I really like the design and look of throwww, and I don't mean to pick on it - but every time I see these minimalist low-friction writing engines, I feel like a very big thing is missing; facilitating editing, and encouraging a greater purpose for text.
Something I'm reminded of every time I reach the bottom of a pg essay, or every time I look back on the writing I'm most proud of, is that time was taken to consider and craft the text. Crucially, the text - and its ideas - was shared with others, feedback was gathered, and the text further refined.
Low-friction composition is important; it's a huge boost to have a simple clean slate with which to begin. But often once that initial effort is over with, good writing becomes a work of careful refinement. Here's some things I haven't found in any platform that would be great;
1. Full revision history. Every keystroke I've made, every tiny little edit should be saved. Everything. In order. Everything. This is a small data problem.
2. Once I create some text, I'd like to be able to share it privately with my trusted testers and feedbackers. They should be able to highlight text and make notes in-place. If I trust them enough - or they are an actual nominated human editor - they should be able to edit the text.
3. Some guidelines for good clear writing are automatable. An editor could tell me when a sentence is getting very long. An editor could detect obscure or imprecise words and suggest alternatives. An editor could detect repetition of mundane words or phrases. You get the idea ... the point is that real work can be done here.
4. It would be nice to be able to make margin notes, and to track goals. It is common to sketch out in advance the purpose or goals of a text; the outline and key points to be included. It'd be neat to be able to check them off as progress is made.
Or in summary; it'd be nice to see a tool that took as its goal that writing itself can be made more effective, rather than merely prettier.
"1. Full revision history. Every keystroke I've made, every tiny little edit should be saved. Everything. In order. Everything. This is a small data problem."
A 'replay' function would be good as well. I have a feeling that what I actually do when editing is different to what I like to think I do. This feeling is based on some screen videos I did a little time back.
Pretty minor detail, but got me thinking. I like that the site has a Markdown video tag using the following form:
Haven't seen that in any other Markdown implementations (always hate having to copy the embed code in for Tumblr's half-assed version of it). Is it new to Throwww or is it from another Markdown variation?
A front-end dev friend of mind asked for code-embedding/syntax highlighting too! I'd be happy to add it if I can come up with an elegant implementation. Is there a "markdown" for code that you know of?
I really, really like the interface. I'd love to use it for my blog, but I'd want a self hosting version. I've been burnt too many times by hosted/proprietary writing platforms.
If you're not keen on self-hosting, I'd want:
- the ability to export to an importable format (eg, wordpress's WXR). Exporting html/text is all well and good, but I need to be able to migrate
- other stuff I'm sure you've thought about, like custom domains, custom URLs (eg /this-is-the-post-title) etc
- discoverability of other users/"blogs" on the network
Another alternative, which is not in private beta but offers the same kind of ease for editing is http://checkthis.com. Disclaimer: I work there.
That said, checkthis is not distraction free. It's more about getting easily a beautiful page on the web, with good social network integrations and a possible instant feedback through the comment pane on the right of your page.
(And regarding some comments not so far, we are supporting Unicode quite well, we have lots of page in Russian for example).
This is great! I've been thinking about writing down some of my experiences and thoughts lately, but didn't want to go with some full-blown blogging platform. I considered just having a github repo where I would just push up my *.md files, but this is even easier.
My only concern is my ability to get content back for archiving. Is there a way we could export the articles to some simple format? Either markdown or even just a plain text file?
Very sweet interface and love the look. What is the market for these type of services though? Who uses them and why? I can't seem to think of a lot of use cases personally and hardly ever see anything linked from one.
Wow, very handsome. I like it--I was just wondering what platform I could use to share thoughts that are a bit longer than a tweet but maybe don't merit a full blog post with all the bells and whistles.
My only gripe is that when I clicked on my profile it said, "This guy hasn't written anything yet." which was slightly off-putting as I am not actually a "guy."
you could use one of the various strategies for disabling access to distracting websites (hosts file, rescuetime, et al) while you were using this if it's really an issue. I think "distraction-free" was referring to the fact that the interface doesn't distract you with a bunch of bells and whistles though.
But I was a bit surprised to see a commenting system in it. This isn't what I expected after having read "Why I Made Throwww" . A blog-like commenting system is not what I would associate with simplicity, nor "the purity of just a message".
Also, a little idea for easy improvement (IMHO): display the length of the text, i.e. the number of words and/or the time to read (e.g. based on a naive average of 250 words per minute ).