Scriptable text editor on iOS


I’m looking for suggestions for a good scriptable text editor for iOS. My requirements is that it’s easy to script, can work together with Working Copy, preferable syntax highlight for at least Python and Markdown. I’m probably write very little code, probably Python, but mostly Markdown stuff.

I know of Ulysses, Textastic and Editorial but what more should I be looking at?
Is Pythonista an alternative (it should handle the scripting part :smiley: ) if I want to write Markdown files and work with Working Copy?


Personally I use Coda for this. It supports the WebDAV offered by Working Copy, and that means if I hit CMD+S with Coda on the main part of my screen and Working Copy previewing a file on the right the preview will be updated - this is insanely useful when writing Markdown as you can see something went wrong!


I think Drafts may work but I’m not sure about the Working Copy integration.

Maybe this article, My Markdown Writing and Collaboration Workflow, Powered by Working Copy 3.6, iCloud Drive, and GitHub, may help as Vittici is all in on Working Copy along with automating text editing.


Lately I’ve been digging Kodex for quick code file editing. Basically it allows you to edit any file which is accessible from the Files app.


Thanks, I’ll check this out


I’ve been mulling this over for a couple of days and I can’t think of anything that does what you ask … which was honestly a little surprising. I have in my mind that you’re after something like SublimeText 3 … for iOS :face_with_raised_eyebrow:

Markdown’s pretty ubiquitous, so I’ll set that to one side in that pretty much everything you might consider would have you covered on that one in one way or another.

Apps like Editorial, Ulysses and iAWriter are more word processors than text editors, and whilst they have scripting capabilities (only Editorial for Python), they don’t have that core text focus hat you are probably looking for.

Textastic has excellent Working Copy integration and is actually a text editor, but it isn’t scriptable. Whereas in Editorial (or Pythonista), you could actually run your Python, in Textastic you’re going to have to round trip it elsewhere either on device (probably Pythonista), or to a networked system … in which case you’re going to need SSH and all the integrations you might want around that.

Then of course there’s Drafts. Awesome app, but not quite a text editor (it’s content is focussed on its own database of notes and external retrieval and updates is currently secondary at best). I have some stuff working around the basics of Working Copy, and I have an idea of how to make it work much better with it (some day I’ll have the time to finish my work on that), but even then … not really a place for Python.

From what you described as your requirements, I think the closest possible match is Editorial.

BUT… I’ll offer up some different perspectives.

  1. Do take a look at Brett Terpstra’s (are we allow to say “drink” if this isn’t an MPU forum?) iOS text editors comparison chart.
  2. Do consider writing your Python in one place, your Markdown composing elsewhere and maybe even any other text editing options somewhere else again. If you were building something every day (and your last name is not Macgyver), would you rather have a range of tools or a Swiss army knife? Multi-purpose tools are great, but when you find something you are going to work with a lot, think about specialising. It is almost always worth it, certainly on iOS.
  3. Text editing, and Markdown, doesn’t require a fancy GUI. Depending upon the Python coding you’re doing, that might not either. Maybe using a sophisticated text editor like EMACS or maybe even vi, might be an option for you if you use an SSH client and a remote machine. It could even be something as cheap as a Raspberry Pi zero on the same network.

Just some thoughts. Maybe there’ll be something useful in there somewhere :slight_smile:


I would love that…


Thanks for the answer

I have in my mind that you’re after something like SublimeText 3 … for iOS

More like BBEdit :smiley:

Yeah, I agree. I need to get a bit more info about Editorial. I seem to remember, from some time, ago that there was some issues/complication for handling files but I might mis-remember or confusing it with some other app.

Thanks for reminding me about the comparison chart.

I’m perhaps biased and need to rethink and follow your advice. I’m used to use one editor (BBEdit) for everything be it Markdown, Python, Java, C, latex, haskell, etc, etc. On the Mac it makes sense since I switch so often that it wouldn’t make sense to me to have specialized program.

When using ssh I’m a vim guy. Hmm, yes that might be something to think about also.

Once again, thanks for your answer and getting me to move outside the small box (in my mind) I started with