Thursday, 3 April 2014

Markdown editors

Markdown Discovered

Relatively recently I have started using Markdown syntax to write notes, todo lists and other light-weight documentation.

The nature of Markdown allows me to easily construct notes with a standardised format on several different operating systems and editors. The syntax is easily converted to HTML for viewing or exporting as a PDF.

I work on and use Windows, Linux, Android and IOS during the course of a week on Desktop, Laptop, Tablet, I-Pad and Smartphone. I do use Evernote regularly for more comprehensive notes and data capture, but find it a little clunky if I just want to knock out a quick todo list or take some meeting notes. I plan on doing a post in the future about my love for Evernote and the tools I use.

The Tools

Windows

MarkdownPad is a fantastic editor and was the first editor I used in Windows. The Pro license is $14.95 and adds a comprehensive list of features. There are free alternatives such as WriteMonkey, but MarkdownPad is so good it really is worth the fee.

Linux

I originally tried UberWriter, but found it a bit flakey on the Lubuntu laptop I use for general stuff at home.

Eventually I settled on the text editor marvel that is Sublime Text. Of course there are many text editors for Linux and all other OSes and many offer syntax highlighting and preview plugins, but along with fact that I felt I could use Sublime for coding it is my Linux choice. I could use it on windows if I so need and indeed may if I end up doing serious coding and getting used to it to the extent thay it becomes 2nd nature, but for now it is only my Linux goto for Markdown. $70 is rather steep, but that is a user license so you can use it everywhere and the evaluation has no time limit so you can use it freely until your conscience gets the better of you.

Android

I have both an Android tablet and Smartphone and two apps installed. The first once I came across was Draft and it does the job pretty well. I then came across JotterPad X which just pips it in terms of look, feel and features. For mobile Markdown both are pretty good.

IOS

I use the Ipad less than any other bit of kit and at this stage have only tried Drafts mainly for its ability to publish to Evernote. I do appreciate that it is seen as a tool to get your notes started, but I found it frustrating when I wanted to edit a note I had published to Dropbox. If I feel the need to do more Markdown on Ipad I will probably explore other solutions.

Online / In Browser

StackEdit really is all powerful as far as in browser editing goes and would be ideal for anyone with a Chromebook. It can even publish direct to blogger (guess what I used to write this!). There are many online Markdown editors and viewers available, but StackEdit is the one I would recommend.

Dropbox

All these solutions are linked or sync’d to a folder in my Dropbox account so I can edit or view any of my Markdown files on all platforms. It just works.


Markdown is a really easy to learn and fast way of creating notes that I would recommend to anyone. Yes it is a little geeky, but that only increases its appeal to me.

Cheers

Grant

Written with StackEdit.

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