Review #13: Abricotine (Linux)

Last year I wrote about two browser-based blog editors, which I don’t use anymore. Now, if I have an idea for my blog but no internet connection, I wrote it using a markdown editor and save it simply as a .md file.
There’s no shortage of markdown editors for Linux (including add-ons for plain text editors), but Abricotine is the newest one I found (thanks to Tuxdiary). Besides Linux, it’s also available for Windows and Mac OS.

On first run, Abricotine shows a blank document. Unlike many markdown editors, it has no preview pane.

This is where the fun begins: Abricotine has no need for a preview pane, because it shows the preview as you type.

On the menu bar, it has all the usual formatting options. But I found the image inserting options quite amusing: instead of typing in an address for the image, it allows you to pick an image from a file picker. There’s also an option to copy all images in the document to a local folder (on Linux, /home/[documentname_files])

Here’s Abricotine with some formatted text.

Abricotine also allows you to create tables with its own menu. There’s a ‘Beautify’ option on the bottom, which function I assume is to add spaces to cells to make the table a little better-looking, but nothing happened when I clicked it.

Most of Abricotine’s options are on the View menu, where you can adjust font size, show table of contents and blocks for easier navigation, and toggle auto previews, among others. There’s also an ‘Edit preferences’ option on the Edit menu, but it shows you a configuration file instead of a preferences window.

Abricotine can only export documents to one format – html. I think the formatting is quite nice.

Wait a minute — I almost forgot to say that one much-advertised feature of Abricotine is its ability to preview contents from sites such as Github, Youtube, and Instagram. I tried to embed a Youtube video, but it didn’t open.

Conclusion

I easily grow to like Abricotine. To my knowledge, it’s the first Linux markdown editor that shows previews as you type. With the lack of a preview pane and toolbar, sometimes I feel like I’m writing on Notepad, which is nice.

However, Abricotine is not without its weaknesses. Abricotine can only export to html, which, outside of web publishing, is a less common format than pdf. It also has spellchecking, as shown by red lines below some words. However, it doesn’t show any suggestions.

I also should mention that embedding web contents (in this case, a Youtube video) is pretty confusing, since nothing in the documentation elaborates it. Should I simply use the video’s url or the iframe? After tweaking the config file a bit; the iframe appears, but the video didn’t play.

Finally, one more thing is missing; the ‘Open recent’ menu item. I usually didn’t finish my writing in a single sitting, and having to search for my file again is pretty frustrating.

Despite all these drawbacks, I still have high hopes for Abricotine. For an app that’s in beta version (about 4 months old during this writing), this app is stable and really satisfying to use. This app is also still in active development, so there’s a big chance that the developer would tie those loose ends and add new features.

Pros:

  • Inline preview
  • Embed local image file from file picker
  • Table insertion menu

Cons:

  • Exports to HTML only
  • Embedding web content doesn’t always work

Suggestions:

  • ‘Open recent’ menu
  • PPA for Debian-based distros

Abricotine
Developer: Thomas Brouard
Version: 0.2.2 (24 January 2016)
License : Open Source (GNU GPL)
Size: 60.2 MB (zipped)
Platforms: Windows, Linux, Mac OS
Website: Website / Github / Download page

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