There are quite a few Ghost fanboys and fangirls in the WordPress community who are attracted to its content editor because of how well it minimizes disruptions in the writing flow. The side-by-side preview eliminates the need to switch back and forth between screens to check formatting in the preview. In the meantime, while the WordPress post editor continues to evolve, users can install a plugin to change the writing experience in WordPress.
Inspired by the Ghost editor, Andre ‘Necrotex’ Peiffer, developer at MarketPress, created Splitdown. This plugin adds a Ghost-style Markdown editor to WordPress with a real-time preview powered by Showdown.js.
Once activated, you can navigate to Settings >> Writing and select the post type(s) where you’d like to have Splitdown active. You can also activate additional Showdown extensions on this screen, including github.js, prettify.js, table.js and twitter.js.
While testing Splitdown, I found that the plugin works nicely to provide a real-time preview of your post. However, it is best suited to when you’re working from a machine with a large monitor. Smaller screens will see the preview displayed below the writing panel, instead of beside it.
Splitdown is by no means an exact replica of the Ghost editor. It still has a ways to go as far as being able to show an accurate preview of how the content looks with the active theme’s styles applied. When announcing the plugin, Peiffer said, “At the moment Splitdown is in a proof of concept state but usable.” Be advised that it is lacking some features and you may experience a few bugs. Peiffer is currently working on integrating the media manager to work smoothly with the plugin. If you’d like to test it out and offer some feedback, you can download Splitdown from github. Report any issues on the repo’s issues queue to help Peiffer shape the plugin into an awesome writing tool. Let us know what you think about using a Ghost-style Markdown editor as a replacement for the WordPress post editor.