Markdown is a text format that has a lot of advantages. First, it uses a quite intuitive syntax. Second, it can be mixed with HTML, which increases the given possibilities beyond the limited syntax. Last but not least, Markdown is easy to parse, resulting in an increasing offer of useful tools and services.
I usually write Markdown in a text editor, like Sublime Text. But there are also specialized editors and online services, which are an ideal addition for publishing Markdown based content. In this article I try to sum up some of the tools I use when creating content with Markdown.
A good online editor is StackEdit. The page can be found at stackedit.io. The editor offers a lot of options, including out-of-the-box UML diagrams (sequence and flow), tables and more. The preview pane is state-of-the-art and provides a WYSIWYG experience, if demanded.
Checking spelling is one thing, but checking for grammar or consistent and correct sentences is another level. The Hemingway app tries to solve this problem by marking blocks, that do not fulfill certain rules. There is also a purchasable desktop application.
A good editor that is available for the modern apps platform (Windows Store) is Markpad. Some basic information can be found on code52.org/DownmarkerWPF/. It supports all common task and is open-source. It is therefore possible to commit even more awesome features to it, or to fork it for personal purposes.
Another great editor for Windows (desktop) is MarkdownPad. It is even more feature-rich than Markpad and can be also purchased in a professional version. The pro version also includes PDF export, auto-save more Markdown extras and many more features. I find it very useful. It can be downloaded via Chocolatey or at markdownpad.com.
Want to convert Markdown to another markup language such as LaTeX? This is were Pandoc excels. It is a basic markup to markup language converter. I find it very useful especially for converting Markdown to LaTeX. It is, however, not very easy to extent in my opinion, even though it is possible. This makes it hard to convert LaTeX with custom commands to proper Markdown (but again: it is possible!). Nevertheless, for most basic documents it performs quite well. Get it via johnmacfarlane.net/pandoc.
Markdown To Pdf
Actually there is not much to say besides go to markdowntopdf.com. There you just upload a Markdown file and get a file in the portable document format back. It is really handy!
Mark It Up!
textarea element? This is possible with Mark It Up! I also use it for this webpage. It supports a variety of formats and Markdown is one of them. Just visit the page markitup.jaysalvat.com for more information.
Finally, what about using Markdown in any application? With the OSS MarkdownSharp from code.google.com/p/markdownsharp/ this is possible. The code does only render HTML, i.e. no object model will be accessible. This is surely a constraint that will usually not be too much of a limitation.
So you don't like .NET or you like it native and fast? Well, this is where Sundown shines. The library, which is also OSS and available on GitHub (github.com/vmg/sundown) is pure C99 code that is blazing fast. If you like bindings to this library in .NET, Python, Ruby or any other language, then these probably also exist. The C code is very extensible and does not rely on the Markdown code being rendered to HTML. Therefore a custom renderer can also be created.