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tools for writing on the web

November 7, 2005

Maybe I'm just drawing a blank here, but are there any good tools for writing for the web? I'm talking about the actually editor here. See my issue is that I'm working on a series for HelpSpot called In-Depth (tentatively). Where I'm going to go into some of the philosophy behind different components, why they're important, how they relate to help desk management and so on.

Now the end product here is HTML which will go into the templating system on the UserScape site. What I'm looking for is a nice writing environment to do this type of writing. I don't like using Word because cutting and pasting out sometimes gets messy and I have to add all the P tags myself. I often use BBEdit my text editor, but then of course I still need to add every tag myself.

I'd like an editor which does some of the light lifting for me. So it automatically puts in P tags and can maybe do simple things like bold, italics, etc. Basically adding these things as I type sometimes distracts me from writing. I'd like to just write and have the editor put in the basic tags which make it a valid web page. I can then go back and do "fancy" stuff as needed. Anyone know of something like this (for Mac)?

Update: Man I love blogging! Tim Harding left a comment about using markdown, which is a great idea except I wasn't sure if there was a desktop way to do the transformation. I'm mostly familiar with markdown being used in web apps. Well it turns out it's insanely easy. The markdown page itself has the instructions on how to integrate it with BBEdit. So know I can write directly in BBEdit and easily transform the writing to XHTML without putting in all the P tags (or any others) myself. If anyone else is going to try this I would also recommend you open up the Unix Filters palette and assign a shortcut key. I'm using shift-apple-m. So if I select some text hitting that transforms the text. If I don't select anything then the shortcut will transform the entire doc. Sweeeeeeet.

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