close up shot of a typewriter

WordPress (yes I’m still on it) and Markdown Blocks are cool


This is one of the more confusing aspects of WordPress. Yes, I know, I've transitioned all the sites that I own to Hugo (except for and, but I've been stuck on WordPress for a simple reason. Editing a Hugo site is a big pain. There is supposed to be a Netlify CMS but while it sort of works it doesn't have a mobile version and it is not super feature-rich. For instance, with WordPress, you get a nice way to link content across your system. Also, this is silly, when you paste, if it is a link, it will just make it a link, you don't have to open up the link editor.

As fate would have it, I then got to meet John, one of the original folks who worked for FeedBurner and blogger and I had forgotten about this rich history of blog content management systems over more than 25 years. But starting from Frontpage by Vermeer to Movable Type (thanks Six Apart to Ben and Mina!) then to b2/cafelog to WordPress to Hugo JAMStack with detours through, and, it's sure a long road to get there.

The power of the thing is the zillions of plug-ins (and at least for me, the iOS application). But it has rough edges, the latest one is how to use Markdown tables. The new Gutenberg editor understands Markdown to some extent, so using pound sign gives you headers for instance, but it does not get most of it, the base editor doesn't understand asterisks for bold for instance. But it does understand the right angle bracket for quotes and a dash or an asterisk or a list.

The trick is to use the Markdown Block. When you want to use Markdown at the upper left of the editor is a big Plus sign, select it and you get dedicated editors for different jobs. (I had never realized this actually and saw it for the first time literally in preparing this post), but they have literally a sea of different dedicated blocks like all kinds of embeds as from Instagram:

But the most important thing is that Gutenberg is extensible and you can just write in Markdown by selecting the Markdown block so syntax like tables just works:

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