The Perfect Markdown App

Perfect Markdown App snippet - BBEdit
Perfect Markdown App snippet – BBEdit

Have you invested valuable time testing markdown editors? Of course you have, web authors are predisposed to an endemic syndrome, we’re always looking for the perfect markdown app.

My markdown writing finalists are:

and my favourite helper apps are:

Perfection

Q: Does the perfect markdown app exist?
A: No, not yet, creating the perfect, stand-alone markdown application is close to impossible. Unfortunately, even the most promising markdown applications share the same problem; many people are accustomed to using Microsoft Word and Pages. The marketplace for a specialized, MacOS, plain text editor is still relatively small. The upshot is that a few apps have moved into their twilight, where development languishes. Only healthy app sales justify ongoing development and contrary to myth most developers aren’t wealthy.

I’m consistently drawn to beautiful, MacOS native apps, but, when forced to choose, reliability trumps beauty. After compromising a little on beauty and in-built, keyboard shortcuts, I’ve chosen a very reliable plain text editor and I’ve paired it with a helper that gets me very close to markdown perfection.

BBEdit + Marked 2 = near Perfect Markdown App

Ask yourself, “What would happen if I combined BBEdit, the leading MacOS plain text editor, with Marked 2, the leading MacOS markdown previewer?” In my case, doing so always puts a refreshing, big smile on my face.

BBEdit icon

BBEdit

BBEdit has always had a dedicated MacOS following. It has been actively developed since 1993 and “It (still) doesn’t suck”. Quoting Bare Bones website, “BBEdit is the leading professional HTML and text editor for macOS. This award-winning product has been crafted to serve the needs of writers, Web authors and software developers, and provides an abundance of features for editing, searching, and manipulation of text.”

BBEdit’s preferences are a thing of beauty, you can customize almost everything. After choosing your favourite font, font size and colour scheme, position an ideally-sized scratchpad window. Save by choosing ‘Save Default Text Window’ (under the Window menu item). Later, you can refine all of your settings until you have a workspace that suits you perfectly. If you’re anything like me, it won’t be long before you begin to appreciate BBEdit’s best-of-class features.

To make writing/editing markdown with BBEdit even easier:

  • within BBEdit’s Completion preferences, check both ‘Insert matching delimiters while typing’ and ‘Surround selected text when typing matching delimiters’ which renders link and image-link creation easy-peasy
  • use Christopher Stone’s AppleScript to surround selected text with quotation marks and/or to add Asterixs for bold and/or italicized text
  • use TableFlip when you want to add a table.

Although BBEdit is continually updated, you will never feel like it’s a work in progress; it’s rock solid.

Marked 2 icon

Marked 2

One of Brett Terpstra’s many contribuions to the markdown ecosystem is his exceptionally useful Marked 2. Quoting the Marked 2 website, “Marked is a previewer for Markdown files. Use it with your favorite text editor and it updates every time you save. With robust features for previewing, reviewing and exporting beautiful documents, you can work in plain text while reveling in rich formatting”

Back in 2014, Macworld’s Dan Frakes wrote a review of Marked 2. Note that Marked 2 is now at v2.5.15, it’s better now than when Dan gave it a five mouse review.

My BBEdit + Marked Workflow:

  1. compose in BBEdit
  2. edit, formating with markdown, while previewing with Marked 2
  3. with Marked selected hold shift + command + c to copy HTML
  4. paste HTML into WordPress
  5. complete SEO and publish.

Conclusion

Words that spring to mind after writing numerous short articles with BBEdit and Marked 2:

  • easy
  • enjoyable
  • customizable
  • powerful
  • and very reliable.

If you’re searching for the perfect markdown editor, give BBEdit and Marked 2 a try, you won’t regret it.