What started out as a companion app aimed at tech bloggers writing articles in Markdown has become a multipurpose Swiss Army knife for previewing scripts, stories, and code for writers and programmers. While Marked has always fulfilled my needs for finalizing drafts, copying HTML output into a web editor, and checking to see if I’ve overused various positive adjectives, the latest version adds an abundance of new features that make previewing articles in realtime even more useful. It’s important to note that Marked 1.4 is compatible with Lion only — Snow Leopard and Leopard users won’t be able to take advantage of the latest features.
What’s useful to bloggers:
Three changes have a direct effect on my workflow: Scroll to first edit, which moves the document to the current edit point when changes are detected; HTML highlighting, which makes scanning HTML output easier than before; and popovers on external links, which will bring up options to copy and validate a link. The first two new features work splendidly, with Marked scrolling to the paragraph where I’ve added a link or changed a sentence once I’ve left the focus of TextEdit (my editor of choice) or save manually with ?S.
Unfortunately, link popovers don’t work as expected. Instead of hovering the mouse over a link, clicking on the link brings up a popover with the copy, validate, and open-in-Safari options. Link validation in particular is great as it provides a quick way to check a slew of links without having to leave the Marked preview (especially useful if you use [this]: style of link in Markdown). Once the link has been clicked on for the popover, clicking it a second time takes you to the website in your default browser. It seems whether the popover is shown depends on whether the URL has already been checked (document-wide).
A fourth new feature bloggers will love if they’ve written their own Marked styles to match the format of their websites will be per-document styles. Instead of changing the style through the GUI, you can include a brief piece of metadata at the beginning of your document by adding the following: “Marked Style: Your preferred style here” (without quotes). If you create new documents with shortcuts or triggers, you can further automate how it will look in Marked by adding a snippet of metadata — useful when you publish or want to see output for a specific blog. The metadata you add is excluded from the HTML output. HTML output, by the way, has a new toggle in the titlebar.
Lastly, for bloggers concerned about their HTML output, Marked now gives you the option to disable header ID creation. Unless you have a specific need for styling, there’s no reason to have Marked generate an ID per header. I’ve definitely enabled this one.
What’s useful to writers and screenwriters:
Scrivener 2.x projects and Leanpub files are now supported by Marked. Scrivener projects, like .md or .txt files, can simply be dragged into Marked and compiled to provide a live preview of your working content. Pressing ?E (open in editor) will take open .scriv files being previewed in Scrivener if you’re reviewing your script and need to make a live change. As you write and save your document, Marked will reflect the changes made.
Read the entire review at MacStories.net.