👨💻 A deeper look at MWeb Pro
Since I was referencing MWeb, and listed it as my tool of choice for Markdown, I thought it would be good to list some of its features. If you’re heavy into Markdown, and using a Mac, this is a serious tool to get.
MWeb is a full-featured word processor that handles long documents or short notes. I’ve made the comment before, it’s similar to Ulysses, but without the huge subscription fees. At the $20, one-time fee, it’s a powerful editor at a very reasonable price.
The first feature to look at is MWeb’s Library. It’s similar to Scrivener’s binder, allowing you to have multiple folders with multiple documents inside. You can organize further with nested folders. This lets you make categories, then subcategories, and additional subcategories inside of those. Mimic a folder structure, web site headings, or class topics so you know where everything is. This is pretty much a standard for Mac, so it’s not a big deal to be there, but you notice when it’s missing.
Adding to the customization, MWeb features a toolbar you can load up with buttons for formatting tables, images, links, code blocks, math functions, or lists. You don’t have to remember the codes, or navigate through menus. You can put what you need in the toolbar, or leave it blank.
One of the many cool features is the table generator. Create your table visually by adding or removing rows and columns as you need them.
Along with web links, MWeb also supports linking between document. You can make multiple documents, then jump between them using links. This is fantastic for note-taking and linking reference material. I compare this to making your own little Wiki.
To create the right look and feel, MWeb supports multiple themes so you can have a light mode, dark mode, medium mode, ultra dark mode, or whatever suits you. You can define the text color, link color, line color, code color, or how bold text should appear. You can make dozens of themes and switch them based on your writing task. My code theme is far more colorful than my writing theme. This is about the highest level of customization I’ve seen in an editor.
Most Markdown editors come with the classic two pane view where you write on the left and preview on the right. That’s totally usable and MWeb offers that and more. You can create that same layout, or set up the main editor and toggle preview when needed. You can go from everything being visible, to turning everything but the editor off. I have the library and documents panes visible and the main editor as my focus. I use the toggle to see the preview, which isn’t that often, and mainly at the end, if I’m working with a lot of code formatting.
For multiple documents, MWeb opens each one you work with into its own tab. This makes it easy to juggle copy/paste jobs and reference material from two different sources. It’s not quite the split view of Scrivener, but it’s useful.
MWeb uses markdown, but it can export to a variety of formats including Text, PDF, HTML, RTF, Docx, and of course, Markdown. Exporting to Markdown creates a new .md file in a specific location. By default, the .md files are stored in the library and have an ID number as the name. Also, if you’re working on a big project, multiple documents can be merged together for a longer article or full documentation.
Beyond export, MWeb can publish static HTML to a web server. I’ve never tried this last option, but I have published to WordPress. The categories are downloaded and the document tags represent WordPress tags. It uses the “Classic” mode for the document, but the post still renders fine.
I really like MWeb because of it’s features and it follows a Scrivener-like design philosophy. This gives you full customization control, allowing you to display the features you want. If you want a toolbar full of buttons, that’s doable. If you only need one of two, take the others off.
Likewise, it uses a binder to organize files and folders. These can be simple top level folders, or you can make nested folders like a hard drive, or split things out to follow the topics of a class or features of a product.
If you’re diving deep into Markdown and use it regularly, MWeb is the editor to look into. I’ve worked with it for a couple of years now, and it keeps getting better and more refined. I’ve looked into other editors, but nothing exceeds what MWeb offers. It’s a great option for short notes to long-form writing. It has a host of features you’ll actually use. But, if you’re not actively working with them, hide them away, just like you can in Scrivener.
There are a lot of Markdown editors for Mac, but MWeb has the features you want and will use.