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well, they are working on it. Rome wasn't built in a day.



It wasn't, but this is not a good way to build it either because (from my previous post):

> A specification-by-example like this would have to keep an ever-growing list of corner cases and give examples for each of them. To get completely unambiguous, the list needs to be very long, and when it gets very long, it becomes unwieldy to handle for an implementer of the spec.


I mean, they've explicitly disclaimed that this is version 1.0, but they've also explicitly claimed that this is complete, which it doesn't seem to me. This spec is extremely repetitive (0-3 spaces is okay, 4 spaces is too much) and doesn't actually follow a "top-down" approach which would resolve things like precedence. What they've released is something more like a testing suite.

Even more troubling, they skipped the chance for some basic innovations which will probably ultimately result in a Standard Markdown 2 spec. So, for example, they are defining Markdown as a mapping to HTML, rather than a mapping to an internal tree structure which can then be serialized to HTML.[1] If you make that change in perspective, then you can have Markdown for other languages too: not just HTML but also literate code in an arbitrary language, for example.

Another innovation which should probably work its way into Markdown as it becomes more of a file format is metadata. It's a little hard to remember, but acceptable metadata tagging was one of the killer features of MP3s, leading ultimately to their global rise. We don't have a good metadata expression for text files, and Markdown's embedded link references are, essentially, a sort of metadata already. Do this before it gets to the W3C so that we can start off a document with a simple

    @author: Chris Drost 
because once the W3C gets a hold of it that's likely to become something more messy like:

    @author[http://www.w3.org/TR/markdown/2/] "Chris\u00a0Drost"
Another nice change would be an implementation-dependent $extra sigil$ for inline text.[2] Some LaTeX math sites use Markdown with precisely this extension for inline equations; it might be nice to say "this is mapped to a $ node, but the meaning of that is dependent on the tree-reader; the HTML reader simply prepends and appends a literal dollar sign to the text without embedding it in a tag."

[1] This isn't a huge change in the language but it's a huge change in perspective. The main decision needed to fix this is to say that the "embedded HTML blocks" should have a special sigil at the beginning which is not the < character of the first tag; those "raw" blocks are then held separately in the Markdown tree, and the serializer to HTML passes the raw blocks through without HTML escaping or embedding in another tag.]

[2] Why not just use backticks? We could, of course. One problem here though is that there is no good way to distinguish those literate-code blocks which are commentary and those literate-code blocks which are code to be executed. If you don't fix that now, it will probably be fixed in SM2.


They worked on it for two years before going public.




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