Top Online Markdown Editors

Back in the 90s, people used Microsoft Word for writing. It provided a rich text interface with a wide variety of features. As the internet boomed and connectivity speeds soared, online versions took over, which were usually a part of office suites, although a large chunk of people still used offline software. Recently, however, the tides are changing a new format has developed.

Markdown is a plain text formatting syntax, developed almost a decade ago by John Gruber, and activist Aaron Swartz. It was designed to be converted quickly to rich text, or HTML. This essentially meant that markdown could be used as a bridge between traditional rich text and the modern HTML supported by the internet. Today, the markdown format is usually used to create “Readme” files, but is supported by a range of services, including WordPress. In this post, we take a look at a number of online markdown editors.

There is no standardized syntax for Markdown, and different editors have a slightly different support for different versions of the markdown format. In this post, we follow this wiki entry, the rules of which are going to work for all the editors described here.

GitHub Gists

As we discussed above, the markdown format is generally used to write Readme files. Every GitHub repository is encouraged to create a README.md file in the root directory of their repository. Although GitHub supports markdown format in the README files as well as their Wikis, we will use GitHub Gists to create one of our own!

GitHub Gists show the preview when you save the gist. It provides the general functionality of GitHub, with the ability to “fork” it. Therefore, it is intuitive for developers who frequently use GitHub and are familiar with its workflow.

Markable.in

Markable is an online editor, which is still in its public beta. It provides a real time preview of what you have written on the right. However, the time that it takes to update the preview is a bit slow as compared to the rest of the editors we have reviewed here.

You can export the file as HTML, Markdown or save to Dropbox or Evernote. That pretty much sums up the features provided by Markable. Yet, I am sure they are planning more features as they take the product forward.

Dilinger.io

Dilinger is a cloud based markdown editor, which goes a step ahead of GitHub, giving you the ability to sync your files with Dropbox, GitHub and Google Drive. It is open sourced too, with an MIT license.

It shows the preview of your text in markdown in real time as you type. It shows a word count as you type, which can also be disabled. You can change your theme from the links above. You can also export your text as markdown, HTML or PDF rather than syncing it with one of the cloud based options. Dilinger is a simple, yet resourceful tool for users.

StackEdit

StackEdit provides a tool similar to that of Dilinger, but with rich text options. There are rich text options on the top which you can use to generate the markdown directly, while looking at the result on the right.

You have an option to sync with Google Drive or Dropbox, in addition to directly publish on Blogger, GitHub, Gists, Tumblr or WordPress. If you want these drool worthy features, you must definitely try StackEdit.

We have seen a few markdown editors, each with their own set of features, each catering to their own audience. The one you choose clearly depends on what your requirements are. Did we miss an important editor? Do you use something that is better than the ones listed here? Do let us know in the comments.

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