May 23rd, 2011

I’m trying out MarsEdit, after seeing Shawn Blanc’s post ‘An Ode to Software’.

I’m pleased with it now, but it was pretty hard work to figure out. The documentation is terrible. I’ve got it working with Markdown and ‘Perfect Preview’. Perfect preview takes a little bit of setting up, but is pretty much ‘set it and forget it’. You have to copy the source from a blog post, and replace the post with a placeholder. I also removed javascript cruft. And even then you have to tweak the preview text sizes in MarsEdit’s preferences.

Then, this forum thread was helpful for getting MarkDown to work properly in MarsEdit. You have to set the default editor mode to HTML text, to stop it messing around trying to turn the post into HTML.

MarsEdit screenshot

However, at £24 on the Mac App Store, I don’t think I’ll be buying it. It seems pretty rusty – MarkDown is becoming pretty standard for blog and note writing, but it doesn’t do any syntax highlighting, and injects HTML when you drop a picture in place or use shortcuts for formatting. The ‘Perfect Preview’ post was written 4 years ago, and claimed the developer is working to streamline the process.

I like the idea of having an offline post editor, that offers a fast, accurate preview. If I find nothing similar, I may re-evaluate.