Future wishes for MMD integration

I love MMD and I love Scrivener. That said, there are some lightweight programs that do a better job with MMD (in some respects). Two features that currently aren’t in Scrivener, but are built into Byword, that I use all the time are:

  1. MMD highlighting (subtle highlighting so you can instantly spot headers, links, bolds, etc.)
  2. Copy-to-HTML (keyboard combo allowing instant conversion): this is great if Scrivener pages are portions of a website you are developing.

Anyone know if there’s a chance these two features might appear in Scrivener for Mac in the nearish future? Or is MMD a relatively low priority at this time?

(This isn’t a huge problem, when I really need those features I just export to TXT and do my work in Byword. It would just be nice to be able to use one program for almost everything writing related.)

If you search the forum, you’ll find more detailed posts on why syntax highlighting isn’t really compatible with Scrivener. The software you are referring to is a plain-text editor (when editing text files, like TextEdit). Highlighting text in a plain-text editor is no problem at all because .txt files have no fundamental highlighting in the format. It’s not impossible but it presents a lot of issues at both technical and conceptual levels.

This wouldn’t be impossible. We already have Edit/Copy Special functions for doing so. Maybe Keith could be persuaded to add “Copy as HTML (MultiMarkdown)” as an option. I’ll put it on the list of ideas.

It’s hardly that, we spent a lot of time putting together the current implementation in 2.3. The goal has never been to make Scrivener into a bona fide MultiMarkdown editor on par with the TextMate module or anything of that nature. The goal is to provide a rich writing and editing environment that can be used as a platform for creating large MMD documents (and derivatives based on converters).

Look into QuickCursor. I use that with MultiMarkdown Composer (or TextMate) to do all kinds of editing, Scrivener included. For example, drafting this response. I QuickCursor the editing field out of Opera to TextMate where I have a BBCode module. Compose the response, save, and then close the window—done it’s back in Opera and ready to post. The Mac is a great platform for cooperative applications, much of its plumbing is designed around the notion of specialist applications helping each other; might as well take advantage of a good thing!

Another option along the same vein are tools like Typinator. You could for instance create text expansions that set formatting the way you want it to look when you add in specific code. Block quotes that are block indented, lists with indenting, that sort of thing.

Note that if you use this with Scrivener however, you’ll need to forgo using Scrivener Links, Footnotes, Comments, Inline versions of these, highlights, revision levels, and the other rich text based tools it uses for editorial annotation (really, the existence of many of these are what make real-time psuedo-highlighting impractical in the first place).

Thanks so much for your thoughtful and complete reply.

Highlighting of MMD would be “nice” but not a huge deal to me.

However, the copy-to-HTML would make a big positive practical difference to me. So it’s good to hear this might be something that could be added in a future version. I’m currently developing all text content for a website using Scrivener: it’s a great program for organizing something like a web-structure. So quick Markdown to HTML copy ability would be fantastic!

The other feature that would seem to make a big difference is the ability to go from MMD to e-book. Apparently this isn’t possible yet. Hopefully this will also be possible in the future: or is this a feature (like MMD highlighting) unlikely to be included in the future due to big limitations/challenges?

This is already quite possible, to be clear. You need to set your Compile Group, in the Contents compile option pane, to use “Current Selection”. Now whatever you select in the binder prior to calling up compile will be all that compiles. I’d say that’s about as efficient as using a special copy command.

E-books: it’s already on the long-term list. Keep in mind we don’t develop MMD. That is designed and maintained by Fletcher Penney. We provide integration with the system and do a lot of grunt-work in the compiler for you, but everything after the generation of an MMD plain-text document (or what you get when you compile to plain MultiMarkdown) is completely out of our hands. We’ve got some choices in the compile menu so you do not have to learn how to use the command line to be an MMD user, but these just run commands and then give you the result. Scrivener itself does not “make” an HTML file. It does not “make” an RTF or ODT file. Hence it would be completely out of its remeit to make an e-book file. But, that aside, it would be nice to help the MMD community come up with something when there is the time to do so. It would then become a command line method in MMD if Fletcher liked the result (not Scrivener), but we would surely provide integration support for that method.

Many thanks, again, for your complete and thoughtful reply!