Paragraphs for Mac review: Easy markdown and static website creation all in one

Paragraphs for Mac is a new markdown editor available in the Mac App Store that allows you to write your posts in markdown, including embedding images, and easily export them for publishing on your own via FTP. Not only does Paragraphs export your posts, it creates an entire site for upload.

First things first, if you're looking for a markdown editor that simply creates posts for you to upload to Wordpress, Tumblr, or Drupal, Paragraphs isn't it. You'd probably be better suited with a markdown editor such as Byword or iA Writer]. The premise of Paragraphs is that you don't already have a site readily set up or want a simpler solution for creating blog posts with one click publish options and obviously, markdown support.

After you first launch Paragraphs, you'll be asked to enter some basic info including the name of your site and the URL. You can also jump into preferences in order to choose a theme. There are 3 themes to choose from but you are welcome to create and edit these themes if you have a working knowledge of HTML and CSS.

After you've got a few posts written and your site preferences worked out, just click on the file menu and choose the Publish option in order to create an export file of your site. From here you'll need to use an FTP client to upload it to your web server. For those not familiar with FTP and have no idea how it works, Paragraphs may not be the best option for you. For those who have an intermediate knowledge of publishing websites and want an easier way to publish changes and updates to their site, Paragraphs may be a perfect solution.

The good

  • Easy to use interface with options that are straight forward and easy to find
  • Auto-complete while writing markdown makes for a nice time saver
  • Publishing/exporting is clean and fast

The bad

  • No support or import for popular blogging platforms
  • Existing blog owners probably won't want to change what they're doing or start over
  • Not a lot of explanation which may frustrate some users

The bottom line

Paragraphs does what it says it does, creates an easy solution for publishing to a static website without a cookie cutter content management system like Wordpress.

When it comes to professional bloggers who write frequently, you'll most likely be better served with a service like BBEdit or MarsEdit that ties into your chosen platform or CMS. If you prefer a simpler editor, like I do, where you can simply preview and copy/paste markdown into your blogging platform of choice, both Byword and iA Writer offer this plus iPhone and iPad counterparts with iCloud sync.

That may leave you wondering who Paragraphs is suited for.

My answer would be for people somewhere in the middle that have some kind of working knowledge of FTP and prefer a more personal solution instead of a template blog on Wordpress or Tumblr. If you want a static website that you can edit and control locally and update with a simple FTP client, Paragraphs is for you.

Allyson Kazmucha

iMore senior editor from 2011 to 2015.