MarkPress Plugin Transforms WordPress into a Markdown-Powered Journal

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-editor

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:

view-mode

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.

3 Comments


  1. Really resembles the Ghost platform which is nice, as plugins like this will help the WordPress fight back the smaller platforms like Ghost that threaten it.

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  2. Like so many others I was thrilled when I saw John O’Nolan’s inspiring Kickstarter pitch video. (sadly Ghost is still quite user unfriendly) What I’ve realized since then is that the dual-view editor isn’t, for me anyway, that helpful. What mostly excited me was just the ability to use Markdown. I’ve had bad luck with many WP Markdown plugins, but the Jetpack Markdown works pretty well for me so that’s what I’m using everywhere now.

    As an aside it’s remarkable to realize that every single day I use Markdown, Creative Commons Licenses, and RSS Syndication for every post I work on. Aaron Swartz is gone, and yet he’s everywhere.

    I installed MarkPress and as you warned, it’s a bit hard to get back to the backend. I don’t mean to be cheeky, but I don’t really get it? It’s a WP site that no one who isn’t logged in can see at all, not even the “published” work. And it is, what? A notepad? It was a place to type, but I couldn’t find a way to index them, give them titles, or do anything with the tags it let me use.

    I’ve been using the P2 child theme Houston from WooThemes (with Markdown) and I really love it. I don’t actually see the use case for MarkPress. Whatever it is, it seems like, for me, Houston is a much stronger platform. So far O2 is pretty much long-promised vaporware, but if it ever materializes (around the time of WCSF’14 perhaps?) it also looks to be very useful.

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    1. I’m using a (heavily optimized) P2 theme like a private journal/evernote type application. It works really well and like MarkPress, the idea is not having to navigate to the back-end. I love it.

      I think O2 is not that far out. It’s not really vapourware as it is actually already used out in the wild, but they’ve been teasing it for far, far too long:)

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