Version Reviewed: 1.0
Device Reviewed On: iPhone 4
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Clutter-free writing spaces are important to regular writers or coders. For those with numerous Mac or iOS devices, it's similarly important to be able to transfer documents between them easily and with little effort. So, we come to Byword, an app that promises a clean writing interface and the ability to sync via iCloud or Dropbox between iPhone, iPad and Mac. It does a decent job of it, too.
Using Byword is nearly as simple as it looks. Swipes form the basis of much of the control system. They control switching between documents and the all important editing features. On the iPhone, everything is clearly displayed despite the small screen space. The keyboard may take up half the space but there's no other clutter in the way of the author's train of thought, not until they choose to see more. A swipe above the keyboard opens up the editing options comprising of brackets, parenthesis, quotation marks and asterisk, all ideal for coding practices in particular.
For the writer, these editing options do omit one vital feature. There's no button, such as in iAWriter to skip to the next word. Everything else, however, is spot on and ideal for entering either brief notes or extended copy. Functionality that allows for exporting to HTML or email is there, as well as the ability to print directly using AirPrint and a compatible printer. The "Copy HTML" feature will be of particular use to bloggers, as it produces HTML code based on the plain text and Markdown syntax provided.
iCloud and Dropbox functionality works well, making it near seamless to switch between iPhone, iPad and Mac. Using Byword via the iPad is easier on the eye with no need to concentrate on the small editing features, but otherwise both versions are effective.
The ability to adjust font size would have been convenient, especially on the iPhone's small screen but otherwise Byword has all the bases covered.
While as primarily a writer, I'll be sticking with iAWriter, when it comes to needing an app that does both plain text and markdown effectively, I'll be strongly considering Byword. It straddles the two paths well, rarely missing out on any vital features. It's an ideal jack of all trades.