Do any of you particularly like your word processing / authoring / editing software? As may have been made obvious from the question, I do not. I use a variety of tools to produce documents these days: OO.o Writer to produce proposals and other formal documentation, GEdit to write blog posts (yes, it’s 2006 and I do all my markup by hand), Writely (now Google Docs) for anything that I’m likely to collaborate on. I’ve also spent more than my fair share of time over the years in Microsoft Word. They’re all functional, and more or less adequate from an ease of use perspective within the context of the specific use case, but I can’t say that I enjoy any of them.
The obvious response to that is that writing is not a terribly enjoyable task on most days, so it’s natural that the client reflects that. But I personally don’t buy that. Coding can be a similar chore, but talk to any developer about their editor or IDE of choice, and you’re likely to hear quite a lot about the tool, whether that’s Eclipse, emacs, or Visual Studio. And if you’re pressed for time, under no circumstances should you ask a TextMate user about their editor. The affection for the tool in most cases is functionally based, but I’d argue includes a distinct emotional component as well.
The basis for that emotion varies from user to user, undoubtedly, but I suspect is strongly rooted in both the visual appeal and the ability to customize the tool. In other words, does the visual design resonate on a deeper level with the user, and can you remake the tool – a la Firefox – into a custom environment that fits you perfectly?
To date, there have been precious few non-code oriented authoring environments that satisfy both of those needs. None of the tools in my arsenal today resonate on any significant level, nor am I wedded to them. I don’t know about all of you, but I’d very much like to see one – and would be only happy to pay for one.