Appy Text – a modern (and free) Notepad UWP alternative

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Hi All,

 

I’m the developer of Appy Weather, and have just released my second Windows app (and first UWP) Appy Text:

Appy Text is a super fast + lightweight text editor. Immersive too – more content, less chrome. If you’re a Notepad user but have been looking for a charmingly simple, modern and free alternative then look no further. Made (carefully) for PC, tablet and phone. And by going Premium for a small price, you get worthwhile extras. Like tabs. Auto-saving. Markdown support. Dark and sepia themes. There’s a 30-day free Premium trial to help you decide.

To celebrate its launch the Premium in-app purchase is on sale for a limited time.

You can download it here: https://www.microsoft.com/store/apps/9nblggh51knm.

 

And if you like it, please let Mary ‘Notepad’ Jo know 😉

— Bardi

Comments (44)

44 responses to “Appy Text – a modern (and free) Notepad UWP alternative”

  1. ErichK

    Took the plunge and upgraded to Premium. Thanks for taking the effort to make such a nice app!

  2. Mike Cramer

    Nicely done, Bardi. I've been looking for a simple app for taking quick notes.


    An "always on top" option would be nice.

    • Bardi Golriz

      In reply to Mike Cramer:

      Thanks Mike. So, I'm actually unfamiliar with an "always on top" option. Doing a search on it though seems to suggest you need to get specific software to enable this for all apps? And it's not something you can offer on a per-app basis. I might be wrong, so if anyone knows better, please let me know.

      • skane2600

        In reply to Bardi Golriz:

        In a Windows Form application creating a "always on top" window is trivial (set topMost property to true). Unfortunately, it's not possible in UWP according to MS expert Raymond Chen: http://stackoverflow.com/questions/35594874/c-sharp-windows-universal-10-topmost-window


        The interesting thing about his answer is the clear implication that Metro/Modern/UWP was actually designed for phones and tablets, not really for the desktop.

  3. ErichK

    Wow! First impressions are really good. I'll obviously have a more informed opinion as I further use the app, but right now I've got to say nice job.

  4. hrlngrv

    Just curios: no way to use a font selection dialog in UWP? Must use -/+ buttons to decrease/increase font size? Even if so, it'd be nice to see the font size as a number.

    The Store write-up says less chrome. Perhaps less than WordPad, but not less than Notepad.

    • Bardi Golriz

      In reply to hrlngrv:

      Hmm, what do you mean by a 'font selection dialog'? There's no standard re-useable font selection dialog for me and other UWP apps to use, if that's what you mean.


      I'll consider adding a tip somewhere to indicate the font size.


      As far as the chrome comment goes, there's a new Focus Mode available for Premium users that strips the entire UI at which state I can confidently say there's less UI than Notepad even :)

      • hrlngrv

        In reply to Bardi Golriz:

        I meant something similar to font selection dialogs in most desktop/Win32 software. It was a rhetorical question. However, the few other UWP apps I've used have used drop-down lists with type sizes as numbers or slider controls with numbers showing the type size. I can't think of another app which doesn't show type size if its adjustable.

  5. Bardi Golriz

    In reply to Watney:

    Hmm. That's possibly out of my control (no pun intended) and just how the RichEditBox control's built-in behaviour is. I'll look into this. Oh and thanks for going Premium! :)

  6. Simard57

    Bardi,

    see https://www.thurrott.com/windows/windows-10/116156/hunt-great-web-apps

    would AppyText work for Paul's needs


  7. lwetzel

    Sorry Bardi but can't download Appy Weather from the store. Fails every time and there are comments on the store saying they had same problem.

    • Bardi Golriz

      In reply to lwetzel:

      Hmm. So AW is a Windows Phone 8.1 app, and so would only be downloadable on a Windows Mobile 10 device (and earlier). Were you trying to download it from the Mobile Store? I see one other person has left a review about an inability to download too. Seeing as I've not updated the app for many months, I wonder whether this has become an issue since the Creators Update (in which case it would have been caused by MS but I don't know whether it's for me to address or them).


