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Freeware February: Markdown

Barb Dybwad

Daring Fireball logoIt’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.

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