Calca is a terrific little plain text calculator app that I feared was abandoned. As a fan of Markdown and all things plain text, Calca appeals to me desire for simplicity and portability. I write the text and Calca does the math.
The latest update adds iOS 11 support which is not a typo. Still, it means I get another year with the app. The beauty of Calca is that the notes I made when buying a house or planning a basement remodel will outlive the app because it’s all just text files.
Here are a couple of simple tricks for anyone that owns Calca and thought it was too confusing to get work done.
It’s easy to work with list data in Calca. Just put the list in square brackets like it was an array. Calca knows this is a list and can do things like find the sum or even plot the list.
Calca is free for iOS and available for Mac and Windows too.
Spreadsheets are really powerful but I often find that they are terrible for annotating the calculations I need to do, which is why I like Calca. I can mix text with math and get more than just a numerical answer. Calca isn’t as powerful as dropping into Python with Numpy, but that’s overkill for most of what I need to do.
A handy trick in Calca is to indent definitions to get a sum of all of the entries.
::: total cost += furnace = 500 beam = 1100 entry = 3500 appliances =10,000 total cost=>
By writing the function like this, not only can I add new items and get a dynamic total, I can go back two years later and the list still makes sense.