Help

This is a Meraki Post internal page, to help us with the common formatting guidelines, so as to ensure uniformity throughout the site. This page may not be relevant to you if you’re a visitor.

Posts on this site are made using this beautifully simple lightweight markup language called Markdown (I know, Markdown markup sounds funny). This is so that you can use any text editor, including the good old Notepad, to write posts.

Tools you need:

  1. Atom by GitHub to write posts in a beautiful interface.
  2. RIOT by Lucian Sabo to compress images for the posts so things load superfast.
  3. GitHub for Windows by GitHub to push content to GitHub.

The basics

  1. Every post you make is essentially a Markdown file, which looks like a text file.
  2. All posts must be placed in the folder, _posts.
  3. All drafts must be placed in the folder, _drafts.
  4. All posts you place in the _posts folder should be named like 2017-09-30-name-book.md.
  5. All posts should have the following frontmatter in the beginning of the file (including the three hyphens).
---
layout: post
title: Name of the Book
subtitle: Name of the Author
date: 2017-09-30
author: yourname
tags:
- tag1
- tag2
image: assets/postimages/imagename.jpg
---

General guidelines

  1. When naming files, omit non-catch words. For instance, Alice in Wonderland would become, alice-wonderland; this is called slugification.
  2. The date should be in yyyy-mm-dd format, such as 2017-04-15.
  3. The filename would be a combination of the date and the title, separated by a hyphen, along with its extension, .md (for Markdown), such as 2017-04-15-alice-wonderland.md.
  4. The layout should be post, and only post.
  5. The title should be a full title, with proper capitalisation.
  6. The subtitle should be the full name of the author, appropirately capitalised.
  7. The author attribute here is for the author of the post, which is you. Write your first name, all in lowercase, such as, veena.
  8. Tags are important. Make sure you leave the tags: line empty, and list down the tags preceded by a hyphen and a space. Tags can have spaces. So, it’s OK to have a tag like historical fiction.
  9. Image is important, too. It is typically the image of the book cover. Compress the image, and store it under \assets\postimages as a JPG file. Add the link to that image here, replacing \ with /. Windows understands \, Jekyll understands /.
  10. Most importantly, don’t forget to enclose this content between two lines of three hyphens (---) each.

Here’s a complete sample to help you understand. Note that there’s no by before the name of the author.

---
title: The First Trillionaire
subtitle: Sapna Jha, translated by Alok Jha
date: 2017-05-20
tags:
- fiction
- thriller
image: assets/postimages/firsttrillionaire.jpg
author: ram
---

Formatting the posts

Formatting content is very easy with Markdown. Here are the different formats we have:

Paragraph

  1. Just type on, like you would on Word. Make sure you don’t make spelling or grammatical errors.
  2. Leave a blank line after the frontmatter.
  3. Leave a blank line after every paragraph.

Here’s an example:

tags:
- fiction
- thriller
image: assets/postimages/firsttrillionaire.jpg
author: ram
---

I'd come across this title back in 2016 when I chanced upon the site about the "Most compelling read of 2016". When I was one among the winners of the Goodreads Giveaway of this book, I was overjoyed! While I waited for the book, I went through the reviews of the book on Goodreads. At the time of checking, the book had 270 five-star ratings, out of 274. Unbelievable, but true.

Sure enough, after some days of eagerly waiting, I received the book, and I started reading it. And the journey began.

Notice the blank line after the frontmatter, and between the two paragraphs.

Poem verses

Poem verses require line breaks, and not paragraph breaks, when splitting lines. To achieve this, put a double \, at the end of each line you need a line break at, like so:

Mommy had a little calf.\\
Little calf.\\
Little calf.\\
Mommy has a little calf.\\
His nose is black as tar.

Remember not to add the \\ markup at the end of the last line of the stanza.

Cover image

Compressing the image is important.

Just copy-paste the following code. Liquid will take care of putting up the image, as long as you’ve specified the image in the frontmatter.

![Cover: {{ page.title }}]({{ site.baseurl }}{{ page.image }} "Cover: {{ page.title }}")

Subheadings

Subheadings are specified using #. A first-level subheading is written as # First Level Heading. A second-level subheading is written with two hashes, like ## Second Level Heading. The number of hashes denote the level.

The subheadings in our posts are all third level.

Also, ensure that there’s a blank line before and after the subheading. Here’s an example.

Not one of the most thrilling covers, I had to admit. But let's not judge the book just by its cover.

### Characters

The story primarily revolves around Shail, the protagonist, of course. In scenes where the protagonist is absent, the focus promptly shifts to the other important characters.

