I am writing this post from pretty much the coolest Java app I’ve ever seen. I’m not a huge Java fan, and I’ve used very few interesting apps lately, so that might not be saying a whole lot.

But I digress. My new-found toy is called “JDarkRoom“, and it allows the user to experience the joy of using an old, simple text editor. Minus all the frustrations of actually using such a program, of course. It’s very straightforward, almost to a fault. No spell checking, no fonts, nothing. Notepad looks almost feature-laden in comparison. However, this is the entire point of JDarkRoom, the very place where it excels. It’s a blank slate. You don’t have to fuss with the margins, the font, or even saving. Basically, it aims to be an tool for first drafts and other things where distractions must be minimal. Imagine a green-on-black screen, just waiting to be filled with text. This is the tool in a nutshell.

While the concept is wonderful, the implementation is not without issues. The biggest cravat is a distinct lack of Ctrl-Z. A must, the “undo” command is a huge feature that needs to get in before I’ll even consider using it full-time. Another annoyance is the wafer-thin blinking cursor, an item barely visible on my laptop’s screen. Yet another nitpick is how the mouse cursor I-beam dosen’t magically vanish when you start to type. Don’t get me wrong, this thing isn’t perfect at all.

However, with a little work from the author, JDarkRoom could develop into something really nice; it’s defiantly something I’ll be keeping my eye on.


7 Responses to “JDarkRoom”

  1. 1 dru January 6, 2007 at 7:38 pm

    Dark Room (http://they.misled.us/dark-room) is the original and does have undo.

  2. 2 James January 8, 2007 at 3:00 am

    Actually, WriteRoom is the original. I tried Dark Room, but didn’t really like it as much. The scrolling thing was unneccessary, and the ability to window and pull up dialog boxes it kinda broke the mood.

    I’m quite unimpressed that none of them are open source. It’s the “almost perfect and I’d love to try to fix that annoyance, but I don’t have the source” type of thing.

    Maybe I’ll just hunt down a Vi or Emacs mode that does the same thing.

  3. 3 Duncan Jauncey January 20, 2007 at 7:36 pm

    Thanks for the review. Undo has been requested by a few people now, so it’s the next major feature that I’m planning to add.

  4. 4 Duncan Jauncey January 21, 2007 at 2:57 pm


    Just thought you should know that I’ve released JDarkRoom 8, which has undo functionality, plus the option of a thicker cursor.

    Kind regards,


  5. 5 James January 21, 2007 at 7:13 pm

    Very nice! I’ll check it out as soon as I get some time to upgrade to sun-java6 on Ubuntu.

  6. 6 nicholas payne May 8, 2007 at 11:44 am

    Rubyroom is open source, I think.

  1. 1 Duncan Jauncey’s Blog » Summary: JDarkRoom Trackback on February 1, 2007 at 4:21 am
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