/ Updates

Typely preview of some interesting updates

Just a few days ago Typely was featured on the frontpage of Hackernews and that helped us gather a lot of feedback in a short amount of time. One of the most requested feature was the support for markdown syntax. It's one that I had in mind since day one but always avoided because it will force me to add another panel, increasing the horizontal length of the application, thus, adding more complications for lower resolutions. I have a plan though.

Right now, the application is happy from 1280 horizontal pixels and up which is decent for tablets and desktop computers. This means that, for a lot of visitors, there is still room to squeeze in something. Our analytics say that “1920×1080” and “1440×900” are the most popular resolutions so I'm fine with adding this feature with the next update. By default, the app will stay the same but, once markdown syntax is checked in the settings, an additional panel will spawn between our sidebar and text editor. From “1440×900” and down I will have to place that preview panel inside the upper tabs of the editor and make the preview available only when you select the tab. This is all I can think of to maintain a relaxed UI with the same functionality. Complexity comes at a cost and that cost usually means more confusion for new users that's why markdown won't be the default syntax and the preview panel will not be on by default.

An additional change regarding the UI will affect the sidebar. I have some more options to add there and the current layout is quite tight so I will be adding a tabbed navigation to separate the content with ease and place everything into some sort of categories. The stats that are currently topping the results up and down will be moved to a new tab that contains only statistics. The results will stay in the same spot but will enjoy more vertical space. Now comes the fun part. There is a third tab with some new and exciting features which I will take the time to explain in detail here.

The first and most important feature that I will be adding is the option to save your writing for later editing. Typely right now saves your work in the browser's internal storage but you're stuck with only a single piece of writing meaning you can't work on multiple projects. This thing adds more complexity as we're currently operating without a database and that was a refreshing time of my life as a programmer (kidding). No SQL, no orm, no queries, no overhead…I will surely miss this part.

The saving part will allow the user to setup a title and store the work for later editing or retrieval. This will also require some sort of user authentication. If you really want to remain anonymous and still have access to this addition, don't despair. I will add the option to save them in your browser's storage engine but that trick will only make sense if you're using the same browser, otherwise, it's completely useless.

The second addition from the list of most requested features that I'm planning to implement is the ability to export your work to a PDF file which contains the text with annotations pointing to the results. This will be a pdf report that you can send to your students or journalists which will contain everything we also display on our website regarding the report (stats, mistakes, suggested edits, etc).

Tightly related to the PDF export is our next planned feature: Email to a friend. I might go for an HTML email or simply attach a PDF and email it, we'll see as I didn't make my mind on this one yet.

Next in line is the ability to export your writing to Google Docs. This will require some integration, but I'm planning on adding this because I received requests from multiple sources in the same day and it makes sense as I'm not trying to lock anyone in.

Now, last but not least, let's talk about the one I consider as most interesting. The option to share your work with other users. Say I'm a journalist and I want to send my story to our editor, or student sending to his/her teacher for review. The sharing option will also support specifying the role of the recipient: reader or editor. This will open the door for collaboration and will bring some future updates as well as I have quite a few in mind like commenting, history, diff tool to see the edits etc.