Marked 2.5.12, 13, 14, 15, 16…

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There was over a year between Marked 2.5.10 and the 2.5.11 update I finally shipped on May 10th. That was way too long, and I realized I’d developed the habit collecting enough fixes, improvements, and new features to make it feel “justified” to release an update, even after I knew it was long past time to ship. That doesn’t fit with modern software practices, especially because it was ultimately an incremental release.

I’ve been revising that habit and releasing on a schedule closer to what Twitter does with their iOS apps, with near-weekly updates that are so minor they rarely get release notes. (Though I have a strong preference for release notes in my releases, beyond just “it makes things better.”) If I fix a couple of things, add a single new feature, etc., I’ve been creating a release. Since the 10th there have already been 5 more updates, and Marked is — as of this writing — at version 2.5.16. I imagine that will be 2.5.17 sooner than later.

My first instinct is “how will anyone talk about new Marked releases if it’s not a bigger deal?” But I think the frequent releases are balancing out the boost of a big release that gets some press by just having a more active and engaged user base building word of mouth over time. People are more likely to recommend something they see as vital and growing. It’s hard to judge at the moment as Apple has given Marked 2 a top billing spot on the Mac App Store homepage, which obviously is going to inflate sales numbers for a brief period. Not complaining.

Here’s a recap of what’s happened in those last 5 releases:

I added a new parameter to the URL handler (x-marked) to allow raising affected windows after running whatever command is passed. I’ve written about the URL handler in detail previously, so for now I’ll just offer this example:

open -g 'x-marked://open?file=filename.md&raise=true'

From a script, that opens a new file and raises the window above all other application windows, but without activating Marked. Your current application remains foreground while Marked’s window is guaranteed to be visible. This parameter is usable with most commands that affects one or more preview windows (open, refresh, paste, preview, style).

As a side note, I added a script for BBEdit to the “bonus pack”. You can assign a hotkey to it and open the current file in Marked with a keystroke. (That’s currently in my fork of the repo maintained by Kotfu, but there’s a pull request.)

I also added the ability for the MarsEdit Preview to handle previewing images still pending upload (requires MarsEdit 4). It also fixes an issue with MarsEdit posts that don’t have a title, which covers the use case of micro.blog and probably other platforms that don’t require a title.

For MathJax, I included a few more standard fonts and trimmed down the configuration options. I also added a feature that automatically normalizes math syntax between MultiMarkdown and GFM/LaTeX formatting. Whereas MMD requires \\[ and \\( to start equations, I’ve found that most people want to use the more standard $$ and $ delimeters. So depending on which processor is selected, Marked will automatically convert one to the other for you. Further, the configuration of MathJax now includes $$ and $ by default. (That has the potential confusion of rendering any paragraph that happens to include two dollar signs oddly, but you can disable MathJax or just escape the characters, e.g. \$3.99 to work around it.)

The color scheme for CriticMarkup elements is improved for readability in both normal and “high contrast” (light on dark) modes. Then there are over a dozen fixes, including issues with curly bracket syntax being stripped when using Pandoc or Kramdown custom processors, code blocks disappearing, and a weird bug where automatically opening Scrivener along with a preview was just inserting a copy of the generated Markdown back into Scrivener’s research folder in an endless loop. Glad that one’s solved…

I won’t be keeping up at this hyper release pace for very long. I need to focus on some other projects now, but I’ve determined that instead of dedicating a full day to a certain project, I need to dedicate a week (or more) at a time and actually start finishing things. It’s been working well so far. I will be releasing new versions as updates and improvements happen, rather than holding them for months at a time. So keep your “Automatic Updates” on (or check the MAS updates page often). And if you read this blog and you’re not already a Marked user, this seems like an opportune time to check it out.