Atom and Markdown Writer for Jekyll

I started to use Atom with the Markdown-Writer plug-in for writing my Jekyll blog posts. I had previously been using MarkdownPad2 but found I was missing some Jekyll specific features:

I still use MarkdownPad2 as a general purpose markdown editor but for Jekyll blogging the Markdown-Writer plug-in is a big improvement in my work flow.

Markdown Writer Configuration

The basic configuration for Markdown-Writer is fairly straight forward but does require a little extra work to make it work great with Jekyll. You can find basic documentation at

Front matter configuration

To set up the front matter you need to open the atom configuration (ctrl+shift+p type config) and add in:

  /*may have other markdown-writer configuration here */
  'frontmatter': '---\nlayout: post\ntitle:  "<title>"\ndate:  "<date>"\ncategories:\n---'

Tags and Categories

To set up category and tag lookups you have to add a few files to your Jekyll project. These files will create JSON files with all the tags and categories from your blog which will be referenced by the plug-in.

Drop the following scripts into the same place you store your css files. When the site is compiled the categories and tags will be generated.

After you republish you can open the markdown-writer configuration page (ctrl-, and search for markdown-writer) and point the setting URL to Categories/Tags JSON definition to the Url of the respective JSON files. For example:

The Markdown-Writer Workflow

Using Atom and Markdown Writer greatly improved my workflow. Before I would fumble while manually creating a file with the correct naming convention, manually create the front matter, guess at the correct naming for my categories/tags, and then finally start writing.

My new workflow looks like this:

  1. Open Atom
  2. Ctrl-shift-p type new post to create new markdown writer post
  3. Ctrl-shift-p type categories to add categories from a list directly from my blog.
  4. Start writing.

Hope that helps improve your workflow. Happy Blogging!


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