Wednesday, September 29, 2010

In Praise of MarkdownMail

I'm experimenting with cloud access to my documents across 3 computers and the iPhone. As part of this grand experiment, I've cobbled together a complicated network of tools which include Dropbox, Simplenote, and Resophnotes. I'll have more to say about these apps in the future.

(Quick note: the Dropbox link is a referral link. It gets you and me an extra 250MB of storage space. But if you don't want that, use this link instead.)

I've also discovered Markdown, a lightweight markup language intended to help specifically with making writing HTML easier. In conjunction with my network experiment, I decided to start using Markdown in the hopes of increasing the efficiency, portability, and usefulness of many of my documents.

What I didn't have was an easy way to convert Markdown to HTML on my iPhone.

Enter MarkdownMail.

MarkdownMail allows you to use Markdown syntax and then converts it to HTML, which can then be e-mailed. It also includes a built-in web link to the syntax page on the Web (note: just checked, & the pseudo-browser works for previewing web links in your text as well!).

For $1.99, I would have been happy just to use it as a portable Markdown viewer. In fact, that was my intent; I didn't plan on even using the e-mail feature. But I just realized that using the remote blogging feature of Blogger, I could use it for blogging as well, saving the steps of converting the text to HTML, logging on to my Blogger account, creating a new post, and so on.

The word on the street is that MarkdownMail2 is coming, and the price will be going up to $3.99. However, according to the Second Gear Twitter Feed, it will be a free upgrade for existing users.

The app is limited to one message at a time, and you can't save drafts in it. But you could always use a different app to compose, or you could save drafts in your e-mail program.

Even with these limitations, if you use Markdown at all, you will probably find this app useful. In conjunction with a cloud app or as a blogging tool, it's value will be much greater.

No comments: