Another revision after playing around more. I'm about to start a huge project, so I want the workflow to be as right as possible before I start because changing things around later might be time consuming.
- the nicest environment to write in from my personal point of view. But hit a clunk when I saw it didn't treat HTML comments as comments and just exported them into Word. Ulysses has similar issues apparently, and according to David Hewson also breaks front matter in external files. idk if IW does that, but it has made me wary about relying on it - there's already the issues with idiosyncratic markdown and useful features being in the database. I don't believe it plays as nicely with other programs as I need.iA Writer
- a nice enough writing environment, but it's pretty hardline and rigid. Works okay with other programs. No WYSIWYG mode. Available on all platforms.Word
- it's not a lightweight text entry program, but it is to my mind much more useable than it used to be for writing, and no need to look at previews to estimate how a document will look in Word. Definitely the one to use once I have finished first draft, and not impossible before that. And, of coure, I could
use Wordpad as my lightweight data entry program, excepting the lack of dark mode
. But then there are the other lighter word processors - and Atlantis
does have many writer oriented features.
Pure Writer (Android) - this is my favourite writing program on Android. I may need to remember to change the default setting to txt instead of md.
One of the big issues with this project is that I want a clear idea of the whitespace on pages as I am writing, and markdown is particularly poor for this. Specifically I need to see paragraph indents as I write and this requires new lines being paragraphs.
I tried looking at other programs like Typora (probably not out of it, though it has no specifically useful features), and I know Typora can do this. But when I pasted example markdown text, it didn't pick up all the paragraphs that needed indenting. It did pick the missing ones as lines, which is more that iA Writer did. Markdown quirks and incompatibilities are extraordinarily irritating. I don't know about it keeping things safe for the long-term, because it's not great at passing them from one program to another. For a project his size, I need everything to run predicably and reliably.Database or files?
Strong preference for files. Willing to accept database for a given period. But not minded to trust IW's database for this project. I'm not familiar enough with it, I've seen a few glitches in its interactions with other programs and its Ulysses syntax is eccentric. Interoperability is not a strength of databases.Markdown or Rich Text?
This wasn't a question until recently - it was markdown of course. But markdown's not very interoperable, as I'm finding. You can shift from one program to another simply enough - it's just a few changes, and all is done - but constant switching between one program and another is a very different beast. `I'd assumed that I would settle on one program to use, and I very nearly did - more than once, but always there were little glitches - like the paragraph indent of iAW appearing only in the preview pane (in Pure Writer, they appear in the edit pane, but not in the preview pane, which strikes me as the more correct behaviour; I don't need indents exported, other programs will have their own settings). Minor but it will always niggle.
I haven't decided, but I'm starting to veer towards rich text. I know that works.One long file or many short?
I haven't decided this. It will depend on how well it works. OPML export from Workflowy isn't really a constraintas it can be exported in chunks, and it is easy to combine or split files by heading.
I'll start long and go from there.
If I go initial markdown, then I'll use HTML comments to contain section information from Workflowy.Reflection on journey, Obsidian and all.
In practice, even if I go to rich text for this project, that's not a change of direction. This is just for writing, which I've not been examining in detail. I'd hoped Obsidian would become a good program for writing, but it has gone in the other direction and is increasingly becoming a programmers' (and students) program. I don't trust IW sufficiently, and Ulysses is Mac only. All other markdown editors tick some boxes, but not enough, and while they will all work on the same file, they don't always agree on the syntax. I might still go that way but I'm starting to feel not. I'm likely to go txt and docx. Which is where I have before, from time to time.
For research now, notes etc, it is wikilinks all the way and I'm agnostic whether that's with Workflowy or Obsidian or another PKM app, Not many focus on files unfortunately, so I will have to make the best of what I can find. But the important thing is the files and the folder structure. Or so I tell myself.
And after all that humming and hawing, and playing with the programs again, I'm going to go with Inspire Writer
for the writing. The reason is simply that I know I will write more words using it than any alternative. And get them in the right order easier. I'll mitigate the risks of the database (I will
use the database rather than external files) with daily exports to md and docx. It's an odd thing, I sit down with it and want to write; I sit down with the others and there are endless temptations to fiddle with the program.
Update - Now feels even odder. I've set Atlantis up to imitate, as best I can, the display settings in IW, using the same font/spacing etc. But it is still not quite the same. Feels heavier and not as easy to read. Nevertheless I've managed to get Atlantis into contender territory.And I'd forgotten Atlantis' blazing speed; other programs struggle to match it, depite being plaintext only: Atlantis is faster loading and working with the docx version of a document than they are with the markdown version. (tested with War and Peace)..