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!

Comments

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: http://daringfireball.net/projects/markdown/dingus

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Restricted HTML

  • Allowed HTML tags: <a href hreflang> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote cite> <code> <ul type> <ol start type> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd> <h2 id> <h3 id> <h4 id> <h5 id> <h6 id>
  • You can enable syntax highlighting of source code with the following tags: <code>, <blockcode>, <cpp>, <java>, <php>. The supported tag styles are: <foo>, [foo].
  • Web page addresses and email addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

Ready for transformation?