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Show HN: LightPaper for Mac – Free Markdown editor (clockworkengine.com)
132 points by jnardiello on Dec 27, 2013 | hide | past | web | favorite | 77 comments

Thanks for sharing! I’ve added LightPaper to my curated list of Markdown editors.

I’m maintaining a repo¹ with a collection of Markdown resources, listing the abundances of 𝗠⬇ dialects, parsers, editors², stylesheets, … Please feel free to commit!

[¹] https://github.com/rhythmus/markdown-resources [²] https://github.com/rhythmus/markdown-resources/blob/master/m...

Nice lists!

Maybe you can enable the GitHub wiki so that others can edit them using "Markdown" too?

The lists are provided in yet another plain text format (YAML). Reading them using the GitHub website is not so nice, and it feels weird especially as it's about Markdown a direct format-competitor..

Thanks for the hint! Done:


If there were only that much support for YAML (as regards parsers, stylesheets, and integration in e.g. Github), as there is for MD…

IMO, Markdown is for text (i.e. continuous reading), while YAML is for structured data (not sequentially read, but randomly accessed/queried).

Boo hoo you missed my hat in this ring! ;)


I'd submit a pull request to your repo, but I'm too lazy...

Would you mind to add http://NoteHub.org to your list (free & OSS hosting for MD pages)?

Thanks! Added: https://github.com/rhythmus/markdown-resources/blob/master/m...

Nice project, and tastefully executed! Plus I can definitely see the usefulness of anonymous one-off publishing, with all the benefits of Markdown formatting…


Any particular reason why you picked Pagedown.js for Markdown parsing (it supports plain Markdown only, hence no support for tables)? Maybe have a look at some alternatives? — https://github.com/rhythmus/markdown-resources/blob/master/m...

Best of luck with the project!

Thanks a lot! I don't remember whyI picked Pagedown.js, but I'll definitely take a look on the alternatives on your list.

Interesting. Just yesterday I decided to start blogging again with Octopress, and conducted a fairly extensive search for a good Markdown editor for OSX, and found nothing impressive. Mau gets tons of attention, as does Marked, but neither does a good job of handling an octopress post with code blocks.

I'd ended up giving up and just going back to Sublime, but LightPaper handles my use case perfectly, so...nice. I think I'll be using this.

Mou is really annoying in the way it handles history. I guess it's author never heard of the command pattern, because Undo-ing the history doesn't consider the autocompletions Mou did and just generally doesn't work and mess up your document. Then Redo-ing helps cementing the mess.

Also the editor is very lacking in functionality, in term of text manipulation.

I started by liking Mou, then working around the issues, then getting pretty angry at it from all the time I wasted trying to make it work - all that just to get a live editor. Ended up setting a Grunt task.

I've reported those problems to the author who didn't seem to give a damn.

After reading your comment I made the switch as well.

For others reference, you can use Jekyll with LightPaper if you switch your highlighter from pygments to redcarpet which supports triple-back ticks (variable 'markdown' should be 'redcarpet' in _config.yml file).

Spent an hour at least changing all my blog posts just so that I can now use this editor without ANY issues at all.

Did you look at Ulysses III? I use it and I find it to be very good.


The title claimed it's "the best", but I find it hard to consider any software the best of its kind when it's only available on one platform.

>but I find it hard to consider any software the best of its kind when it's only available on one platform.

So if you had Photoshop only on the Mac, say, and the rest of the platforms had stuff like MS Paint, you'd still not consider it the best of its kind?

Professionals that are not system administrators don't switch between platforms that often. A software can very well be the best of its kind and single platform.

Good thing it's available on more than one platform? http://clockworkengine.com/lightpaper-android/

Although in my experience, the best software of its kind is usually limited to one platform. Otherwise, you're stuck catering to the lowest common denominator of all supported platforms.

Fair enough, I stand partially corrected. The link takes you only to the "for Mac" version.

However, I was thinking more of other desktop platforms...

The Android version is not free.

The pro is paid. There's a freeware version too

I agree but then again everyone uses the superlative adjectives as a default.

No talk of Windows alternatives here, and since I just setup a Win machine yesterday, I found Markdown Pad 2 [1]. There's both free and paid version. It seems to get the job done for me for now. I am a Mou user on Mac.

