Blog Tech, Part 1 - Markdown

October 27, 2013

Bottom line on top - Markdown

One of the main reasons for starting this blog is to keep up-to-date, and experiment with, new technologies. My current full-time position is all back-end work, so this is a way to keep my toe in the front-end water.

While I'm working on it, I thought I'd start a series of posts on my technology choices. Here goes!

First things first; ditch the old WordPress blog. It's too heavyweight, and I'm not learning a thing from that except how to be an WordPress admin. "WordPress Admin" is not my career choice. So, what to use?

Technology Zero: MarkDown

Something that easily handles posts written in Markdown, I think.

Markdown. Love it, using it all the time, and not looking back. I can write in it in MultiMarkdown Composer, I can write in it in Sublime Text 2, I can write in it in Emacs, and I can write in it in Vim. Done, done, done, and done!

There's been a lot of hullabaloo in the last week about how Apple gutted Pages. A year and a half ago, I would have curled up into a ball and wept. Pages was my absolute go-to word processor. Now? Don't care one jot. I got a new Mac Mini about a year ago, and it took me three months to get around to noticing that I hadn't even installed Pages.

I'm the Secretary of a volunteer organization in my town, and I record the meeting notes in Markdown. My resume is written in Markdown and stored in a GitHub repo (not public yet). All plaintext. Hooray! But how do I get "pretty" versions of the minutes to my fellow (non-techie) volunteers, and my resume out in the big wide world?

I use Fletcher Penney's MultiMarkdown Composer to write them. Then I use Brett Terpstra's Marked 2, together with a custom CSS file, to generate HTML. Finally, I use Marked 2 and OS X's "Display PDF" pipeline to print to PDF, and distribute those PDF files hither and yon.

A few people have raised eyebrows at the "using MultiMarkdwn for my resume" concept. Here are my responses:

  1. I'm a web developer. I have CSS at my fingertips. If I leave resume formatting, of all things, to Word, then something's very wrong.
  2. I can generate .doc files from the Markdown.
  3. If a target company is so entrenched in the Word mindset that Markdown-generated .doc is unacceptable, then I'll pass, thank you very much.

Wow, OK, I'd planned on getting to my blogging platform of choice, but I didn't get that far. I had to gush about the Markdown ecosystem. Fletcher Penney and Brett Terpstra are just too cool for school. More tech choices next time!

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