The Weekly Review

by Chris Bowler

Publish with Day One

Last week brought the launch of Publish from the folks at Day One. It’s not a new app, but simply a new feature of their existing app. And although I haven't used it yet, I must admit it feels like a potential big change, one that could move this fantastic tool in a new direction. Or, allow it to be used in a completely different way.

I've known it was coming and liked the potential of it. It's had me thinking about the implications of a personal journaling tool that allows for the creation of public entries. Is it good? Bad? Something I would never use? Will this type of thing take the focus of this team off the original purpose of this app?

I don't have those answers yet. But many users have now stated that this feature is something that will get them writing more, or using Day One as a blogging tool. This gets me thinking about the purpose of the app itself.

Everything Buckets

As I have begun to use Day One for an increasing number of different types of writing, I'm hesitant to make it an everything bucket. I do love the flexibility of the tool, but I've learned over time that I prefer to use the best tool for each job, rather than use a tool that serves multiple purposes decently well.

To date, I'm using Day One for personal journal entries, logging home maintenance tasks, and for tracking progress (the lack thereof) of personal projects. I've considered using it for other purposes, such as writing draft blog posts, because Day One is a good writing environment.

But haven't taken that step to this point. Partly this is due to my hesitancy, but it's also partly due to the fact that I already have great software applications that are more specifically suited to those tasks. I still write mostly in iA Writer. And although I can see the utility of sharing personal journal entries with just family members, I already do that with Notabli.

A Blogging App

Shawn Blanc mentions that it's been an impetus for him to journal a little more often, in order to share entries. But what about just writing and publishing those items on your blog? Does adding a second place to write and store your shared thoughts add value or complexity?

I admit, when word of Publish first came out, I was excited about the potential. Time has caused my excitement to wane. But there are both positives and negatives to using Day One in this way.

Positives
  • convenience: you're already writing in this tool and turning an entry into a shareable item is dead simple
  • simple: you don't have to pay for hosting or fiddle with servers
  • markdown: baked write into the writing environment
  • the folks who make this app are good people and have the right vision … I believe they'll get this right
Negatives
  • control: there's less of it … you have full control over the journal entry, but the published piece is owned and controlled by the Day One team (my assumption) and I'm a firm believer of running your own site so that you have full control over your content
  • editing: how useful and easy is it to go back and edit a piece that had been published
  • findability: if you share a number of items using Publish, how easy is it for readers to go back an deferent an entry from several months back? A year back?

I'm hesitant to use it as a full blogging tool, but I can see myself sharing the occasional entry for now.


Full disclosure: these are all thoughts from one who has not even used the feature to this point. My mind my change, but I'm confident I'll stick to keeping personal stuff in Day One and keep posting items I wish to share right here or on Twitter.

But imagine if Day One ever included the ability to push content to other services (WP, tumblr, etc) à la Mars Edit. That would definitely push this tool in a new direction.

Day One is one of my favorite apps and I will continue to use it every day. How I use it is where I'm less sure.

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