How I Discovered Draft, and Some First Impressions

I've always been interested in the patterns behind application discovery - the many different ways people come to find cool new websites and apps that they suddenly can't live without. The reason I'm writing this post, and the reason you're reading here, on this new blog, is a great example of how one act of discovery can lead to another, and another, and another.

I used Google Reader a long time ago, and when it was sunset a few months ago, everyone made a big fuss about Feedly. I'd used it before, basically as a skin for my existing and then-well-kept Reader account, in the form of a Firefox plugin. Its rebirth as a standalone web app was a unique time to revisit the application, especially given that I'd long since abandoned my Reader account for a combination of things that included Twitter, a small collection of RSS feeds that plug directly into Instapaper using IFTT, and a couple of email newsletters.

The short result is that new Feedly worked well for me. I started up some folders, searched for publications I knew of, and added others that were suggested to me. One of the publications suggested while I was building a UX folder was Little Big Details. And as it turned out, one of the very first things I saw on Little Big Details was this post highlighting a feature within Draft. Remember Draft? It's supposed to be a post about Draft.

Turns out, Draft is a pretty amazing tool. At its core, it's a web-based writing application with a minimal interface. But a quick peek beneath the surface reveals many more features that are really quite impressive. Since the Draft docs do a great job of detailing each of them (with a touch of entertaining snark, to boot), I'll spare you the gritty details and instead highlight a few of the ones I think are particularly awesome.

  1. Version control

    If you've ever written code, at some point you've probably encountered some kind of version control software like Git or SVN. And though you could always have just fired up a new repository for your non-code documents, no one ever really did. Draft gives you all the features you might find in version control system GUI, making it easy to work with collaborators, merge changes, tag versions, and the like. It's nifty and simple. Good work, Draft.

  2. Publishing

    Draft lets you publish your writing with one click to a ton of platforms, including Twitter, Tumblr, Wordpress, Ghost, SVBTLE and more. It's easy, and extensible, and generally awesome. No need to fuss around with seventeen different WSIWYG editors with their own kinks and bugs. Just write in Draft, publish everywhere. Could be a Tweet, could be a novel. Same deal.

  3. Auto Simplify

    I haven't really used this feature much, but that may because I'm still in awe that it exists. You click a button, and your writing gets better. It's got lots features (including some that were just released today), but the basic idea is that the application can help eliminate weak writing, shorten your run-on sentences, and generally make the world suffer less when they read your next blog post. It's really quite impressive.

I'm still in the early stages of using Draft, and I haven't yet explored the entire feature set. But I can say that it's already made me want to write more, just so I can use the product. And that's a pretty amazing thing in its own right.