My name is Mike Ash, and I’d like to talk to you about our acquisition of VoodooPad and the way I’ve put it to use for many different things over the years. I’m a software engineer here at Plausible Labs. I wear a lot of other hats as well. Plausible Labs is a cooperative, which means that all of us here at Plausible share in the ownership and decision-making of the company. I helped get the ball rolling on VoodooPad, although the decision was made collectively as befits our corporate structure. I’m also going to be the principal engineer working on VoodooPad for the moment, and I’m happy to get my hands dirty.
Some of you may know me from NSBlog, home of the Friday Q&A series of articles about Mac and iOS programming. As it happens, I do all of my blog writing in VoodooPad these days.
I first discovered VoodooPad way back when it was fresh and new, around the original release in 2003. I was enchanted at the prospect of being able to organize my personal data in a personal wiki. Before that, I had a mass of text files strewn about my computer. A lot of them lived on the desktop. More of them lived in a folder on the desktop, where I occasionally “organized” files that I’d kept around for a while. Still more lived in random, unfathomable places.
I started a VoodooPad document with that old version and called it “Random Notes”. I still have that same document today, now upgraded to a VoodooPad 5 document and filled with lots of data from over the years. I started out by filling it up with those assorted text files and finally getting rid of my desktop clutter. (It came back within hours, but now it’s at least limited to images and zip files and other non-textual information.) Then I started adding more. Now this document is filled with everything from insurance policy numbers to assorted programming tricks to notes on places to fly gliders in China. Some of this stuff is tremendously old and completely useless to me now, but the personal wiki concept lets me keep everything around without any clutter, and I never have to worry about deleting something I’ll later need.
With the release of VoodooPad 5, it gained support for the Markdown syntax. By a wonderful coincidence, my blog uses the Markdown syntax. I saw this as the perfect opportunity to move away from a painful system of text files and scripts and streamline the process of writing my articles. I wrote a small script that sends an article to my blog server, and now I do all of my writing from within my master VoodooPad document. It’s not built as a blogging platform, but the power and flexibility of the system lets me mold it to my needs.
VoodooPad has been indispensable to me for years. Looking back, I believe I’ve used it for a longer time than any other piece of third-party software I’ve used since I first laid hands on a Commodore 64 back in the mid-80s. I’m excited to move up from a user of the app to a developer, and hope that we can give many more years of solid updates for a powerful and flexible app.
The first Plausible release of VoodooPad is version 5.1.3. It contains a few bug fixes that Gus, head of Flying Meat made since 5.1.2, and it also changes names and URLs around as appropriate. We’re now hard at work on a 5.2 release following the road map from Gus. I’m a firm believer in software that’s done when it’s done, so I don’t want to make any promises on a timeframe, but I certainly don’t want to keep you waiting too long!