TextNut Markdown Editor Mini Review

blogging Feb 27, 2016

In trying to keep my blog well-fed, I am always on the prowl for better methods to efficiently create posts. Sure, I can do it with the built-in editor in WordPress, but sometimes the WP-editor tries too hard and doesn’t make it easy to write. Recently I got hooked on Markdown and its simple syntax for editing content.

I have tried various editor on my Mac and even a Markdown plug-in on WordPress. The latest Mac editor on the block is TextNut. As a test, I am writing this post using TextNut and it has a few things going for it:

  1. Clean Interface – Some editors try to offer every formatting tool imaginable and it gets in the way. Others go for a “zen mode” where you are basically typing on a blank screen. Some even play soothing music (wind chimes, low chanting, and other sleep calm inducing sounds). TextNut attempts a “happy medium” where you have a clean slate to write on, but highlighting and right-clicking some text brings up a simple formatting pop-up menu.
  2. Rich Text Mode – Not a preview, but a slightly better than just text way of writing that uses standard control codes and converts them to Markdown in the background.
  3. Nested Image Support – images can be added to existing formatted elements like this:
  4. Previews in HTML, PDF, and RTF – The default preview is HTML but the other two can be selected via a drop-down menu.
  5. iCloud Integration – files can be stored on the cloud for easy retrieval and sharing among devices. Which leads me to my next point:
  6. iOS Versions – Start typing on your Mac and continue on your iPad (or iPhone if you are really desperate) and vice-versa. Very nice for journalists on the go.
  7. Sidebar Syntax Helper – I wish every Markdown editor had this! It makes it easy to add the formatting codes if you haven’t bothered to memorize them.
  8. Themes – Textnut allows you to assign different themes and backgrounds to the Rich Text and Markdown Modes of editing. This make it easy to identify which mode you are in without having to look at the bottom of the editor window.

However, this product is not perfect (but not all of it is their fault):

  1. No Justification – This is a Markdown issue and not a TextNut one. There are no commands in Markdown to align text and images. This is not an issue if you are publishing to Medium (which left justifies text and centers images automatically), but can lead to messy looking posts in WordPress. I usually have to jump into the editor on WordPress to clean up the formatting and center my images.

That does it for my quick review of TextNut by Edgenius Software. You can download this editor for free the Mac App Store. The free version is limited to the number of libraries you can open. This and any other restriction can be removed via an in-app purchase ($24.95).

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