As much as I like Pages and Scriviner for word processing, sometimes I just want a down and dirty text editor. For this purpose I have been using OS X‚Äôs built in text editor.
I know there are some very powerful text editor replacements out there that are very helpful to code jockies but I‚Äôm not sure how useful those applications would be to someone like me who writes a lot more documents than programs. Furthermore, I often use text files to dump ideas as I explained in one of my Quicksilver screencasts. Not to be dissuaded from my never ending quest for shiny new software I decided to give Flying Meat‚Äôs VoodooPad a try as a possible text editor replacement.
While VoodooPad is a text editor, it really is much much more. In essence it is a personal Wiki that allows you to to create links on the fly as you type. For instance I have a page in VoodooPad called Mac and on that page I have created several links including things such as MacSparky article ideas, MacWorld packing list, and a few other lists and resources that don't really fit anywhere else on my system. VoodooPad can automatically number the lists or make bullets. In addition to letting me create the lists, VoodooPad allows me to link them together and search them.
This just doesn't work for text though. You can also drop in URL's, images, pdfs, and you can even draw your own pictures using a tablet or (if you are really skilled) a mouse. This system becomes almost viral in nature. In the month I've been using it I've created over a hundred pages including research for my clients, gift ideas for upcoming birthdays and even potential titles for my MacSparky business cards.
Regardless, it is all easily searchable once inside VoodooPad. Some other nifty features includ LinkBack which allows you to paste content from a linkback enabled application and reopen it with just a few clicks. I was very pleased to discover this works for both OmniOutliner and OmniGraffle. It also allows a form of tagging by assigning categories and supports scripting and allows you to publish directly to the web. It has a feature to export to iPod notes but this does not work with the iPhone which is too bad.
To be honest I really didn't know what I was getting into with VoodooPad when I started using it. It is similar in nature to Yojimbo yet not quite. I'm not sure if it fills a different niche or is just a different way to work. The interface is much more stripped down. I'd almost call it old school. Black and white and a lot of text. Those of us that remember Macs that used to say "hello" will appreciate that. The fact that it is stripped down does not impact efficiency though. It actually improves it.
I've been using VoodooPad as a notebook replacement. It is stable and lightweight. The feature set is well crafted and not overdone. I still haven't figured out how it fits in with my other data collection programs but while I sort it out my VoodooPad seems to just collect more and more data. You can download VoodooPad from Flying Meat Software which is Gus Mueller's company that makes other great Mac applications such as Acorn and Fly Sketch. They sell three versions with increasing feature sets. The lite version is free, the standard version is $29.95, and the pro version is $49.95. This review was of version 3.2.3 of the VoodooPad Pro
This week on MacSparky I blogged several new software updates, MacWorld and some of my favorite Menubar aplications. Stop on by and check it out.