en.ricardramon{.net}

utilities

I have been writing for years, many years, and in all these years I have used different tools to write. After all this experience, I want to share the applications and languages I currently use to write, hoping it will be useful for you and focusing on my reasons for always using Markdown, considering that I am not involved in anything related to technology or computer science, my field of research is art and education and I write a lot. #Markdown #utilities

In this long journey, I have used different tools, starting with historical applications such as WordPerfect or Framework under MS-DOS, in my beginnings. Then I started using Windows 95 for a few years, with a brand-new HP, after trying a Spectrum computer, which almost forced you to know how to program to make it work. I soon got tired of Windows and installed a Linux distribution, Suse Linux. With Linux I discovered Lyx, my first contact with a hybrid of LaTeX and also AbiWord, which I soon abandoned. Office systems such as Microsoft Office or OpenOffice/LibreOffice, I only use them on rare occasions when I am forced to present texts in these formats.

Very soon I switched to Mac, with a beautiful eMac G4 and started to explore new working possibilities, from Mac OS 9 on Power PC. I discovered iWorks, preceding Pages, Numbers and Keynote. But I was never really satisfied, until I started using plain text editors for work. At that time, the option that could work best was to write in LaTeX, so I learned the basics and started working in LaTex with different editors, from GNUEmacs, to TextMate, one of my favourites, but whose development has been abandoned and with which I wrote my doctoral thesis. It seems that nobody who is not a mathematician writes an art thesis in LaTeX, but who knows why I did it. What's more, I also wrote my teaching project for my university entrance exam in LaTeX.

Finally and definitely I started using BBedit, the best of them all and the one I use almost exclusively for writing and almost for everything. My notes, thoughts and ideas manager is DevonThink, of course, which works perfectly with BBedit. I'm moving away from LaTeX, and now write almost exclusively, and almost exclusively, in Markdown. Later I will write about other ways in which I integrate my work with BBedit into other applications, making it the centre of my workflow.

Screenshot of my text editor writing this entry Screenshot of my text editor writing in Spanish this entry.

In case anyone doesn't know it, Markdown is a markup system, which allows you to write in plain text, with all the huge advantages of always writing in plain text, preferably in UFT8 encoding, always in BBedit, or lately trying CotEditor, free to download the latter, but still far from my beloved BBedit.

The big advantage, for me, is to be able to face the text directly, without anything else, with a deeply minimalist editor and with an almost impossible text management power. In any case, you only need a simple text editor, there are hundreds of them, for all operating systems, and now you also have hundreds of specific editors that work exclusively with Markdown, most of them allowing you to export to other rich formats such as RTF, DOCX, ODT, PDF, etc. I use the powerful Marked2 for that, where I just format text that I need to share or otherwise distribute. There is also Pandoc of course, but it is a bit more advanced and complex to use.

In any case, I invite you to investigate and list the reasons why I think you should always write in Markdown, you can add yours to the list:

  • It's clean and light.
  • It clears your mind and increases your concentration when you are alone in front of the text.
  • It allows you to be more creative.
  • It connects you to a huge world of options and connections, someday I'll tell you about some of the ones I use.
  • It allows you to work better and write much more. I write twice as much in front of BBedit than any other application similar to MS Word.
  • You have total control over the text.
  • It allows you to integrate internal comments, thoughts, ideas, cleanly into the text with a simple code like <!--everything written here disappears in the final exported format.-->.
  • Your text is free and secure and does not depend on a specific application.
  • It takes up a ridiculous amount of space.
  • It's relaxing to write in plain text.
  • You can use it for everything. I do my class and conference presentations written in Markdown with BBedit and presented with the wonderful Deckset.
  • It's a wonderful pleasure to write in Markdown.
  • It's liberating.

🌹 Thank you, John Gruber and Aaron Swartz, rest in peace the great Aaron.

PS: Everything I write refers to the Mac system, which I have been using for more than 25 years as my only operating system, but there are alternatives, in Linux thousands of course, and also on Windows.