In Typefi Server, you build Typefi workflows to connect applications and automate tasks. To build a Typefi workflow, you use a variety of Typefi workflow plug-ins. Typefi workflow plug-ins are add-ons for Typefi Server that help you speed up the publishing tasks you do every day.
A Typefi workflow plug-in is composed of one or more Typefi workflow actions, which perform a single task. The Markdown workflow plug-in contains the Export to HTML workflow action, which converts a Markdown file to an HTML file.
The Markdown plug-in is built on top of txtmark, a Java Markdown processor.
What is Markdown?
Markdown is a plain text formatting syntax for writers. Markdown makes it easy for writers to create structured content for the web and convert it to clean, structured HTML.
You'll find Markdown used in blogging, instant messaging, online forums, collaborative software, software documentation (more on that below), and readme files.
Use case: How Typefi publishes our support articles
This article started its life in Markdown. When we're ready to publish (usually at the same time a product feature is released or updated), we use Export to HTML to transform the Markdown content into HTML.
The general process for publishing support articles at Typefi looks something like this:
- Plan: This is where we ask ourselves basic questions, such as Who is our audience? and What are we trying to accomplish with this article?
- Structure: We structure our help articles at the macro and micro levels.
- At the macro-level, we consider the particular article we're working on in our ecosystem of articles. We ask questions like How does it relate to other help articles? and Do any existing help articles need to be updated when this article is published?
- At the micro-level, we start building out an outline and deciding how we want the article to flow.
- Compose: We compose in Markdown. (See Why we chose Markdown below.)
- Review: Our help articles go through several levels of reviews. The main stages are the technical review and the editorial review:
- The technical review is typically done by the Subject Matter Expert (SME). The SME reviews the article for accuracy.
- The editorial review is done by the docs team and checks the article for proper style, usage, and grammar. We use textlint, an open-source text linting utility for Markdown, to helps us catch basic grammar and spelling mistakes.
- Publish: We use Export to HTML to transform the Markdown content into HTML. Export to HTML outputs an HTML file, which we then copy and paste into our Help Centre.
Why did we choose Markdown to author content?
- It's easy: Markdown is easy to learn. (Seriously, you can learn Markdown in 10 minutes.) If you can type a #hashtag and an emoticon :), you can write in Markdown.
- It's fast: Markdown's simple format helps keep you in your writing flow. With Markdown, you don't have to pause and search a cluttered menu to find the bold button. Instead, you can keep your fingers on the keyboard and apply formatting on the fly. Once you start writing in Markdown, it’s tough to go back to the old way of doing things.
- It's multi-platform: With Markdown, your documents are cross-platform by nature. You can edit them in any plain text editor or any of the tons of Markdown editors out there too. And, once you convert your Markdown to HTML, you can then transform that HTML into any other type of content, like an e-book.
- It's extensible: We use textlint, an open-source text linting utility for Markdown, to catch grammar and spelling mistakes. There are tons of other open-source plug-ins you can use too.
For more information about the Markdown plug-in, please contact us.