Testing Out a New Temporary Markdown Editor

I’ve been in search for a backup Markdown editor while my goto app is updated to fix a rather lethal crash bug. For those wondering, as of this writing, Desk PM is my goto and when attempting to work through the publish menus, the app always crashes, and always forgets my work. No good.

So in the meantime I had to find an alternative, if I’m going to restart my blogging habits for 2016.

The theme here is simplicity. All I need is a distraction-free space to write my thoughts down in Markdown format, and special formatting is optional.

The first app on my list is Typora. It’s not a very complex app but what it does, it seems to do well. Launching Typora takes you to a blank canvas, just like I’d expect. It comes with six themes out of the box and more can be added by way of CSS. Yes, it’s that customizable.

One of the first things I did was open the .css file for the theme of my choice, Pixyll, and edit the #write ID element and widened the max-width to 1200px from the default 854px. Given I want a full-screen write space, I felt 854px against my screen was a bit small. With 1200px, this set me up for about 65-75% width used depending on the resolution I’m at. I tend to operate at 1680×1050 equivalent, most of the time.

Screen Shot 2016-01-07 at 3.32.49 PM

This is the editor as a whole. It’s super minimal, with little fluff. A settings pane is available under Preferences that allows you to make some tweaks to the app, including font size, window style, access to the themes folder (big plus) and a few other settings. Again, nothing totally crazy here, because it’s a simple app. It’s not claiming to be your word processor replacement, and I wouldn’t it want to be mine.

While it would be nice to edit some of the theme settings without having to modify css, I’m personally OK with that and once I have it the way I want, it’s a set-and-forget kind of deal.

The real question is will this become a permanent tool? Maybe. It depends on what my goals are. As it stands, today, I have to copy and paste into WordPress and publish from there, which takes a few extra minutes when I factor adjustments and image uploads, etc. If this app were to become a blogging tool, it’d need to be full service in order for it to fill that void for me. Right now, it’s temporary, and may always hold a place when I need to write some markdown for something non-blogging-related.

With that being said, it’s a good app. I don’t have any major complaints, to be honest. It’s free while in beta for Mac, Windows, and soon Linux.

A Post I Wrote with Writed

I’m always on the lookout for new and interesting apps that make the desktop writing experience more enjoyable. I’m a big fan of Desk and iA Writer and wondered what other kinds of markdown-based writing tools were out there.

A quick Google search turned up more than a few and I only had time to talk about one, tonight, so I picked a free entry in the space, Writed.

I’m a believer of having a good-quality, distraction-free writing environment to craft stories, blog posts, news articles, and even school papers*, one of the biggest things to me is the ability to go full-on distraction-free mode and be able to just write, without anything else getting in the way. Writed does the full-screen writing mode well with several styles to choose from. Since it was night when I wrote this, I found it suitable to sit by a lamp at my desk and use the Night theme. The contrast is good and I’m not struggling to see. Plus, if I darken the brightness of my screen, the dark grey background becomes almost black, and the words still pop.

99% Distraction Free

A word and character counter sit at the bottom of the screen, and there doesn’t seem to be any way to make that bar disappear, so strictly speaking, I’m not operating in full distraction-free mode like my favorites would alow me to do, but we’re close. To be honest, I like to see the numbers from time to time because it feels like I’m increasing some magical word score and I’m shooting for a high score. I have this odd fascination with things that allow me to attain exceedingly high scores with no real reward at the end but an even higher score.

Basic Markdown Support

Writed does markdown writing well with it’s backtick ( ` ) code support, as well as proper emphasis with single and double-underscore and -asterisk support. Headers and code blocks work fine, as well as blockquoting with greater-than carats ( the > symbol).

If I was going to chang anything about this application, I’d only do one thing: make the bottom bar something I can hide. Given that it’s a slightly different color in the theme, it stands out from the rest of the editing space and is just a smidge distracting. Other than that, I like Writed and for the price of FREE with a couple optional in-app purchases, it’s super hard to say no to such an app that gets the basic markdown-centric-distraction-limited-writing-space job done.

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