Added Markdown support to wrap(1)

Marty McGowan martymcg at
Fri May 6 14:41:29 EDT 2016

What attracted me to Markdown was it's underlying principle, that text
can be readable, and readily converted into formatted documents.  

What lead me to Markdown took a few decades: I used a syntactic means to
format documents, developed while writing in nroff/troff at the turn of
the 70s/80s.  I delivered a talk at the '82 Usenix "Make with M4".  
What steered me to M4? That  {nt}roff, in order to be useful, had a
macro facility.   In my judgement, too easily confused with the Xroff
command language.   So, "get yourself the equivalent functionality, that
when Xroff is superseded, you won't have to re-format all your papers in
the new language, simply cast the defining macros to emit the new stuff.

   _H( N, this is heading level N)   

And this was a decade before I'd heard of HTML.  

The two problem areas were m4's bindings with commas and parens, though
gnu m4 added some features to overcome those limitations, but the biggy
was the feature Markdown was best at: headers, paragraphs and lists.   a
natural presentation with minimal noise.

So i give Markdown credit for putting me on the right path, and even
used it to publish my e-book: Shell Functions.   Which I hope to update
soon.   But now, I edit the text in emacs, OrgMode, and produce the
Leanpub/Markdown by using pandoc. 

The thing i like about pandoc is it eliminates my need to anticipate the
next wave of document production: no need to upgrade 139 macro
definitions.   Markdown had arrived just in the nick of time before I
was about to write the TeX productions.  

The other thing pandoc has done for me is rescue my sister's
considerable effort in publishing the history pages of our family
genealogy (1400 people).   The tree-portion she was able to export into
GEDCOM, and re-import to WikiTree;  I've easily converted  the narrative
portion to both a Markdown and an emacs OrgMode format.   The question
remains,   which of the available alternative formats (I'm thinking
Markdown) is most likely to be embraced by the next generation. 

Pardon for taking valuable space, if not some of your time, on this
personal ramble.   I believe it's useful to share why and how some of
our tools are begin used.


Marty McGowan 908 230-3739
mcgowan at;

On Fri, May 6, 2016, at 10:32 AM, Paul J. Lucas wrote:
> On May 6, 2016, at 5:25 AM, Sherwood Botsford <sgbotsford at>
> wrote:
> > He's made a plugin that reformats comments, and does The Right Thing with MD within comments.
> ... I started wrap in 1996 (!) to
> scratch my particular itch as someone who enjoys coding for its own sake.
>  Perhaps Marty did something similar.
> I announced wrap’s Markdown support on the list in case others might find
> it useful.  If so, great; if not, just keep using what you’re using. 
> There’s really no need for anything else.
> - Paul
> _______________________________________________
> Markdown-Discuss mailing list
> Markdown-Discuss at

More information about the Markdown-Discuss mailing list