Everyday I find another reason to celebrate that I am living in the future. Today I heard about Markdown for the fifth or sixth time, it clicked in my head and I started using it. Markdown is RTF for the web.
If you don't remember RTF, it was the predominating word processing format before the great Microsoft Word - Wordperfect wars of the 80s and 90s resulted in the triumph of Microsoft Word. RTF has always been great, but there has been no need to use it considering the ubiquity of Word and the periodic need to use tables and pictures.
The web has changed all that with HTML and with blogging in particular. I've been blabbing and blogging for about a decade now and 99% of what I need to do is handled with this little short two level toolbar that's above the small text window in my browser. I'm talking about the Typepad editor. Well, you take some combination of that and a wiki editor and you have what Markdown is and does. It's perfectly lightweight for the overwhelming majority of writing I need to do, especially considering that I pretty much want to get everything out onto the web. Everything else that I want more permanently, I print *from* the web into a PDF and send it off to Evernote.
But I can tell you this. After more than 20 years on the web, I need embedded graphics and fancy formats about 4% of the time, if that. And the best fancy graphics are put together as an embedded graphic that speaks for itself, regardless of where some layout genius decides to put it. If you're like me, you love Evernote Clearly and other tools that de-slickify web pages and gives me the text I need in a clear, readable format.
Titles, headers, bolds, links, bullets, blockquotes, italics and the occasional table, strikethrough and graphic. That's what I need. That's what Markdown delivers. I'm sold.
It turns out that for Mac, Mou is the prizewinner. Perfect, simple, effective. This is where everything goes from now on. Let somebody clever turn my Markdown into HTML5 of XML stuff. Let some CMS put together the CSS template and fancify. I've got my new editor.