One of the most used apps that I have installed on my Mac is nvALT. There are a ton of features about it that any nerd out there can wield to display an awesome amount of power. However, what I use it for is as a “Finder” for my plain text files.
I keep all my plain text files in a Dropbox folder which all my Dropbox-powered apps point to. When I attempt to search for a document on my Mac, I open up nvALT and type in my search criteria. After nvALT searches both the title and the content for the search term, it displays all the matched notes — including Taskpaper documents — on the side. From there you can work on it within the app, preview the Markdown, or open it with another application.
Now while nvALT may not be in the App Store, the app I found to mimic this workflow is Notesy.
I stumbled upon Notesy about a year ago — but at that point my priorities were different. It was a great app, but I was looking for something else1. A little over a year later, I decided to find the app that would mimic my nvALT workflow on my iPhone.
Notesy does universal search wonderfully. I can type the same criteria that I would in nvALT and get the same results in Notesy. Unlike the app where I do most of my writing — Nebulous Notes — Notesy automatically downloads all the text files to your iOS device for fast searching. Nebulous Notes requires you to download the file manually.
Taskpaper, another favorite of mine, also has the capability of universal search. However there wasn’t a Markdown-preview functionality. Within Notesy, I can grab any file — either a txt, md, or even taskpaper extension —and preview the Markdown.
The only feature that is missing from my nvALT workflow is the “Edit with” menu option that allows me to edit the text in other applications. However with the way that the iOS file system creates copies and sends it to the app’s sandbox as opposed to a universal file system, this feature might actually be more trouble than its worth.
Now I am willing to bet there are other apps with universal search — such as Elements — however there are other factors that led me to choose Notesy as my iOS nvALT alternative.
“I honestly forgot what it was” ↩