Community Group for Markdown Standardization

Jelks Cabaniss jelks at
Wed Nov 21 03:20:32 EST 2012

Hi Paul,

First, thank you for coming on this list. Secondly, I'm glad to see
Markdown even being considered by the W3C for standardization. John Gruber
-- even if he isn't -- should be proud. His idea was genius.

That said, the original Markdown has no concept of class and id attributes
on arbitrary elements, even div and span elements -- you currently have to
resort to "regular" HTML. Since you are looking at implementing the W3C
Aria accessibility attributes, I hope you folks will look into this.

Thanks (and welcome!:),


On Tue, Nov 20, 2012 at 8:36 PM, marbux <marbux at> wrote:

> Hi, all,


> Caveat, I am only a participant in the W3C group being discussed and

> am not its spokesman. So please take what I say with a grain of salt.


> @ Sherwood Botsford: "The only way I've been able to figure out how to

> work with this would

> be as follows:


> "Every MD implementation would have to have two behaviours, set either

> by a command line flag, a configuration file, or a preference if used

> with a GUI. One behaviour would be the individual behavior so that

> the followers of that implementation wouldn't be left in the lurch.

> One would be the standard behavior."


> I think the behavioral switch could be handled automatically if the

> standardized version has its its own doctype declaration and profile

> header. If the doc has the doctype declaration, then process the doc

> as the standardized version of markdown; if not, then apply the

> implementation's unique default processing.


> @ Fletcher T. Penney: Although the working group is very new, there

> seems to be some preliminary consensus (of varying degrees) emerging

> on some issues, but it all needs input from implementers:


> 1. Outreach to implementers for participation.


> 2. Aiming for a core profile of markdown that is near universal along

> with a corresponding schema.


> 3. Inventorying MD extensions used in the most popular MD

> implementations and exploring what might be done to define one or more

> profiles that superset the core profile. Related, see the table of

> implementations under construction at

> <>.


> 4. Target XHTML 1.1 plus a sprinkling of W3C Aria accessibility

> attributes as the output format for transformations. See this thread

> for more detail.

> <>.

> (I've suggested "Accessible Markdown" as the name for the project and

> its deliverables. Bridging the A11Y gap is in my view a major

> incentive for MD implementers to participate in the working group and

> to implement its deliverables. This is a legal requirement for web

> sites at least in the U.S. and E.U. Although enforcement has been lax

> so far, there is no guarantee that enforcement won't be ramped up

> later.)


> No feedback yet, but I've suggested borrowing heavily from the W3C

> Compound Document by Reference

> Framework conformance requirements for layered profiles.

> <>. E.g. "A

> conformant user agent of a superset profile specification must process

> subset profile content as if it were the superset profile content."


> @ Aristotle Pagaltzis: "Keep it conservative: stick to existing

> implicit consensus, concentrate on working out the edge cases and

> formalising. That is what will provide value. Anyone who is after new

> features can implement them independently and if a feature works out

> it will then be heard of anyway. "


> This is exactly where we seem to be aiming except for the

> accessibility attributes in the output format.


> > The exception to that is support for the one feature that is likely to

> be added which has no

> > direct support in HTML, precisely because of that lack of direct

> expressibility in HTML,

> > namely footnotes. (Or has HTML 5 provided a solution here (and one that

> isn’t still

> > evolving)?) "


> Kinda'/Sorta'. HTML 5 has the "aside" element that was originally

> stuck in with footnotes in mind.

> <>. But

> it's really just a container that can be positioned on the page with

> CSS. No footnote/endnote-specific markup. (I'll omit my long rant

> about browser developers and their mindset when it comes to HTML spec

> footnote proposals. Let it suffice to observe that repurposing of

> content never enters their minds when the topic of footnotes comes

> up.)


> I'll pass along your suggestion regarding a test suite.


> Best regards,


> Paul E. "Marbux" Merrell, J.D.

> _______________________________________________

> Markdown-Discuss mailing list

> Markdown-Discuss at



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