Proposed table specification (long!)

Waylan Limberg waylan at
Tue May 10 09:26:38 EDT 2011

On Tue, May 10, 2011 at 8:31 AM, Simon Bull <waysoftheearth at> wrote:

> Gentlefolk,


> I have been thinking on Markdown's lack of "proper" table support for a long

> while now.  Here's where I have arrived...



> ## I Don't Like HTML Tables


> It is often argued that embedded HTML is the way to markdown rich tables.


> Unfortunately, this contradicts the higher markdown ideal that a raw

> markdown document (including tables!) should be good


> 1. Firstly for readers,

> 2. Secondly for authors,

> 3. Lastly for parsers which don't even rate a mention because markdown is

> for Humans.


In response to this I will quote the paragraph from the syntax rules
[1] which likely gave you this impression:

> Markdown is not a replacement for HTML, or even close to it. Its syntax is very

> small, corresponding only to a very small subset of HTML tags. The idea is not

> to create a syntax that makes it easier to insert HTML tags. In my opinion, HTML

> tags are already easy to insert. The idea for Markdown is to make it easy to read,

> write, and edit prose. HTML is a publishing format; Markdown is a writing format.

> Thus, Markdown’s formatting syntax only addresses issues that can be conveyed

> in plain text.

Note that is says "easy to read, write, and edit prose" -- "prose" not
tabular data. Taking this (along with the rest of that section of the
document, it is clear (to me at least) that there is no place for a
table syntax in markdown. Now, if you want to implement a third party
add-on, fine. And if that third party add-on becomes popular, then
maybe others will add it to there implementations as well. Maybe,
eventually, if a single format becomes popular enough, the community
at large will accept it. Until then, I'm not interested. If you want
it, go build it!


\X/ /-\ `/ |_ /-\ |\|
Waylan Limberg

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