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I'm reminded of the guy who decides that there should be one standard because there are n divergent implementations. So he goes and writes his own. Now there are n+1 divergent implementations. Of course, I understand that he's talking about a process to go along with a blessed and convergent implementation, but by throwing out there the goal of creating an implementation as the goal of this standardization process I think may be premature. It's so easy for people to get dragged into the idea of getting something done that everyone simply moves in their own direction again and the convergence doesn't happen. I'm not saying that's what he's calling for, but I'd be careful. Rather than an implementation, I think what's needed is the will of the major consumers (sounds like you're on board, so that's a good start), a good sense of compromise, a willingness to recognize the desirable features which have evolved to address actual shortcomings of John's original spec, and a discipline about preventing feeping creaturism. Most of all, however, I would say that there needs to be a concrete and formal grammar. This should be the goal and distillation of all of that process. Tests yes, of course, hand in hand with it, but a formal grammar which eliminates all ambiguity in the language (and therefore in the hopefully many standards-compliant implementations). I would propose formalizing the language in a [Parser Expression Grammar]. There's great tooling available (even in js), PEGs are very comprehensible, and in fact, it's already been done more than once already. What's lacking is a blessed PEG and implementations of the same spec in multiple languages. I can't help with any of those things, :) but I can help with a couple technical observations. - In my book, [kramdown] is the current best-of-breed. A spec needn't be quite so ambitious, but I find support for element attributes and basic table syntax to be essential. - [Pandoc] has the tightest and most complete implementation, albeit in Haskell. A good start would be to lift the PEG from it. There is one other PEG floating around, but I couldn't name it off my head and it's not as rich as Pandoc's. [Pandoc]: http://johnmacfarlane.net/pandoc/ [kramdown]: http://kramdown.rubyforge.org/ [Parser Expression Grammar]: http://pegjs.majda.cz/
Commented Oct 26, 2012 on
The Future of Markdown
The Future of Markdown
Markdown is a simple little humane markup language based on time-tested plain text conventions from the last 40 years of computing. Meaning, if you enter this… …you get this! Lightweight Markup Languages ============================ According to **Wikipedia**: > A [lightweight markup lan...
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