on a bluetooth keyboard, using braille screen input, etc. What's more, unlike in voice dream writer's preview, all these elements are accessible via the voiceOver rotor if they are in the rotor. This makes IAWriter a very powerful text editor, particularly for those who are already fluent in markdown syntax.

Additionally, this is one of the only apps which lets you preview by paragraph as though you were reading a webpage. When preview is active, you can flick left or right through your document and hear each part of it read out on its own line. Frankly, this is something which shouldn't be a big deal, but very much is rare among the text editors I've reviewed, though Voice Dream Writer does have something similar.

Below the text area, and above the keyboard are the following:

  • search: allows you to search all possible actions that can be performed on a document.

  • Left and right arrows: This seems to scroll the document by character, though VoiceOver does not indicate what has been done or read the new focused character.

  • Dismiss Keyboard: Dismisses the keyboard.

  • Undo and Redo: undoes or redoes the previous editing change.

  • commands: brings up the special commands keyboard. This keyboard has options for inserting markdown syntax, arranged in a logical order. This keyboard respects the active iOS typing mode. So if touch typing is selected, all you need to do is lift your finger on the formatting you want to add. By default, the options are:

  • add content block

  • Headings 1-3

  • indent

  • outdent

  • move paragraph up

  • bold

  • italic

  • strike through

  • move paragraph down

  • delete forward

  • add table

  • list

  • ordered list

  • block quote

  • delete backward

  • toggle focus mode

  • add date

  • link

  • footnote

  • space

  • and return

As I mentioned, unfortunately, focus mode does not seem to work with VoiceOver at this time. I would love to see this change, as to my knowledge, none of the apps that offer focus mode as a feature implement it in such a way as to be accessible. I could see this being a very powerful feature for the visually impaired as well, and hope that this may eventually change.

The cleaning feature, mentioned in the app notes, which is supposed to help you edit your text, by drawing attention to overused words, phrases, and parts of speech, also does not seem to be accessible.
Additionally, this app does not seem to offer support for folders.
I have also noticed that VoiceOver is especially prone to crashing when editing text with IAWriter, though, at least for me, this is the only thing that can really be seen as a potential deal-breaker.

in summation

IAWriter is a feature-rich markdown editor that intelligently renders formatted markdown in seconds and allows easy distribution to a variety of blogging services and external locations. It offers unparalleled ability to look up unfamiliar markdown syntax and get an idea of how your rendered html will appear. It would be amazing for working on character sheets, blog articles, or anything else which might require the rapid ability to view and change information.
However it also lacks accessible support for many of its most interesting features, including language analysis and focus mode, and lacks support for folders entirely.
I think there are many situations where this app is very useful, and find that I often use it to write shorter articles. However I also believe the app could be made more useful still with the addition of language analysis, folders, focus mode, and, most of all, work on crashing with VoiceOver.
You can download IAWriter on the App Store here

Source: IAWriter on the App Store
Category: Articles

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Tangela Mahaffey is a barely reformed English Major currently residing in Colorado. She reads entirely too many fantasy books and takes almost nothing seriously, including herself. She loves technology, music, writing, puns, and cats. She can be reached on twitter @tmmahaff


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