Tools for converting to/from Markdown; Nisus Writer macros

In episode 35, I believe, David and Don got into an exchange about converting from Markdown to HTML or .docx. There were several methods and tools mentioned, but one that was omitted was Ulysses, an editor that runs on MacOS and iOS. Not long ago I “discovered” the enhanced Cut and Paste commands right there in the menu. I was intrigued by “Paste From”, which allows one to have HTML or RTF in the clipboard and “paste from” that format directly into Markdown in Ulysses. The “Copy As” command will let you select Markdown text in Ulysses and copy it to the clipboard as HTML, plain text, or RTF.

I write Markdown in Ulysses, and when I am satisfied with what I’ve said and how it looks (using the Preview command), I Copy As RTF and paste it into Nisus Writer Pro, where I do my final formatting. From there I output either to .docx or to PDF. Sometimes I want to take something from RTF and work on it, or have it close at hand to copy from in Ulysses, so I copy it in Nisus, and then Paste From RTF into Ulysses.

I’m surprised that you seem unfamiliar with Nisus Writer Pro. It comes with a very robust macro language built in so that you can do nearly any kind of text manipulation with it. I’m a neophyte in the macro language, but I managed to cobble together several macros I use to extract text from a document with numbered chapters, paragraphs, and sentences (like most Bibles) and automate a properly formatted reference (e.g. John 3:16, although in my case they look like T-25.VI.4:3–7). It comes with dozens of pre-written macros you can learn from. I’m sure you, David, or you, Rose, could find many uses for it.

NWP is great. The biggest obstacle for me is that the scripting language is based on Perl, and I don’t have the time and energy to learn another scripting language. But I use the MD conversion macros and here and there.

I recently wrote a book in NWP, but honestly for a lot of people the learning curve (and price) is going to be too high to pay when you can use something like Pandoc (what Don’s team uses, he couldn’t remember the name at the time but it was linked in the show notes) for free - it’s also very popular so there are plenty of examples out there.

I’ll have to try the Ulysses options myself :slight_smile:

Document conversion from format to format is exactly what Pandoc is designed for. For simple conversion, it is very easy to use even for novices. For the more adventurous, Pandoc is capable of incredible things, especially in conjunction with LaTeX.

For the specific Markdown <-> HTML use case, you might check out Brett Terpstra’s Markdown Services for macOS.

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There several references to Pandoc across the forum (at least a few from me I’d guess). One of the big advantages is that it is available on any of the desktop-class (as well as server-class) platforms, which means it is something you can utilise almost no matter where you are working, and it’s very useful for those of us who work across multiple platforms. If you have a search in your favourite search engine, you can even find online versions. Because it is designed as a tool it makes it easy to slot into pipeline workflows and as a general rule makes it more automatable than many other options.

However, it isn’t always the most convenient. I use it regularly from a SublimeText package, which is very convenient, but if Sublime Text offered me an equivalent function that wasn’t Pandoc, I dare say I’d also make use of that when in Sublime Text because of the convenience factor.

At the end of the day, choosing the right tool for doing this conversion will depend on how you work. Don has a distributed team, so he needs more of a pipeline solution. Some people will share that position, and others will not. Fortunately we’re blessed with a plethora of choices for the sorts of tools we can use for this.

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So Pandoc’s something I could run on my Raspberry Pi - as I’ve been experimenting with getting to the Pi over Bluetooth from iOS.

(Still collecting use cases for the Pi as a BlueTooth-attached “server”.)

Yes. Here’s a few links that might be useful for trying that, but you might even find you already have a version on your RPI, depending upon what you installed originally.

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