Effective Markdown Editing with the WMD editor and the Save Text Area Firefox plugin

October 18, 2008 Pivotal Labs

Anytime I need to edit Markdown, I reach for the WMD editor. Their splitscreen demo is the most effective way to edit Markdown that I have seen.

The left screen is the editor and the right screen is the “real-time” preview of the Markdown. It is nice because I don’t have to press a preview button to see rendered Markdown. The Markdown is also rendered as I type so I get instantaneous feedback of my changes.

There is also a Save Text Area Firefox addon, which enables me to save/load the contents of a text area to/from a file on the filesystem. Also the Ctrl+s shortcut saves the file.

So when editing Markdown, I:

  1. Open Firefox and go to http://wmd-editor.com/examples/splitscreen?blank=1
  2. Load or Save a markdown file by right-clicking the editor screen
    1. Going to the Text submenu
    2. Clicking Load or Save As
  3. Edit the file and see the generated output

Of course, its not a text editor replacement, since the possible text manipulation in Firefox is limited, but the feedback that is provided by WMD is very effective to rapid Markdown editing. I hope this sort of UI becomes more common.

Now if only there were a similar Textile editor…

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