There’s something hopeful and exciting about a blank page. The promise of new journeys and of stories untold. And yet when I open a program like Microsoft Word, I’m assaulted with menus and ribbons and decisions about font size and colors and layouts. That’s not for me. Content is what I value. That’s why I write in Markdown. And it’s why I wrote Markdown Edit.

Writing for the web with Microsoft Word is like commuting to work in an 18-wheeler. – MakeUseOf.com

Writing should first and foremost be about, well, writing. Presentation matters but in most cases it’s an enhancement, not the message. Who cares if your header is tall or short, fat or wide? That’s the job of a designer. The words, the content, the meaning, the flow and pace. That’s the writer’s job.

And so I set out to write an editor that focused mainly on words. It started out as a typical editor with a menu and status bars. But soon I realized that these artifacts actually distracted from the writing experience. And so little by little, I removed those elements that I felt didn’t directly contribute to the writing of words.

Perhaps the most unusual of these changes was removing the traditional menu bar under the title bar. Common actions in many word processing editors are invoked in a similar manner. Can you think of an editor that doesn’t use Ctrl+S to save a document? I’m betting you know what Ctrl+Z, Ctrl+C, Ctrl+X and Ctrl+V do. Granted, not everyone uses these shortcuts but I didn’t write MDE for everyone. I wrote MDE to get work done with less friction. That requires a bit of training on your part although frankly, I don’t think it’s overly burdensome.

Other things I wanted.

  • It has to load fast. Performance is a feature.
  • Syntax highlighting should be accurate.
  • Handle large documents with ease.
  • Keep settings and configuration to a minimum.
  • Stupid simple installer.
  • Focus on doing Markdown well. Avoid non-Markdown stuff where practical.
  • And above all, don’t make it a PITA to use.

So there you have it. My attempt at a Markdown editor. Enjoy it or hate it. I have fun writing and using it and that’s enough for me.

– Mike