Strong opinions, weakly held

Markdown evangelism

I’ve basically decided at this point that whenever I write applications that allow users to enter blocks of text to be displayed on a Web page, I’m going to provide Markdown support. It follows conventions that people have been using in text-based email for years, it’s unobtrusive if you don’t know what it is, it plays nicely with embedded HTML markup, and it takes care of turning line feeds in text into paragraph tags in HTML. Best of all, text with Markdown in it is not only readable, it’s eye pleasing. What’s not to love? I’ve been using Markdown when posting to this site for a long time now, and have included it in some applications, but my thought at this point is, why not include it everywhere?


  1. Bravo, Markdown rocks.

    How about also changing the sentence above your comment field, i.e. “you may use HTML tags for style”? We all know HTML tags are for meaning, not style.

  2. I really do find Textile far more intuitive, and generally much faster to type and use. Not to mention, many of the web services I use and love, like Basecamp, use it already, so it’s intuitive.

  3. I like Markdown better than Textile — I think the markup is slightly less intrusive.

  4. I love Markdown, and have even built it into a product, but I wish, 1) there were a Perl module, not just a .pl file; and 2) it were updated once in a while. It seems kind of dead.

  5. FYI: Markdown got wrapped up into a perl module a while back


    There’s also a discussion list that sees sporadic bursts of activity, which implies a markdown 2.0 is being worked on


  6. What do you mean dead? It’s not like something markdown requires updating particularly often.

  7. I think Markdown is ace. I use it all the time. Practically everything I write is in markdown format and I use it in pretty much every web-site/web application I write.

    I wish 37signals would add markdown support in their products. Textile is cool and it’s great that they have support for it, but some people, like me, prefer markdown.

  8. Well, maybe ‘dead’ is too strong, but occasional features might be nice. Tables, for instance, are handled by other tools, and wouldn’t clutter up the syntax too much.

  9. Thanks for that pointer to the .pm files. I missed that on the mail list.

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