“Maybe I’m using it wrong.”
That’s what I often said to myself when I tried to use Agile Tortoise’s Drafts for the iPhone. After seeing all the praise from the nerd community, I really felt that I was using it wrong and tried my damndest to like it. The app is a Swiss Army Knife for Markdown and plain text — I mean come on, who doesn’t like Swiss Army Knives? Unfortunately, I have to call it quits at some point.
I can’t tell you the number of drafts I’ve written about Drafts1. After seeing some of the tweets on Twitter about upcoming features, I decided that my opinion would change.
The update would come; I would download it with hope; my opinion remained the same. Drafts is a great app. It is quite a powerful app with many uses. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work with me.
Forced Dropbox Folder
While this is the smallest complaint I have against the app, it is one of great annoyance. I view Dropbox as my file system — to have an app forcefully add a folder in that system takes away the versatility and potential of an app. Sure, I can symlink the folder to cater to my needs, but that isn’t something that I wish to do. Apps like iA Writer which give me full access to my Dropbox folder and TaskPaper which allow me to choose which folder to sync to are much better solutions than the one that Agile Tortoise implemented into Drafts.
If there is one thing that turns me off about an app, its the lack of parity not only between OS X and iOS, but most importantly between the iPhone and the iPad. With the evolution of iOS devices, I have become reliant on the idea of having the ability to continue working where I left off no matter which device I pick up. Although I can begrudgingly run the iPhone app on my iPad in its emulated mode, my data is still proprietary to one device due to its lack of two-way syncing.
My biggest reason for Draft’s incompatibility in my system is the redundancy its extra functions provide. Let’s summarize what Draft’s is.
- Markdown editor with TextExpander support
- Compose Tweets
- Tweetbot handles this perfectly, even for storing drafts
- Compose Email (regular and Markdown)
- Mail.app and Sparrow handle this for me. I’m also pretty boring with emails and don’t do much formatting.
- Copy to clipboard
- Pastebot is much more robust
- Send to Tweetbot
- I can just open Tweetbot
- Add in OmniFocus ability
- OmniFocus Quick Inbox Item popup is just as fast
- Save to Dropbox
- See previous sections
In other words, Drafts doesn’t do anything that the apps that I have installed on my iPhone can’t do.
Lastly, the methodology that I perceive behind Drafts doesn’t sit well with me. I understand Drafts to be an app where you can do quick note taking — which is perfectly fine. However, I much rather prefer dumping quick notes into OmniFocus. My OmniFocus routine forces me to review my inbox twice a day. Any notes that end up in there, despite being a task or not, will be seen and can get sorted out from there. If I wanted to note the price of a product that I found in a store, I’ll dump it into OmniFocus. During my Inbox cleaning sessions, I can copy that note and place it where it belongs. Having to implement a routine to process my Drafts notes would be cumbersome and inefficient — especially if I puposely wanted to keep things in there (ie tweet drafts).
Notes are only useful if you remember what you took note of. For those notes that you might’ve forgotten about could possibly remain out of sight and grow stale unless you invoke a review process.
Unfortunately, my experience with Drafts didn’t live up to the hype that I’ve seen people talk about. While I certainly see the quality behind the app, its redundancy in function and having a better-to-me notetaking process largely contribute to its ineffectiveness in my system. While I stuck around waiting to see if the updates will improve its function, I’ve come to the realization that the aforementioned problems will probably never be addressed — unless the app transforms into something completely different which will nullify the point and function it currently provides to many satisfied users. It’s time for me to hit the “X” in the top left corner of the wiggling Drafts icon and let it go.
No pun intended ↩