I used to be a committed WYSIWYG kind of guy, back in the day (roughly a year or two ago, which is a really long time on the Web). Lately I find myself looking for the leanest applications to do much of my work. I have this craving for a text editor that I can use to just type my text without getting too bogged down in more involved word processors that take more than 12.5 seconds to load. The catch, of course, is that much of my writing these days requires the formatting options typically found in Microsoft Word or Apple’s Pages. But when I am not working as a lawyer I seek out the uncomplicated text editor interfaces to do my work. A good example of this is my blog editor, MarsEdit, which I have been using for a couple months now. MarsEdit doesn’t have much of a WYSIWYG interface and when I insert html code, it is right here in my text as if I were coding it all myself and that is ok with me. The application is pretty quick to load and it does what I need it to do pretty well.
Another thing I have been looking for in the last day or so is a similarly lean and yet effective task management tool. I have been looking at three options. The first is OmniOutliner Pro with the kGTD scripts installed. The second is Circus Ponies’ Notebook and the last is an upcoming release by the OmniGroup called OmniFocus (which I believe is intended to supersede the OmniOutliner Pro + kGTD combo). I have licensed copies of OmniOutliner (the standard version) and Notebook and of the two, Notebook will probably do what I want it to do (it will tie in with iCal to help me manage my tasks and has dedicated to-do templates) but even Notebook feels a little too clunky. I really like the OmniGroup product range because the interface is clean and uncluttered and that really appeals to me lately.
Maybe this is a sign that I am getting older. I have even been scanning the Web for a better text editor. You know, one that helps me write in plain text but somehow better. I really didn’t expect to find that the more advanced text editors would cost so much though. One of the more popular text editors, BBEdit costs a whopping $125. Wow! I think I will stick to what I have already. One item I bought and which is worth the $29.95 price tag is TextExpander from SmileOnMyMac. TextExpander is a find/replace tool that works with just about any text input app on a Mac and which uses short codes to insert plain and rich text combinations. If you work in plain text or just write a lot and find yourself using the same phrases or codes over and over then take a look at this item. The html short codes alone make this worthwhile!
So what do you use to do your work each day? Are you a Microsoft Office user or do you, like me, prefer to use the simpler apps? What is your text editor/task manager of choice?