In today’s world of simple and complex text editors it seems that we already have all we need with the current selection of OSX and iOS applications. Newly released text editors are now trying to bring enhanced UI design which is very minimalistic most of the time, and they also try to bring one major feature which should at least seem unique or interesting enough to become a major selling point. That’s why I was very surprised once I started to work with Calca.
Calca is a text editor (available both for OSX and iOS) which is able of handling your text input just like any other similar app, but it comes with a very important feature that actually shapes its usability. It’s able of understanding written language and perform some calculations based on your input. In some ways, this application could be seen as a very interesting combination of text processor and a spreadsheet app. And it works quite nicely.
Calca is a text editor which is designed to understand your inputs, so it can perform calculations and provide you with an end result. This way you can create structure of some calculations that you use on a daily basis, so by changing inputs you can actually do the same calculation over and over. For example, you can calculate your spending towards your monthly budget by writing categories like “car = 250$”, “food = 500$”, and for example “rent = 1200$”. Now you can type in a command like “expenses = car + food + rent”, and this should calculate 250+500+1200 and give you the result. In order to see your daily spending you can type a new command like “expenses/30 days” so you’ll get the result of 65$ which is how much you spend on a daily basis. As you can see you need to think logically and if you’re really good at math and calculations, you’ll be brilliant with Calca. Also the good news is that Calca brings a lot of predefined calculations and template documents, and there are numerous practical examples on its official website, so there’s no shortage of support material.
What’s important to say is that this text editor is able of calculating even some very complex operations. For example, you’ll be able to work with variables, functions, equations, matrices, and many more.
When it comes to UI design of this app, it’s very simplistic and looks like just about any plain text editor. This goes for both OSX and iOS versions. You’ll get to the status bar on top, and the rest of the window will be a blank canvas where you can type and calculate. You’ll be also able to use Markdown syntax in order to format the text, but there’s no preview mode which is a real shame. I hope this will be added in a future update, since this would mean a lot to those who use Markdown on a daily basis, where the preview mode is simply essential.
Calca can be purchased in the OSX App Store for $5, and also in the iOS App Store for $3.