I’ve been using Markdown for a couple of months now and I must say it has grown on me like anything has before. Markdown was conceived by John Gruber to write for the web, but it wasn’t long before someone (Fletcher Penney) thought it could serve as a means to generate PDFs, LaTeX documents, slides, and just about any type of document you can think of, and this is how Multimarkdown was born. Multimarkdown builds on top of markdown to add some features that were missing from markdown so that it could be used to generate documents that could include references, footnotes, and other features more akin to printed documents.
The other day I had to send a brief report to a colleague about a project we’re working on. The thing is that, I could’ve used LaTeX, but it seems that for doing such a simple thing as a two or three-page report with several images, one or two equations a piece of code one would have to fire up the LaTeX editor, convert images to PDF or eps, compile, get some error, debug, run again, etc. Not that I’m complaining about LaTeX, I love the way it typesets documents, I’m just not a big fan of producing short documents with it. On the other hand, word processors like MS word are totally out of the question. So the first thing that came up to my mind was using multimarkdown. In a simple text file I can do what I need in blast. I’ll usually write in Byword or in nvAlt depending on how long the report is.
For generating PDFs I use marked a really cool app developed by Brett Terpstra a plain text guru and developer. Marked is a markdown previewer that lets you use customized CSS styles and a lot of other goodies for generating decent PDFs from your markdown files. With every release Marked is just getting better and better. Another option is using Pandoc a sort of swis-army knife for converting between markup languages. To sum up, with (multi)markdown you can easily convert your document to a PDF, html file, Openoffice, even MS Word, and many more formats. It’s very flexible and easy to learn. Give it a try!