on the philosophical aspects of a specification

Bowerbird at aol.com Bowerbird at aol.com
Fri Mar 7 13:01:04 EST 2008

joseph said:

> On a constructive tip:  What we're trying to do is

> design a perspective, by specifying what markdown does now,

> from which implementations of markdown can

> consistently interpret the same input.

and, if you will allow me to offer a constructive tip to _you_,
i'd suggest that instead you look closely at the cases where
_implementations_differ_, work to divine the logic of each,
and find a way that allows users to continue to have it all...

here's a rule of thumb for you:
if you break existing documents, you're doing it wrong.

and here's the rule of thumb on allowable exceptions:
if users thank you for the spec, in spite of the fact that
it breaks some of their existing documents, because
they think the new clarity is worth it, you did well enough.


aristotle said:

> Wasn't the original point that Markdown

> should have no concept of an invalid document?

> I know Michel said that was his goal for Markdown Extra,

> and it's pretty much the argument which which

> Bowerbird started this thread.

well, to get the argument straight, it's _not_ that
"there is no such thing as an invalid document"...
(garbage happens, and garbage-in-garbage-out.)

it's more along the lines of "if a human can see
the structure which was intended by the author,
markdown should display the structure correctly,
and _not_ tell users they didn't follow the spec."


p.s. and now, folks, i really will bow out of this thread...
if you haven't gotten what i'm saying by now, you won't.

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