From HTML, Wiki to Markdown – Writing in Markup Languages

HTML

As an important part of the world wide web, HTML is the earliest markup language available on the internet. It uses certain tags and element to markup the formats or even properties of text. Eventually, the browsers will render the text into different content of different styles.

For instance:

<h1> A heading line</h1>

This is a heading line using with a <h1> tag.

<a href="https://www.inspire-writer.com">Inspire Writer</a>

This is a link with a <a> tag.

<center><img src="logo.png"></center>

This is an aligned center image named logo.png with an <img> and a <center> tag.

It’s obvious that HTML takes care of the format and style of the text.

There are over 100 similar tags in the latest HTML5 standard. These, plus the properties for each tag, like the href is the property for the link, make it so hard to know the rules and use them well. Especially when you’re just a writer, not a writer/developer.

This is why writers, who are not web developers themselves, started to find another way to write.

Wiki

In the mid 90s, wiki was designed to encourage people who didn’t know much about HTML to write.

By introducing less tags that are more targeted for writing, the wiki engine transfers the content created in wiki into HTML in a structural way. By doing so, wiki users don’t need to learn a massive amount of HTML tags and properties before they can write on the internet.

Here are three examples of how wiki engine usually works:

To define a heading in Wiki:

=A Heading Line=

To define a hyperlink:

[https://www.inspire-writer.com Inspire Writer]

To make an image aligned center:

[[File:logo.png|frame|centre]]

It’s obvious that the simplicity that wiki is after is more on the form of tags, but to some extent, it still is closely connected with HTML.

In other words, when writing in wiki, you don’t really need to master so many tags, but less tags alone doesn’t make your work easy to read. Therefore, you will often find yourself distracted when reading your work in wiki.

Markdown

About a decade later, that is in 2004, Markdown was created by John Gruber. It’s a light, easy-to-read, easy-to-write plaint text format.

By saying light, we mean that Markdown uses fewer, well-selected tags which basically won’t be a problem to master in an hour or two for most users. It also means that developers for Markdown editors need to deal with less tags, which makes it easier to develop and maintain.

By saying easy-to-read, we mean that even though with Markdown tags added to the content, your work will still remain intact. That is to say, you can still easily read the content without getting disturbed by tags you use.

Moreover, Markdown text can be easily exported to effective, well-structured HTML content.

In Markdown, this is how you define a heading:

# A Heading Line

This is how you insert a hyperlink.

[Inspire Writer](https://www.inspire-writer.com)

Doesn’t it look like what’s in the plain text email?

And it’s also very close to how you insert an image:

![](logo.png)

By now, you may wonder, how can I define the image as align center? The answer is, you can’t.

This is where Markdown is different, or updated from, wiki and eve HTML: Markdown doesn’t care about the format of the text, i.e. how the text is displayed, it cares more about the property of the text, i.e. what the text is.

For instance:

# A Heading Line

defines a heading.

But how will the heading eventually be displayed, what’s the font size, whether it’s bold or aligned center are not what Markdown care about. And these questions shouldn’t be what you, the writer, care about at this point.

Only when you’re exporting or converting your work to HTML, will the Markdown engine tells that this is a heading, and the format will be left to CSS.

By separating text content and styling, Markdown enables you to write without being confined to details such as text formats, while being light and easy-to-use. This is what makes Markdown popular on platforms such as GitHub and Reddit.

Moving on to the next step

By now, it seems that Markdown is the ultimate weapon for writers. But is it though? Can it meet all needs? Of course not. After all, nothing is perfect.

As mentioned, easy-to-read is one of the many shinning points of Markdown, but it only works on text. However, images are indispensable when it comes to writing, especially writing for the internet.

We need to understand that as a markup language that specifically targets at plain text writing, it’s normal that Markdown can’t display images when you’re writing. A case in point is the tag that we use above:

![](logo.png)

But you can’t tell whether you’re using the right image or not in this way. This could be the deal breaker for some.

The Inspire Markup Language by Inspire turns the table. When you’re writing on Inspire, you can enter (img), and Inspire will prompt you to choose an image for your work, and insert it to your document in real time.

Just as you can also see from the image above, the tags will be highlighted, making your work even easier to read.

Maybe you will be interested in giving distraction-free writing a go?

