Spotlight on Spira 6.7 - Markdown Preview & Rendering Capability | Inflectra

Spotlight on Spira 6.7 - Markdown Preview & Rendering Capability

November 17th, 2020 by inflectra

We are excited about the next release of Spira 6.7 that is due to be released in early December. As mentioned in the previous article on the new release, a key area of focus in this new release is improving the experience and functionality for developers and development teams. With that in mind, we have revamped the source code management and documents management module, and for the first time, there is now a way to view rendered markdown files directly in Spira.

Markdown Files

Markdown is a lightweight markup language that you can use to add formatting elements to plaintext text documents. Created by John Gruber in 2004, Markdown is now one of the world’s most popular markup languages.

Using Markdown is different than using a WYSIWYG editor. In an application like Microsoft Word, you click buttons to format words and phrases, and the changes are visible immediately. Markdown isn’t like that. When you create a Markdown-formatted file, you add Markdown syntax to the text to indicate which words and phrases should look different.

For instance, to denote a heading, you add a number sign before it (e.g., # Heading One). Or to make a phrase bold, you add two asterisks before and after it (e.g., **this text is bold**).

If you look at a sample Markdown file (displayed with syntax highlighting in Visual Studio Code below):


There was no support for displaying markdown files in previous versions of Spira so that any .md files would be displayed as just plain text. However, in Spira v6.7, we have introduced support for the preview of .MD files.

Source Code File Preview

Markdown files are widespread in Git repositories. In fact, tools like GitHub and GitLab create a default file and use it as the home page for Git repositories hosted there. So in Spira 6.7, if you have any markdown files in your source code repositories, they will be displayed in preview mode inside Spira:

This means that you can use markdown files and display them to your end-users as human-readable documentation vs. just seeing the raw syntax. If you want to see the raw markdown, click the Open Raw button.

Document Management Markdown

To ensure consistency between the different Spira modules, we decided that it would also make a lot of sense to add the same Markdown previewing to the Planning > Documents section of Spira. So if you have any markdown files uploaded to Spira's document management repository, they will also be displayed with a nice preview:

Finally, as part of the v6.7 revamp of the document management details page, we added a new Overview tab to contain the document details and fields so that you can see the preview, versions, and other tabs without the clutter of the other fields. This also makes the Document pages consistent with the other pages in Spira.

spotlight roadmap spira markdown source code management document management