It’s John Gruber appreciation week here at TUAW. I’m very sad to witness the end of this Freeware February series, but I’m happy to ring it out with one uber-useful tool for web authors. Markdown is a text-to-HTML conversion tool that enables you to write in a format that’s actually legible, then convert your text into structurally valid XHTML markup. Written in Perl (there’s also a PHP version), it works as a Unix filter or script plug-in to BBEdit or TextWrangler, the latter of which is my new editor of choice thanks to recommendations from all of you.
I only started putting Markdown into practical usage this past month (this entry composed in it!), and I can safely say it’s drastically improved my workflow. As a programmer, I truly appreciate the underlying philosophy of using one simpler, more legible method of markup to specify another, machine-presentable version. The software is freely available under a BSD-style open source license, but if you use it and enjoy its numerous benefits, please consider chipping in to support further development of an already life-saving utility.