Byword is my main tool for mobile blogging. Camila and I use it in conjunction with Dropbox to write and review the posts on this website, and it works great. I wrote about our use cases and why I love Byword in my previous review here, but in summary, these are three things I love about Byword 1.0.x: excellent Markdown support, swipable row on top of the keyboard for shortcuts, and Dropbox support.
Today, the developers of Byword released a new 1.1 version for iOS. There are several new features in this update that both new and existing users would be excited about. I'm going to cover four reasons why I really like this update.
If you use Byword for Mac, you're probably already familiar with this feature. I use Byword on the iPhone constantly, so I really appreciate the addition of this feature. With Dark Theme, I can write in a dark-lit environment comfortably and without attracting attention. I can see myself using Byword a lot more because of this.
In addition to Dark Theme, the 1.1 update also improves the contrast of the label colors, which boosts readability significantly. This UI improvement is also applied to the extended keyboard row, making the app look more polished.
Support for iCloud, Dropbox and local storage simultaneously
In the previous iOS version, you have to choose where you want to store your data. Once you activate Dropbox, you can't have your data synced via iCloud, and vice versa. It is also not possible for you to choose your local storage once you activate either Dropbox or iCloud as your storage. This can be a difficult choice for new users because you will be prompted for this as soon as you open the app for the first time.
Fortunately in the new version, you can choose to activate any number of the storage options. Each storage option will work independent of each other, allowing you to use them for different purposes. For example, I can use the iCloud storage to share longer notes with my wife (something that I've been using Drafts 2.0 for), keep the Dropbox storage to work collaboratively with Camila on the website, and store my private stuff locally. This is a big win for users like me.
I haven't had the time to play around with the new Document Model in iCloud, but since the release of Mountain Lion, Apple has added a new feature that allows both Mac and iOS users to create folders containing their documents in iCloud. This folder has the same behavior as the ones that you create on iOS to group apps under a custom category; to create a new one, you just drag one document on top of another.
I believe it is now a necessity for iOS apps that use iCloud to sync documents with their Mac counterparts to support this feature, otherwise users will run into problems when they try to sync new iCloud folders on the Mac. I'm glad that Byword for iOS now supports this feature, even though it is not the first iOS app to do it.
If this is news for you, please keep in mind that this feature works like the iOS folders for apps -- you can only have one level of these folders, i.e. no subfolders.
Full Text Search within Documents
One final thing I like about the new Byword update is the ability to perform a full text search within the documents, instead of their file names, in any storage you've activated. Having all the posts in this website available on Dropbox -- hence, on my iPhone via Byword -- would allow me to perform a local search instead of a web search, on the entire website. Regardless of how you use Byword, this search feature would prove its value the more you use the app and the more documents you create.
This is a solid update for Byword. In addition to UI improvements, it also adds many useful features. Another thing that I haven't mentioned is the ability to export your documents to PDF. This could become really useful for users with different use cases than mine. If you've been waiting to get a copy of Byword for iOS, this new update should be able to excite you enough to pull that trigger.
Get Byword on the App Store.