Markdown development

Fletcher T. Penney fletcher at
Fri Mar 5 18:04:34 EST 2010

When I first started to write MultiMarkdown, I hoped it would become
obsolete when the official markdown spec included footnotes and
possibly tables. Then I added a few other features, and it also
became clear that Markdown wasn't going to evolve any further in an
official capacity.

Which is not necessarily a bad thing. The basic markdown syntax is
good. We all use it because we think it's the best markup language
out there, and those of us who extended it do it because we think it
would be the perfect markup language with just one or two new
features.... That doesn't mean that the core markdown syntax needs to
add those features.

What I would like to see is the following:

1) Fix the syntax specification for the one or two edge cases that
lead to unintentionally different outputs from various markdown
implementations (e.g. nested lists). It would be nice to have a stamp
of approval from Gruber on this part

2) Develop an opt-in "consortium" or whatever that would allow the
most common add-on features (e.g. footnotes) to have a well thought
out specification that could be consistent across those markdown
implementations that wanted to include them. This would not be
interpreted as an official "markdown 2.0" or anything like that -
simply that it would be nice if the various markdown derivatives could
be as cross-compatible as possible. I suspect this list of new
features would be rather short - there are likely several features in
MMD, for instance, that don't need to be included in other flavors
(e.g. citations, asciimathml, etc)

The point is that each of these variant forms of Markdown evolved to
scratch someone's particular itch. It would be nice to standardize
the areas that overlap, but there's no need to limit the various
alternative features that are only needed by a few people.

Just my $.02....


Fletcher T. Penney
fletcher at

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