How to Disable Gutenberg Editor in WordPress?

As the modern, default editor in WordPress 5.0, Gutenberg was supposed to bring its users terrific writing experience. However, the WordPress community simply isn’t ready for Gutenberg.

Admittedly, Gutenberg looks better than the classic editor, with all the blocks for media-rich pages and posts. But for many of us who have already been so familiar with the classic editor, Gutenberg is too overwhelming. And not to mention don’t get me started on its comparability issues with certain themes and plugins.

This makes people wonder: can I get the old WordPress editor back?

Of course. Here is how you can revert to the old Classic WordPress editor:

1) Login to your site as administrator, and search for Classic Editor Addon in the Add new Plugin page. Then click Install Now to get it downloaded.

2) Activate it.

3) Viola! You’ve got your old classic WordPress editor back!

Or better yet, why not say goodbye to the not so reliable writing experience online and say hello to the real authentic writing experience?

Say, write and publish with Markdown? So you don’t have to decide the font for your content with the mouse, HTML or even CSS.

Minimalist Windows markdown editor like Inspire creates a simple, safe, and clean immersive writing environment. But it doesn’t stop there. You can publish your work to your WordPress sites by hitting the publish button on Inspire. If PDF or DOCX are more to your appetite, by all means, export your work to these formats as well.

You can also see Inspire as your work folder, where your work will stay forever, until, of course, you erase it.

Download Inspire  and try it out today. It won’t cause you a dime to try. 🙂

Why is distraction-free writing getting popular?

If you write a lot, which we bet you do, on Mac/iOS, there is a great chance that you came across a writing app called Ulysses at one time or another. In fact, you may already joined its fan club.

We tip our hat to Ulysses: It might not be the app that created the distraction-free minimalist writing environment in the first place, but it must be the most outstanding one of them on Mac/iOS.

To create a distraction-free writing environment, the text editor or writing app needs to be equipped with the following key elements:

  1. Mouse is used as little as possible and there is no need for you to lift your fingers from the keyboard – It keeps you from distractions such as adjusting the text format.
  2. Defines text with simple markups rather than with formats – This is how you won’t be distributed by deciding what format to choose for your content.
  3. Content is the only thing that should be left on the screen – No windows, no tabs, no menus, no status bar….. If it’s not content related, it shouldn’t be there.
  4. Saves automatically & instantly and there better be no files or folders – You don’t deserve to start your writing by creating a file name first, nor witness your work going down the drain just because you forget to hit save every 5 minutes.
  5. Supports dark mode theme – So you can immerse yourself in writing at night without fatiguing your eyes.

Such a writing environment sure will boost your productivity. Who wouldn’t say yes to higher efficiency?

No wonder writing apps or editors such as Ulysses are getting more popular than ever. But it’s such a pity that developers for Ulysses haven’t created Ulysses for Windows, and they even claimed that they will never consider a Windows version of Ulysses. Too bad for its die-hard fans.

But those days are gone. Inspire Writer fills the blank. It creates the distraction-free writing environment on Windows, just so you can write elegant. Everything you want to see in a distraction-free editor, you can find it on Inspire.

Why Markdown

Markdown is a lightweight markup language with plain text formatting syntax. It enables you to write with a light, easy markup language. Compared with WYSIWYG editors such as Microsoft Word or Google Docs, a markdown editor is unique in its own ways:

It separates text attributes from formats

When you’re writing in a WYSIWYG editor like Word, you need to write and constantly set format for your writing at the same time.

For instance, after you type out the title for your work, you need to get it selected and change its format – enlarge it, make it bold and/or make it align center, so you and your readers will know that this is the title, not something else.

You may also need a template to unify all your writing. In this case, you have to select the text that is supposed to be the title and set its format as “Heading”, so the text will be enlarged, bold, and/or aligned center.

Markdown handles things differently.

You add a # (hashtag) before you type out the title, and you define it as a heading. In other words, text format is the last thing you should worry about when writing with markdown.

When you are at the last stage of your creation, i.e. when you export your work, the style you define for your work will grant it related formats by its attributes.

For example, when you export your work to WP Twenty Sixteen in Inspire Writer, you’ll see the heading aligned left:

When you choose to export as Georgia, you’ll see it aligned center:

That is to say, markdown defines WHAT the text is, not HOW it is.

