The Journey to Markdown: On the iPad

I’m nearing the halfway mark on my Markdown journey and today I’m exploring the versatility of my devices and whether or not Markdown can be accessible via my iPad.

I’m writing this post using Writing Kit, and after playing with Byword on the Mac this app has a very different feel…yet can handle Markdown really well.

It does have similar resources to Byword available — by touching the Info button the app opens up a handy Markdown reference guide. The interface is inviting and it does link up with DropBox, so I’m pleased with that as well. Whether or not the app gets used a lot is an entirely different matter.

I often use a combo of Simplenote and BlogPress when drafting up posts on my iPad. Simplenote allows for syncing (via nvALT) should I want to tweak it on my MacBook Air and if I choose to go right to the site with my writing, then I simply copy and paste from Simplenote to BlogPress and publish away. The lack of true multitasking on the iPad is what could hinder my Markdown progress here. That may seem odd, but with little ability to go the CMS directly, it isn’t as friendly as I’d like. A personal preference…but one that changes my perspective on this device. Yet Writing Kit has managed to incorporate a semblance of multitasking into itself that enables me to get my writing done (research, linking and all) without ever leaving the app before completion of said work.

As I make my way through this entry in the series, I have noticed that the shortcuts Writing Kit has to offer make a big difference. Simply by pressing corresponding buttons on the top line of the iPad onscreen keyboard I can enter Markdown syntax quickly.

Sharing via Writing Kit is simple and incredibly diverse. Options include:

  • Posterous
  • Tumblr
  • Email
  • Twitter
  • Evernote
  • Facebook
  • Pastebot/li>
  • Instapaper

The sheer amount of options (all can be turned on and off in Settings) is astounding.

Another bonus is the Research functionality, allowing me to perform quick searches to support my work. And with a built-in web browser at my fingertips, Writing Kit has done all it can to keep me “in app” while I’m writing away. Pretty darn impressive.

The image embedding isn’t as much of a problem as I first thought, either. That is, as long as you set up an image hosting service preference before getting into your work. Oh, and it has to be through CloudApp. But…once that’s done, adding an image is easy.

I’ve yet to really dive into Elements, mainly because Writing Kit has a lot of what I like built right in. I can even send items to OmniFocus from it…which is something I’ve not seen in this type of app to date. Export options are plentiful— as are the shortcuts. Since I can’t see a reason to switch apps while adapting to Markdown, I’m going to keep playing with Writing Kit until I’ve got it down cold. I’m impressed with it on the whole and it does exactly what I need and more.

That said, I will give other options a go in the future. Then we will see if Writing Kit will be usurped as my Markdown mainstay on my iPad.

Next up: The Journey to Markdown – On the iPhone