Two days before delivering a talk about why I created Plerd, I have fixed a design problem with it that’s bothered me for months. Now, when you move a ready-to-publish Markdown file into Plerd’s source folder, the software no longer renames it in-place. The HTML file that results still carries an SEO-friendly name based on the post’s title and date, but if you named your source file
dog.markdown, it shall now remain
dog.markdown forevermore in the source folder.
This change of behavior eliminates the problem where, if you use Plerd with Dropbox like I do, having Plerd’s own processes rename the source file would look from your local computer’s point of view like the file got deleted entirely, a moment before a brand new file with a different name appeared — never mind that it contained identical content. Even if you use a smarter text editor able to cope with files moving around and having additional lines added to them from external sources, it simply has no way of knowing that the newer file in this case is the same as the old. As as result, to continue editing the file after publication — which I always want to do, given Dash’s first lesson — you would need to first close the file in your text editor (as well as in your Markdown previewer, if you use one) and then re-open it at its new location.
These extra steps irritated me every time. Today’s update to Plerd obviates them entirely: now, once you publish the post by moving its Markdown file into place, you may immediately resume working on it in your text editor — with the difference that from this point on, every time you save changes to the file, these changes immediately appear on the published blog. Plerd has always supposed to work this way, and I love it.
I acknowledge that this does introduce a new potential annoyance. If, next year, you have something else to say about a dog, and you quite reasonably name your new draft source file
dog.markdown once again, you run the risk of obliterating your older post when you move the new file into your Plerd source directory. While I’ve placed an admonition about this in Plerd’s README, I don’t especially worry about this biting me. In nearly six months of writing with Plerd I find I prefer using the Mac OS Finder to drag completed drafts into publication, and the Finder will throw up an Are you sure? dialog if it sees me collide like-named files like this.
I remain Plerd’s only user, as far as I know, so I feel confident in calling this justifiably opinionated design. Nothing for it but to see how it feels for a while, beginning with this very post.