Finally getting into markdown

So, markdown and multimarkdown aren’t exactly new. They’ve been on my radar for a few years, mostly as something I acknowledge as I pass them by and move on. In a nutshell, they’re a way of writing rich text without actually writing rich text.

Make sense?

OK, let me try that again. There are a lot of programs (and plugins) that let you bring text in in markdown or multimarkdown (multimarkdown is just an extension of markdown, adding some additional features). Whether that’s Scrivener, which lets you import markdown, or wordpress, where there are plugins for writing posts in markdown (I’m playing with one of them right now – wp-markdown; meh, it does what it says, but I’m not sure it’s the right one for me, though apparently jetpack has a plugin too), or you just want to work in a “native” markdown application (like MMDC), there are a lot of options out there.

So why do it? Because ultimately these are all just interpreting a plain text file. And that means you can write anywhere. On your phone without a rich text editor? Done. Tablet? Done. It’s only in the final publication or import step that it matters whether the target supports markdown. And what’s the result?

HTML. Formatted, but just HTML, without knowing all of the tags ahead of time. My technical friends will scoff – there isn’t much to the tagging for basic formatting, right? Except in the heat of writing, which is easier to type – an asterisk, or a set of opening and closing tags? Remember, keystrokes count in this writing game.

Ultimately, for me at least, markdown formatting is about being able to include formatting options where you want using any text editor you have handy. It’s nice if the editor supports preview of the markdown – that warm fuzzy of seeing the finished product – but  in the end, the option to edit anywhere is wonderful.

It will be interesting to see how long my infatuation with this continues 🙂


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