It appears Markdown is discussed a fair amount, going by the search a bit.
As a bit of a backstory. I’m an application developer, mostly full-stack web, but heavy backend stuff. I’ve been using DevonThink for many years, and am trying to increase my use of it.
I’ve been really liking Markdown, although I think some of it can be improved. Right now, for a lot of my code-related documentation, I use Quiver (an OSX app that acts like Jupyter Notebooks, just without code execution). I would like to, long term, not use that, and document everything directly into DevonThink. The reason comes down to having multiple places to search for something, or exporting notes from Quiver -> DevonThink whenever I modify something (which is fairly often). Quiver also doesn’t have Applescript support, and I already emailed them about that.
Markdown is pretty good so far, but there’s a few things I think could use for improving:
I noticed that if you have two lines of text, and render the Markdown file, it will remove the carriage return and put it all into one line. So when separating out sentences, I have to have an extra newline between them. Honestly, I’d consider that a bug, as no other markdown systems I’ve used have this issue.
Quiver may be worth looking at for inspiration on how they solve it. I wouldn’t go quite as far as they do though. They store all the source files in JSON, which would make it a nightmare to edit. They also have blocks of different content (e.g. RTF in one, Markdown in another, etc). It’s kinda nice, but I think it adds too much complexity to be worthwhile. But, I think looking at some of the extended typescript support, and adding that in would be a worthwhile feature update.
I think GiHub Flavored Markdown does the “newline means new paragraph” thing. Adding the newline is easy, and I’d prefer DEVONthink not break with the original Markdown wherever possible.
I write Markdown sometimes targeting GFM and sometimes targeting MultiMarkdown, and you can find style that can work well-enough with both. That GFM deviates from standard Markdown so often without much of a reason is the bug.
I would still encourage trying to get syntax highlighting in. Right now, I’d be curious how many use markdown given the limitations of it. I appreciate the feedback of the specific markdown flavor used, and will look up a guide on that one specifically.
Still, syntax highlighting. Pretty big deal for any programmers out there. If I can find ways of documenting directly in the app vs outside the app, I’d like that.
I may have to do that, and haven’t given the external editor option that much thought.
I use Quiver a lot, but it doesn’t have AppleScript support. I already emailed them, but ideally I wouldn’t mind trying to tie the two together with AppleScript in some fashion.
My end goal, and I’m far from there yet, is that I want to make DT a central place that I search for information from. So, it collects information from the web, from other editors, or I generate inside the app. Lately, when I’m working on something new, I’ve been using TextMate to capture that information, which often times leads to formal documentation. Just where I do that is the big question mark for me. But, honestly, I’m trying to make DT more of a central part of my work, and less of an incomplete place I may or may not have information I need.
I’ll look into external editors, especially ones that can have rendered documentation near the original.
I do almost 100% of my file editing (and I use a lot of markdown) in external applications, though the files are all stored in, or indexed by, DEVONthink.
Set Text Mate 2 to be your default for Markdown, and in DEVONthink Cmd-Shift-O opens in the default external application.
DEVONthink’s built-in editing tools and PDF reader are fine, but not to my taste, I only use them as necessary (e.g., PDF Page Links) or for quick tweaks. Other than that, its all external stuff for me.
Looking at github.com/textmate/markdown.tmbundle/issues/15 it appears some people have looked into extended markdown support, to have syntax highlighting on code blocks. Super fantastic, never thought of this. I literally just emailed a developer asking if their product supported Applescript and Code highlighting, but if I can get TM to do it, I’ll just use that.
I don’t personally use TextMate, I use iA Writer or BBEdit depending on the task, but the gist is, you’ve got the whole pallet of text/markdown editors to choose from even if you store your files in, or index them in, DEVONthink.
If you aren’t already familiar, BBEdit is very scriptable. The syntax highlighting for markdown isn’t going to blow you away though.
I know some people bemoan the lack of double-click to open in an external editor (i’d welcome such a change), but the keyboard shortcut is muscle memory for me now, I had to actually try it out to remind myself what the keys actually were to post them here.
I edit in Ulysses on the iPad usually because Markdown in DEVONthink To Go is rough. It’s better with a physical keyboard, though. I do edits on the Mac inside DEVONthink all the time. Part of the point of Markdown was that you didn’t need anything special to write it. I think it’s how Markdown became so popular after iOS was on the scene.
The lack of code highlighting can be annoying. However, if there’s no code in the document, I think DEVONthink does pretty well for either editing or presenting.
I’ve been in discussion with the creator of Quiver regarding AppleScript support, which I think will go a long ways to helping me in this situation. I also found an app on the apple App Store which I’m seriously considering buying. The idea of right click -> open with is very useful, and helps out in this situation.
I noticed some strange behavior on my part, latest releases, latest OS updates.
Differences DTPO vs. DTTG
# in the very first line is displayed as a character in DTTG but not in DTPO (shouldn’t be displayed I think)
If I omit the # in the first line DTPO does render it as default text, DTTG as a (sub)heading
Tables are supported, but by default don’t show their lines. So only the correctly formatted text in the grid - but without the visual grid lines - on both platforms. AFAIK they are intended to be displayed.
While this all might be mitigated by custom CSS, is this intended default behavior? Would love to just use the defaults as much as possible.
Update: The first behavior is reproducibly caused by including an empty bullet (dash and line break) under the header marked with #. So this seems to be a rather odd special case. The table issue however persists.