Block quotes

Block quotes are your favourite formatting control from the Blogger Editor and Open Live Writer. This is used to produce formatting just how it is at the beginning of this page. In Markdown, it is very simple. Just precede the text with >. A space after > is optional. However, to make the style consistent, you may want to add a space after the >. Technically, that will have no effect on formatting whatsoever.

> Run as fast as you can and tell Gopal to come here with Dr Narayan. And also go and tell Mr Singh to come here. He stays next to me.

What you need to remember here is that if you want to separate block quotes, you need to leave an empty line between the block quotes that you want separated.

Emphasis

Emphasis usually is shown using italics in books. It is more about the kind of font we’re using. We use a serif font, called Crimson. In this case, it is good to use italics, since this font has real italics, and they’re distinct from the roman (normal) style.

To emphasise any text, wrap it between two _, just how we do it on WhatsApp. Here’s an example. Here, ‘at least’ will be italicised.

My high school grammar class tells me, there are _at least_ three errors in the quoted text.

Other important entities

All our content is HTML. When putting up content, especially since we’re all about literature, a style guide is important. It shows that we care about quality.

Open Live Writer used to take care of those little things like an em-dash and all, when you typed. It wouldn’t be the case here. We need to take a small step to ensure things are as we need them to be. It’s absolutely possible, no worries.

Please follow the guidelines listed below to ensure we maintain our reputation with respect to quality:

  1. Use hyphens to spell multipart words, such as, hither-thither. Use a hyphen with phrasal adjectives as well, such as high-end machinery. Writing a hyphen is as simple as typing the - key on the keyboard.
  2. Use an en dash to show ranges, or when connecting pairs of words, such as 1939–1945, or The India–Pakistan relationship. An en dash is written using a pair of hyphens, like 1939--1945.
  3. Use an em dash to give a nice break to the sentence you’re writing, such as Today, book typography is conveniently—and blatantly—ignored. This is done using three hyphens, like, Today, book typography is conveniently---and blatantly---ignored.
  4. When you want the ellipsis (…), just type three dots .... Markdown will convert it to an ellipsis character.
  5. Non-breaking spaces are important. These ensure that things like Dr Jekyll and 25 km don’t split—that’s because Dr at the end of a line and Jekyll on the next line would make no sense. You’d need to insert a non-breaking space to ensure this doesn’t happen. Enter a non-breaking space with an HTML entity,  . The ampersand and the semicolon are very important. An example would be, Mr Singh. Also note that a non-breaking space itself is a space, so don’t add an additional space before or after the entity. It’ll simply kill its purpose.

Lists

Our site has to hardly use a list—a bulleted or numbered. However, if we do, here’s how we’d do it:

An example of numbered list would be like this:

1. First point
2. Second point
3. Third point

That's how you make a numbered list.

Notice the blank lines before and after the list. It is important. The list would not be rendered properly if the blank line is ignored.

An example of bulleted list would be like this:

* First point
* Second point
* Third point

You could also use a hyphen, like so:

- First point
- Second point
  - A subpoint
  - Another subpoint
- Third point

Hit the Tab key on your keyboard for indentation. You could also add a couple of spaces before the hyphen for indentation. Markdown can understand that.

Hyperlinks are simple. Enclose the text to show on the page in square brackets, [like so], and enter the link in parentheses, like Visit [Meraki Post](www.merakipost.com) for more exciting content!, to get Visit Meraki Post for more exciting content!

Supercharge your writing

One-time setup

Download markdown-writer for Atom. Our GitHub project has some customization done, to bring in some level of automation.

Press Ctrl + Shift + P and start typing Markdown Writer: Create Default Keymaps. The results will filter as you type. Just select Markdown Writer: Create Default Keymaps here. A new file will open with a bunch of code. Just save the file and close it. Your default keybindings have been created.

The shortcuts

To create a new post, press the Alt key and from the menu on top, select Packages > Markdown Writer > File > New post. Fill in the fields, and a good chunk of the boring task is already done! It will:

  • Automatically create a post in the _posts directory.
  • It will show the mandatory frontmatter form, which you can fill.
  • Some of the content is already generated, such as the date and the slug.

Remember to change the date if you’re scheduling the post. Time is not necessary unless we’re making two posts in a day.

To add emphasis, or toggle heading style and all, refer the keybinding cheatsheet below. Select the text you want to apply formatting to, and hit the relevant combination:

Shortcut combination
Result
shift-ctrl-K Insert link
shift-ctrl-I Insert image
ctrl-i Toggle italic text
ctrl-b Toggle bold text
ctrl-h Toggle strikethrough text
ctrl-1 Toggle H1
ctrl-2 Toggle H2
ctrl-3 Toggle H3
ctrl-4 Toggle H4
ctrl-5 Toggle H5

This is not an exhaustive guide, but a good starting point. If you need assistance, you know where to find Ram!