Distraction Free Writing and Markdown

208x128For most of my recent posts I have been using Windows Live Writer to draft the post and upload it to WordPress. It works okay but I had problems with a few basic WordPress functions (especially embedding). While I seem to keep having such problems with WordPress regardless of how the text is entered (too many annoying little things don’t seem to work as expected) I wanted to see if life would be easier if I took Live Writer out of the mix.

So I have reverted back to editing in a browser. I had previously found this to be too distracting, so I also tried out WordPress’s “distraction free” full screen editor. Coupled with the “full screen” mode in the browser (F11 in Chrome and Firefox) it really gives a minimalist approach which I think I can live with.

I have also disabled the Visual Editor – I only switched to it once during drafting this post and it mangled some html I had entered. So I have now removed the temptation to use it at all (the profile page in the Admin Dashboard is the place to disable it.)

Having done that and gone into full screen mode, most of the handy buttons (apart from those to insert images and links) have gone. Although I’m fairly competent with html I need the easiest way to show a few words in bold, or insert a heading when necessary. This is where Markdown comes in, which is now available through the Jetpack plugin (it just needs to be enabled).

The following are a few examples of Markdown (Hosted on Pastebin because WordPress insists on transforming some of the characters in the links to html entities):

And here are the results:

This is a level 2 heading

This is a level 3 heading

This is some normal text. Here is some text in italic, bold and monospace.

  • This is a bullet point (the preceding blank line is needed)
  • This is a second bullet point
  1. This is a numbered list
  2. This is the second line – the number used doesn’t matter!

This is quoted text
This is a second line of quoted text

Say I want to put something in *asterisks*

This is a simple link: http://daringfireball.net/projects/markdown/basics

This is another link example with a title.

The Markdown Mark comes from here: https://github.com/dcurtis/markdown-mark

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