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

david parsons orc at pell.portland.or.us
Sun Mar 2 03:07:22 EST 2008

In article <4845-67907 at sneakemail.com>,
Allan Odgaard <markdown-discuss at six.pairlist.net> wrote:


>On 1 Mar 2008, at 19:19, David Parsons wrote:


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

>>> think that's feasible with plain English [...]


>> 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.


>And no offense, but there must be hundreds of edge-cases where your

>implementation disagrees with Markdown.pl.

I'm sure there is, and that's a good reason to have a better
language definition. About all I can say for my implementation is
"I think it follows everything in the spec, because it passes
MarkdownTest" (including, alas, the one place where I don't think
the test suite actually follows the spec) and that's a fairly
imprecise definition.

But the point is that I could write a markdown from the spec as it
sits now, so there's nothing in the language that prevents it from
being described in text. All of those hypothetical edge cases?
The ones that aren't defects will just go away when the language
defines how they're supposed to work.

>The problem so far has been that the formal syntax normally used to

>define grammars does not support Markdown’s notion of embedding,

The simple solution to that is to describe the language with a
different syntax. Programming languages exist with different rules
at different scopes, so it's not as if there isn't a precedent for
describing such things. The daringfireball syntax document isn't
that bad, so expanding on it would seem to be the ideal starting

-david parsons

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