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.

Dansette