Text Based Formats.

I have been a proponent of writing in markdown since I started to write on a computer when I was a teenager because I loved the fact that you could write and format your text without lifting — literally — a finger to go to the mouse.

But, more importantly, the idea is that everything is stored in a format that is not going away. One of the key reasons is that simple text files run the configurations for servers and many other systems, so they are likely to stay supported for decades, and it would not surprise me if you can easily open a .txt file in one hundred years for now.

I’m not sure if Google Docs or Microsoft Word will still be the same standard, and if the .docx format will or will not be used.

What is very interesting is the fact that while the underlining systems for .txt files are simple, you can build interfaces on top of plain text files to expand the possibilities available.

For instance, I am writing these words in a beautiful full-screen text editor called Paper, and it does not feel like I am writing a plain text file, and yet I am. It doesn’t matter if Paper eventually goes bankrupt or stops producing this software, because my underlining writing is just saved in a .txt file, and I can access that any time I want with any other software.

The same goes for how I keep track of granular next steps for my various different work areas and businesses. While I have a Blue project for my own tasks which is proprietary software, it does export to CSV, another plain text open format. But for general next steps that do not involve me specifically, I simply use a plain text file and open it with a lovely little software called Bike, which enables an interface to be able to quickly indent outlines, and I have mentioned it previously in my writing process as well.

I can just keep these files on my desktop and automatically backup, sync, and version control them without a second thought, and I don’t really have to pay for any expensive subscriptions or be stuck in anyone’s format that may or may not be supported in the future.

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