I’ve been meaning to begin using John Gruber’s Markdown to write my posts, I just never really took the time to find a plugin that is suitable until now.
Today in the RSS reader I read Mark Jaquith’s post on How to Write a WordPress Plugin that I’ll Use, he referenced his Markdown on Save plugin. This looks like the foolproof way for WordPress users to utilize Markdown without the threat of having to reformat posts.
The Risk of Pre-formatting
One of the problems with using Markdown from within the WordPress editor is that your posts still should be saved with correct html formatting to ensure that they are properly rendered regardless of a plugin or perl scripts installed on your server.
Sidenote: This is the first post I’ve written in Markdown, as the test case for this review, and it feels sooo much cleaner than formatting html as I write the way I have for quite some time.
One Copy of Markdown, One Copy of HTML
The way Mark wrote the plugin, was to give you the choice of using Markdown or not. Since many blogs have different authors, and people change preferences often, this is ideal. You get a little checkbox on the post edit screen that indicates that the post is written in Markdown. If it is, the post is parsed and saved in a different field in the database, while creating the copy with proper HTML formatting to be rendered and displayed as normal. It’s pretty much fool proof.
After writing this post, and turning the wpautop filter back on, I am very pleased with this. If you want to make blogging more enjoyable, this is a great solution. Markdown will make it much easier to write from text files, and provide a cleaner format to encourage writing.
This plugin is now in my default folder for every WordPress installation.