Sat, 15 May 2004

Markdown, Two Months Later

I never consciously planned to do it, but two months after trying Markdownfor the first time, I find I'm using it for substanially all of my web-based writing.

I never consciously planned to do it, but two months after trying Markdown for the first time, I find I’m using it for substanially all of my web-based writing. I’d played around with other human-centered web markup formats before (WikiText, Textile, etc.), but with every one I always found myself having to unlearn too much HTML markup to feel efficient. Markdown succeeds, for me, in a few crucial ways where the others always failed.

  1. Simple passthrough of HTML markup - the parser doesn’t strip HTML it doesn’t know how to handle itself. This is crucial.
  2. Fits into my workflow. I do 90% of my writing in 3 programs: SubEthaEdit, Apple Mail, and in Safari textfields. Markdown works as a service, so I can invoke it with a keystroke in each of these places.
  3. “Feels” familiar. Since Markdown uses email-style conventions for things like bulleted lists, text emphasis, and footnoted links, and I’ve been writing emails for 20 years, I never feel like I’m trying to shoehorn my writing into something new or unfamiliar.

I’m not storing my blog text in Markdown’s syntax. I’m writing in Markdown, then running the finished text through the parser, rendering it to HTML and filtering it through Tidy. Still, I find I’m producing substantially stupid-free (i.e. no open or improperly nested tags) text faster than I ever did writing my posts in raw HTML.

:: 14:24
:: /tech/computers/os/all/applications | [+]
::Comments (0)

Name:
E-mail:
URL:
Comment:
The Magic Word:
The two elements in water are hydrogen and ______




If I’m over the hill, why is it I don’t recall ever being on top?
— Jerry Muscha