Over the past year, WordPress plugin developers have created some unique implementations of the post editor that add Markdown editing with a side-by-side preview. Both the Gust and Splitdown plugins were inspired by the Ghost editor and attempt to recreate that experience in WordPress.
MarkPress is the newest to join the ranks of Markdown-powered editors. The plugin adds an interesting twist in that it completely transforms your WordPress site to support writing journal notes without being in the admin. The new editor gives a live preview of notes as you compose.
MarkPress automatically saves as you are writing and naturally only works if the user is logged in. The plugin was designed to work nicely on mobile devices as well. When used on mobile, the top bar displays a button that allows you to toggle back and forth between the compose screen and the preview:
It’s important to note that MarkPress takes over your WordPress install on activation and repurposes the frontend for quickly composing journal notes. This isn’t a plugin that you can use to simply replace the default post editor, as it wasn’t designed to do that.
After testing MarkPress I was impressed with its beautiful implementation of the Markdown editor and simplified writing experience. However, finding your way back to the admin after reaching the frontend editor is quite difficult. Additionally, posts are automatically marked as published as you compose them. I understand that MarkPress is focused around journal notes but wish that its beautiful editor could also be used for writing regular blog posts.
Overall, the plugin is nicely done and provides an interesting new take on the WordPress post editor. If you want to create a Markdown-powered journal with WordPress as the sole purpose of your website, then MarkPress is an excellent option that will help you to write more efficiently. Download it for free from WordPress.org and take it for a test drive.