Needs some kind of Markdown syntax support!!

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15 comments

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    shad

    I would also like to have, at a minimum, the ability to type backticks (`) and have code format... example: `code here`. Personally, I don't even need syntax highlighting, just monospace fonts and some background color perhaps.

    Thanks, love the product.

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    Franz-Peter Steiner

    Markdown support for notes, please. This would allow to use code snippets and formulas and much more without compromising the simplicity and ease of use. Those who don't have or want to use Markdown would not even notice...

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    Jon Nyman

    I use workflowy as a recipe book. It would be nice to have a markdown lib that adheres to the CommonMark spec like markdown-it from npm. It would look so much nicer in Markdown! SimpleNote does this nicely in there editor/viewer where you can mark it as markdown and you double click to start editing the markdown in the original format. Here's an example of a recipe:

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    Mr Jean SORDES

    Well you can already make your text bold/italic/underlined (CTRL + B / CTRL + I / CTRL + U) sooooooooo ... if you added Markdown on top of that you would have to break what already exists :/

    The solution could be to have a special shortcut for code styling, but adding Markdown support would break what already exists.

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    Jon Nyman

    It wouldn't necessarily break what already exists. You can have a toggle button which switches between the two like SimpleNote does. Easy peasy.

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    Kinrany

    It would also simplify notes. Currently each bullet has two parts: the main text and the note. With Markdown there'd only be a single text area, and adding a note would be as easy as adding a paragraph.

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    Frank (Workflowy Support)

    So just to be clear... it seems like most folk here are not looking to use Markdown syntax for portability – taking your WorkFlowy data places. Is this a "readability" thing? 

    Let me throw in this blog post to stimulate the conversation a bit:

    https://blog.workflowy.com/2016/12/01/workflowymarkdown%e2%9d%a4/

    ... starting with "Dual-mode irksomeness"

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    Kinrany

    Personally when I'm editing Markdown, syntax highlighting is all I want from a text editor. Markdown is perfectly readable. I only ever use dual-mode for printing.

    I guess my main complaint here is writing large blocks of text. Paragraphs, more specifically. We have two options:
    1. Use a note. But that's ugly: there's still the useless but mandatory text field in the bullet point, and the rest of the text is too small.
    2. Use a separate bullet for each paragraph. But bullets are too big, and I explicitly do not want them to be nestable.

    Both feel like a hack, and I keep trying to find a cleaner option instead of focusing on the thing I'm trying to write :(

    More generally, I think Markdown is just a very common format that strikes a balance between many use cases. It's a bunch of different features that we take for granted in other contexts. We're all asking for Markdown support for different reasons.

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    Frank (Workflowy Support)

    > We're all asking for Markdown support for different reasons.

    That's the thing. As far as I know, it is not WorkFlowy's vision to imitate a Markdown editor. Other outliners do that already, and this makes it less flowy. 

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    Kinrany

    Right, Markdown is not the goal by itself. (Though being able to just copy-paste text to and from Workflowy would be nice.) We still want a significant number of it's features, and implementing Markdown would be a straightforward way to provide them.

    Does Workflowy have a vision we can read? Is storing large blocks of text out of scope? Is there a convenient way to link to another service and back, to combine text and Workflowy's structure?

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    Frank (Workflowy Support)

    - Kinrany,

    As far as WorkFlowy's vision/ M.O./ no-go areas, the CEO has expressed on several occasions that bimodal Markdown support is not desired. This would, for sure, also make a very big demographic of WorkFlowy users rather unhappy. 

    Markdown annotation can easily be used (for portability). Folk have written books (myself included) using Markdown syntax. The original idea of Markdown according to John Gruber was readability in plain text:

    > Markdown is intended to be as easy-to-read and easy-to-write as is feasible.

    https://daringfireball.net/projects/markdown/syntax#philosophy

    In effect, MD can be implemented anywhere... even in a .txt file. So this can certainly be done (and I do this regularly for anything that will be exported)... however, it seems like the feature you're wanting is akin to what Markdown editors do, including apps like Slack and a few others. WorkFlowy does not want to be a bimodal MD editor, where what you're writing on cursor focus will toggle to HTML when not in edit mode. By and large, WorkFlowy users are not interested in this dynamic. This would change the entire feel dramatically. If you've had the chance to play around with "DL" (WorkFlowy clone), you will have noticed this duality. It is quite jarring. Definitely and firmly not the direction WorkFlowy wants to go in.

    Those who are serious about MD for portability reasons are more than happy with WorkFlowy's current lack of a dual-mode MD and would prefer not to see this as a baked-in feature. 

     

     

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    Kinrany

    I feel like we're talking past each other, I didn't mean to suggest bimodal support at all :(

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    Frank (Workflowy Support)

    - Kinrany,

    I guess I'm having difficulty seeing how Markdown relates to the following:

    > "Though being able to just copy-paste text to and from Workflowy would be nice"

    > "Is storing large blocks of text out of scope?"

    Users do this all day, every day... whether in bullets (so as to better slice and dice your info.)... or in notes. 

    As far as getting text into and out of WorkFlowy in the right formatting, it's an integral part of many users' workflows... even via MD. 

    Your 3rd-to-last post expresses your dislike at the way bullets and notes are implemented. You suggest MD as a solution... but not how this would be implemented. There is still no clear indication of how MD would help you, perhaps other than having WorkFlowy behave as MD editor just because. IOW, it's not clear what you're proposing. 

    Whether talking about dual-mode MD dynamics or any other MD dynamic, WorkFlowy is simply not wanting to behave like a Markdown editor... and if we're not talking about a markdown-editor-type dynamic... then back to the point that regardless of this capability, one is able to use MD syntax anywhere one can type... text files, Word Docs, Google Docs... absolutely everywhere... and from there it's hop, skip and a jump to a MD editor to render your writing into HTML.

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    Frank (Workflowy Support)

    I'm not sure whether WorkFlowy's vision is to go the Markdown route. We tend more toward plain text, but will be developing other features such as embedded links, etc. 

     

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    Erik Deng

    Personally I'd really like to have "on-the-fly" markdown rendering while typing or after finishing a list bullet by pressing enter. For me it's mainly about readability. Plain text only takes you so far even with nice lists of bullets. And keyboard shortcuts aren't as easy, flexible and powerful than a proper syntax imo. It's very nice to be able to do `code blocks`, *bold*, _italics_, (embedded)[links] and all those things by just typing the encapsulating markdown syntax, and it helps so much with readability and keeping the notes neat and tidy.

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