Write better with Markdown

A text is the most common way of passing information online. It's simple, efficient and it works everywhere. When writing a paper or an article, there are dozens of tools that are available for us. Today, I'll share a few thoughts, why you should consider a markdown.

When you are writing something longer, like an article for a blog, you have few options for tools to choose. Usually, the most natural choice that would general people do would be to open some text processor, like MS Word or Pages. Although they are really great software, they have their own disadvantages and might not be the best solution for everything.

At the beginning, when you are just starting to write, it's important to get as many pieces of information out as possible. To create a content. But often, you find yourself editing an appearance, like font, font-size, colors etc. Instead of focusing on content, you are wasting your time with something else.

I believe, that it is a bad idea. Your writing should be divided into two phases. First, you should write as much as possible, getting the idea out of your brain and creating as much value as you need. And after that, you should focus on the appearance and design.

And that's where Markdown comes to the game. It's just a plain text with a few "rules" that help you do some basic formatting. But still, you can focus 100% on the content you are creating.

Markdown basics

Here is the example of markdown document.

#Header
##Sub-header
Some content with *italic*, _underscored_ and **bolded** parts.

- you can also
- do lists
- without any problem

1. ordered  
2. lists  
3. also

---

| Tables        | Are           | Awesome  |
| ------------- |:-------------:| --------:|
| something     | to put        | here     |

Images, links, inline code and code blocks could be easily included too.

<bold>If you want something more specific and complicated, it's possible to do an inline HTML</bold>  

For starting, I can recommend detailed cheat sheet, that you can find here.

Editing Markdown

Since markdown is text-based, you can edit it inside any text editor you want, like or prefer. But when writing a lot, it's helpful to pick something more dedicated.

Typora is beautiful, minimal, distraction-free editor. It's cross-platform and working in a mode called WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get), so it converts all the markdown symbols to the actual style. (In the meaning, that **something** will appear as something.) That will give you an instant preview of what you are writing.

Typora markdown editor

Visual Studio Code is cross-platform code editor aimed for programmers and coders. But if you have it installed, it can be configured as powerful Markdown editor. There is extension, called markdownlint. It'll help you write correctly and add "preview mode".

Visual Studio Code as markdown editor

Pros vs. Cons

Pros

  • Simple
  • Easy to read and write
  • Content focused
  • Portable
  • Inline HTML support

Cons

  • Need to convert it "at the end" of writing
  • Less control of the final document
  • Oversimplified for some specific usage

Conclusion

Markdown is the simple and elegant format to write in. It'll help you focus on you content with simple formatting rules. And since it is text-based, it's also cross-platform, so you will not have to worry about portability at all. It's no surprise that it is widely popular.