Starting ordered lists at numbers other than 1.

John Gruber gruber at
Mon Mar 29 02:02:42 EST 2004

Már Örlygsson <mar at> wrote on 03/28/04 at 11:38p:

> > [...] one could no longer know what output Markdown-formatted text will
> > produce unless you also know specifically how a certain Markdown
> > installation is configured. I think this would be a big loss.
> I don't. ...or rather, I don't think this can be avoided.
> The Markdown code is GPLed so we're bound to see someone come up with a 
> version that converts Markdown sytax to XHTML 2.0, or whatever markup 
> language we'll have a few years from now.

But that wouldn't be Markdown. It'd be "Markdown for Whatever
Language". Just plain "Markdown" is Markdown for XHTML 1/HTML 4.

For example. It would be fairly easy to write a little wrapper
script for Markdown, which would take a Markdown-formatted text file
as input, and for output, spit out a full XHTML document. itself only spits out a *chunk* of HTML formatted `<p>`
tags, etc, not an entire HTML document.

In fact, I know that such a wrapper would be easy, because I wrote
one in PHP which powers most of the static pages on Daring Fireball,
including the entire Markdown project section.

But I very deliberately chose *not* to include code to do this
within itself. There is no special mode to get to spit out full HTML documents. Instead, the idea is to
make easy to call from anywhere.

So, yes, someone else could take the Markdown code, and use it to
write something to spit out XHTML 2.0 documents. Or they could write
something that would spit out PDF files. But none of those things
are getting added to Markdown itself.

I think it's very difficult to be successful with a
medium-complexity software system. Successful systems tend to be
either very simple or very complex. Hence my motivation to keep
Markdown very simple -- both as a formatting syntax *and* as a piece
of software.


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