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Markdown is a way of writing and interpreting plain text so that it can optionally be converted to more explicitly meaningful or richly styled text (e.g. HTML). Markdown is often used in README files and some online discussion forums.



As readable as possible is the most important Markdown design goal.[1]
The overriding design goal for Markdown’s formatting syntax is to make it as readable as possible.

IndieWeb Examples

Indieweb participants using markdown on their personal site, for authoring text posts (e.g. notes, articles), editing text, and sometimes publishing / syndicating text.

See and incorporate from storage#Markdown_plus_extensions


Lightweight markup alternatives to Markdown being used or considered by IndieWeb community members:


Markdown comes in many flavors...

And has many extensions to the basic syntax:

Summaries of Markdown flavors and specifications:

There is a joint work on documenting expected behaviour and specification for extended features in an attempt called Commonmark. While at first it looks like yet another flavour, due to the extensive documentation, it may as well become a common ground.


Not pretty

readable but not pretty - aaronpk in IRC

sometimes looks funny - bret in IRC

if it looks funny, it's failed as markdown [per its own overriding readability principle] - tantek in IRC


  • Under-specified, leads to many implementations, fragmentation. e.g.,

GitHub-Flavored Markdown

code sample

vs. kramdown

code sample

vs. Python-Markdown with CodeHilite (though you can enable the fenced_code extension to support all three syntaxes in Python-Markdown)

    code sample

considered harmful

Markdown considered harmful

ugly enough to consider separate text plain


Aaron Parecki it said i have to write the email in markdown. it didn't say it was going to send the markdown as the text/plain part of the email. the preview only showed it to me as html
Tantek Çelik well if markdown adhered to its principles it would work *just fine* as the text/plain part


Aaron Parecki wait does that mean my hyperlinks came through in markdown format too?

Thus pointing out the particularly ugly / plain text unfriendly format of links in Markdown, that it would cause surprise/consternation that such formatting might be shown to other users.


Firefox Addon


Articles, blog posts, opinions about markdown (in particular from IndieWeb community members)


IndieWebCamp sessions that discussed markdown:


  • Pandoc is a format converter which understands most dialects of Markdown
  • Babelmark 2 is a behaviour/output tester for numerous implementations of Markdown parsers

Other Alternatives

Using a minimum amount of features to make your markup cross-compatible:

Comparison table of a few, relatively well-known alternatives:

See Wikipedia for more (no need to duplicate Wikipedia thoroughness here)

See Also