      For reference, AW2 (UWP) is in progress and am looking at a summer release.

      • Bardi Golriz

        In reply to Bardi Golriz:

        Done a quick search, and came across this page which might be helpful: http://forums.windowscentral.com/windows-10-mobile-insider-preview/383701-i-found-solution-0x80073cf9-mobile.html. Let me know!

        • lwetzel

          In reply to Bardi Golriz:

          I am aware that it is a phone app and yes I went to that store especially since it is not on the other. I have the latest Windows 10 CU. Don't know what the problem is but it is still happening. I am using the Trial selection button. I refuse to buy what I haven't tried. Especially on apps because most aren't what they claim. Was willing to look at it but alas that apparently won't happen. Looked at that link and really don't have the time to just keep trying to download.

  8. skane2600

    In some ways this app illustrates the problem I have with the whole UWP concept. Given the tiny space available on a phone, it makes sense to use icons, but on the desktop descriptive text would make the app more user friendly. It's the classic WORE dilemma: should the program be consistent from one platform to another, or should it be the best it can be on each platform? Of course, making the latter choice involves doing more platform-specific work which somewhat undermines the advantages of a "Universal" platform.


    I also noticed that on the desktop there's a lot of empty space on the left and right of the text area. I'm not using the Premium features and perhaps I've missed some configuration options.


    I admit I'm better at making negative comments than positive ones. I'll spend more time looking at it later.


    Having said all that, congrats on your first UWP app. Now if developers could actually make a living entirely from writing UWP apps, things would be great.

    • Bardi Golriz

      In reply to skane2600:

      Thanks for the feedback skane2600.


      I am not sure I agree with you that using iconography instead of labelled text buttons means the app has been designed first and foremost for the phone. I iterated plenty on the app's UI to ensure that the phone is neither touch-first nor keyboard/mouse-first but rather optimised for both interaction modes (for example, there's a wealth of keyboard shortcuts I added intentionally to make it as power-user friendly as possible). The main purpose behind using iconography consistently regardless of device/screen size was to have as little UI as possible with the idea that the content is what matters. Speaking of which, yes, there is a setting to enable the text to run across the width of the entire window; this isn't the default, but perhaps should have been because I've a feeling there will be others like you who will consider the empty space to be wasted.


      The one concession I will make is that the Filebar (where all the file actions are contained) is in the bottom left orientated vertically (when the window size is big enough). As someone who has been using the app myself on the Desktop, I've a feeling that such a location to access file related actions is slightly unnatural on the Desktop, and it would feel better if it was located in the top left instead. This is something I'll probably be adding a new setting for in a near-future update.


      Finally, thanks for the encouragement. I plan to write more about how well the app is doing on my mtrostyle.net blog to give my perspective on the viability of making a living, like you say, from writing UWP apps (note: I've a full-time job, so this is something I do in the evenings + weekends.. for now anyway ;)).

      • skane2600

        In reply to Bardi Golriz:
         "The main purpose behind using iconography consistently regardless of device/screen size was to have as little UI as possible with the idea that the content is what matters."
        As I recall that was the philosophy championed by Wordperfect back in the day. I don't think that labeled text diminishes the importance of the content, but there are certainly those who agree with you.

        Thanks for your detailed and thoughtful response.
  9. JimP

    What would be nice would be if it had a spellchecker with red-squiggly lines under misspelled words as you type.

    • Bardi Golriz

      In reply to JimP:

      It already should? And if it doesn't, I may have accidentally disabled it for debugging purposes right before release (and stupidly forgot to re-enable); I'll double-check tonight!

      • JimP

        In reply to Bardi Golriz:

        Hold on, let me double check. Maybe I missed it....

        • JimP

          In reply to JimP:


          Sorry, I stand corrected. Sorry about that. I didn't see it mentioned in the description in the Store, so I figured it wasn't there. My bad.

          • JimP

            In reply to JimP:


            Nice job! It looks very promising. Some recommendations:


            • The buttons in the toolbar should have tooltips.
            • The title bar should display the application name.


