The Markdown Workflow

I recently moved from a Mac-only development environment to a windows-only development environment due to some constraints at work. This is a post on how I found some tools to help me be able to write in markdown and simultaneously be able to view the results. It’s far from, but it’s close.

I prefer to use markdown as a formatting language because it is easily understood by both humans and machine. It also has the overwhelming advantage of not being an evil information transfer format.

While I was writing some documentation, I asked “why not markdown?”

Firstly, let me begin by saying I use Sublime Text 3 nearly exclusively for development. After changing jobs, that has moved towards an Eclipse-centric toolbase. I still use Sublime because it’s more stable, faster, and can handle the 150k-line files I throw at it without crashing (while still highlighting syntax!). I also have a three-monitor set-up which helps with spacial memory, which I should write about in the future. So while I was writing some documentation, I asked “why not markdown?”.

The natural fit was to find a sublime package that supported GFM (github flavoured markdown) syntax, and get that to output to a HTML file. This was easily accomplished with MarkdownEditing, a comprehensive markdown package for sublime.

But why stop there? With sublime’s built-in build system, I could make this better. I perused the sublime catalog and found Markdown Preview, a markdown build system, and Browser Refresh, a plugin to automatically refresh the active browser page on save.

By doing all of this, I am able to automate most of the process of writing simple documentation, without having to use some nasty format such as .docx or a similar brand of insanity. Markdown is great because you don’t need to send attachments and you can interpret the contents of a markdown file in any text editor and it is still fully understandable, including the formatting.


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