On Markdown and a simple plain text editor

Kevin Lipe on a guest post in Forkbombr:

Around the end of the Classic era, Microsoft came out with Office 98, which was an awful abortion, but it was also a direct result of a terrible moment in Macintosh history: the replacement of Word 5 by Word 6.

I remember that time. Word 6 came out and it was painful to look at with all those ugly 3D buttons. The simplicity of Word 5 was lost and suddenly you actually had to learn the software.

Later in the piece, Kevin Lipe explains why he liked Word 5 so much:

Pretty much the only thing you can use this program to do is type words. It doesn’t have a full screen mode, it doesn’t let you generate charts from an attached Excel spreadsheet, it doesn’t let you export a webpage, it doesn’t have thirty-seven different newsletter templates, it doesn’t make coffee, it doesn’t offer next-day shipping on purchases over $100, it doesn’t, well, it doesn’t get in your way.

The whole article is great. He goes on to explain why he misses Word 5 and how Markdown and a simple text editor are the way to go instead of either a bloated, cluttered word processor that's trying to do too much, or a dedicated writing workflow application.

I agree. I'm a Markdown fan and I write pretty much everything that will (or even might) end on the web in Markdown using either TextEdit or nvALT. I've also started writing non-web stuff in Markdown now and saving as plain text files, which gives me peace of mind that I'll be able to open them in the future as they're not any particular software's proprietary format.

The best way to explain Markdown is to use the words of John Gruber, the guy that invented it:

Markdown is a text-to-HTML conversion tool for web writers. 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's really cool. Thank you John.