Using MultiMarkdown for Email

I have been fascinated with Markdown(MD) and MultiMarkdown(MMD) for months and yet have had little opportunity to use them. Sure I have created the occasional document with my favorite of the two, MultiMarkdown, and yet it is not enough to learn all the proper syntax. I most often want to use MMD with Email as that is the most common vehicle I have for quick and easy text that is not of epic length.

Until recently I had no decent solution for this. I would end up editing in TextMate and using the MMD bundle to Generate Output and Open in Browser menu option and then I could cut and paste from the browser into my email client. What a hassle!

That all changed! I heard on Mac Power Users episode 057 with guest Brett Terpstra that Brett had written a powerful new tool – aren’t they all? – that would make my life better. I rushed over to the Mac App Store to grab this little gem. I knew if it was from Brett that it would be good, but I never realized how such a tool as this could make my life so much easier!

The tool is Marked and is a brilliant tool! It watches any text file you point it to for changes and as soon as that file changes a preview window renders the results in MD, MMD or any other language for which you have an interpreter. This means that as I type this in TextMate, because I already own the tool and enjoy using it and the power it has and not because it is ideal for prose, all I have to do is hit Command-S to save the current document and the window to my right in my case updates with the final output complete with bold, italics, headers and hyperlinks. Brilliant!

The problem I had with wanting an easy way to write emails in MMD is solved. I just keep a temp file on my desktop and edit my short, temporary (email) documents in there. I drag it to Marked at the start of the edit session and when I am finished I do a final save, copy and paste directly from the preview window into an email message and I’m done.

This tool is great for many uses. Another use that comes immediately to mind is that I am writing this in a TextMate file that is showing in a Marked preview window and I’m going to use another powerful feature. I will click the button at the bottom that says HTML and turn my pretty preview into HTML code that I can copy straight into WordPress. When I am finally done with it I can do a File Save-As to keep a permanent copy of it and leave my temp-file for the next project.

I almost forgot to tell you the best part! Marked is available for only $3.99! An awesome tool for a tiny bit of money to help a hard working and very generous developer out… what a bargain!

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