Experimenting with MNML, a new Medium desktop editor

A quick 30 minute review of this new app to see if its worth £28.

For a while I have been looking for a desktop based editor to write Medium posts.

I just noticed MNML in the app store. It’s created by John Saddington. There is a Medium publication dedicated to it.

Let’s see if it is … as the website says … the last Medium app for discerning Medium.com publishers?

TLDR; Great idea, but not ready for intensive use.

John developed the Desk writing app and created this new Medium specific app.

So i went ahead and bought it to try it out. (£28 by the way)

Note: I am using it on a Late 2016 Macbook Pro.

Does it look & feel like Medium?

Not for me.

Not yet anyway. Maybe to do with retina, or missing fonts.

Have a look for yourself. MNML followed by Medium in the Browser.

How does MNML compare to Medium?

Update: I just noticed the font settings in the sidebar, which fixes the issue you can see in the GIF to some extent. But it uses the same font for headings and text, so not exactly the same as Medium natively.

Can I update published posts?

No — each time you publish it creates a new post in Medium. This is a Medium API limitation.

Two versions of same post published as draft to Medium, resulted in 2 drafts

Does it sync posts / changes from Medium to the desktop app?

I guess you know the answer.

Any stories you write on Medium are not synced to the Desktop app.

And any changes you make on your phone, browser or ipad wont sync back either.

Maybe this will come in future when API support for this is added by Medium.

Can I drag and drop images?

Yes this works! Great.

Does it make me a better writer?

Not yet but it has the potential to add cool shit like Grammarly and readability grades like Hemmingway Editor does.

Are keyboard shortcuts the same?

Nope.

For exampe, CMD+Alt+1 to make text into header did not work.

Keyboard shortcut in MNML is CMD+1.

Weird.

I didn’t test all of them though.

Does it embed URLs?

No, at least it does not show the video in the editor. I suspect it will show it on Medium.

Couldn't find a video about MNML Editor — this was the closest ;)

Update: Yes it does show them embedded in Medium!

What’s great about MNML?

There are some neat things though:

  1. I can save posts locally until I am ready to publish. So I can work offline! Yay!
  2. It supports multiple accounts so you can write in 1 app and publish to different Medium accounts (no using this for spamming Medium though!)
  3. You can star, group and tag the posts your writing so you could use it to organise your notes and drafts, like the cool notes app Bear.
  4. You can change to dark mode
  5. You can write with markdown (i have not tested this but saw it in the menu)

Little frustrating things

Just some small things that I am sure will be fixed soon.

  1. When you first start it doesnt prompt you to add a Medium account. You have to click a button to add a blog.
  2. The default font used on mine was Menlo which makes the whole app look wonky with text overlapping
  3. On Medium, when I hit enter key on a title it changes style on next line to paragraph. MNML does not do this. It keeps it as a title.
  4. When i have text selected and I scroll — it unselects the text
  5. It does not seem to save the publishing settings with the post. So each time I want to update the post I have to reenter tags, url etc?

Great idea, but is it sustainable?

Medium’s API has its limitations. This will make it hard to replicate the experience of writing natively on Medium. John already wrote about that here.

I also expected Medium to have their own desktop app by now. An app with more advanced features then their Web experience. Maybe they are working on it using the $$ from the membership fee.

So for anyone to pay £29 for an editor, it has to be way better and offer way more than the native Medium editor.

I think thats the only way its sustainable …

unless Medium buys it at some point.

🐀 Imrat

ps. Did I request a refund? Not yet.

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