MarkdownMail for iPhone and iPad - app review

YouTube Link

MarkdownMail for iPhone and iPad allows you to write articles in the Markdown format. You'll then be able to export the markdown in an email or send beautifully formatted HTML emails from the app itself. For those who aren't familiar with what markdown is, let's cover that first. Markdown is a markup language created by John Gruber and Aaron Swartz. It's extremely easy to learn and extremely convenient and efficient for publishing online. Markdown will basically convert your content into valid and properly formed XHTML. You don't have to deal with HTML tags and code. Markdown will take care of that for you.

Read on for a quick walkthrough of MarkdownMail which is currently available for both iPhone and iPad.

[iTunes Link]

MarkdownMail is a very simple app that looks like a plain note pad at first sight. In reality, it's so much more than that. I've actually started using MarkdownMail to write a majority of my content for TiPb. The language itself is extremely easy to learn. John Gruber has a Markdown Syntax guide on Daring Fireball that's extremely easy to follow. It was only a matter of an hour before I was able to punch out articles in MarkdownMail on my iPad and publish well formatted articles without the hassle of writing in actual HTML. I'd highly recommend anyone that publishes frequently online to learn markdown, as it is much cleaner and makes editing dead simple.

As for MarkdownMail itself, you will basically type all of your content in Markdown language. You can also preview as you go. So if you aren't sure of the syntax, try it and then preview. There is also a built in syntax reference shortcut that will take you directly to John Gruber's guide online.

When you're done writing content, you can choose to email the article as an HTML document, which is great if you'd like to send an email with bullet points or emphasis. I've used this feature for work emails and outlines. Alternately you can choose to just copy the HTML code to the clipboard and paste it wherever you'd like.

When publishing articles, I simply choose to email myself the markdown version. This way I can simply copy and paste it. Then all I've got left to do is embed images and video. It allows me to write wherever I want, whenever I want. One thing I do wish Markdown supported was accounts. It would be nice to sign in to an account within the app and have it bring in the same articles on my iPhone that I am working on from the iPad. This would give me even more freedom to write. It may be an unrealistic request but if it did happen, I'd be in markdown heaven!

Pros

  • Dead simple interface
  • Several export options when it comes to what you're doing with your content
  • Built-in syntax reference guide for the markdown language
  • The app is a universal binary, so you can download on iPhone and iPad with one purchase

Cons

  • Would be nice to see a way to sync your markdown content across devices
  • Folders to sort drafts into categories would be a welcome addition

TiPb iPhone 4-star rated

TiPb iPad 4-star rated

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Allyson Kazmucha

Help and how to editor for iMore. I can take apart an iPhone in less than 6 minutes. I also like coffee and Harry Potter more than anyone really should.

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There are 10 comments. Add yours.

Ferdi says:

Allyson quit the sigarets!!

Rene Ritchie says:

I heart markdown. Great app. Thanks Ally!

kilsey says:

Easy way to sync markdown content across devices? Use Elements, a Dropbox text editor by the same developer :)
http://appshopper.com/productivity/elements-dropbox-powered-text-editor
Just name your document with a .md, .mdown, .mkdown, or .markdown extension and the preview button appears in the Elements toolbar.
Great universal app as well.

Allyson Kazmucha says:

@kilsey thanks! I'll check that out!
@Ferdi I would if I knew what "sigarets" were

Trevor says:

Great review - certainly show how useful it can be to be jailbroken in your video. Not sure if I'll get it cause I don't have too much use for it right now - is that ToDo I saw on your homescreen?
You said you write on your iPad more - the iChad told me he can type with it just on a flat surface, what do you use? I've been thinking of adopting it for use on various writing tasks, including class notes and possibly paper drafts. Thoughts? I'm not big on laptops in class cause it rather impedes learning or communication, depending on your situation. Thanks!

Allyson Kazmucha says:

@Trevor - yep i use ToDo as my main GTD app as well as evernote for quick things. I use ToDo for things i have deadlines for and things I want alerts for, I use evernote for general notes, images, and less pressing things.
As far as writing on the iPad, I can write on it flat but I prefer it being elevated a bit. The apple iPad case allows you do do that, which is what i use, but there are several cases that allow you to have it slanted. The auto correct irritates me sometimes but for notes and writing (as long as you double check grammar and spelling), the iPad is much more convenient than a laptop by far.

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Webvex says:

Take a look at Trunk Notes too. It does Markdown mail just as well, and even has a few formatting buttons on the keyboard. It syncs with Dropbox now and, while it doesn't do folders, it's also a full-blown wiki for organizing (tagging), searching, and linking notes together.

fUnKyDoG says:

Great comprehensive review. Good for beginners jumping into this.