Markdown — the Shit Just Hit the Fan

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I awoke to John Gruber’s second tweet on his @Mardown account today, which said:

“Standard Markdown” is neither.

Having recently listened to him and Marco Arment in episode 88 of The Talk Show, I quickly realised the rest of my timeline was about to get ugly. And it did.

Basically, a few people — John MacFarlane, John MacFarlane, David Greenspan, Vicent Marti, Neil Williams, Benjamin Dumke-von der Ehe and Jeff Atwood — took Gruber’s Markdown and created “Standard Markdown“. They naturally state their reasons for doing so. Being a casual Markdown user myself, I can see their point of view — the defaults don’t satisfy their needs, thus they want to expand upon and standardise it.

Everyone and their uncle has their own opinion but there is a fundamental problem with the name “Standard Markdown” from my point of view — it appears as if control over Markdown was commandeered from John and implies it’s ownership has changed. Others, over the years, have instead chosen to fork it instead, with Github flavoured Markdown being my favourite example. Please note the following quote from Github’s site (emphasis mine):

It differs from standard Markdown (SM) in a few significant ways, and adds some additional functionality.

John Gruber believes that Markdown’s success is due to the fact that he didn’t mess with it. I cannot comment on this from a developer’s point of view, but I can as a user. I’ve been using Markdown apps for years now, including Marked, Byword, iA Writer and Writer Pro which I reviewed a while back, as well as numerous WordPress plugins, TextEdit, BBEdit and so forth. I have never had an issue with Markdown-to-HTML conversions, whether it was via Markdown.pl or by the app’s own implementation of it. And I will continue to write in Markdown, because I believe in it.


Gruber’s been very tight lipped about the issue, but I’m curious as to what his reaction will be.

Chcesz zwrócić mi na coś uwagę lub skomentować? Zapraszam na @morid1n.

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