Simply put, the text format, or render, should be decided at the final stage, by your text attributes and the style you choose. It’s not what something you should, or have to worry about when you’re writing.

That said, markdown creates a distraction-free writing environment where you won’t be disturbed by what format to choose. Say goodbye to the mouse, keep your fingers stay on top of the keyboard and make your writing flow.

It transfers your work to HTML in a better way

There is no doubt that writing nowadays can’t walk far away from HTML: Your work will eventually shows up as HTML one way or another.

Have you ever tried to transfer the .DOCX file you composed with Word to an HTML file? If you have, and you’ve read its source file, you’d be appalled to see how many garbage it contains.

But work written with markdown is totally another story.

Your work will be transferred to clean, light HTML files. These are the types of HTML files that you need. For instance, you can put them directly onto your personal website.

Moreover, if your website is built on WordPress, you can hit the publish button in Inspire, and your work will be published to your site with just this one single click.

It transfers your work into formats of various kinds

Inspire Writer can easily transfer your work into formats you would normally use: HTML as we mentioned, TXT, RFT, PDF and DOCX document for Word, you name it.

You can also export your work to a common markdown (.MD) file, so you can publish it to platforms such as GitHub.

It is true that the markup language for Inspire Writer is a bit different from that of the common markdown. But believe me, the former is so much easier than the latter.

BTW, this article is written with and published by Inspire Writer. 🙂

FAQ

You ask, and we answer. If you don’t find the answer here, feel free to let us know.

Can you see what I’m writing?

No.

Your groups and sheets are encrypted and stored on your local PC. We don’t have access to any of your writing. You are the only one that has access to it.

Introduction

Keyboard Shortcuts

Basic Operations

  • Ctrl+G for creating a new group
  • Ctrl+N for creating a new sheet

Views and Navigation

  • Ctrl+1, Ctrl+2, Ctrl+3 for switching views
  • Ctrl+↓/↑ for navigating between the sheets
  • Ctrl+8 to show the Navigator

Inspire Markup Language

  • Ctrl+B for strong
  • Ctrl+I for emphasize
  • Ctrl+K for link
  • Ctrl+M for image
  • Ctrl+L for clearing Markup
  • Ctrl+H for increasing heading level
  • Ctrl+9 to show the Markup Bar

Frequently Used Features

  • Ctrl+6 to show Export
  • Ctrl+7 to show Statistics
  • Ctrl+R for Preview

Introduction

Backup and Restore

Inspire automatically save all you writing, so there’s no save button. Auto-save plus cloud sync, you’ll never have to worry about losing any of your writing.

To restore your content:

Choose a Backup Location

  1. Go to File › Preferences › Backup
  2. Select the location where you want your backups to be stored.
  3. Click OK.

Restore from a Backup

  1. Go to File › Browse Backups
  2. Double-click the backup file you want to restore.
  3. Follow the instructions.

Introduction

Export

No matter what you write and who you write to, flexible export formats in Inspire gets you all covered.

Export Formats

You can export your Inspire sheet to whatever format you want, PDF, DOCX, HTML, MD, TXT, you name it.

You can do so via File › Export…. Or the export button () on the left of the editor. Then select the file format and preview your export.

If you want to share your work with friends who also use Inspire, just export your sheet as “InspireSheet“. Your friends can import them into Inspire as it is, i.e. with the same styles and all.

Export to WordPress

You can also write your stories with Inspire and directly publish your work to WordPress from within the app. To do so, you need to add your WordPress account via File › Preferences.

  • In “Preferences”, tap “Accounts” and click the “+” button.

  • Add your WordPress account information. Click “Log In“.

There you go, all set and ready to go!

Export to Medium

You can also publish your work to Medium right from within the app. To do so, you can refer to the detail instructions  here.

Introduction

Cloud Sync

Cloud sync allow you to seamlessly sync and share files among multiple PCs with public cloud services such as Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive and many more.

Just specify the folder where your cloud sync service locates in Preferences:

Repeat the step on your other PCs.

Ta-da! Your copies of Inspire should then sync with one another.

Now you can write on different PCs and have them all at one place.

Introduction