“AND FLASH GORDON WAS THERE IN SILVER UNDERWEAR”

iA Writer is an iPad text editor. I used it in the brief window before it was ruined and found it useful within its own limitations. In specific, I liked the fact that everything I wrote automatically appeared in a certain Dropbox folder. I was able to handle that level of complication easily.

The current version bruits the following feature:

Dropbox & iCloud Integration

Dropbox [and] iCloud allow [W]eb synchronization of your documents from iPad to the cloud, seamlessly, so you don’t have to spend time syncing with iTunes.

I didn’t know I could even bother syncing with iTunes. Now, what does “iCloud Integration” mean? It means your documents are forever locked on your iPad unless you take undocumented steps.

  • There is no “iCloud” to “integrate” to. There is no ready-made location where iA Writer could possibly save its documents.

  • Documents no longer autosave to Dropbox.

  • “iCloud integration” apparently now means you must sync your iPad to iTunes, then look in the Apps tab for a specific pane that lists your available files, then manually save them from there one at a time.

It turns out you can force a document to permanently move (not copy, move) to Dropbox if you use the source-documents list in a Windows-like way, hitting certain arrows and selecting just the right folder. (The only folder iA Writer ever uses, in fact, although, in a Windows 3.1–like twist, Writer presents your entire file system to you just in case.)

Here is iA Writer’s actual blithe and blithering support page about iCloud integration. I’m sure it read better in the original German, as so many assurances of what’s best for us do.

A text editor is useless if it allows you to edit text solely under lock and key. Looking at baubles through a shop window is the sort of thing that makes Tiny Tim cry and drives the rest of us to anger.

Because it sequesters your documents in an environment we are endlessly reminded was custom-crafted for simplicity, I have no hesitation at all naming iA Writer as the hardest-to-use application I have ever encountered on any Apple system. And I’ve been using those since 1984.

It’s very simple: Your iA Writer documents should autosave everywhere and be auto-available everywhere, with no thought or effort whatsoever.

The foregoing posting appeared on Joe Clark’s personal Weblog on 2011.12.11 14:32. This presentation was designed for printing and omits components that make sense only onscreen. (If you are seeing this on a screen, then the page stylesheet was not loaded or not loaded properly.) The permanent link is:
https://blog.fawny.org/2011/12/11/iawriter-unusability/

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