Writing has become harder for me over time, evidenced by the dropping frequency of posting here over the last few years. Every now and then I resolve to fix the situation, which usually results in nothing more than a short-lived spurt of words. I think the only strategy that has remotely been successful is my decision to write reviews about the books that I read here.
As time has passed, I see an increasing need to reduce distractions while writing. At one point, I would happily compose a post in the Blogger or WordPress native web interface. For the past year or two, however, I’ve noticed that I could only write in a plain text editing tool with no interface clutter, like good old Notepad.
Recently, I started using Writeroom (or its equivalent, Darkroom on Windows) for writing. A full-screen text-only editor suddenly made a lot of sense. I was even more excited when I found out about textarea, a really clean writeroom-like interface on the web. It’s a basic HTML/js file that I thought was the perfect interface for writing. Unfortunately, it was client-side only.
Thankfully, I had a week of unemployment between jobs, so I wrote a web app that adds a back-end to the textarea interface. It’s at http://write-only.appspot.com and I’m using it to write this very post. It’s open to anyone: you’ll need a google account to sign in, since I used Google’s App Engine for making it.
It’s striking how much easier web programming has become. The last time I did any of this stuff was during my graduate school days, and then I was just interested in getting some user input over the web to use as parameters for a long computation on the back-end. I could’ve nominated my design for the worst web user-interface design ever award!
P.S. This is a purely personal project and doesn’t have the endorsement of my employers in any way, shape or form.