Love + brains + taste

Comparing Emmet, Markdown and Olla...

When the first version of this site started, late 2020, it was mainly about Emmet. I could not have foreseen the developments that started since.
After months of trying different Markdown versions, I'd come to really like Emmet. It felt like I had finally found my way to speak on the internet. I could see myself becoming the web writer I wanted to be, solely relying on Emmet

But then I decided to migrate to a raspberry_pi_400 as my main pc...raspberry_pi_400That was a bit like a blind date: I really wanted this lovely low power board to satisfy my daily needs and hoped it would be fast enough for my work. I still have to try the different operating systems available for the raspberry pi, having tried only four so far.( Raspberry pi OS, Ubuntu Mate, MXlinux, TwisterOS) For the moment Twister OS is the clear winner in my limited experience. It is both beautiful and fast, compared to the others I tried.

But the move to ARM and Rpi caused a problem: my trusted ATOM Emmet editor is not available for this archtecture. I reluctantly started to look for another Emmet editor, only to discover there were none readily available. I contacted Emmet's lead developer Sergey Chikuyonok and he promised to look into the possibility to build an official plugin for Geany, my alltime preferred fast and light editor, often available as default editor, or else in the repos of most Rpi distros.

In the mean time, I'd need another solution than Emmet. I asked myself what it was that I liked about Emmet. The answer was obvious: not having to type all those html-tags and being able to write all I want with just a small subset of Emmet abbreviations. ( I'll add my own "Emmet short cheat sheet" on the Emmet page). So what could I do to replace Emmet and more or less keep the same benefits? I decided to try two things:

  1. Give Markdown a serious second chance
  2. Invent Olla, an idea that had already been brewing for a while.
(By the way, this page is written in Olla.)

1. Markdown

I had to brush up my Markdown knowledge a little, I revisited my Stackedit page and started installing and playing with several markdown editors again, all of them offline editors, as I had learned by now that's the best way to write web pages... for me anyway. I soon started recognizing the confusion and complications caused by Markdown, but despite those my enthusiasm for Markdown was growing again!

2. Olla

Olla is situated squarely in the for-dummies-department. (.. that means it cleverly hides its author's intelligence...🐵 ) It uses Geany as the editor, CopyQ as a toolbar for Geany and Epiphany as the live previewer:


Olla started life as a 'drawing' in my mind I could suddenly see clearly. All I had to do was applying colors to it and straighten out some bumps. I had difficulty to accept that it could be this simple. Also I could not forgive myself for not seeing this solution years earlier!

As far as I know, nothing stays this close to html, while at the same time freeing the writer from it! Emmet and Markdown come very close of course, but do not allow the author to stay in the creative, intuitive (right brain hemnisphere) process to the same extent.

So, to sum up, this site compares three possible ultralight editing solutions, each with advantages and disadvantages. But all three allow you to write web pages that are truly yours, without the need for "middlemen" like CMS, Blog software, Static Site Generators, Github, CSS frameworks, etc...I do hope something here is useful for you!

More on their respective pages: Back to Top