evolving the spec (was: forking Markdown.pl?)

david parsons orc at pell.portland.or.us
Sat Mar 1 13:19:05 EST 2008

In article <6CDFE6FE-CE6C-461D-BB95-18C2A86CB75F at attacklab.net>,
John Fraser <markdown-discuss at six.pairlist.net> wrote:


>On Feb 29, 2008, at 10:13 AM, Michel Fortin wrote:


>> I think the syntax needs to be defined unambiguously, not

>> necessarily as a formal grammar, but certainly not with code either.

>> My idea, currently, is to write a parsing procedure which is easy to

>> read and implement in various ways, using a formal grammar to define

>> various constructs of the syntax and plain english to link things

>> together. I also intend to keep the spec implementable as an

>> incremental parser, but that will require backtracking.



>I agree that Markdown needs to be defined unambiguously, but I don't

>think that's feasible with plain English in the loop. For something

>as complex and flighty as Markdown, we need working code.

I'm not so sure about this. I managed to write a markdown
implementation without using anything other than the daring fireball
syntax document and MarkdownTest_1.0. And I am by no means a
Perl programmer.

If it's possible to write a Markdown (that passes MarkdownTest) with
the current documentation, describing it in plain english isn't as
difficult as it might seem. And plain english has the advantage
that it doesn't require knowledge of the implementation language to
understand the document.

-david parsons

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