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What is markItUp!?

markItUp! lets you transform any HTML textarea into a markup editor. Built on the jQuery library, markItUp! is a free JavaScript plugin characterized as customizable, lightweight, and flexible. Although markItUp! isn't a What You See is What You Get (WYSIWYG) editor, it is designed to meet developer’s needs for blogs, websites, Content Management Systems (CMS), and forums.

markItUp! was developed in 2008 by Jay Salvat and released as a completely free JavaScript plugin. Updates to the plugin have been published on the markItUp! website as recently as early 2015. Some early development work was done on a version 2.0 of markItUp!, however in 2012 Jay abandoned the project due to lack of time, and released the draft version of the project on GitHub for completion by other developers. Version 1 of the project is considered to be stable, and suitable for use on modern websites if you want to enable a plain text markup area on your website.

What is markItUp! used for?

Does your website have an HTML <textarea>? If so, you can use markItUp! to transform your bland plain text area into a markup editor. Since it isn’t a WYSIWYG editor, it will be better suited for websites that attract technically-savvy users who understand terms like plain text and syntax, and can read plain text that includes markup.

markItUp! is JavaScript driven. JavaScript is a dynamic programming language typically used to direct Web page behavior. The jQuery library extends the functionality of JavaScript and makes it more usable and powerful. jQuery is characterized as small, quick, and feature rich. jQuery has an easy-to-use Application Programming Interface (API), which specifies how the components will interact with each other across a variety of browsers. Highly versatile, it simplifies HyperText Markup Language (HTML) document traversal, animation, and much more.

With markItUp!, you can implement Wiki Syntax, Textile, HTML, BBcode, Markdown, or even your own system in any text area. This powerful engine comes with a plethora of features for easy integration and quick editing. Integrating new or existing projects is an unobtrusive process, with the HTML degrading gracefully for users who have disabled JavaScript. The editor is user-friendly in the sense that you can use familiar keyboard combinations and shortcuts for more effective manipulation. Further, you may set buttons in a toolbar with drop-down menus.

What is unique about markItUp!?

markItUp! is fully customizable. Add any markup or buttons you want within a styling of your choosing. Trigger features from anywhere on your page, and insert tags and text from other libraries and plugins. Take advantage of the Ajax live preview to see changes you've made in the editor. Finally, skin markItUp! with Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) to make it match with the look of your application.

How do I use markItUp!?

Using markItUp! is easy. However, you will need to be comfortable editing HTML files and adding CSS and JavaScript files to your website directory. Detailed instructions are available in the Documentation section of the markItUp! website. In general installation involves the following steps:

  • Implement jQuery on your website by either downloading jQuery and adding it to your webpage directory, or by adding a link in your HTML pointing to a publicly hosted jQuery library.
  • Download markItUp! and the Markup Set you want to use, unzip them, and upload the provided files to your web server.
  • Add code to your HTML file including the markItUp! JavaScript file, settings file, and CSS file.
  • Use HTML (IDs, classes, or the textarea tag) to implement markItUp! on the text areas you want to turn into markup areas.

markItUp! pros and cons

Pros: It lets you easily add markup tools to any HTML <textarea>, you can even build your own set of markup tools if you like, and it’s free.

Cons: It’s not a WYSIWYG editor, so applicability is limited to tech-savvy crowds. Also, since it is driven by JavaScript users who have disabled client-side scripting won’t be able to use marktItUp!

What will happen if some of my website users don’t allow their browsers to run JavaScript?

To get a sense of how the page will render without JavaScript you can simply comment out the lines calling the JavaScript files, and load your page. You will still get all of the HTML content and CSS styling, but without any of the styling, buttons, and markup options offered by the markItUp! plugin. So if you are using an HTML text area for the input of important information you should be sure that any critical functions are supported by HTML and CSS without depending on the user having JavaScript running in their browser.

So if you are using an HTML text area for the input of important information you should be sure that any critical functions are supported by HTML and CSS without depending on the user having JavaScript running in their browser.

Does the markItUp! download include everything I need to implement markItUp!?

There are a couple of downloads you will need from the markItUp! website. First, you’ll need the main application package. Second, you’ll want to go to the Downloads page on the site and find the Markup Set you want (HTML, BBCode, etc). Once you have both of those downloads you will have everything you need except the jQuery files. In order to implement jQuery on your site you’ll need to go download the latest version of the jQuery library (or find a link to a public jQuery library on the web). Once you have that, you’re all set and ready to implement markItUp!.

Once you have both of those downloads you will have everything you need except the jQuery files. In order to implement jQuery on your site you’ll need to go download the latest version of the jQuery library (or find a link to a public jQuery library on the web). Once you have that, you’re all set and ready to implement markItUp!.

Server Requirements

Since markItUp! is a JavaScript plugin it operates entirely in the user’s browser. It’s important to keep this in mind. Any user who has deactivated JavaScript will not have markItUp! rendered properly in their browser. So if you use markItUp! to transform a text area that serves as a critical part of your site be sure that the basic purpose of the text area is supported by HTML without relying on markItUp!

Since markItUp! doesn’t require anything in particular from the web server any hosting provider will offer the tools necessary to support implementation of markItUp! on your website.

markItUp! Hosting Frequently Asked Questions

  • Can I use markItUp! with a content management system?

    Yes! markItUp! has been developed as a plugin or module for many popular content management systems including (but not limited to) WordPress, Drupal, and Textpattern.

  • Can I make markItUp! look any way I like?

    Yes. When you download markItUp! you’ll get a CSS file. Simply make changes to this file to change the way markItUp! looks. Alternatively, there are several downloadable skins available that provide several different options for the appearance of markItUp!

  • Does markItUp! provide a preview of how the plain text will render once the markup takes effect?

    Yes. markItUp! does provide a preview option powered by AJAX. So your website users will be able to use markItUp! and then preview the content they’ve created before submitting it.

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