Marked 2.5 Sneak Peek

I’ve been heads down on a few projects for a while now, but I’m getting close to the release of the next update to Marked 2 (free to current users). There’s been a lot of refactoring, refining, and some new features I think you’ll like.

I’ve improved memory management and threading for faster rendering and statistics processing on long documents, as well as better stability for OS X 10.11 (El Capitan). You can also disable Readability and other advanced statistics generation when you don’t need it.

Export features

Among many other export improvements, you can now see in the preview where page breaks will be inserted in the output based on your export preferences (and any breaks added with Marked’s internal syntax).

All your proofing in one place

The big one is Spelling and Grammar checking. I’ve always loved Marked’s ability to analyze readability, show oft-repeated words, and even highlight errors in phrasing and parts of speech, but have always been frustrated by the need to check spelling and grammar in one app, then everything else in Marked. The next update adds an in-app purchase which offers full spelling and grammar checking within the preview1. You can turn on spell check—and optionally grammar check—and see issues in your document with a full set of suggestions and descriptions.

UI updates

There are a lot of small fixes and improvements to the UI. As an example, the tear-off statistics panel looks better than ever, and provides a useful set of live document statistics while you work, even if Marked isn’t visible.

Help System revamp

For a while now, the Help documentation has been mirrored between Apple’s system and an independent internal web page. That’s still the case, but instead of just launching a browser with the local HTML, I built a more complete help viewer with improved search and bookmarking capability. It also (and this was the main goal) allows easy deep-linking to specific topics through the URL handler, which allows me to provide contextual help more easily. The URL handler has some new tricks, too.

This won’t matter much to existing users, but there’s a whole new setup process for first-run users. It offers a simple series of choices, two per page and never more than 3 deep, which allow Marked to set up a base configuration suitable to any user’s needs. Users who’ve already run Marked can still launch this from the help menu at any time.

I enjoy adding useful features to Marked (maybe too much), and I tend to make any non-essential feature optional, and preferences panes get a bit overwhelming (I know). This simplified setup and improved documentation access will improve the experience for many.

And more…

There’s also full support for the latest version of MindNode maps, Xcode Playground support, internal Scrivener images and links, and updated Fountain support.

You’re still reading…

As an aside to Marked users who happen to read this blog, there’s also a (currently very beta) feature coming that lets you view any Markdown document as a digital book, automatically handling page breaks and indexing. It’s pretty cool, but will remain undocumented for now. Once the kinks are worked out, I’ll enable export of web-booklets and probably share the code that it uses to handle building them. You’ll be able to access the beta feature with ⌥⇧B

I hope to have everything on this wrapped up in the next week or so. My time is split in a lot of directions, but I’m looking forward to getting this update out! Don’t hesitate to pick up a copy, it’s already pretty awesome, and the update will be free.

  1. It’s an in-app purchase because this feature proved to be amazingly difficult to pull of at scale. To run an OS X spellcheck, the text has to be editable, and it’s designed to check as you type, not run over a full document. Working around that deserves an extra buck or two, in my opinion.

Brett Terpstra

Brett is a writer and developer living in Minnesota, USA. You can follow him as ttscoff on Twitter, GitHub, and Mastodon. Keep up with this blog by subscribing in your favorite news reader.

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