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The HTML is fine

There was a discussion around the office recently about using Textile on our blog.

I personally dislike Textile (and similar pseudo-markup), for a few reasons:

  • There are too many confusing and incompatible implementations - the Wikipedia entry for "Lightweight Markup Language" is a frightening bestiary that ought to make anyone think twice. We already have to endure this pain on Basecamp, Lighthouse, GitHub, Jira... I don't want to make it worse.
  • Once you implement a filter you're stuck with it - If you change your mind, you can't easily turn the filter off without breaking your content. By using HTML your content is already in the web's universal language.
  • I realize not everyone agrees with me, and I definitely do not want HTML authoring to became an obstacle. Fortunately most text editors support writing in the markup language of your choice. For example, TextMate has this built-in command:
    Bundles -> Markdown -> convert to HTML.
  • Now that HTML5 has officially made some closing tags optional, composing e.g. lists is much more humane. The list you're reading right now has no closing </li> tags!

Now get off my lawn!

Date posted: August 23, 2012


I like the BUEditor since it allows you to have the efficiency of using buttons to transform a list of sentences into an ordered or unordered list. Highlighting and clicking is still often faster than copy and pasting HTML tags, but not requiring closing tags makes your argument more compelling.

I know Markdown or whatever is the big new thing but I have to look at the 'formatting help' link EVERY. TIME. I try to format anything in Lighthouse or Basecamp. Annoying.

There's no lack of solutions for closing tags automatically, e.g, Textexpander or you know, any decent code editor.

+1 to the 2nd point. It's not just about getting stuck with it ... it's just a bad practice to transform content before you store it. Just in case there's a mistake made, you can reverse things if there's no content modification.

I keep hearing "Markdown is plain text formatting," which is true, but HTML is also plain text formatting. That's a pretty low bar for conversion, so go grab yourself some internet:

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