v4 Released

I'm pleased to announce the release of iThoughts v4 (on iOS and macOS)

This version adds support for Markdown in the topic text and notes (see below for a description of what this means.)

IMPORTANT: This version also uses a new variant of the .itmz file format which cannot be read by older versions of the app. This means that you should update all your devices (iOS and Mac) to the latest v4 apps.


What is Markdown and why should I care?

In previous versions, you would configure text formatting (bold, italic etc) using a What You See Is What You Get (WYSIWYG) editor. You would select the text, pick the attribute from a menu and see the change instantly.

In v4 you set textual attributes by using various 'obvious' punctuation characters. For example **important** would make that text bold. This textual formatting is called Markdown (see here for more details.)

Markdown makes the following topic text easy...

There are a number of advantages to this new approach:

  • Markdown is effectively plain text - which means it can be read by almost any OS or device (Windows, Android, iOS, macOS, Linux etc.) Information stored in this format is better 'future proofed' - you'll be able to get at the data in years to come. By contrast, the WYSIWYG approach stores the data in an Apple proprietary format. Good luck reading that in years to come if Apple choose to deprecate the format (headphone jack anyone!)
  • Markdown has great support for bulleted lists - one of the most requested features.
  • For technical reasons, Markdown is less 'resource intensive' to process. This means smaller file sizes, faster sync times, faster load times, more performant application and better battery life.

There are some downsides...

  • Markdown does not really support fine grained control over fonts and colors. If you have individual words that have specific font, size or color attributes (other than bold, italic etc) then they cannot be represented using Markdown.
  • Learning the 10 or so Markdown punctuation characters is more brain work than simply choosing from a menu - although there are also menus to help with this.


If you have v4 installed then you can download a demo map from here.

...and see it in action below.


Other stuff

There are a bunch of other features in this release:

  • Any number of embedded documents and images stored in the topic notes.
  • Full iCloud support for the non-Mac AppStore version of the Mac App (Handoff etc.)
  • Support for tabs in macOS Sierra
  • 10x more Undo history in iOS version.
  • Keyboard toolbar in iOS version (with buttons for moving the cursor etc.)
  • Set the default text alignment (left, right, center) per level in the Style settings.
  • Improved Font picker.
Posted on October 26, 2016 .