Writing a book, a research paper, or a script may seem intimidating when sitting in front of a blank word-processor window, trying to figure out where to start. Yarny is a cloud-based, distraction-free editor that can help writers stay organized and focused on their work.
Unlike desktop solutions such as PageFour, YWriter, or even Scrivener, Yarny is a Web app that sits entirely in the cloud, eliminating the need to save your work locally and worry about backups. On the other hand, trusting a Web app with all your hard work does require a certain leap of faith, unless you're willing to constantly export your work.
Yarny is available in two versions, free and Premium. A Premium account costs you $4 per month, or $36 per year, and gives you access to iPhone syncing, theme options, title and snippet duplication, and typewriter sound effects (yes, that's a Premium feature). If you don't need mobile syncing, and don't care much about appearances, the free account is more than sufficient for any budding writer.
To get the most out of Yarny, start your writing process by creating an account. Yarny works much faster when you're logged in, and you'll also save yourself the trouble of losing work you've done on an anonymous account.
Yarny is geared at writing books, but you can use it to write pretty much anything. After giving your project a title, you can also set a word-count goal, which you can then follow using an ever-present progress bar. Like working on several projects simultaneously? Click your project's title to create more projects, which you can easily juggle between.
Yarny's workflow relies on snippets, where each snippet can be a chapter, a sub-chapter, or anything you want it to be. You can sort your snippets into groups, or simply use them as it. Both snippets and groups can be color coded, sorted and re-ordered using the drag and drop interface.
The editing process is easy and distraction-free: As soon as you start typing in the editor, all sidebars fade away, leaving you with a white page and your text. To access the sidebars again, hover your mouse cursor in their general direction to make them re-appear. At the bottom of the editor you'll find a tag button, for adding tags to your snippet, and a versioning button, which lets you slide back to previous versions of this snippet. Your work is saved automatically all the time, and there's also a per-snippet word count and character count which is visible upon mouse hover.
The versioning system is useful, but its application is somewhat lacking. While you can easily slide through previous versions and see when each one was saved, you can only do this while viewing the top of your page, which makes it impossible to see differences if they happen to be at the bottom. There's also no way to compare versions, so if you're not entirely sure what the differences are, you're going to have to eyeball it somehow.
Sign up for Computerworld eNewsletters.