IDE or Texteditor - is Drafts for me?

I am looking for a text editor for my iPad. Mostly this would be for editing plain text files containing HTML and JavaScript code. I’m trying to find something like BBEdit on my Mac but for my iPad.

A review site said Drafts seemed to contain all the things I was looking for, including plain text and syntax highlighting. I managed to find the setting to change the syntax to JavaScript. Other than that I’m completely lost.

For example, if I set the syntax to JavaScript, why are characters being automatically capitalized. Like if I type:

for (var i=0; i<10; i++)

Why does the letter i get capitalized?

Also, I’m not seeing any syntax highlighting for JavaScript.

Also I can’t for the life of me figure out something simple like how to find a file in iCloud Drive and open, or save what I’m editing as a file there.

In fact, I can’t figure out how to get out of drafting something and back to anything that looks like options or controls.

Do I have an appropriate app for my purpose here? :slight_smile:

It looks like a lot of work went into developing this app. And maybe it’s useful for something else if not this. But is it useful as a plain text code editor?



Given your use case, you might be better served by Textastic or another code editor.


First, Drafts is a phenomenal text processing application. There isn’t a day where I don’t enter or process text in Drafts, either on my Mac or iOS. This includes both general purpose text (mostly in Markdown) or gists, small bits of programming or scripting.

That said, the Drafts tag line is “Where Text Starts”. If I need to do serious code editing, I’ll send the text to a specialized code editor or to my GitLab repo via Working Copy. I get the code-specific features you’re looking for (syntax coloring etc.) from those specialized apps.

My recommendation would be to definitely give Drafts a call for quick text capture, but to use a specialized code editor for the heavy editing.


If it’s an in-between to draft something to be sent on, why not just use the Notes app? Anyway, is that how you use it: to create drafts for posting elsewhere?



I use Drafts because:

  1. It’s integration is miles ahead of anything else - I regularly send text to Fantastical, OmniFocus, Airmail, DEVONthink, and MindNode in addition to the programming tools mentioned earlier.
  2. The Markdown support and integration is excellent.
  3. The community here is really innovative at solving text processing and integration needs.

To be honest, I can’t think of the last time I opened Notes.


Would you say it’s a good replacement for Notes for keeping track of all sorts of data? I stopped using Evernote when Notes improved a lot, with folder, and scanning, etc. I have notes for all my bits and pieces of information, set up in folders where possible. It’s indispensable to me now.

Do you think Drafts is like an improved Notes in that sense?

Drafts deals with plain text only. Notes deals with rich content. Evernote deals with even more content through things such as attached PDF files and automatic OCR of uploaded images.

It all depends on your specific requirements.

Have you watched any of the video resources yet?

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I haven’t watched the videos yet. I didn’t realize that Drafts deals with plain text only.

Notes also deals with attached PDF files. It also has a built-in scanning feature to create your own PDF files and can use OCR in scanned pictures of things like bills and receipts for searching.



You can look at some options here:

Textastic or Coda might be a good choice for you.

Another option might be Pythonista.

Thanks for the information. I will check it out. To be honest, I don’t imagine doing a lot of coding on my iPad Pro vs my MBP, but (1) Since I decided to turn on iCloud for Desktop and Documents with my new 2 TB iCloud and (2) Since I inherited a 2018 iPad Pro 12.9 inch with keyboard case, it seems I might find it useful to do some code fixes when outside, with my iPad. As much as people are outside these days. So I was interested in a nice editor for that.

That editor doesn’t seem to be Drafts though. And I’m still not quite sure where Drafts might fit into my own daily life. I use Notes for bits of data, and stopped using Evernote altogether a couple of years ago after Notes had a lot of upgrades. Also, reading discussions here, there doesn’t seem to be an import from Notes in Drafts anyway. And somebody else said it’s plain text only. So I’m not sure where it fits into my routine anywhere.

But people in these discussion forums are very friendly! :slight_smile:




If you wanted a text editor that was heavy on automation then Drafts might be the one for you.

But this doesn’t sound like your case.

But it could be good for everything around the actual coding - such as documentation.

@DougLerner would you mind if we change the title of the thread to:

IDE or Texteditor - is Drafts for me?

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