Standardizing (a flavor of) Markdown
Update 2014-09-05: Jeff Atwood renames “Standard Markdown” to “Common Markdown” and apologizes to John Gruber. Details: “Standard Markdown is now Common Markdown”.
On September 3, Jeff Atwood announced a new standardization effort for John Gruber’s Markdown: Standard Markdown.
It is amazing how ubiquitous Markdown has become and it’s great that there is now a standard for it. Highlights:
- The working group comprises representatives from: GitHub, Reddit, Stack Exchange, the open source community.
- There is a proper specification that also describes a parsing strategy. This should help tremendously with writing a parser that can handle all content that complies with the standard. Given all the incompatible Markdown dialects in existence, that is currently a very difficult task.
- You can try out the reference implementation online.
- The whole effort more or less started with a blog post by Jeff Atwood on 12 Oct 2012.
- John Gruber is not part of the standardization effort. Which is sad, but understandable, given how Atwood approached him. More information:
A few more thoughts:
- The use case “publishing” is currently a bit underrepresented in the working group. Members of the Ghost blogging platform and of Leanpub would be great additions.
- Mid-term to long-term, I’d like a more extensive standard to build on this one: It should comprise the Asciidoc features that are currently missing from Markdown (but maybe in more of a formal syntax instead of something ASCII art-ish). Rationale: better support Markdown for publishing, especially books.