I really like the concept underlying Byword’s design. I use Byword for nearly every web-bound thing I write on my Mac. When it showed up in the iOS App Store not long ago, I immediately put it on my iPhone and iPad. And things have gone well. Well, mostly.

Byword, particularly on the iPad is filling a void (I created) when I left Simplenote earlier this year for Notesy.[1] I missed the way Simplenote showed a list of notes on the left side of the screen with the contents of the selected note on the right side (a la Mail).

Byword lets me tap across text files quickly in a double pane layout like I used to in Simplenote.

It’s possible that Byword may end up nudging Notesy off my home screen as well, but it doesn’t really matter. Since so many of these text apps sync with Dropbox, choosing one is like picking out a pair of sunglasses. They all let you look at the same world; you’re just choosing how you want to view it. [2]

While Byword is moving toward the top of my most-tapped, it’s not ready to be my one and only. I have some of the same complaints Brett Kelly has with Byword, though they aren’t as much of a deal breaker for me as they are for Brett.

Like Brett, I’ve found Byword’s Dropbox sync to be quirky at times. On more than one occasion, a file that I created elsewhere, say, in nvALT on my Mac, didn’t appear at all in Byword. The files always show up in Notesy, though, and I’ve found that if I make a small alteration to the file in Notesy, then hop back in Byword, the file will show up.

My gut tells me that these sync wrinkles will get ironed out pretty quickly. Byword for iOS is still new. I’m very happy that Byword is in iOS because it is, to my knowledge, the first cross platform (iOS to OS X) text editor. [Update: Peter points out in the comments that iA Writer is also cross-platform.]

The concept of a device-dependent, plain-text-oriented writing application that offers consistency in UI, feature set, and syncing is very cool.

  1. I liked Simplenote a lot. Still do. But I was tired of running two syncing systems (Simplenote + Dropbox). Dropbox, for me, is more versatile, so it won out.
  2. Which is why I don’t get all the guilt imposed on people that try out multiple iOS text editors. None of them are very expensive, and whether you use one or ten, you’re moving bytes around in Dropbox and getting things done.