To fully understand the thinking behind Daedalus Touch, there is no better place to start than on the developer’s original blog post announcing its development. The developers are so down to earth and passionate about what they do, it would be pretty hard not to love them. In the post, the developer explains what’s wrong with 90% of the editors on the iPad, and how the perfect iPad text management app would work. I use the term “text management app” because this app does much more than edit text. It’s a complete workspace where you can store all your writing and reference projects, whether they are complete or in-progress, in a way that could hardly be any more natural.
The stated goal of this app is to provide writers with an environment in which they can create great content, edit drafts, and submit their final editions, all from one iPad app. They say you could just use Daedalus as a simple scratchpad for ideas, or you could write your next novel with it.
Stacks of paper. Yes, paper. That’s the metaphor that Daedalus Touch uses for its document management. You simply stack your documents into neat piles, and swipe through them. To open a stack, you can pinch into it or double tap on it. Once you’ve opened the stack, the view that greets you is reminiscent of the best iPad magazine apps. Each document is laid out side by side, so you can swipe through them. However, rather than merely showing you a generic document icon, even showing you an icon-sized preview of the document, Daedalus Touch shows you the entire document, zoomed out. You can actually read the text in the document right from there, which eliminates the need for file names. This, in turn, eliminates the need for manually saving files. Everything you create is filed away automatically in whichever stack you created it in.
It’s in the management of the completed files that Daedalus Touch really gets interesting. The app manages to be incredibly innovative and a delight to use, all the while maintaining perfect backward and cross-device compatibility. You see, every one of those stacks of paper is actually a folder, and every document a .txt file. All of these folders and files are neatly stored inside your DropBox or MobileMe account.
Of course, what fun would an innovative text manager be without great looking text? Daedalus Touch is reminiscent of iA Writer in that it comes with special writing optimized fonts right within the app. Unlike Writer, however, Daedalus Touch packs a few different document themes. You can very easily switch between the themes to change the fonts in the document automatically. It has a classic theme that looks reminiscent of an old book, a modern theme, and one that uses a nice monospaced font, which is great for carefully composing a new piece of work and checking it for typos.
The app very deliberately does not contain any formatting tools, beyond the ability to change themes. This is because the developers wanted to create an app that helps you be more productive, not waste time messing around with settings, font sizes, and toolbars.
Because Daedalus Touch syncs with DropBox and MobileMe, and makes use of traditional text files and folders, you can simply drag and drop your existing projects and documents right into the app — from your Mac or any device that supports DropBox. Furthermore, Daedalus Touch has a great little button that lets you import directly from any folder in your DropBox or MobileMe account, directly from within the app. This instantly makes the app tremendously more useful, because it solves the migration problem. You can literally be up and running with all your files in Daedalus Touch in seconds.
Organization and Detail
By default, documents are organized by creation date. If you want to rearrange them, however, it’s as easy as dragging them around with your finger. The whole experience is thoroughly designed to feel as simple and intuitive as possible — the way all iPad apps are supposed to be.
The app also features a built-in browser so you can access reference material, or post the text to your website.
The attention to detail doesn’t stop at the UI, however. Daedalus Touch comes preloaded with a veritable slew of documents, some of which serve as demos to help you get a feel for the way the app works, and most of which contain walkthroughs of the app that introduce you to all that it has to offer. You’ll also find a personal letter from the developers to you, the user — a nice touch.
Overall, Daedalus Touch is a great app and one I highly recommend. The developers are extremely passionate about their app, and fix bugs immediately when discovered. They truly want this to be the best text management solution on the iPad platform. If you manage text on the iPad, this is the way to do it. Hey, even if you never use it, it gives you a great way to show off your iPad. What’s not to love? Daedalus Touch can be had for $3.99 in the iOS App Store, and is a fantastic buy for that price or any other.