My quest to choose a Markdown editor
I first heard about Markdown about two years ago when I started keeping a simple blog on Write.as, Escrito à máquina.... Since then, I've been trying to find a simple but good Markdown editor so that I can write my blog posts and some other texts using Markdown even when I'm not online and save them on my computer without having to go the copy>new document>paste>save route.
Even though I've been using a GNU/Linux system for about twenty years, I'm not am IT guy. I value good software, i. e., software that common people, people like me, people that are not IT gurus can use without having to take an IT degree! I also value Free software and I like to support those who dedicate their time and their expertise to the community whenever I can.
So, when I search for a programme, I look for simplicity, functionality, a programme or service that is reliable and gets the job done. Preferably, well done! And I prefer Open Source, Free software!
Since I'm a teacher of English and Portuguese, I also value and appreciate the help that some good language tools might provide. I appreciate a good spellchecker and the ability to install the ones that one might need with ease.
My tests showed me that Dillinger had problems with the spellchecker. Besides, it's not Open Source. Ghostwriter had also problems with the spellchecker, as well as ReText: I couldn't figure out a way to install the dictionaries that I need easily. Remarkable refused to show me the preview pane and Typora doesn't have one. Besides, Typora isn't Open Source either. And, finally, Vim is really not as simple as I need a Markdown editor to be. And it lacks the preview pane that I like as well as other tools that I need.
Then, recently, a friend pointed me in the direction of Mark Text. Mark Text is a simple, yet powerful, Markdown editor; it's Open Source and easy to use. It's also easy to install the dictionaries that one needs and the spellchecker works. It doesn't have a preview pane, though, because it features a seamless live preview window, just like Typora.
Finally, my quest lead me to find StackEdit, an In-browser Markdown editor. StackEdit is the one I'm using to write this brief review. It's very powerful, yet very simple! The spellchecker works great and is easy to install any dictionary that one may need because it uses the browser's spellchecker. And it can sync your files with your cloud service, even though it also works offline. It can also sync your texts directly to your social media if you want to. The only draw back is that it doesn't support Nextcloud and the only easy way that you have to access your files is from the app itself. On the other hand, you can access your files from any device through a browser and you can export your files to a multitude of formats if you become a sponsor besides the most common ones.
All in all, my two favourite are Mark Text and StackEdit because they are simple and easy to use, yet very powerful, and they get the job well done without getting in our way.
As a final note, I'd like to say that during my search I was several times faced with a problem that seems to affect FLOSS: the lack of documentation. This has probably tipped my opinion towards the last two pieces of software too, not because that they possess better documentation, but because they are easier to set up according to my needs. Unfortunately, this is a recurring problem of Free software. It's like it is only designed thinking of an IT public as their users. And it is my belief that failing to write simple but good documentation to help users customise and use their software will reduce the number of their possible users.
I really think that the 1% of the absolutely brilliant minds of our beautiful world who create Open Source Software should try to help the other 99% who are their possible users to fully appreciate the value of their work and dedication. I'm sure that this would greatly impact the way common people see Open Source Software and it could only benefit everybody, specially their developers. People should not be expected to be IT experts to be able to use any great piece of software!