My thanks to Kenneth Ballenegger for sponsoring the RSS feed this week to promote his Mac writing application, Macchiato.

Macchiato is a Lion-friendly, Markdown-loving, text editor with a caffeinated name.

I do all my writing in Markdown. It is writer friendly (keeping your prose free from HTML gibberish), and it is human friendly as well. I write my emails in Markdown even if I know the recipient isn’t privy to the syntax simply because it is easy enough to grasp even if you’re unfamiliar with it.

And so, as someone who does a lot of writing throughout my day, having a text editor that supports and stylizes my Markdown syntax is like gold. Macchiato is such an app. It’s not the only one of its kind, but it is one of the best.

There are 4 Markdown elements I use most often in my own writing: italics, links, headings, and bullet points. Assuming you are a plain text junkie like me, and if you write in TextEdit, then you have to manually type your Markdown as you are writing. Bullet points and headings are natural to type, and I have a global Keyboard Maestro Macro for creating Markdown links in any application.

Macchiato supports Plain Text and Markdown files. But it is more than just a plain text editor. For one, it has shortcuts for basic Markdown styling. Which means that hitting CMD+I in Macchiato will give you dual asterisks to wrap your text in. Or, if you’ve already selected some text, hitting CMD+I will add the asterisks to the front and back end of your selected text.

Moreover, Macchiato will stylize your text so that not only is it italicized in Markdown, it looks italic as well. As you can see in the below screenshot of the app:

Macchiato

In addition to italics, Macchiato has built-in stylization for bold, code, headings, and blockquotes. All while preserving the actual Markdown syntax that is in your prose. Which means you can write in Macchiato and then take your text to any other application and the Markdown is preserved as it should be. And this is how I work because I use this Markdown plugin for WordPress, I publish all my articles in Markdown, and they get parsed into HTML on the server side.

Macchiato comes with full OS X Lion support, and therefore has native full-screen mode (something TextEdit doesn’t even have!) and it has version control and auto-saving. Also it has a little word-counter up in the very top, right-hand corner.

I have become very fond of writing in full-screen mode. On my Air, apps that are built for full-screen look great. And even when writing long-form articles in front of my 23-inch cinema display, having a full-screen writing app has become a necessity for me.

There is a significant update to Macchiato in the pipe that will add preferences for typography style and color schemes. And this week only, Macchiato is 25% off in the Mac App Store.

August 22, 2011