Markdown Editors (on Fedora)
I use Markdown a lot to create notes and reports. Since April I also use it for my website. And actually I write my dissertation using Markdown as well. All this time I have been using Vim for editing all my text files. For Markdown I wanted to try a few GUI editors with instant preview.
Although there are tons of editors and Fedora Magazine has tested NoteKit, Joplin, MindForger, Remarkable, Ghostwriter, UberWriter, Marker, and Ghostwriter, not all of them are in the Fedora repository. Only Apostgrophe (apparently formerly UberWriter), Ghostwriter and Marker are in the Fedora 32 repository. As there are already enough choices, I did not go to install more external repositories. By searching the package index for “markdown” I was able to also find Notes-Up.
I have used each of them for a bit and want to share my impressions. So far I still use Vim for most of my editing, but I found it nice to work with Marker and Apostrophe for a change.
Apostrophe is very clean, the target users are creative writers that want to focus on writing without getting distracted. The interface is very clean and minimalistic.
The preview mode needs to be enabled with a click.
- Word counter in the status bar, can be switched to reading time.
- Supports the YAML header.
- Uses light styling in the editor to highlight headings and other structures in an unabstrusive yet clear way.
- Does not have a two-pane layout.
- Preview takes a long time to render.
The Ghostwriter has a preview panel, and a toolbar to allow formatting with the mouse. I just don't see any point in that because I am faster with the keyboard and Markdown is so simple to write.
- Word counter in the status bar.
- Does not use the GTK client side decoration.
- Markdown backend can be switched over to Pandoc such that it understands the YAML header.
- Supports automatic saving.
- Opens each document in a new window, there are no hidden global sessions.
- Does not render the YAML header in the preview, but that is not a big deal.
- Spell checker language needs to be set globally in the options. As I write a lot in both German and English this is annoying.
Marker is an editor which seems to be aimed at article writers and note-takers. It has a document sidebar such that one can easily switch between different documents.
- Supports the YAML header.
- Multiple documents can be opened at the same time with a sidebar.
- Has a slightly hidden feature to open up a drawing canvas, draw something, save it as PNG and include that into the document. This is well suited for note-taking.
- Does not notice when a file is changed outside of the editor, neither the Markdown document itself or image files that are included. This is annoying when I update pictures in a blog post draft.
- I just can't to find a spell checker.
- When one opens a new file via the command line, it is opened in the already existing session. I don't like that, I would rather have a new window.
It is a note taking application which organizes notes into notebooks and pages, one could think of them as simple directories and Markdown files. Unforunately it stores everything in an opaque database, which I find extremely unsatisfying.
- Images can be inserted via a context menu and are connected into the database.
- Stores all the data in one SQLite database. One has to export it to Markdown, but then images are not exported.
Vim is just a very advanced text editor and it can of course also edit Markdown documents. It has some syntax highlighting and when wrapping lines it also knows about ordered and unordered lists. Plugins like Voom can provide an outline of the document.
- It is simply the editor I have been using since 2009 and know in and out.
- No live HTML preview of the markdown document. As Markdown can be read to easily, there rarely is a need except to see whether I have included the correct pictures.