Markdown for Visual Studio

Looking for a quick, simple way to create professional looking ReadMe files or turn text into HTML? Look no further, Markdown syntax by John Gruber is powerful, simple, and easy to learn. Now you can create profession looking HTML files from Visual Studio Editor using Noah Richards’s Visual Studio extension, Markdown Mode.

Markdown allows you to write using an easy-to-read, easy-to-write plain text format, then convert it to structurally valid XHTML (or HTML). It become clear quickly this markup was geared towards the OSX and Linux worlds, which is fine, but my requirement was to leverage the final solution in OSX, Linux or Windows environments.

Noah Richards’s Visual Studio extension, Markdown Mode supports editing file that use the Markdown syntax. Now I can leverage the same syntax for creating static Text or HTML documents in anyone of my environments. Obviously, I’m using different tools in each environment BUT the underline syntax is the same, Markdown syntax.

I’m currently using Sublime Text 2 on Linux to write most of my blog posts. However, I can now also compose blog posts on my Windows development or work machine if required using Markdown Mode VS Extension committing my blogs directly to my git repo or using Dropbox. I’d really like to see a shortcut created for a .mkd file in create new file within VS.NET IDE ( maybe an update to Markdown or an extension ).

Windows Development Machine Setup:

  1. Install Markdown VS Extension
  2. Clone Git Blog repo or Create a Blog Post dir in Dropbox
  3. Create a VS solution file,
  4. Organize using VS sln folders ( drafts, posts, _pages, etc. )
  5. Create a text file, rename it to MyFirstBlogPost.mkd
  6. Start typing your first post
  7. Save and Preview
  8. Push to git repo or save to Dropbox

In action:
["Visual Studio Markdown Mode with Preview Mode"]

In addition, am considering switching from hosting my own BlogEngin.NET blogging software with a .NET hosting service to using Jekyll or Octopress with Github for blogging. The entire process seems much more streamlined, faster, and at the end of the day cheaper. Scott Kyle posted an example, using Jekyll and Rake scripts. The Jekyll wiki itself provides several links to existing blogs and source to get up to speed.

Here are a few examples ( Jekyll Sites ) :

I must say leaving the world of a database, custom account management, etc for a blogging is appealing. From what I’ve seen to date, I could streamline my blogging process, greatly reduce support and management time, and be able to blog from any of my environments ( OSX, Linux or Windows using same underline syntax and process ) by moving to Jekyll/Octopress with GitHub. No more running a VM to support Windows Live Writer.

Markdown Extensions ( additional details here ):

  • .markdown
  • .mdown
  • .mkdn
  • .md
  • .mkd
  • .mdwn
  • .mdtxt
  • .mdtext
  • .text