            I know that you're trying to keep it lightweight, but I would look into adding some of the features by other full featured text editors such as TextPad. For example,

            • Change case (Upper, Lower, Capitalize, Sentence case)
            • Sorting (including the elimination of duplicates)
            • Alt + Mouse Drag uses column based highlighting
            • Bullet Points/Numbered bullet points


            In fact, I would look at some of the major text editors (such as TextPad) to see what other new features you can add.

            • Bardi Golriz

              In reply to JimP:

              1) toolbar button tooltips - makes sense, just didn't think it was essential. I'm curious why you think they're needed though.


              2) this is one I opted against (same goes with the app's tile not showing the app's name) to reduce UI. I definitely wouldn't want it myself, and I expect at least enough others that it would probably need to be a new setting. But I don't know how I feel about having such a setting.


              3) changing case - will think about adding support via keyboard shortcuts


              4) sorting - not sure what this is


              5) can look into this, but not sure how easy it will be with the control I'm using


              6) wouldn't this be entering rich text editor territory? Point being if I add support for this, then I should for a bunch of other things too, otherwise it'd be odd and feel like incomplete support for formatting options. And, so, for the time being at least, I'm going to say no to this I'm afraid, and keep the app as a plain text editor. But depending on user demand, I'm happy to re-consider this in the future. If time wasn't a constraint, I'd love to add proper rtf support, but I know, knowing myself, if/when I do, it's going to take a while to get it to the level of polish/usability and feature completeness I'm happy to ship.


              Anyway, thanks for the feedback and suggestions Jim! Much appreciated.


              • JimP

                In reply to Bardi Golriz:

                1) Well, it's just a good UX practice in general. But also it's not at all obvious what the 3, 4 and 5 icons are. I had to try them to figure out what they did. 


                2) It's standard practice to display the app title in the caption bar. You can go down your own path, of course, but generally speaking, apps should work the way users expect them to.


                3) In addition to the keyboard shortcuts, menus or a toolbar would be nice.


                4) TextPad has this. I often use TextPad as a temporary scratch pad for manipulating text. Sometimes, the text will be a list of something, with each item in the list on a separate line. Sorting lets me sort the list in alphabetical order.


                6) If you use a dash as a bullet point (or some other ASCII or Unicode character), it would still be plain text. 

                • Bardi Golriz

                  In reply to JimP:

                  1) no, you're right. But I'm thinking once you know what the icons contain, then you're good.


                  2) again, I mostly agree, but there are exceptions with certain apps, such as a web browser. To be honest, I wanted the UI to extend into the title bar, and therefore take up the space which is traditionally occupied by the title bar text. But it was too buggy so I opted against. And so, I guess the design I ended with isn't like a browser because they have tabs right at the very top of the UI. But my point is, I don't think it is *essential* to have on every app. Might be a weak defense, but yeah :)


                  3) the problem with having it accessible via UI is that unfortunately it isn't straightforward at all to have text selected and be able to maintain the selection when you perform a bespoke non-system level action on it from UI that you need to click somewhere to access. Another example showing UWP's relatively immaturity. Here's another one: when you close a UWP via the title bar's close button, there's no way to prompt the user about it to make sure they're okay with closing the app which is something absolutely necessary when for example you have a file with unsaved changes. This was something I had to provide a contingency for, so that when you re-open the file, we prompt the user that the last session had unsaved changes.


                  4) 6) I'll add both to my list of feature requests to consider for a future update.


                  Thanks very much Jim for the ideas and criticism.

                • JimP

                  In reply to JimP:


                  One another thing I noticed. Ctrl+Tab should cycle through each of the tabs. Try it in Google Chrome, Visual Studio or TextPad to see what I mean.

                • Bardi Golriz

                  In reply to JimP:

                  I wanted for that to be the keyboard shortcut to switch between tabs. But there were complications with detecting the Tab key press in the code, that I think I could have found a workaround for if I persisted with it, but to be honest I decided it wasn't worth jumping through hoops for, and so I decided to allow the ability to switch tabs via Ctrl + Q.

  10. Brad Sams

    Actually quite like this app, thanks for sharing.

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