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).
This is how John Gruber, one of the inventors of markdown, explains the the tool as he calls it. It already sounds more complicated than it is. I suggest just to jump in. In this post I show you how to get started with Markdown (Wiki) …
These are a few lines written in markdown syntax:
#First Headline (H1) ##Second Headline (H2) This is a really short sentence with some **bold text**, some *italics* and a link to an [Example-Page](http://www.examplepage.com) * a bullet * another bullet > This is a quote 1. Numbered Item 2. Another Numbered Item ![Example Image](http://lorempixel.com/g/300/100/technics/1/image)
A markdown enabled App will turn these lines into this:
<h1>First Headline (H1)</h1> <h2>Second Headline (H2)</h2> This is a really short sentence with some <strong>bold text</strong>, some <em>italics</em> and a link to an <a href="http://www.examplepage.com">Example-Page</a> <ul> <li>a bullet</li> <li>another bullet</li> </ul> <blockquote>This is a quote</blockquote> <ol> <li>Numbered Item</li> <li>Another Numbered Item</li> </ol> <img src="http://lorempixel.com/g/300/100/technics/1/image" alt="Example Image" />
So what happened here?
- The Markdown App turns the markdown formatted text into valid html.
- This HTML code can be pasted wherever you need the text (Mail, WordPress, your Website …)
- You can also copy the formatted text for use in Pages or Word.
Why do I need this?
- You’ll be able to write formatted text in every text-app, even on your phone without the hassle of a complicated interface.
- You’ll be able to write simple HTML-Code without ever learning how to code.
- You can use the HTML-Code for the web (your blog and website) You don’t have to worry about who opens the file. After all, its just plain-text.
- You can use themes to style your text with the click of a button. (You’ll need an app like Marked for that.
Ok, I’m convinced, where do I start?
- Check out this Markdown Cheat Sheet. For starters you’ll do fine with my list of examples above as well.
- Get a markdown app for desktop and mobile.
- I highly recommend Ulysses as it has clients for the iPhone, iPad and Mac. It syncs over iCloud and Dropbox and has a really nice clean interface.
- Don’t want to spend money right away? Go with Mou, it doesn’t have the different apps and sync but on Mac it does a really good job!
Where is Markdown Syntax supported
Once you start looking for it you’ll find markdown support in many, many places.
Further reading (for the real markdown-fan-boys)
Editorial – The ultimate Markdown app for iPad
Editorial is, simply put, the best writing app on the iPad. I won’t describe it at length here because Federico Viticcis Editorial Review on Macstories already does a perfect job there. So perfect that he turned it into a book called Writing On The iPad: Text Automation with Editorial
I havent tried this one but it sure looks really promising. Deckset turns your markdown notes into beautiful presentations.