Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Using Markdown

I've been using my seven inch tablet and textedit to successfully take notes for three or four months now.

I like on the whole to take structured notes (headings, indents and the like) and sometimes to polish up the notes afterward.

Now textedit is agnostic. It's a basic text editor and doesn't care how you lay things out so I started by using a subset of media wiki layout. This was good but not particularly readable.

Since the new year I've taken to using Markdown - and it's really powerful - the syntax/markup  is simple enough to remember, the layout is simple enough to read easily in evernote's viewer as if it was a simple textfile. Yes, I know I've just mentioned using inline hand coded markup, but it's not difficult - we're not talking TeX here ...

The real killer is that if you have pandoc installed somewhere you can take your markdown documents and convert them into good looking libre office odt files (or word if you're that way inclined) apply whatever corporate prettiness is required and it's ready to be whacked out as a pdf of meeting notes etc etc.

The other nice thing about Markdown is that most texteditors will handle it nicely, including textwrangler on the mac and kate on linux, meaning that a file can start on my android tablet, be saved to dropbox, and be finished off and polished on whatever text editor I'm using (usually either kate or textwrangler)

So, if you are looking for a standard lightweight note format, try Markdown ...


since writing this I've come across two dedicated editors - markdrop for android which neatly synchronises with dropbox, and markdownpad for windows,  which has quite a nice preview feature

No comments: