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!


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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