Markdown Mac

Sublime Text 2 plus Marked App icons

Markdown Mac: Have you considered using Markdown on your Mac?

Markdown is “a text-to-HTML conversion tool for web writers. Markdown allows you to write using an easy-to-read, easy-to-write plain text format, then convert it to structurally valid XHTML (or HTML).”

Why Plain Text

Proprietary file formats can be a pain. Have you ever received a document that was tough to open? Microsoft Word and Publisher files spring to my mind. Years ago many Mac owners were forced to use a program from DataViz to convert files that arrived from Windows users. These days some Mac owners still feel compelled to purchase the newest version of Microsoft Office. It really doesn’t have to be that way. In an ideal digital world, your operating system, software of choice, software version and chosen fonts shouldn’t matter, it’s your content that’s important and it should be readable everywhere, now and into the future.

Plain text gets it right, it’s your words that matter; simplicity and portability are important.

It’s Your Words That Matter

Plain text isn’t just for the Web, it’s perfect for email, text messaging, all sorts of information sharing and archiving. An added bonus is that plain text doesn’t have to look boring, it can contain simple instructions for formating when output to HTML, PDF and LaTeX. This is where Markdown and MultiMarkdown come into play.

>> Why Markdown? A two-minute explanation

>> Markdown Primer

Action Steps:

  1. Get a text editor (see list below)
  2. Grab the Marked App

Apple supplies TextEdit with every Mac, but you might want to consider a more powerful app. Mac OS X is fortunate to have a number of excellent text editors, you’re likely aware of BBEdit, TextMate and TextWrangler, but there are also other apps that handle Markdown very well. Examples are:

  • ByWord
  • Chocolat (early days)
  • iA Writer
  • Macchiato
  • MarkdownNote
  • MarkMyWords
  • MultiMarkdown Composer (was MMDEdit)
  • myTexts
  • Smultron
  • Sublime Text

I’m currently using Sublime Text 2 in combination with the Marked App.

Sublime Text is nifty, it’s fast, modern, cross-platform, 64 bit and capable of using many TextMate themes, snippets and bundles.

Note: Fletcher Penney, the creator of MultiMarkdown, is developing MMD Composer, I’m anxious to see how it will perform.