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Effective Markdown Editing with the WMD editor and the Save Text Area Firefox plugin

Anytime I need to edit Markdown, I reach for the WMD editor. Their splitscreen demo is the most effective way to edit Markdown that I have seen.

The left screen is the editor and the right screen is the “real-time” preview of the Markdown. It is nice because I don’t have to press a preview button to see rendered Markdown. The Markdown is also rendered as I type so I get instantaneous feedback of my changes.

There is also a Save Text Area Firefox addon, which enables me to save/load the contents of a text area to/from a file on the filesystem. Also the Ctrl+s shortcut saves the file.

So when editing Markdown, I:

  1. Open Firefox and go to
  2. Load or Save a markdown file by right-clicking the editor screen
    1. Going to the Text submenu
    2. Clicking Load or Save As
  3. Edit the file and see the generated output

Of course, its not a text editor replacement, since the possible text manipulation in Firefox is limited, but the feedback that is provided by WMD is very effective to rapid Markdown editing. I hope this sort of UI becomes more common.

Now if only there were a similar Textile editor…

  1. Neil says:

    Brian, this looks good and I’ve been wondering how it relates to the feasibility of a user referencing system I’ve been planning, e.g. for twitter (or another social app), instead of typing @username, you would have a button which, when clicked, displays a list of recommended, frequently referenced, or favourite users. So, rather than seeing @username, you would have a link, meaning you could name the person how ever you saw fit whilst maintaining the underneath. The link would probably work best when wrapped in a capsule with a user.avatar, like how Facebook wraps up recipients of messages (albeit without an avatar);

  2. Brian Takita says:

    There is an even better Markdown editor named [Showdown](

  3. Johan says:

    Why do you think that Showdown is better than WMD?

    I don’t see keyboard shortcuts in Showdown which i think is quite handy when writing text.

  4. Brian Takita says:


    I didn’t even think to try keyboard shortcuts. I guess I underestimated AttackLab’s Javascript prowess.

    Now I think I’m back to writing my Markdown in WMD. I do prefer Showdown’s minimalist look, though.

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