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Marked

… and it’s here to stay! Today, while casually browsing the RSS feed of daring fireballI found an article about a new software named Marked on the app store. Marked is a viewer for markdown sources that can work with any text editor because the coupling between the editor and Marked is done via the file system.

More precisely, Marked renders the file and recognizes updates coming when the file is saved in the text editor1. I have used previewers for markdown texts before, namely MarsEdit which works on the most basic features of markdown but terribly sucks when it comes to “advanced stuff” like footnotes.

OK, seeing that Marked is available for less than 3 € at the moment I felt inclined to give it a try and see how it pairs with my new favorite text editor SubEthaEdit which, thanks to a community-contributed mode file, does a nice job of syntax-coloring markdown sources.

But first, let me explain why I like the ability to write markdown text for my blog in an offline-environment. As much as I like Tumblr for the its unique approach to blogging I have to admit that I find the tendency to be one of the sites on the internet with the most downtime slightly unnerving.

More often than not, I was in the middle of creating a blog article (which takes some time) and then a 404 page sporting this nice little picture comes up:

Tumblr is down

There goes your latest changes2. As a remedy to this issue, I started to use MarsEdit as an offline editing environment for blog articles. Problem solved. Problem solved? We-ell, there might be room for improvement because MarsEdit’s preview has the tendency to (as mentioned before) suck at rendering markdown sources.

For example, it fails to render footnotes properly. More precisely, it completely ignores the markdown syntax for footnotes and just renders the markdown syntax into the preview. Of course, this is not the big deal and yet, it may happen that there’s typos in the markdown syntax that lead to embarrassing realizations after the blog article has been uploaded to Tumblr.

Therefore, I’d give a better solution a warm welcome. And here it is! My first impression of Marked is that it masters the markdown syntax flawlessly, as far as I can tell after using it to create this article. Even tables are rendered perfectly well3. Take that, MarsEdit. Sorry, Daniel but this is so much better than MarsEdit.

And here’s what it’s like:

SubEthaEdit and Marked on my desktop

You can find a larger version of this picture here. In a nutshell, I’m sold to this new approach to creating articles on my blog.

  1. I wonder how this will work on Lion, soon I will know (I guess).

  2. Unless saved as a draft before the site went down. But you know how it is with having to remember saving a document, even after so many years of using Microsoft Word.

  3. Admittedly, Tumblr does not render the table nearly as nice as Marked does.

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