Edito is a new Markdown text editor for iPad. It's a simple app that does one thing well, and that's edit Markdown (a plain text markup language with a simple syntax, which can render text to myriad formats including HTML, LaTeX, and PDF). It adds a few features to the mix:

  • An extra row of keys on the keyboard for Markdown syntax, including pairs for square brackets and parenthesis, asterisks, and other keys, which are vital but a pain to get to on the iPad keyboard
  • iTunes file sync
  • A desktop-like UI
  • A built in Web browser for copying links
  • The ability to mail the plain text or HTML rendering of your document
  • A variety of CSS styles for preview and render
  • Built-in Markdown cheat sheet

TJ recently covered MarkdownMail, which does much the same thing, but it's sorely lacking the extra keys on the keyboard. He and I (and several more at TUAW) are Markdown fans (I'm editing this post in Markdown right now), so we have a keen interest in these applications. Personally, I have a wishlist.

I'm spoiled by editing my Markdown in TextMate, where -- in addition to the stock Markdown bundle -- I've built a slew of commands for auto-linking text with Web search results, pulling tabs from Safari, parsing inline links to reference links, and more fun stuff than I could possibly list here. I don't expect all of that from an iPad Markdown editor, but there are a few basics that I think should be included. I'd like to put out a call to developers to make Markdown editing on the iPad more intuitive:

  • Automatically continue lists when I hit Enter at the end of a list item line, preserving indentation
  • If I have a link in my clipboard, let me select text and press a left bracket to add an inline link, or a reference-style link if I'm on a blank line
  • Give me a couple of headline buttons that I can tap from anywhere in a line to add hashmarks to the beginning of a line (making it a headline)
  • The built in Web browser in Edito is brilliant, but if I launch it inside a parenthesis pair or after a []:, give me a button that I can tap to automatically insert the current page URL
    • Let me tap images to insert image links in the same manner
  • Give me MultiMarkdown/Markdown Extra support!
  • Add some basic XMLRPC support so that I can send a Markdown post to my Markdown-enabled blog
  • If I have text selected and I type a left bracket, an asterisk, or an underscore, surround the text with an appropriate pairing
  • Undo/redo

I have more, and I would love to hear from developers of Markdown applications who want to be bored to tears with the details of my wishlist. Robert Palmer, a past TUAW blogger and developer at Honest Code, has started to take my pleas to heart and has implemented a few of them in the soon-to-be-released client for the peg.gd Web app. Peg.gd lets you turn Markdown into instant, single-use Web pages, and the iPhone client makes it even more fun.

In the meantime, Edito is available on the App Store for US$4.99 (iPad only), and it's a great start and capable solution for Markdown editing!

This article was originally published on Tuaw.
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