1 tip for faster blogging: Use Textile

Ian Lurie

This is a tip that’ll either:

  • Save you 20 minutes per blog post; or
  • Lead to much better-looking blog posts.

I write all of my blog posts using Textmate, a text editor for the Mac. I write them all using a very simple text formatting language called Textile.

I recommend E-Text Editor for the same tools on Windows. However, I’ve been told that NotePad++ isn’t bad, either. Windows folks, if you have recommendations, post ’em down below.

It’s easy to learn (far easier than HTML, if you haven’t already learned HTML). It’s also far easier to format your post while you write it, because Textile commands are far ‘lighter’—translate that to easier to use—than their HTML cousins. Best of all, you can convert a Textile document to a nicely-formatted HTML document in about 10 seconds.

In the process, a text editor like TextMate will:

  1. Convert all apostrophes and quotes to ‘smart’ quotes.
  2. Generate lists from two simple Textile symbols: “#” or “*”. That’s a lot easier than typing <ol><li>blah blah</li></ol>’, yes?
  3. Convert any special characters like a greater than symbol (>) to the respective HTML entity, so it displays properly.
  4. Convert everything else to well-formatted HTML code.

Then you can just cut and paste it all into your blogging software, add any images or photos, and you’re good to go.

Here’s what this post looked like in Textile before I converted it:

textile post

Then I clicked “Textile >> Convert to HTML” and voila! An HTML-formatted post.

And, of course, you can see how it looks in HTML. You’re reading that right now.

Sometimes the little tips are what count. Give this a shot. Even if you know HTML like the back of your hand, I’ll bet you’ll find that for writing blog posts, Textile is easier.

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  1. I use notepad ++ all the time, it makes html a lot easier, but it is primarily a html editor, it doesn’t do some of the things you described above.

  2. Ian,
    Great tip! 20 minutes per post is a lot! I prefer to invest those 20 minutes in getting more creative content, better formatting or doing SEO than writing HTML tags!
    I will give it a try, thanks for the advice.
    Regards from Argentina =D

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