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Show HN: Macdown (github.com)
87 points by qqwpkao6 on Aug 24, 2014 | hide | past | web | favorite | 23 comments

I admit to being confused by the multitude of Markdown GUI apps. In my experience, the greatest feature of Markdown is that I can write in the text editor of my choosing and not need a special app / live preview / fancy tools because writing and formatting Markdown is smooth and natural.

Am I missing some great feature that having a dedicated app provides?

I use Macdown when writing things for my Jekyll[0]-powered website. I've installed the CSS of my website as a MacDown theme, and so I can see what the text would look like when published to the site, in real-time while editing.

In addition I personally have found that while raw Markdown is great for writing, when it comes down to rereading what I wrote and editing it, I prefer a properly typeset version of the text, so I don't have my reading * flow*​ _broken up_ by [unnecessary characters](http://daringfireball.net/projects/markdown/syntax) and `so on`. And having a live preview lets me reread as soon as I make the change.

It's a minor difference, but I like it. To each his own.

[0] http://jekyllrb.com/

I personally use http://marked2app.com/ for any kind of live preview of websites, or just use the built-in --watch function of Jekyll to automatically generate the site whenever I save a change.

It seems like the author of MacDown might also have some sort of a philosophical axe to grind with the author of Mou (http://mouapp.com), another popular (albeit non open source / future non-free) Markdown editor. Mou implies that it will become non-free once it leaves the beta, but it's been in beta for years now.

The source of the issue seems to be a tweet by Mou's author in which he says that when people say "inspired by X" they actually mean "idea stolen from X." (https://twitter.com/remaerd/status/484914820408279040).

That doesn't seem to be a source of the issue though. Navigating on to the homepage of the application, the author (of MacDown) writes more about the reason there. Apparently, the author of Mou, wants to stop developing Mou and sell the project and the author of MacDown didn't have the cash and decided to write an open source clone of it instead.


Why Another Markdown Editor?

I like Mou. I write Markdown all the time, and since I use OS X on a daily basis, Mou is my go-to editor whenever I wish to generate something with markup. But I had always wanted something more.

It came as a great shock when Chen Luo announced that he felt he could not actively continue the development, and wished to sell the ownership of Mou. No suitable offers surfaced (I honestly do not think there will be, either), and I decided that instead of waiting for others to do something about this, I should act myself.

I don’t have nearly enough money to match Chen Luo’s purposed offer, but I do have my own pocket of tricks and some free time. So I started from scratch, spent some weekends hacking together my own solution. And this is the result.



the Mou developer has declared that he no longer intends to work on it and attempted to sell it on a Chinese Ebay clone. I'm not sure if he was successful or not.

That being said, the plan was ALWAYS for it to be non-free when it left beta. It just never left beta. Now, it's either going to wither and die OR the new owner (if there is one) is going to want to recoup their money.

Sometimes it's useful to have a preview so you can make sure formatting is all correct and you didn't make a mistake somewhere when writing it. I just think of it of a way to make sure everything is done correctly.


A good way to remember that it's '[]()' and not the other way around is that starting with parenthesis would be a poor idea because parenthesis occurs in normal text all the time (because people do things like this).

I've found that these types of apps are a really good way to teach Markdown to non-programmer types at tech companies, ie: marketing, sales, etc.

Especially when they want to write things in MSWord that you have to end up getting into your application.

You can have your cake and eat it; break out vi on a remote server and edit away, or get a live preview in as GUI app. Neither is a bad experience, but having a live preview is legitimately a (minor) improvement.

agree. i prefer to write anything (code, markdown, etc) in my own text editor - sublime

for live preview, i used Marked.app which also supports GitHub flavored markdown

You'd have to pry emacs from my cold, dead hands.

Nonetheless, I have both Mou and Macdown handy, and they really are nice for editing in markdown. As someone else said, marking up your documents in markdown is great, but reading/proofing them as they will be rendered at the same time really enhances the experience.

As for which I prefer, or which is better? So far I haven't seen enough difference to recommend one over the other. However, the fact that Mou seems like it might be becoming abandonware, or, "a release every now and then if I feel like it, maybe"-ware is upsetting. Everyone's seen the effect that's had on Sublime. So on that note, I'm kind of glad someone made an open source version.

I find it weird in the field of text editors - emacs and vim are some of the most useful, powerful pieces of software in existence - and they are free, and open source.

So, if you're going to compete in that arena and charge, you had better be serious about it, and update often (i.e. IntelliJ or Pycharm.)

I've been using this for a few weeks now and I really like it.

My only complaint is that the preview window doesn't line up with the editor window sometimes, usually when using lots of images.

Overall it's been really great tho. It's the best markdown editor that I've ever used. Excellent work.

I personally like it. Very simple. Seems a bit better than Mou, which btw doesn't recognize the github flavored code blocks.

Just asking (not trolling, really), but what are the reasons for using markdown and not emacs org-mode? Is it simply that you don't have to use emacs? I like markdown and all but it seems redundant since org-mode already exists.

Org-mode came out in 2003. Markdown in 2004. Considering when they came out, I could also just say markdown already exists.

As for why people use markdown, it's probably a mix of being simple, being used everywhere already, and not something directly associated with being emacs specific.

sure that makes sense, I wasn't aware of the similar dates

I have used macdown for like a month, and it's quite good, but a little glitchy. A couple crashes, and something that bothers me a lot: it doesn't deal very well with scrolling

As a long time Mou user, I think this looks awesome - it sounds like it has improved some if the (my) pain points of Mou, such as proper code fence support and syntax highlighting.

Gonna try it out!

Hmm, the Dev should get a proper registration with apple. I don't like these untrusted warnings and the need to add an exception too much, nowadays.

Looks neat! The brew cask is broken, though. You might want to get that checked.

Error: No available cask for macdown

looks really well done and full-featured, esp for such an early version! And is why we can't make a living from libraries.

Markdown is like a simple, limited html with better syntax. i think we all can already imagine what will it looks like when converted to HTML.

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