Just installed this, will check it out, especially the git-hub jekyll pages stuff...

[1] http://markdownpad.com/news/2013/introducing- markdownpad-2/

Title should be - The best Markdown editor for Mac and Android (and it's free).

So far I was really enjoying Mou App[0], but this looks like a step forward.


Any particular reason this is better than Mou? The only advantage I can see from the website is the tabbed file viewer, but I guess I've missed something. (10.8+ seems a disadvantage over Mou, it has versions for 10.6 & 10.7)

Mou is not a very serious editor. It's just convenient because of the live reload and some Markdown highlighting/styling. You quickly get insane working with the lacking text manipulation features and the depressingly broken undo/redo.

The reason I use Mou is for the LaTeX integration. Haven't found another editor that does that.

It's just using MathJax.js

I have a friend who uses Mou daily, and he complains about Mou leaking memory. Also, Mou is for 10.7 and up only.

Looks like a good alternative.

FWIW, I am very happy now with:

1. [Haroopad - The Next Document processor based on Markdown](http://pad.haroopress.com/)

2. [mouapp.com](http://mouapp.com/)

Haroopad mainly because it is open source and based on node-webkit and very compatible across platforms.

Thanks for the link to Haroopad! I installed it and looks really nice, super easy and fast.

A couple initial downsides...

- I thought Chromium had spell checking, but you don't get it in node-webkit apparently, or it's been disabled. Must have spell check, even poor Chrome spell check.

- Export to HTML - The resulting document doesn't look quite as good in Chrome as exported HTML as it does in the preview pane in the editor; so it's not quite WYSIWYG. There are ways to customize the style of the export, the preview pane itself is HTML... (Export to 'Plain HTML' and put your own .CSS?) But it would be really nice if 'Export as Styled HTML ' got you a matched document at least in Chrome.

- I think word wrap is broken on the editor pane - it should wrap entire words at the end of the line, not cut words in half, right?

Saving documents directly as .md is an interesting trade-off. It's just plain text, which makes things oh so simple. But I'm not sure if this eliminates the possibility for having any non-visible text or meta-data at all inside the document, so that might cut off future features. Not a downside of Haroodpad really, just a consideration for using naked markdown. Most will probably see this as a pro not a con.

Thanks for Haroopad!

Can someone translate this page to English? http://pad.haroopress.com/page.html?f=markdown

Haroopad looks very promising as well. I'll definitely give it a try.

Sadly, it doesn't deal with YAML frontmatter, that is often used in blog engines like jekyll (github pages) and middleman.

(found that issues can be filed here: https://github.com/ClockworkEngine/LightPaper-Support/issues...)

I don't see how it's "best" or even "better". Mou, mentioned by others, works better. Mou struggles with large Markdown files, but at least it doesn't have strange display issues when scrolling up and down in the editing window, and it shows more useful visual cues in the editing window.

Currently my workflow for writing blog posts is: iA Writer for the initial draft, then tidy up in Mou, then stick it on swombat.com. LightPaper seems too fragile to fit in that without hassling me along the way.

any looking for a decent web app dedicated to markdown editing https://stackedit.io/

Super nice! Thanks for suggesting

Also only for Mac. Should say in title.

There is also nice Texts[1] and working on Windows and Mac OS X.

[1] http://www.texts.io/

Seems nice. Unfortunately I feel a bit left out since the old 2006 intel iMac (core2duo) I was given (for free) won't ever be updated past Snow Leopard (10.6).

Any reasons why more and more applications are 10.7 or 10.8 only (like Sublime eg) ? This iMac is still responsive and a joy to use (much more than my Vaio i5 laptop).

This is how OSX has always worked. Not upgrading to the latest really isn't an option in Apple land. Because new apps tend to only support the two most recent versions of OSX. Both to take advantage of new APIs, and to not have to expend the energy to maintain compatibility with old versions of OSX.

This is the same company that has jumped across three processor families and two major OS architectures. Apple has never been very concerned with backwards compatibility.

There are powerful new APIs available to developers that are only available on newer versions of OSX.

Android user here. When you link with Dropbox, Lightpaper wants to create its own folder to store documents in, and cannot get out of that folder.

It would be nice if I could access, oh you know, all the pre-existing Markdown content I have arranged in multiple folders and already syncing down to different places.

This is a fail for me. [Draft](https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.mvilla.dra...) does nicely on Android, and [Dillinger.io](http://dillinger.io/) on desktop/browser.

Looks like they have chosen to only use App Folder permissions rather than full Dropbox. I suppose it helps in getting production approval, but then if other apps are able to get them I wonder why can't lightpaper.

The best markdown editor for me would be a minimal web app (vertical split, implicit URL generation, no settings). There is no particularly good solution for efficiently writing and sharing Markdown notes.

Have you tried out http://socrates.io/ ?

I currently use Sublime Text 2 in distraction free mode + the SmartMarkdown package + a tweaked Solarized theme with some extra markdown syntax highlighting. Works for me ;)

Looks good. I will check it out.

My current setup is Marked 2 and vim (most of the time). Simple and works well.


I dont't know. Why do need people a specialised markdown editor? Use your favorite editor, install a markdown add-on and your done.

Do I miss something?

Having a live preview is pretty nice when you start getting into slightly more complicated documents? Especially when you start working in specific markdown varients, like github, table addons, code, etc...

I love markdown, but sometimes I just wanted to share my MarkDown with the world and a github repo was too much, so I created: http://gorgeapp.appspot.com/

It is completely free, also it has a preview...

Fell free to use it and leave feedback...

Sorry, I just don't make money out of it, so I won't consider this ads... :)

The title says "beatiful".

I like it... Anyway I agree that my sense of beauty is not conventional...

Your sense of "beaty", you mean!

I think StavrosK was noting a typo. :-)

i'm surprised no one has mentioned Marked 2 from Brett Terpstra - http://marked2app.com

it's a Markdown document viewer that displays changes as you make them in your favorite editor (ST3 in my case).

what puts it over the top for me is its perfect rendering of Github Flavored Markdown.

Oooh, nice find. I almost didn't learn about this because it was so far down. This fits my workflow perfectly...

I have been using https://stackedit.io/ for sometime and I find it way too satisfactory in terms of it's features, can be popped open anytime in a browser and works offline too.

I would like to hear, what is the core problem that LightPaper is trying to solve here!

Claiming something is the best without backing it up with solid arguments seems like link-bait to me.

Would be nice if it supported the git extensions for syntax highlighting.

If you use Mac, kobito (http://kobito.qiita.com/en) is also a nice editor, there is not much English information though.

Well hey, this isn't Vim/Emacs! False advertising! ;)

looks like it doesn't know that markdown supports tables.

Markdown itself does not support tables, you need to fall back to pure html tables as per the spec


Well at least the Pandoc markdown dialect supports three types of tables: http://johnmacfarlane.net/pandoc/README.html#tables

I have to admit that none of them satisfies me completely (sometimes I wish for mediawiki table support) - but at least they are faithful to the principle to be recognizable as tables in text editors.

the best markdown editor BY FAR is IPython Notebook. What other markdown engine will render math (mathjax) and do syntax highlighting for you. I ended up grabbing all their js for a markdown-based blog platform I built myself

another neat markdown hack is to get the quicklook markdown renderer (if you're on os x) and then use copy in the github markdown CSS. you can see immediately what you're README.md files are gonna look like right away in finder

bah! "Can't open because it's from an unidentified developer"

Anyway, fixed that:

System Preferences > Security & Privacy > Allow Apps Downloaded from Anywhere

A better workaround is to right-click the download and then select Open, which will then ask you if you really want to open. That way you maintain the additional protection in general while still bypassing it for this (and similar) instance.

What? No Syntax Control?

Looks great. Does it support Github flavor?

I'm using it right now and it supports Github flavor partially. No strikethrough, no autolinking, no code syntax highlighting.

The syntax highlight latency is very unnerving. Why is it not real-time? NSTextView is certainly up to the task.

Scrolling is unusable on mountain lion.

I find the refresh of the preview very slow, and I miss the latex math expressions. But great job!!

How does it compare with Mou?

Quite similar to be honest (Mou was my favurite editor so far) but this is really a step forward - IMHO. Interface is a lot better and it supports flavored markdown (having to double-space for newline makes using Mou quite a pain).

Came here hoping that there would be a linux release? :/

Thank you so much!

iOS in the plans?

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