Byword pe

To be fair, I’m probably not a good person to listen to when it comes to Markdown app recommendations. I tend to try everything, and I always enjoy the chance to support anyone who develops Markdown tools.

And so it should shock no one what I wanted to try Byword after hearing Merlin mention it on Back to Work as well as David’s prompt follow-up recommendation.

After using Byword for a few weeks now, I’ve decided that it’s definitely staying in my workflow.

What I like about Byword

Byword is a well-made alternative to the other tools I use. It doesn’t replace those other choices, but it does offer a pleasant change of scenery when my eyes need it. And it has just the right amount of choices for influencing that scenery.

Full-screen Byword looks great in Lion, and that’s how I normally use it. The Markdown preview also renders very well on screen.

Byword even integrates nicely with nvALT and Simplenote, which keeps my mobile writing workflow intact.

I think what I like most about Byword is that has both aesthetic and utilitarian qualities. You can use it as a “pretty” distraction-free writing environment, or you can use it to quickly convert existing Markdown files to HTML, PDF, LaTeX, RTF, or even Word.

Worth mentioning: The RTF export eliminates a lot of steps in my Markdown to Word workflow, too.

My wish list for Byword

I only have a couple of minor items:

  • Keep the Markdown editor and previewer in sync so I stay in the same place as I switch back and forth.

  • Detect Markdown in files that don’t use an .md extension. In other words, highlight Markdown syntax in existing .txt Markdown files without having to convert to .md.

If you write a lot in Markdown, $10 is not a great deal of money to risk on Byword. Give it a try.