What WYSIWYG tools exist for markdown today?

  • Editorially is a new product mainly for collaborative writing. Hides the markdown a little bit. You can enter it or use a toolbar.
  • MarkdownMail for iOS
  • Multimarkdown
  • WYMeditor
  • MOU
  • Epic Editor (JavaScript oriented)
  • Markdown Pad (Windows)
  • 35+ Markdown apps for the mac: http://stefgonzaga.com/2012/11/markdown-mac/

What does a markdown editor need for science publishing?

  • Citations
  • Figure metadata
  • Tables are messy
  • Math is not such an issue if you wrap LaTex or MathJax
  • Pandoc (command line tool to convert markdown to HTML, XML, PDF, etc.) could be hooked in for outputs and rendering
  • It may need a local instance to solve the psychological security of writing locally vs. writing in the cloud
  • In this case the idea of packaging the paper's files comes into play (figures, etc.) the way something like knitr can do
  • Track changes and comments (a real solution, not what GitHub can offer). CriticMarkup does this but via markdown - it's not enough
  • http://blogs.plos.org/mfenner/2012/12/18/additional-markdown-we-need-in-scholarly-texts/

The hundred-year view

  • Many science publishers archive XML for the long haul - how can markdown address this? Strictly by transforming to NLM at the end of authoring?
  • We suspect markdown will be more human readable than Word in 100 years

Is WYSIWYG or some flavor of that essential to adoption?

  • We believe that a strong percentage of smart authors will need to see a visual representation of their writing in order to be comfortable in an authoring environment, so yes.
  • But a good thing about markdown is that formatting is not at all a consideration.
  • One of the problems of a WYSIWYG editor is about copy/paste from Word. Either allow only plain text paste or you have to clean it up. WYSIHTML5 does a good job with copy/paste from Word.

Bottom line: We have not solved this issue, but what we do know is:

  • The more you move towards an editor that will hide the Markdown, the less it makes sense to use Markdown in the first place.
  • Ideally, for whatever format the industry adopts, it must be a simple thing, possible to pick up the basic functionality immediately and intuitively, and learn the advanced features over time.