Twenty Seventeen: A Beautiful Theme

I have long been looking for a nice, clean and simple WordPress theme and until recently it never occurred to me to try the default theme that ships with WordPress.

After a short 30 mins having a look at the theme and setting things up on my staging site I realised this was the theme I had been looking for on my personal site.

At the moment not a lot has been customised from the default out of the box theme. It is visually stunning, easy to read and beautiful in its simplicity – exactly what I wanted. Something I never noticed at first is how lightweight this theme is, on my server with WP Super Cache enabled this theme flies and even when logged in as admin (no caching) there is no noticeable difference in page load speeds.

There are a few things I want to change, I am not a fan of the chunky sidebar and will be pulling that in a little as well as huge space on the left of a page taken up by the page title. Apart from them little gripes I am liking this theme and look forward to what Automattic bring us for 2018.

IA Writer: Back Again

I’ve always been one for switching my writing application. Every time there is a new update I just have to give it a try and once again I am back to IA Writer.

I don’t know why I keep switching away, every time I come back I am just in awe of how beautiful this application is. I love writing in it and what more I look forward to the next piece of content I can create.

IA Writer is the only application I use in place of Microsoft Word when it comes down to writing business documents because its PDF exports are simply beautiful and are something I am proud to send a client.

IA Writer creates plain text files saved in iCloud with no need to worry or even think about them. Plain text can be opened on any computer or device in a myriad of applications. This openness is what allows me to switch apps so very often but why. This look at it – beauty.

The most recent update takes things a step further. You can now add images to your documents and these are synced to iCloud with your text files so you can finally work across devices without any issues.

You can add CSV files and a beautiful table will be presented in your preview an export.

IA Writer truly has stepped up the game for writing apps and is an all time great.

Blogo Revisited

Blogo recently had a large update that fixed a lot of bugs and moved to a freemium pricing model. With these changes I thought it was about time I revisited the application and updated my thoughts on it.

With the new update the basic blog post management and creation is free for 1 blog. The image editor is also free as well as the improved Markdown support and WYSIWYG editor. For £7.99 a month you can manage multiple blogs and manage and reply to comments.

The writing experience is not on the level of a writing application like IA Writer or even Desk PM but it is still a huge improvement over writing in WordPress itself.

Blogo Editor

I’ve been in search of improving my writing workflow on WordPress for some time and nothing seems to cover what I want. For the longest time I have been writing in IA Writer and then copy and pasting my work into WordPress for publishing – not ideal. Blogo seems to be going in the right direction for what I want from a writing/publishing application but it still has a long way to do. It works better then Desk PM for publishing to WordPress however it still lacks so much when it comes to the writing experience.

Desk PM

I’ve always been looking for a great writing app that allows me to produce the large amounts of content I create on a daily basis and easily publish this to any number of the WordPress sites I regually post to. Recently I’ve been using Draft as I needed something web based however now I am back in my office full time I want something for Mac.

Initally I went back to IA Writer but really missed not having direct posting to WordPress so started to look around. I found Desk PM – a writing app made for both writers and bloggers.

Ok so what is that exactly. Well imagine IA Writer with a few publishing options and the ability to preview the post on your website. It is a full Markdown editor as well as a WYSIWYG.

Desk PM

So where does it fall short. Well it doesn’t allow full blog management like Blogo and the Markdown syntax is not faded as it is with IA Writer or even Gust. All in all Desk PM offers a good writing expirence but doesn’t come close to dedicated writing apps.

I recently went back to using Gust on my personal site and will probably provide an updated review on the plugin in a couple of weeks time after I have really tested the latest version as it seems to of improved a lot in recent releases.

Draft Review

Recently I started to work more on a variety of devices including a Chromebook and this meant my Mac only writing applications needs to be cross platform. I started to look around and found something I liked in Draft. Draft is a simple, clean distraction free Markdown editor in your browser that also supports something none of my previous writing apps have – Direct posting to WordPress.

Yes that is right I can write on Draft in Markdown and with the click of a button have my work sent to my WordPress site as HTML and published for me. I have looked at applications that promised this type of stuff before however they all fall short as they try to do too many things.

I don’t want to manage my website from the application just write be content and post it. Now of cause Draft is not perfect, far from it. While it does allow me to write in Markdown and preview the output I would like it to fade the Markdown syntax as IA Writer and Ulysses do. This just makes the document easier to read in the editor.

Some other nice features would be sentences and paragraph highlighting as well as a typewriter mode that keeps the text I am writing in the middle of the screen. These are the only features I miss when moving over from IA Writer.

As a free web application Draft is a great solution and I would highly recommend it to anyone however as soon as I can be more stationary and get back to working from my office full time I have to say I will be back on IA Writer.