Experience Reports

Desk - A writing tool

John Saddington worked on his new OS X publishing app, Desk, for about 250 days. I was priveleged to be invited to test the app for a few months so when it was released in the Mac App Store today, I immediately installed a copy.

John designed Desk to remove the distracting clutter from your mind and help you focus on what matters most: Your thoughts. It’s designed to be simple and intuitive, yet powerful and fast. Desk supports a number of publhsing platforms including:

  • WordPress (self-hosted and .com)
  • Blogger / Blogspot
  • Tumblr
  • Squarespace
  • Movable Type
  • Typepad
  • Facebook Notes


When you first launch Desk, you'll see how minimal the writing experience is. I was presented with little more than a rectangular window into which I could immediately start writing or drag and drop and image. Desk support both WYSIWYG and Markdown style editing. There is no need to switch between these two choice. Desk uses both of these as the same time.


With Desk I can save a draft locally on my iMac for completion later or store it in iCloud and continue editing from my MacBook Air. iCloud keeps everything in sync and automatically saves my edits.

Most of my blogging is done either via the WordPress web GUI or MarsEdit. While MarsEdit gets the job done the user experience is a bit dated and clunky. In comparison, Desk feels modern and light weight. Feature wise, Desk does everything I can do in MarsEdit.

  • Access, edit, and update existing posts and drafts
  • Drag-and-drop images right into the editor
  • Features for each publishing platform (e.g. Featured images, categories, tags, custom slugs/URLs, etc.)
  • Preview mode with real-time updating


One nifty feature of Desk is that I can chose one platform and configuration as a default. Since WordPress is my main publishing platform and most of my posts are images post, I configured Desk so that publishing is just a single click.

One thing I have been paying attention to recently is the length of my blog posts. In the past some of my post have been long but quite a number are very short; about a sentence or two. While I want to increase the amount of long form content I create I also want to have increase the word count of my image post. I want to write at least 500 word per posts. The Desk editor window displays real-time metadata information such as character count, word count and time to read. Files can be exported as HTML, RTF,PDF and DOCX.


John says that Desk is a product that has been more than 10+ years in the making and that he came up with the idea for desk in 2002 while on a road trip down the coast of Florida with his brother. It seems a good idea will persist and persistence can bring ideas to reality.


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  • John Saddington (@saddington)
    7th November 2014 at 9:32 AM

    thank you for this khurt. i appreciate it greatly!

  • kOoLiNuS
    3rd November 2014 at 1:45 AM

    Thanks for the review. I was a little disappointed seeing the price tag, now after your post it seems more reasonable.

    Question, have you ever tried Byword?

    • Khürt
      3rd November 2014 at 7:21 AM

      I use Byword as well. While Desk and Byword are similar in someone ways, Desk has the advantage in terms of blogging support. Byword supports WordPress. Desk will post to Blogger, Tumblr, SquareSpace, TypePad, Facebook, and WordPress. I'm writing a piece on how Desk might be of benefit to people who want to create long form content for Facebook.

      Having said that. I think the Markdown support in Byword is much better.

      • kOoLiNuS
        3rd November 2014 at 11:54 AM


        Publish to WordPress, Tumblr, Blogger, Scriptogram blogs and Evernote notebooks directly from Byword.

        • Khürt
          3rd November 2014 at 12:41 PM

          Yes, true. But since my blog has a lot of images I could not use Byword for my blogging in the past. Image support in Byword is very lacking -- you have to upload the image first and then link them -- and was only added 2 months ago. I have been working with Desk for almost 6 months.


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