Category: jdarkroom

JDarkRoom 14

The beginning of this month saw the release of version 14 of JDarkRoom, the full-screen text editor that has developed a loyal following since its first release over two years ago.

The new version is the first for almost a year and brings some much-needed bug fixes, new features and a complete rewrite of the settings screen. The main new feature is the ability to export your file via a converter – for example the supplied ‘Markdown‘ converter will generate a snippet of HTML suitable for posting into a web page, using the Markdown syntax rules for formatting. Suggestions for other converters are welcome.

Future development plans include a plugin system, so that other friendly Java developers can get in on the act to add features they’d like to see in JDarkRoom.

Finally, a big thank you to everyone who requested features, submitted bug reports and gave feedback on JDarkRoom – your input is always very much appreciated.

JDarkRoom 12

JDarkRoom version 12 is now available including the following new features:

  • Auto-save backups
  • Adjustable screen margins for smaller displays
  • Text search

As I write this, JDarkRoom has now been downloaded over 20,000 times.

JDarkRoom 11

JDarkRoom 11 is now available, with mouse-wheel scrolling and a few more bug-fixes.

Interest in JDarkRoom continues, with over 48,000 hits to the website and nearly 16,000 downloads so far. Last month, JDarkRoom was featured on the cover DVD of Computer Idee magazine in the Netherlands and continues to feature in blog posts from time to time.

JDarkRoom sightings

Ok, please allow me to indulge in a little ego-trip. :-) My pet application, JDarkRoom, has been downloaded rather a lot & I’ve discovered a few people writing good things about it on their blogs:

I am writing this post from pretty much the coolest Java app I’ve ever seen. …


Thanks James! Donald also has some nice things to say..

I find it very useful. The fact that there’s nothing else displayed on the screen allows me to focus entirely on the task in front of me. No disruption, no eye candy, nothing. Just me and the task. Just me… and the task. Such situation gives me a peace of mind, a “mind like water”. It is a good condition for me to enter the “flow” state, a condition where I lose track of time and have my creative juice flows freely.


.. and my personal favourite ..

JDarkRoom is a sanity saver

Over the last month or two, there have been a lot of distractions in my life. Distractions that have piled on the stress and which have made writing very difficult at times. So, I’ve let a few assignments slip. Not to the point of missing deadlines, mind you, but enough so that I have to scramble to meet those deadlines. Which adds to my stress.

In those cases, JDarkRoom really helped me get work done. My writing process has been to find a (relatively) quiet corner, turn off my notebook’s wireless card, fire up JDarkRoom, and start writing. Pretty soon, I have a completed draft of an article. With about 70% of articles that I’ve used JDarkRoom to write, the first draft has been pretty close to the final draft. And I’ve been able to bang out articles in record time.

Sure, JDarkRoom doesn’t have a built-in spelling checker, but I have other tools for that. And I can usually spot spelling errors during my first read-through of an article. The only feature that I’d like added to it is scrolling with the mouse wheel. As with a spelling checker, that’s not a make-or-break feature with me. JDarkRoom lets me write. That’s the only feature I really need.


Thanks for the good review, Scott. JDarkRoom even features on a photo that Bryan Villarin has posted to flickr. Nice to see it in action.

It’s good to know that JDarkRoom is useful to people. If you have any more sightings, please send them in. :-)

Summary: JDarkRoom

January 2007 has been a good month for JDarkRoom. What started out as a toy proof-of-concept Java implementation of WriteRoom (well, the main idea anyway) suddenly got some attention on LifeHacker (#1, #2) in podcasts (#1, #2) and was discussed on several blogs (#1, #2 and #3). There were also some generally negative comments that resulted in some interesting discussion and an O’Reilly blog post. This resulted in 14,776 hits on the website (11,613 of which were unique visitors) and 5,147 downloads. Not bad for one month in the life of a toy computer program.

Since the first release in early July 2006, I’ve received many emails requesting new features for JDarkRoom. From reading most of the comments on blogs and in the podcasts, I should take the time to point out that JDarkRoom is first and foremost intended as a creative writer’s tool – to get ideas down and to focus on the words themselves, rather than font style, font size, paragraph formatting etc. That said, it is a text editor and people have therefore requested features such as spellcheck, page formatting, syntax highlighting and editing of documents held on the internet. However, other editors already do these things well, so I won’t be adding these features to JDarkRoom any time soon. (I’d rather that it set out towards a relatively simple goal and succeeded than tried to do too much.)

So thank you to everybody that has downloaded and commented on JDarkRoom. It’s been fun reading your comments and adding a few new features whenever I had a “why didn’t I think of that?” moment. I will continue to develop JDarkRoom, but with a tight focus on what it sets out to achieve.

JDarkRoom 8

Yesterday afternoon saw the release of JDarkRoom 8, now with undo/redo support, ability to toggle a more visible cursor and a text-only colour choice mode (to fix problems some users were experiencing on Apple macs).

It’s been a good month for JDarkRoom so far, with over 10,000 hits to the website and nearly 4,000 downloads. We’ve even been featured on a podcast!

JDarkRoom featured on Lifehacker, Digg

Last Friday (5th Jan), JDarkRoom was featured in articles and comments from
Digg and Lifehacker. This resulted in over a thousand hits on that day alone and some very useful user feedback. I have just released JDarkRoom 7 with a couple of new features and will be working on the other suggestions over the next week.