Using Markdown in WordPress

I have been involved in one way or another with a site that was using markdown like stackoverflow and the Nairobi Linux Users Group website with Pelican: Static website generator, and markdown for writing blog posts. I wondered if there was some markdown plugin in wordpress and… sure.

How I got to know about markdown in WordPress

I just searched in the plugins page in wp-admin back-end and there it was. I’d like to get used to markdown syntax coz its simple, and am eventually planning to migrate to a static html website if i find it as easy as WP is right now for me.

What i like about markdown

I get to write simpler posts while the plugin actually saves the generated html. This means that even if i was to disable or remove it, either in posts or comments,it wouldn’t affect the existing data.

Think about the links, for example, then the lists, headers and so on… don’t get me wrong, I understand HTML pretty well and I love being in control, being able to customize the look while keeping the syntax sane. Markdown just automates it, right?

Get it working

Using Markdown in WordPress is as easy as: installing WP-Markdown plugin, activating it from the list of installed plugins, and configuring the settings under Settings->Writing. If you are new to markdown, here is a cheatsheet

I like the way it groups together the references at the end of the post and uses the indices in the text, just like i was already trying to do in my posts earlier. Great! Now i can do this in the .md files and the links get inserted perfectly.

Markdown in wordpress

Cons

  1. When it comes to captions, markdown needs you put a line break between the image caption shortcode and the image link inside, which is a bit absurd. I found that you could cascade captions, like link caption with an image caption inside.

  2. Another thing is, you cant put a class attribute to a markdown formatted link. This is important when you are using a plugin like lightbox, which provides a nice gallery view from an image link, which i am using here. There is currently no workaround for this, of course other than the obvious: write the normal HTML link.

  3. Forget the other syntax highlighter plugins. Markdown doesn’t work well with other code syntax formatting plugins. Just make sure you check the Enable Prettify syntax highlighter option under settings->writing. Then follow markdown code indentation rules in your posts. Its that simple. If it doesn’t look the way you want, you can always tweak CSS. :)

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