Tools Roundup - August 4, 2021

This is the first edition of what will be an irregular series of roundups that look at plain text tools that I’ve found interesting but haven’t explored in depth. Let’s dive in!


A while back in my weekly letter, I wrote about cultivating a digital garden. There are a number of tools that you can use, or coax, to create and publish a digital garden. One of the simplest I’ve seen is an online application called Hyperdraft.

Hyperdraft is an open source, zero data app that enables you to easily create notes formatted with Markdown and to link them together using markup very similar to WikiText. Sites made with Hyperdraft are spare, they’re minimal. What those sites lack in visual panache, they make up for in utility and ease of creation and maintenance.

(Thanks to Rosano Coutinho for point Hyperdraft out to me.)


Do you ever want to strip the cruft out of a web page so you can read it later? Sure, you can do that with tools like wallabag or Pocket but if your needs are simple, why add another service to the mix?

Instead, turn to Markdownload. It’s an extension for Firefox, Chrome, Safari, and Microsoft Edge. With the click of a button, Markdownload converts a web page into nicely-formatted Markdown which you can download and read at your leisure in a text editor.

(Thanks to Jason Wilson for recommending Markdownload.)


Over the years, I’ve tended to use web-based note taking tools because they let me synchronize my notes across the various computers and devices that I use. That works for me, but not everyone works in the way in which I do. Some folks work on a laptop or desktop computer only. There’s nothing wrong with that, and one the desktop they’re not starved for choice when it comes to note taking applications. No matter what operating system they use.

One of those applications is the aptly-named Notes. It’s a very basic, but it’s also quite effective. In its look and its features, Notes is reminiscent of its namesake app on the Mac desktop. While this application runs on MacOS, you can also get versions for Linux and Windows. With Notes, you just start typing and the tools automatically saves your work. Nothing fancy there. Notes supports Markdown and has a pretty decent search function. It’s quick and easy to use. Sometimes, that’s all you need.