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I prefer having all my content text-based so I can author from whatever device I have with me, and then when at the Mac I can also have version control using git. So a static site generator is ideal because the formatting is added back to the content for presentation and I don’t have to worry about cross platform formatting issues.

So I use iThoughtHD mind mapping app to structure the message. Then I use Byword on the iPad to initially author content in Markdown when away from a computer. when on a computer, I use Atom as a text editor because it shows syntax highlighting. I can also use asciidoc content in the blog with the asciidoctor plugin for Jekyll. I can use any text editor to create content.

I like Scrivener, but it encodes content using rich text format by default. I’ve configured it for multimarkdown, but it won’t work for asciidoc as far as I can tell. So it’s okay for semantically simple content.

I have found that markdown is great for semantically simple content markup, and that asciidoc is terrific for semantically more complex content. Both are text-based and less of a hassle than XML when not using a high-end XML editor($$$).

I have done much XML publishing professionally, and I don’t want to spend as much money for my personal publishing tool chain for a validating XML editor like Oxygen or ArborText Editor or an expensive content management system (no vendor names). I don’t have to encode my content into DITA XML or DocBook XML or S1000D XML for home use for blogs or eBooks. I have found that git works just as well as some of the big CMSs I have used. I can rollback if needed. I have found that asciidoc works just as well as DocBook, and with include statements, I have used the main asciidoc file just like a DITA map, being able to write in a modular way by identifying the files that will be processed into the final publication automatically. Because asciidoc leverages DocBook, I also get all the high end capability of DocBook like indexes, footnotes, etc. that technical writing tool chains typically have.

If you really, really need custom markup, then use a custom XML (XSD) schema, or JSON, or YAML.

I have found that I can do formal publishing with asciidoc and blogs with markdown.

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KW Lanham


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