If you search for a good note taking service, you will find that Evernote is what most people recommend, and perhaps rightly so. Evernote is a very powerful and feature rich – so rich that it can be overwhelming for some due to all its note types, tags and all. Besides, its focus is on taking and saving all sorts of notes, and the rich formats that it supports can become distracting if all you want to do is jot down plain text. For a relatively simpler option, you can go for Keep – a note taking service from Google, or you can take Writeapp for a spin. It’s a simple web app for jotting down and saving plain text notes in a distraction-free interface You can sort notes into notebooks and manage them easily. You can also use it to keep a private journal, or selectively make notes public to publish them in what could be considered as a plain-text blog. The note editor is quite simple and supports plain text with no rich formatting options. Each note is saved with a title and can be edited any time.
The Writeapp service is still in beta and if you sign up now, you can upgrade to a premium account for free. Upon signing in with your account, you can start creating your first note. You’ll immediately notice how the app focuses on keeping things as simple as possible in order to provide you with a distraction-free writing environment.
Enter a title and type in the text box on the right, or paste it from an existing source. The app will strip any pasted text of all its formatting. You can write in full screen mode, and choose to work either in the light or dark theme, based on whichever suits your eyes better considering the lighting around you. Once the note is finished, click Save at the bottom-right.
To manage notes and create notebooks, click the ‘Manage’ tab at the top. By default, you have one notebook already created for you. Click ‘New Notebook’ to add a new one; you can name it anything you want. To create a note in a particular notebook, select the notebook from the ‘Filter by notebook’ drop-down and then click the ‘Write’ tab at the top. If you move your cursor over the right preview pane, you will see a set of buttons for editing and deleting the note, or viewing it in reading mode. In order to move an existing note to another notebook, just open it for editing, click the options (gears) icon from the bottom-left, and select the desired notebook from the drop-down available on top.
The Settings tab allows you to manage your password, delete notebooks, export notes (the feature isn’t working right now, and is going to be made available soon), and manage your public profile.
You can also use the service to write a plain text blog. Whenever you want to write a blog post, just write a normal note and in its options, enable ‘Make Public’. All your public notes will be available in form of a blog at http://writeapp.me/YourUserName, and you can even integrate DISQUS commenting system with them by following the instructions provided in the ‘Public Profiles’ section of the service’s settings.
The service also offers Premium accounts, which are currently free for all while the service is in beta. You have to avail the offer yourself though, by visiting the ‘Account Info’ tab in Settings and following the instructions provided there. Once upgraded to Premium, you’ll also be able to create notes by emailing them to firstname.lastname@example.org for private ones or email@example.com for public ones. You’ll also get access to two-factor authentication that you can configure from the Security tab in Settings.
Writeapp doesn’t render well at all on mobile browsers. Though the developers are working on apps for iOS and Android, which should be available soon. It still seems to have a few quirks, but works fine as a basic online distraction-free writing app if that’s what you’re looking for.
Haroon Q. Raja contributed to this post.