Fri 05 September 2014

Filed under Markdown Flavors

Tags Markdown Standard Markdown Pandoc

My thoughts on Standard Markdown/Common Markdown/Whatever John Gruber Won't Throw a Hissy Fit About If We Name It That Markdown:

Not abandoned

"Mr. Salinger..."

For once, something about Markdown is actually high profile enough that it might not require an explanation. But, see here for one if needed.

Standard/Common/etc. is actually not all that interesting to me personally, because I don't write in vanilla MD2; I use MultiMarkdown. And because it's not like it's a huge ambitious departure; it's basically just trying to clear up ambiguities that result from Gruber having functionally abandoned vanilla MD for about a decade. I doubt the proposed changes will make much of a noticeable difference to people who write in MarkDown. (It could matter a lot to people who are building things that use Markdown, though.)

The announcement of The Markdown Formerly Known as Standard had some problems -- in particular, it wasn't clear enough what it is they're trying to do. That led to a lot of confusion, especially for folks who read their front page but didn't actually look at the spec.

But I really don't understand Gruber's reaction at all.1

My gut sense of the situation is:

Gruber hasn't done anything with or to Markdown in a very long time. Even the way he's talking about it now seems to keep circling back to its branding/SEO value rather than anything functional.

Meanwhile, it's become extremely important to a lot of people -- although almost never in vanilla form, b/c vanilla Markdown does very little. Markdown is only interesting because of what others have built on top of it.

Plus, the spec and code for Standard/Common/whatever was mostly done by John MacFarlane, who makes Pandoc, and is clearly a goddamn wizard.

  1. Seriously, he did compare himself to Salinger. 

  2. Vanilla Markdown is what I habitually call Gruber's original version of it. I forget where I picked this up. 


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