technology

Markdown and Blogging and Dropbox, Oh My!

There are a bunch of new blogging services that have surfaced recently that share quite a few similarities:

  • Use Markdown for the post medium
  • Use Dropbox for syncing and delivery
  • Boast simplicity and ease-of publishing
  • Emphasize clean design

I first heard of Calepin a few months ago. I liked the experience of creating posts locally using Markdown, hitting the “Publish” button, and seeing it live with minimal hassle. I even looked into migrating my wordpress blog to use Calepin exclusively. There was one minor niggle1 I had with the service: there is no way to view all (or recent) posts on one page, nor previous/next links on posts. And no plans for that. I’ve always preferred to view a blog’s content on a single page and found it annoying to manually step articles post by post.

Then, in the past week or so, two new services cropped up: Skrivr and Scriptogram. The former seems to differentiate itself with emmaculate typography and attractive themes. The latter is eerily similar in many ways to Calepin, but plans to support themes. Two things I liked about the newer services is that they do display all your posts on one page.

Calepin

  • First kid on the block
  • Developer has a specific vision and good design sensibilities
  • Premium plan in the works

I appreciate that Calepin’s developer is highly-opinionated and sticks to his guns. He’s decided not to allow custom themes or CSS, and each post gets its own page. It’s clear he has a vision for his service and a plan to sustain it.

Skrivr

  • Beautiful themes out-of-the-box
  • Quirky method for specifying posts
  • Invite-only
  • Customizable

Skrivr sports good-looking themes and a responsive layout out of the box. Creating a post feels kludgy; you’re forced to give every post a category, and metadata is pulled from the filename. The service is currently invite-only, though the owners quickly sent me an invite when I asked. The themes are also very customizable, but to a fault. I don’t want to mess with templates.

Scriptogram

Just like Calepin, but:

  • Custom CSS
  • All posts on single page
  • Free

When Scriptogram first came out, I ignored it because it seemed like such a rip off of Calepin. The publish page had the same three-column layout and workflow, so I assumed it was some disingenuous script kiddie. But it’s become apparent that this is not copycat2. In the past week, the developer has rolled out custom domain support and a nice CSS editor. It’s a bit worrisome that he plans to keep the service free. But for now, I like it the best. It’s easy to use and just flexible enough for my needs.


  1. Why did I start using this word? 

  2. Though one day, I’d love to hear an explanation for how the publish screen ended up being so similar. 

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