Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Papeeria News, Mar 16: meet LaTeX-powered Markdown!

TL;DR: you can now create documents using Markdown syntax with built-in LaTeX

LaTeX is very good at processing complex documents with maths and cross-references, but very often we need just a simple document with minimal markup, no more than sections, lists and bold text. Markdown and other wiki-style languages are perfect for that, but what if you also want to insert a math formula? In this case a mix of Markdown and LaTeX could be the solution and we just've launched Markdown support in Papeeria.

You can collaboratively edit simple Markdown code and compile it into high-quality PDF. Just create an empty document with .md extension, type some Markdown code and click Compile. Here is an example:

# Hola!

Testing **Markdown** in Papeeria.

Behind the scenes we convert Markdown to LaTeX using great Pandoc tool and then compile LaTeX as usually, which means that you get most of the benefits which come with LaTeX compiler: automated typography, hyphenations, etc., and yes, you can use maths! Pay attention that translated LaTeX file is added to the project next to the original Markdown. You can edit it if you want to the next time you compile the original Markdown your edits will be overwritten.

We compile using XeTeX engine and use Droid Serif font by default because of its comprehensive support of many languages. You can change the font and use your favorite one with \setmainfont command. Refer to Markdown Cheatsheet document (which of course is written in Markdown) for the details.

Markdown support is in Preview stage which means there may be glitches and missing bits. Here is a brief overview of restrictions:

  • you can only use ".md" file extension for Markdown documents
  • spellchecking and discussions are not yet ready to work with Markdown docs
  • there is no quick preview: you pass the whole cycle of compiling to get the result. 
  • Markdown is not supported in anonymous demo projects

We'll be working on improving Markdown in Papeeria. Stay tuned!