Apropos of nothing, I am writing this in Writer Pro. I love the original iA Writer. I have used it more or less since it originally launched in the AppStore. I bought Writer Pro the moment it came out. I sincerely felt I didn’t need to wait for any reviews. And now I have been using Writer Pro since its launch: it has replaced the original Writer for me.
This switch only worked because I was already syncing documents between my iPad, iPhone and Mac using iCloud. If I was using Dropbox with iA Writer this upgrade would have been a big step backwards: Writer Pro doesn’t work with Dropbox at all. I understand Dropbox syncing is “coming soon” so this may quickly be a moot point. One feature I sorely miss is being able to quickly copy the text of your document via the share menu. The choices currently available are much more limited. Beyond that Writer Pro is an improvement to the original in almost every way. The question is how much of an improvement.
The first and most obvious change is the addition of a writing workflow. Your text can move between 4 states: note, write, edit, read. The various workflows change the font and colour scheme of what you are working on. They help demarcate how you think about your writing, but that’s really it. Gushing reviews of this feature in particular frustrate me. I am left feeling like either I am a moron for not “getting it”, or there is some amount of “the emperors new clothes” going on here. I will have to revisit my thoughts on this topic after further using the application, but there needs to be more here before we can call this some sort of revolution in writing.
The new syntax mode feature is quite neat, something I didn’t know I wanted. With a toggle Writer Pro will highlight all the adverbs in your writing. Or all your prepositions, conjunctions, verbs, nouns, and adjectives. There former focus mode is now another type of syntax highlighting. I wish the applications documentation or FAQ better explained how to use the various highlighting modes effectively. What else should I be looking for besides repetition or poor word choice?
The rest of Writer Pro is much the same as iA Writer, with subtle improvements that no doubt took much time and a serious attention to detail. This is what makes the application worth using. Like the original, Writer is beautiful. It is unrivaled when it comes to typography. The new fonts for the notes mode and the editing / reading mode are excellent choices. Again, I didn’t know I wanted the font I use when editing text to be different than the one I use while writing.
I really like Writer Pro. It shows so much promise. I have no regrets about buying it. $40 ($20 for the Mac app and $20 for the iOS app) is far from a steep price to pay for something I use everyday. There seems to be a lot of hype around this product right now, much of it coming from the team behind the product. Initial early reviews also feel needlessly gushing, glossing over the obvious limits to the application. Reviews in the AppStore are currently quite poor, I suspect because of how the application was originally presented. Still, there is nothing I enjoy writing in more than Writer Pro.