Folding Text

Hogbay Software, the developers of TaskPaper, WriteRoom and QuickCursor, have just released an outliner called Folding Text. It’s on offer on the Mac App Store for a week (around $14.99, I believe). I haven’t used it enough to say much about it, but others are very complimentary, and the developer has a good pedigree. It makes use of Markdown, and has a very plain look, very like TaskPaper or WriteRoom. I just offer this information in case others want to try it out and buy before the launch discount ends.

Cheers, Martin.

PS: if anyone wants to combine it with DevonThink, there is a script on their forums (by houthakker) that will allow this.

I did have a play with the beta a few months back. Unfortunately, the text editor niche it might have filled is already occupied by MultiMarkdown Composer. (I mainly use Composer in combination with DevonThink for note-taking and short writing outside Scrivener projects, and for checking fiddly MMD tables in Scrivener).

That said, Hogbay have done some very good plain text editors (WriteRoom is my iPad editor of choice, and given the sad iOS 6 news is likely to remain so on my 1st gen iPad) so I may give it another whirl to see what they’ve done with Folding Text.

It’s like this elegant, dead simple app that I actually bought at 40% off on day one, because I knew I’d buy it eventually, as I drink and buy apps. As one does.

The thing is, I’ll have to invent reasons to use it. A while back, Ioa posted something about using Task Paper as an outliner, which was a great suggestion, and which more or less represents the outer edge of my plain-text outlining needs. Folding text is the same idea, but it does a bunch of stuff I don’t need.

Still, I find it — and Jesse’s whole developer gestalt — too compelling to ignore. So, I guess, until I can find a way to use it, my money went as a vote of support.

My dream, of course, is to find a way to use Folding Text as my VoodooPad editor, writing in the Fountain syntax. That would justify so much!

[size=85](Yes, I wrote “gestalt”. Deal.)[/size]

I also purchased it on day one, when I didn’t really need to. The thing is, I am hoping that WriteRoom’s excellent word count export will be rolled into it. I have WriteRoom, but it doesn’t do markdown formatting.

Also, folding markdown headings is a great idea.


I purchased on day one as well. It’s a great piece of software that I have yet to figure out how I’ll use but supporting Hog Bay Software is reason enough really. I’ve gotten a lot of use out of TaskPaper and WriteRoom over the years.

So far, Folding Text is a bit of a disappointment to me. There’s a lot of potential here, and I suspect that further development will greatly improve the application. Primarily, I find the limited export options very unsatisfactory. If you’re going to create an editor that uses a sorta-kinda markdown, then provide reasonable export! Will most likely show up in future versions, and I’m happy to provide early support through purchase, but until then, Folding Text is more of a novelty.

Export is a disappointment to me too. I expect it to improve, but it seems that markdown support is not excellent, I found problems in html and printing.

The concept is neat. I hope they “fold” footnotes and incorporate multimarkdown in the future, but it seems it’s evolving more into a getting things done application. Even as a todo app, it has lots of potential, I’ll keep an eye on it.

Regarding export, since you are all presumably Scrivener users, you could just copy and paste the FT document into Scrivener and use its MMD exports to get where you want to go. Or you can use Scrivener’s File/Import/MultiMarkdown File... and select the .ft file directly. This will cut up the document in accordance with the header structure, converting it to a Scrivener outline.

I’m using FoldingText every day now, but only as an external editor for DevonThink and Tinderbox, using QuickCursor as the intermediary. (Cursor in host document, shortcut key, write in FT, shortcut, text now in host document.)

The inline formatting is good enough not to have to bother with Marked for viewing, most of the time.

The same approach works with Scrivener, but I like writing in Scrivener, so don’t use it there. I find the TBX and DTP editors irritating to write in for long periods.

[I’ve just find out that you can use FT & QuickCursor in this forum as well…)

That’s actually one of my favourite uses for QuickCursor. I never trust a browser to write much more than a few lines in. They don’t tend to crash as much these days, but it’s easy to hit the Back shortcut key or something dumb and lose what you’ve written. Plus, for longer messages, it’s just nice to have a full text editor available. With QC you can save as you go, too.

I think there may be all sorts of possibilities that the non-programmers among us will not know how to exploit. In the meantime, Robin Trew (aka Houthakker) is working on ways of getting Folding Text to work with OmniFocus and OmniOutliner via AppleScript. Have a look at this thread: … post116811

If you want to use Folding Text with Devonthink, have a look at this: … 20&t=16073

Robin Trew has written lots of interesting scripts – this link will take you to a page where you can see many of them: … focus.html