Markdown doesn't always generate XHTML

Ulf Ochsenfahrt ulf at
Mon Mar 17 11:02:16 EDT 2008

Rad Geek wrote:

> Ulf Ochsenfahrt wrote:

> > And worse, people are not made aware of this fact.


> Made aware of what? John Gruber's documentation is certainly quite

> explicit that Markdown allows for raw HTML; that's part of the point of

> Markdown, as opposed to other plaintext syntaxes that try to replace

> HTML entirely. If you expect it to be something it's not (e.g. a

> validating producer or a sanitizer) then you'll no doubt be

> disappointed, but I don't think it's fair to claim that Markdown

> implementers are the ones leading you to expect some other kind of

> behavior than what you get.

Apparently, I attribute a different meaning to the word 'explicit'.
First of all, the Main page on daring fireball says:

> Markdown is a text-to-HTML conversion tool for web writers. Markdown
> allows you to write using an easy-to-read, easy-to-write plain text
> format, then convert it to structurally valid *XHTML* (or HTML).

(Emphasis mine.) That appears to be quite a strong statement if you ask me.

On the Syntax page, it says that it allows inline HTML. But it does not
says that this is potentially dangerous. Ture, it doesn't say that the
inlined HTML is sanity checked, either.

However, it does list HTML tag names, and it even goes so far as saying
that markdown does process text inside span-level tags, so it must be
aware of them to some extend at least.

I guess I should have researched more thoroughly before I started using
markdown for that forum. But I politely disagree with you when you say
that 'John Gruber's documentation is quite explicit' that markdown is
dangerous (the word you chose was 'inappropriate') when used in this


-- Ulf

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