Neal Sheeran

Rants, Raves, and Geekery

Vapors for Vesper


It’s almost midnight. One last check of the RSS stream reveals two unread items. The first is Dr. Drang:

Here’s a thought experiment: Imagine a new note-taking app written by an unknown developer. It’s has a nice, clean look and is easy to use, but it has no syncing, no TextExpander support, and no URL scheme. Assuming the app got any attention at all, how much effort would Apple bloggers put into defending that design choice? How often would the phrase “data silo” be used?

Of course he is referring to the release of Vesper, a new iPhone note-taking app from John Gruber, Brent Simmons, and Dave Wiskus. And Dr. Drang is completely correct. The reason I know is the second unread item, by David Sparks:

I’m really enjoying Vesper. It does have limitations. There is no synchronization available and, for that matter, no iPad or Mac version of the app to synchronize with. In a recent interview at Macstories, John Gruber explains they wanted to focus all of their attention on the iPhone application first. I suspect we’ll be getting additional versions for the other platforms and syncing in the future. In the meantime, I really love this app and I will find use for it.

Interesting. I have been an avid listener of Mac Power Users for a while. David has said multiple times that if an iOS text editor doesn’t have Text Expander or Markdown 1 support, it’s a non-starter. I like David Sparks, but if Joe Nobody released this app, neither he, nor the plethora of other bloggers falling over themselves to heap praise in spite of the limitations, would give it the time of day.

Update (13 June 13): Kevin Whipps at Appstorm speaks truth to power:

Why would anyone release an app with this kind of use case without a syncing option? Arment chalks it up to balls, but I say it’s stupid. These are three high-profile men with incredible clout and knowledge of the industry. They all must know that sync is important, and even if the feature is coming in the future, there’s no sign that it’s on the horizon (unless they mentioned it in an interview that I haven’t read yet). Saying that they wanted to perfect what they have and then consider sync or alternate platforms is a cop out. And arguably their biggest competition in the notes genre — Simplenote — is free. It doesn’t matter how pretty Vesper is when your content is locked to your device forever.

  1. John Gruber, the creator of Markdown, releases a note-taking app that doesn’t implement Markdown. Go figure.