Markdown for MeFi April 15, 2015 6:10 PM   Subscribe

As someone who finds writing in Markdown much easier than writing in HTML, I put together Markdown for MeFi. It's a browser extension that lets you use Markdown in your comments and posts. (Not sure what this Markdown thing is? Check out the short guide.)

Right now, it supports Safari and Firefox. I can put together a Chrome version, too, if there's enough interest. And Firefox for Android supports extensions, so a mobile version is a possibility as well. I'm not an Android user, but if someone who is wanted to take that on, that would be cool.

If you want a look under the hood, the source code is on GitHub.

Markdown for MeFi has been pretty reliable for me, over the last few months. But if you find problems, let me know and I'll try to get 'em fixed.
posted by evand to MetaFilter-Related at 6:10 PM (25 comments total) 27 users marked this as a favorite

Wow, super cool, thanks! And I'd definitely be interested in a Chrome version.
posted by gilrain at 6:30 PM on April 15, 2015 [3 favorites]


Seconded.
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 6:50 PM on April 15, 2015


So basically this lets you type comments on Metafilter as if it was Reddit? Let's restrict that to text markup...
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:31 PM on April 15, 2015 [2 favorites]


Oh rad! Thanks for this. I would totally use a mobile version, also.
posted by en forme de poire at 7:37 PM on April 15, 2015


I can put together a Chrome version, too, if there's enough interest.

Yes, please. This looks pretty awesome.
posted by SpacemanStix at 7:52 PM on April 15, 2015


Favorite this if you want a Chrome version. (Obviously, I do myself.)
posted by d. z. wang at 9:02 PM on April 15, 2015 [6 favorites]


This is so terrific, I might just have to mark you as a MeFi spouse under my contacts.
Since I arrived too late for the great espousing thread, and all.

Yes, please, to Chrome version.
posted by wonton endangerment at 11:24 PM on April 15, 2015


Thank you so much for this - it's working great in my Firefox! I've been writing in Markdown on my blog for years and it's in my muscle memory, so this is going to make it way easier to post on MeFi without remembering which bit of HTML goes where.

Thanks also for not making it dependent on the modern theme - some of us are stick-in-the-muds and still use the older one, and it's working fine on this.
posted by winterhill at 2:35 AM on April 16, 2015


You've totally made my day, thanks! (This is super duper great.)
posted by iamkimiam at 3:41 AM on April 16, 2015


More thanks!
posted by Grangousier at 9:00 AM on April 16, 2015


Yes, would be very interested in a Chrome version.
posted by Kadin2048 at 10:41 AM on April 16, 2015


Thanks, everyone! I'm glad to see people are liking it.

And this comment is a test of the Chrome version. Let's see how it works...
posted by evand at 11:47 AM on April 16, 2015


So there's a Chrome version now. Go get it!

It's only been A Thing That Exists for an hour or so. But it seems to be working okay. Let me know if there's trouble.
posted by evand at 12:04 PM on April 16, 2015 [4 favorites]


So there's a Chrome version now.

It works for me!
posted by Strange Interlude at 1:34 PM on April 16, 2015


Well well, then. I say, good show! To quote:
Ask not what Metafilter can do for you -- ask what you can do for Metafilter!
How can this be done?
  1. By being capable, like evand.
  2. By not being lazy.
Hm, wait, should there be so little little space before the start of that list?
posted by gilrain at 1:59 PM on April 16, 2015


I guess that would be a Mefi CSS thing, rather than the extension, though.
posted by gilrain at 2:00 PM on April 16, 2015


Also, out of curiosity: is there a technical reason why it can't be made to work in the edit window?
posted by gilrain at 2:04 PM on April 16, 2015


That would have to parse HTML back to Markdown, I reckon. Possible, but harder.
posted by topynate at 2:44 PM on April 16, 2015


Yeah, the deal with the edit window is that it can be done, it's just a bit tricky.

The challenge is hanging on to your Markdown text between when you post the comment and when you edit it. There's a system in place to briefly save your Markdown after you press the Preview button, which loads a new page. But that only needs to save one comment per thread or one post per subsite. Once you add the edit window into the mix, it's harder to sort out which Markdown goes with which comment. Are you editing your last comment or previewing a new comment? If you post three comments in the five-minute window, which one are you editing?

And converting the HTML back to Markdown is not ideal because the Markdown you get back isn't exactly the Markdown you started with. It's close, but just different enough to be disconcerting and to maybe change your formatting in a subtle way.
posted by evand at 4:57 PM on April 16, 2015 [3 favorites]


And I'll talk to pb about the lack of space before the list. It looks like that's caused by something the metafilter server is doing.
posted by evand at 5:03 PM on April 16, 2015


Looks like we didn't have a top margin set for lists in the modern theme. It should be there now.
posted by pb (staff) at 5:28 PM on April 16, 2015 [4 favorites]


Thanks for taking care of that, pb. And before I even got around to asking you!
posted by evand at 7:25 PM on April 16, 2015


Yay, thanks a lot!
posted by d. z. wang at 8:58 PM on April 22, 2015


And there's a new version! Here's what's new in v0.2.0:
  • Better performance
  • When writing an FPP, it is now okay to have a link on the front-page part of your post and the footnote with that link's URL in the "more inside" section. See this picture for an example. This makes it easier to cut and paste, because you can move text from one box to the other without also having to move the footnotes. Or if you have a lot of links, it feels more organized to put them all in one place.
  • Other miscellaneous improvements
Chrome and Safari should automatically update. Firefox will auto-update sometime in the next few months; go here to get it sooner. (Before a Firefox extension will automatically update, it gets reviewed by a real live human, and there's a long backlog to get reviewed.)
posted by evand at 8:40 AM on April 27, 2015


I would totally use a mobile version, also.

So here's the deal with a mobile version. Firefox is the only mobile browser to support extensions, and right now it's only for Android. Since I don't have an Android device, making a mobile version of Markdown for MeFi isn't really a priority for me. But if somebody who uses Android (possibly you?) wants to help make that happen, I'm happy to collaborate.

That would involve:
  • Adjusting CSS to make sure that the buttons are sized appropriately on mobile (not too big, not too small)
  • Making sure it actually works, and that it runs fast enough to be useful
  • Doing whatever bug fixing and/or improvements come up
Mozilla is developing a version of Firefox for iOS, with a nebulous release date. It's possible that I'd make a mobile version when that comes out. But a lot of things could derail that — delayed release of Firefox, lack of time on my part, etc. — so I don't want to promise that it will happen.
posted by evand at 9:07 AM on April 27, 2015


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