on the philosophical aspects of a specification

Yuri Takhteyev qaramazov at gmail.com
Fri Mar 7 02:45:21 EST 2008

> > *hello **dear* boy**


> That's a very good question. Here's a counterquestion: what does

> a human reader see in that text?

When I try to look at this with my normal-person eye, what I see here
is incorrect markup, which I then want to leave it as is and move on.
When I look at it with my formalistic left-parsing eye, I see
"<em>hello **dear</em> boy**". When I look at it with my reg-exps in
a loop eye, I see "*hello <strong>dear* boy</strong>". Either one of
those is ok with me. Let's just pick one. Everything else is from
the devil, I say. Please, let's keep it simple.

So, the user will type in something like this and get "<em>hello
**dear</em> boy**". Not much of a tradegy. They will say, oh, silly
me, must have screwed something up. (They did!) Then they'll go and
fix it. I am all for flexibility, but not to the point of trying to
divine the meaning of ambiguous or ill-formed markup.

I don't think it really matters what we output for cases like this. I
think any rule would be ok, as long as it satisfies the following

1. It's _simple_
2. It always produces valid XHTML (unless input has HTML tags)
3. It should produce appropriate HTML for "normal" markdown.

My reg-exp eye says: "strong" before "em" (longer pattern first),
starting from the right for each. I am pretty sure this rule
satisfies 1, 2, and 3.

Let's stop this non-sense and get back to defining a spec for the
_normal_ markdown.

- yuri


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