I often write about the tools I use or consider to use. Some of them are nice and useful; some maybe on the brink of acceptability but ultimately not good enough for the intended purpose.

Some apps cost money, some are free. Some take time to understand, others make me feel at home in a minute.

Some I use occasionally and still find very useful, some apps I will happily use several times a day, every day. Those are my essentials.

nvALT, a fork of the widely successful Notational Velocity, is one of those. I use it for taking and organizing notes but also for drafting articles for my blog. The level of embrace of markdown in nvALT is certainly part of the success. Also it is the simplicity.

The ability to sync with Simplenote brings my notes over to iOS and I can view, edit, and create notes on my iPhone. Any changes done on the iOS device will instantly appear in nvALT.

nvALT is free and the source code is available on GitHub. Just clone the repository, hit build in Xcode and you’re fully set up with the latest changes.

While a big part of the goodness that comes with nvALT (e.g. the ability to sync with Simplenote) directly comes from Notational Velocity there is still something around nvALT that makes a real difference in comparison to Notational Velocity. The embrace of markdown is just one of the most prominent examples for this.

I often use nvALT in combination with Marked, another favorite of mine. Marked has been created by Brett Terpstra and it turns out that Brett is also a leading member of the team that creates and maintains nvALT.

Today is Brett’s birthday and some have even gone so far to declare it a Terpstra-Day. A perfect opportunity to chime in. Congrats and a big “thank you” for a tool that I would probably miss if I had never happened to come across.