Why We Built Quack (Beta)

Today we're launching a tiny beta tool called Quack. It is a simple utility for you to share a beautifully rendered version of any markdown text. Type away in our simple editor. When you're done writing, click Share to grab the link for sending to others. There are no servers in this beta. Everything you write is stored in the URL, so every time you change your writing the URL changes as well.

As we continue building our writing practice at Good Enough, we are frequently sharing markdown blog post drafts with each other. We've written markdown in Google Docs, Dropbox Paper, and GitHub Gists. While the former two are good for collaboration, we don't like looking at markdown in those systems. GitHub Gists has the advantage of rendering markdown, but frankly it's a pretty ugly rendering. All of this is fair! None of these softwares were designed for this use case.

Under the guise of Cosmic Maelstrom, we decided to try building the editor and rendering side of this idea. We wanted to prove out the simplest version of this concept: to provide a link to beautifully rendered markdown. We were inspired by numbr.dev and txt.fyi (RIP), similar software that stored everything you type in the URL.

We're pretty happy with this first cut of things, but it comes with all sorts of compromises. There is no "document" per se, so if you make any changes after you send the link, the recipient of your link will not see those changes. There is no account structure, so if you lose track of the link to what you were editing you'll probably have trouble ever rediscovering it. There are no collaboration features, so if you are sending a blog post draft to colleagues, the only form of feedback you can get is where you shared that link in chat or text messages or project management software. Oh, and the links can get incredibly long. We're not even sure extra-long writing can be shared with this technique as eventually URL-length limits will be exceeded.

Yet perhaps Quack (Beta) is good enough for a lot of uses cases. Perhaps Quack (Beta) will allow people to jot down bits of writing to which they wish they could link. Perhaps Quack (Beta) will be a playground for us to build a better markdown editor.

Perhaps you will give it a try and let us know what you think? Please write us an email or postcard with any feedback!