SmartDown 0.9 beta is released

Hello,

We are pleased to announce that the first public beta of SmartDown is available.

You can download it here .

It is a fully functional beta which will expire 2014, November 30th.

How to install it

  • Step 1 Download it
  • Step 2 Unzip it wherever you want. It is a portable app, no need to have administrator rights to install it.
  • Step 3 (non mandatory) Download additional dictionary for your language and install them
  • Step 4 Do not hesitate to report any issue you may encountering using our contact form.

Spell-Checking and SmartDown

When we started to develop SmartDown, one of the features we wanted to implement was spell-checking, at least a basic one. We wanted to avoid to reinvent the wheel. After reviewing existing market solutions, we ended up by choosing Hunspell. Is is a proven solution and it is used by products like Firefox, Chrome or OpenOffice.

Challenges of spell-checking markdown

SmartDown has been built with minimalism in mind. It means that we have rewrite from scratch a lot of the user interface. We had then to create a bridge between Hunspell and SmartDown UI.
The second challenge we faced was to exclude MarkDown formatting from spell-checking in order to spell-check only real text.

Where to get dictionaries

You can find dictionaries for Hunspell in a lot of different places. However we recommend the ones from Chromium. You can get them here. They made a really good work. If you want more details, go there.
You need to download 2 files for each language you want to support:

  • The .dic file containing the list of words
  • The .aff file containing a set of rules applied to the first file.

How to install and use them

Installation is simple, you just have to copy the 2 files (.dic and .aff) in the directory where SmartDown is installed.
Once this is done start (or restart) SmartDown.
You should now see them in the Spell-Checker menu.

SmartDown : The new Windows Markdown Editor

A new Markdown editor for Windows

Creating a new application is a big decision. It takes time, a lot of time. In the case of SmartDown, it took more than one year of development before releasing this first version. We were impressed with the difference between markdown editors available for OS X and for Windows. There are really a lot on the market for Mac but the choice is really reduced under Windows.
Because we never found the editor of our dreams, we decided to create it. Say Hello to SmartDown.

Zen and Minimalism

Our main concern was about the writing experience. The purpose of this editor was not to write code, it is to write stories. This is a huge difference. We wanted to create a nice place to write, were you can express your creativity without distraction.
SmartDown provides the following features for staying focus on your work:

  • Minimalist User Interface : Only three simple icons. Your text has the best place.
  • Focus mode : Only the current sentence is fully visible. All the rest is faded out.
  • Full Screen mode : It hides all other applications. No more visual distraction.
  • A simple and elegant default theme : Install it and start to write immediately.

We also wanted to avoid to have a “bloatware”. A markdown editor should be small in size and need to open in less than one second.

Make things simple was more difficult than we expected. We had to create our own toolkit for UI elements like scrollbars, buttons, popover…

Simple but powerful

Simple does not mean to have no feature. Focusing on your text means to spend less time on other tasks such as exporting, previewing, formatting, …
It also implies to provide a way to automate and/or make repetitive tasks easier.

  • Built-in export for the web, emails,…
  • Integrated Spell Checking : A spell checker that that does not detect # or * as misspelled words ;o)
  • Snippets : Stop to waste time on repetitive text blocks.

For keyboard lovers but not only

In general, we never use the mouse when writing. Hence we made all major functions of SmartDown available using keyboard shortcuts. It you are not comfortable with this approach or if you do not know them yet by heart, you can still use the mouse.

We really hope that SmartDown will become the nice place where you will take pleasure to write.
We would be really happy to heard your suggestions to make it even better.