Prettier markdown editor?

@desk7

This post from @laurent gives details of the latest Joplin Pre-Release which has (amongst other things) an alternative Markdown editor.

New Markdown editor

A new Markdown editor (Code Mirror) is now included with Joplin. For now it is for beta testing only so you need to manually enable it in the options in “Note” => “Use CodeMirror as the code editor”. The goal of this new editor is to address several of the issues that have affected the previous Markdown editor and that were either hard or impossible to fix, in particular:
Support for spell checking. Note that it is not yet implemented in the new editor but it at least can be done now.
Variable font size. The previous editor would not allow this, which would cause various issues.
Search within the Markdown text. Previously it was only possible to searched with the note viewer but with this editor it should be possible to search within the Markdown text too.
Improved support for emojis.
Improved support for Asian languages and Russian.

I have only briefly looked at it but it seems to do some of the things you mention.

Thanks for the information. I’m looking forward to the stable release!

Looks like 1.0.218 has been promoted from pre-release to release

I have yet to have any problem with the Codemirror editor although I did make up a new Codemirror based userchrome.css to change some of the colours. However my css file is a lot smaller than the previous one because some of the things I tried to add to the Ace Editor are now native to Codemirror.

This is an interesting remark by John Gruber who designed Markdown: Daring Fireball: Things Support for Markdown

Things does Markdown right. It doesn’t hide the Markdown formatting characters, it just styles them. Effectively, the notes field for tasks in Things is still just plain text. It’s just styled nicely if you write that plain text in Markdown. That’s the right way to do Markdown. Don’t hide the formatting characters; just style/color them.

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Indeed I like how they display Markdown. It's a bit similar to what we have, except for the bullet points which currently we cannot style.

I think the way they style bold and italics, with the markup being grayed out, is what should do too (currently we make the whole text bold or italic, including markup) because it means the text standup more.

*Remarkable* Notes - Things Blog - Cultured Code

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While all those visual enhancements do look cool, would it be a big problem to have an option in the GUI that would allow the user to enable/disable markdown visual styling at will? I'm talking about something done with a simple tick, and not having to rely on custom CSS to achieve.

I myself prefer to have markdown displayed as if it was plain text, and I know I'm not alone (see https://discourse.joplinapp.org/t/is-it-possible-to-get-the-markdown-editor-to-behave-like-a-plain-text-editor/20337). For me, one of the main reasons is that I usually find the default colours having too low contrast, and as such being difficult to read, especially anything grey on white background. Personally, I'd even consider this an accessibility issue.

I'm also not a fan of the gigantic # heading text, but this is more of a personal preference.

Second that.
I would love it so much if I had to stop constantly looking for a Joplin replacement that supports plain text.
Give us that simple checkbox please.

A lot of these can be achieved with the Rich Markdown plugin. But completely hiding the markdown characters, while possible, doesn't work very smoothly. Making them transparent for lines that aren't being edited works, though.

I really don't understand. Use the markdown editor and the code block and you are done. It can't be more plain text than than this.

If you are not happy with how CodeMirror shows text in the editor there are more than just one example on this forum how to tweak it to your liking.

Actually it can "be more plain text than than this".
Notepad is an excellent example that comes to mind.
Having to put three backticks in the beginning of every single little note you make just to not having your text mangled is just stupid to me. Sorry.

I never ever use markdown, but I surely don't mind having the option should I ever want to use it.

What I really don't understand is the resistance to this small little simple checkbox. Should be easy enough to implement, and make Joplin so much better for at least some of us.

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I don't quite get it, Joplin is a markdown notes application. Everything is stored in and works off the notes being markdown. If you don't want to use markdown then why pick Joplin?
Also I don't quite understand the use case here - markdown itself is essentially plain text, if you object to the 'hybrid' display in the markdown editor then you can just put some CSS to format it as plain text.

I totally get that.

The reason I have chosen Joplin so far is that it is the application that comes closest to my use case. It comes so close, only this little annoyance left to make it perfect. For me.

When I want wysiwyg I want wysiwyg. When I want plain text I want plain text.
Is that really such a strange request?

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No but isn't that exactly what you get anyway by using the two editors?

Why not just toggle off the viewer? It sounds like you just want plain text, which is what the editor does. You can use this button image to toggle the viewer/editor mode (it's in the top right corner).

If you don't like the styling in the editor (understandable), you just need to use a small amount of css to change it to be whatever you want. You can see the needed css here. You add this to your userchrome.css (Which can be accessed through Tools -> Options -> Appearance -> Show advanced).

I know this isn't ideal for you, but Joplin can't support a button for every styling option that users want (since that is basically limitless and is pointless when CSS exists and is so much more powerful).

That said, there are efforts in progress to make user styling easier (likely two clicks instead of one). So you're just a bit little to early into adopting Joplin to be able to take advantage of that.

And an example for posterity

No it isn't, the editor pane isn't plain text out of the box at all. And there is no simple option to make it so. As of now I have to use userchrome.css to make it even remotely resemble plain text. And it is a big hassle for me to have to keep the userchrome.css synced between all my computers when I update it, and I have a few of them.
A simple checkbox to turn of all text mangling done in the "hybrid" editor would simplify my life so much is all.
Didn't mean to start a whole debacle about it.

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This is what I have done since the dawn of time. As of right now, markdown in not of interest to me.

I wasn't aware of that, have been editing it manually on all my computers.
This simplifies my life somewhat. Thank you.

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Not to assign more homework tasks, but can you give an example/screenshot of how text looks in notepad and how it becomes mangled in Joplin?

I'd be happy to.
This is just some fragments I bundled together, but there are more stuff that gets mangled.
I discover more things as time goes by, have to find a solution to put in userchrome.css for that particular occurence, and then mirror the userchrome.css to all my other computers.
It's a hassle.

Notepad:


Joplin:

I get that you can't have a checkbox for every persons formatting preference. That goes without saying.
What I am humbly asking for is a checkbox for no formatting. At all.

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Ah thanks, the # as in 'commenting' and the # as in headlining. Same with `

I get you now, when you said "mangled" I was assuming you meant that data itself was getting lost in the process somehow, like if you were to paste into Word or something and you lost formatting marks, indents, spacing etc. rather than it just being a display issue.
Technically I guess it is possible that someone could just make a very simple plugin that could apply that simple CSS which would literally be what you want, a tickbox to turn "plain" formatting on for the markdown editor.

There is a topic where people were discussing the virtues and drawbacks of a number of other note taking apps (primarily trilium) and one of the things I did like was the ability to set the "type" of an entire note which would accomplish the same goal by preventing the editor from changing font sizes etc. rather than surrounding the note in backticks.

  • Being able to manually set note types - Joplin sort of has this already in that the "Markup" field can be either Markdown or HTML but it isn't something that can be set manually. I mostly would like to see it as a way to protect any HTML formatted notes from the markdown editor as well as being able to set entire "code" type notes that are excluded from formatting but can be distinguished at a glance.