Store in Drafts, Edit in BBEdit

I’m a writer, and do all my work in BBEdit because of great grep, Markdown/HTML support, etc. Problem is that BBEdit relies on Finder for doc storage and org, which feels archaic (I know some make it work, but it’s not for me). So I have dozens of in-progress BBEdit docs saved to a gutbucket folder, and many more docs that are unsaved (BBEdit’s auto-save eliminates the risk…and enables my sloppiness!).

I’d like to use Drafts to hold (and tag, and manipulate, and route to different outcomes) my many in-progress docs, while somehow using BBEdit to individually edit.

I.e. looking for a way to edit individual Drafts in BBEdit without lots of cut/paste. Problem with the latter is if I get distracted in mid-edit, the text may remain stuck in yet another BBEdit unsaved doc and never make it back to Drafts. Then I’m back to my current mess.

Eaglefiler lets you edit in BBEdit while transparently hosting the doc in-app, but it’s a beast, tricky to synch to mobile, and doesn’t have Drafts’ flexibility/agility.


BBEdit can’t natively save to and from Draft’s database, and given data structures could change, it would be unsafe to build something that could.

I think your best bet would. to explore what Drafts can give you in terms of functionality that you utilise in BBEdit. Drafts is highly configurable through actions and chances are you can find or build equivalents and even things that are more finely tuned to your needs.

Just keep in mind BBEdit is a great text editor, whereas Drafts isn’t so much an editor as a processor. Same content, but each app has a bit of a different perspective is all.

Oh, that’s very much on my mind! It’s the exact reason for my posting! I want to use BBEdit as an editor and Drafts as a processor. And while saving directly to Draft’s db would be ideal, I certainly didn’t expect any such thing. Just looking for tips to make the two work together more efficiently. Sounds like you don’t have any. Perhaps someone else will.

Loved your Alfred stuff, by the way, thanks for putting it out there!

Let me rephrase things a little differently. On the assumption that you put the content into Drafts, what is it that Drafts does not do for you that BBEdit does do for you?

To give some additional context on the above, the following is based on my own views (/personal, rough, definitions):

Text editors allow you to quickly edit text in files (a wide variety of files) and the more advanced text editors give you tools to manipulate that text. Those advanced text editors also often give you ways to work in batch with such files and perhaps even build out to wider tool chains to build yourself a development environment for coding.

Word processors don’t allow you to manipulate the text as much, but they do tend to allow you to structure and format the layout. They aren’t meant to support coding, but they are there to help you produce short to medium form writing. Longer form you would probably be better off with a more specialised writing tool like Scrivener.

My personal view of Drafts is as a text processor. It isn’t a text editor, and it certainly isn’t a word processor. It is something that isn’t suited to working with files, or for building a coding environment. But it is suited to short and medium form writing (again I would say pulling together your memoirs is going to be easier using Scrivener or the like). As a ‘text processor’, what Drafts provides is quick access and an incredible expanse of tools for manipulation of the text. This could be internally, or through passing off to other services (local or online). In that sense it shares similarities with a developer tool chain, but is probably more suited to the sort of work carried out for writing, productivity, and knowledge management related tasks.

BBEdit to me is good for where you are working with files. Web pages, coding, sorting out files of data, editing text files. Drafts is good for capturing thoughts and information, building it out through writing, and then either storing it away, or passing it on elsewhere. For example, I don’t use BBEdit any more, but instead I use Sublime Text (I work cross-platform). I create a lot of my initial web site content in Drafts, but I rarely publish from Drafts (though I can). I typically push the initial content out to a file in my local site repository on my Mac, and then edit in Sublime Text. This is because at that point I’m then working with a file, and I can test all my site links etc. out on my locally served site before publishing it. Round tripping back to Drafts at that point gives me no benefit, but I have actions that can help me populate the initial draft version of a page pretty well, so there is benefit at the start. Once it is in a file, Sublime Text gives me quick access to all of the files in my site and I can work across them more efficiently with that, at that point.