Universal syntax for Markdown

Sherwood Botsford sgbotsford at gmail.com
Tue Aug 16 09:48:31 EDT 2011

Getting a bunch of different programmers/writers to agree will be tough,
especially with JG not taking an interest in the core code anymore.

With the increasing use of Markdown as stored data, fixing the ambiguous
syntax may break a lot of existing pages.

Be that as it may.

I would propose that all versions of MD support three flags -quirks and
-standard -strict.

-quirks causes MD to support whatever implementation of the ambiguous syntax
the author chose. -standard causes MD to support whatever standard the
various implementors can agree on, but does not mean that it cannot have
extra bells and whistles, but only that a certain core is followed
completely. -strict means that it only follows the standard and any bells
and whistles are considered data.

In use, you run -quirks with a raft of existing pages. You run -standard to
move your pages into a form that more versions of MD can use. Any page that
doesn't use YOUR bell and whistle will render properly on standard compliant
versions of MD. And -strict would mean that if your page renders properly
on one version of MD it will render properly on all compliant versions of

In addition I would suggest several versions of the standard to get this off
the ground.

Version 1 is JG's md with the ambiguities resolved. No extensions to it at
all. If JG doesn't want to play, then JG's MD will be non-standards

Version 2 is a set of extensions that the developers MD can agree to.

By doing this or something like this, the various developers can move toward
a common goal, without breaking existing pages.


Sherwood of Sherwood's Forests

Sherwood Botsford
Sherwood's Forests -- http://Sherwoods-Forests.com
50042 Range Rd 31
Warburg, Alberta T0C 2T0

On Tue, Aug 16, 2011 at 12:26 AM, Sam Angove <peasant at gmail.com> wrote:

> On Thu, Aug 11, 2011 at 4:56 AM, Florian Sperlich

> <flo.sperlich at googlemail.com> wrote:

> >

> > And this universal syntax should have the additions of MultiMarkdown:

> > footnotes, tables, definition lists, citation, metadata (author,

> > title, date), and so on... Because I think many people would like to

> > have these additional functions in Markdown. And who doesn't need

> > these additional functions, simply doesn't use them.


> Not to be a party pooper, but I really think it would be a good idea

> to try and fix the ambiguities and problems in the core syntax (and

> implementations thereof) before trying to find common ground between

> the legions of hideously ugly and frequently incompatible extensions.


> To get things started, here's a test case that most of the

> implementations on babelmark fail:


> http://babelmark.bobtfish.net/?markdown=*+*+&normalize=on&src=1&dest=2

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