Improving Markdown Support on iOS

The switch Convert to Basic Markdown could be made much more helpful.

The switch turns on double-spacing between paragraphs, which is exactly the thing that one needs for Markdown. Excellent!

However the switch also turns on escaping characters like > (which means block-quote) and {, which is used to produce footnotes and to trigger formatting and other good things. Those characters are not escaped otherwise, as far as I can tell.

It seems to me that those latter two are exactly the reverse of what would be most useful.

I request that the escaping of those (and are there other) characters be removed from Convert to Basic Markdown, and suggest that character conversions like that might reasonably be added to Transformations in the Appearance.

Of course, really good support for Styles would be even better, but commenting out the checks for Convert would be a great improvement.


It is correct to escape such characters when converting to Markdown, though, because when you use “Convert to Basic Markdown”, the assumption is that you are not writing in Markdown. If you are writing in Markdown, then you don’t need to turn that option on.

That said, in the next update, any text with “Preserve Formatting” applied to it will not have such characters escaped.

I guess I don’t understand what Convert to Markdown is supposed to do.

As a Markdown user, I would like to be able to type paragraphs without manually spacing between them, since if I do not, then I can’t ever Compile to any other format. Scrivener iOS does do that on setting the switch. Therefore, for all practical purposes, I must use the Convert to Markdown switch unless I want to live in the 20th century.

I also use Titles Use Markdown Levels, since that lets me get the right number of leading #-signs without regard to the nesting levels. Well, it almost does that. I’m not sure if there’s any way to get that right but turning the switch on at least lets me mostly skip the #-signs, again making it possible to use Compile for other attractive formats.

Now that I have that switch set, I would like to be able to produce italic text in my markdown. Scrivener iOS does not convert styled italic to italic in any mode that I can find. So I cannot type styled text and get it to come out in markdown’s starred format, with or without the switch.

Same thing with links and images and such.

Again, I may not be getting something. I know I could type in vanilla markdown throughout, and I guess I wouldn’t mind that but for the need to double-space between paragraphs. Since I do that in my usual editors, I should perhaps get over that, but it’s so nearly good that the switch does that.

I know that Markdown is the red-headed stepchild here, but Scrivener is to tantalizingly close to what one needs. Maybe more switches in Appearance would be good. I’m not sure about Preserve Formatting. It sounds like it means “Don’t Fiddle with stars and braces and such”. If that’s what it means, it may not be an ideal name. If it means (in Convert to Markdown Mode) “Convert italic and the rest to markdown syntax”, that might be OK.

If there’s interest in improving Scrivener (Mac and/or iOS) for use with Markdown, it would be my pleasure to produce, by way of a spec, a document showing what one would like to type, and what one would like to have come out.

I suspect it could be done with a few new appearance settings rather than a comprehensive markdown conversion module.

I continue to press on with Scrivener, hoping to find the sweetest possible spot for writing largish documents that need some organization and can be generated to Markdown and, say, PDF. Failing that, I might as well use Byword or Editorial or a plain editor. Or carry my Mac about.

Thanks and kindest regards,