I like to think that if only I find The Perfect Text Editor I will somehow write better and more often. Obviously this is only a tactic I use to delay actually writing anything, but I did come across something that might actually help. Draft is a writing app being developed by one guy, Nate Kontny, that has a ton of nifty features, one of its best being a version control system that allows you to send a draft to other people and accept or reject any changes they suggest. It also has a minamilistic iA Writer type interface, which focuses on the actual writing and nothing more.
One of my most favorite features that I have just discovered, though, is that it allows publishing any Draft document to any arbitrary WebHook. Which basically means I can click a button in the interface and that will send a POST request to a URL I specify with all of the data for my Draft document in JSON format. I can just write a bit of code to parse that data and then I instantly have a better editor for my blog.
It was really easy to do too. For this Django website, all it took was adding a view that parsed a JSON object and made a blog entry out of it. You can read the documentation for more info on how to make a WebHook for Draft.
Nate has also made a lot of other neat features, like a Chrome extension that turns any textarea on the web into a Draft document. Read about some of the other features in the Lifehacker article. The app is still in development and new features are being added constantly.
I think the take-away here is that the Big Guys, with apps like Google Drive or Evernote, don’t always have the best solutions. I tried hacking Google Drive into a more immersive writing experience with templates and so on, but nothing came close to the experience of Draft, which was exactly what I wanted to begin with. It’s a wonder that more people don’t know about Draft, but I guess that’s part of the magic. There’s a real person, an innovative and driven hacker, behind the product who might actually listen to what I have to say.
Now excuse me while I go waste more time scouring the web for more obscure but brilliant apps.