Editorial As A Database Viewer

Jun 3, 2016
Joe Buhlig
~1 min

One habit that Evernote taught me was that of creating databases, collections of text and pictures that revolve around a specific topic or item. I’m yet to export my Evernote data into my alternative storage system but I have solved my most glaring issue: searching and viewing these databases on iOS.

These consist of three data types: text, documents, and pictures. All text is created in markdown files. The documents are primarily PDFs and the pictures are… well they’re pictures. All of these files have a very simple organizational structure in DropBox. There’s a folder named after the type of database (Drinks), a subfolder if necessary (Coffee), and then the files which are named after the item itself (Caribou Mahogany.jpg). If there are pictures, documents, and text for the same item, they’ll get the same name (but with different file extensions) to make it easy to search.

It’s a very basic structure, which makes it easy to find and interact with these different files from different apps on iOS. My app of choice for text files is Editorial. There’s a lot of power in Editorial that I’ve never utilized but I do know that it’s excellent for editing and reading markdown.

I was typing out a few sentences for an article while waiting for a friend when I accidentally tapped the name for a PDF within Editorial. To my surprise, I was given the ability to “Quick Look” the document within the app. I am not sure why I never tried this before but it singlehandedly changed my methods for interacting with these databases from a multi-app approach to a single point of access.

This means that given a file structure that works for you and a text-heavy implementation of databases, Editorial can act as a user interface similar to these catchall tools like Evernote. Yes, there is the downside of not being able to capture documents and pictures directly into Editorial. The trick is to capture these into DropBox and let Editorial be the viewer instead. But since my databases are primarily text, I’m able to leverage the power of a tool that was designed extensively for text and maintain the majority of my editing needs. Add to that the ability to view the extra files I compile and iOS now has a database interface I didn’t know I wanted.