Proposed table specification (long!)

Bowerbird at Bowerbird at
Thu May 19 04:41:55 EDT 2011

david said:

> "The idea" is not ascii formatting,

> it's the particular type of ascii formatting.

there's nothing special about "the particular type"
of ascii formatting represented by markdown, as it
simply leveraged existing methods of ascii formatting
found in e-mail and on usenet. nothing unique there.
indeed, the important point was that it was pre-existing.

> Markdown tries to take advantage of existing methods

> of ascii formatting found in mail and usenet news

right. i'm glad we agree.

i used them too, and threw in huge dollop of the practices
already in use by project gutenberg for their e-texts, since
my specific aim was the p.g. library, as an existing corpus of
digitized books that would serve as content for my general
target, which was electronic-books across the full spectrum.

(that's still the focus of z.m.l. -- e-books, not web-pages.)

of course, project gutenberg also derived their conventions
from those used in e-mail, and usenet, and bulletin-boards.

so everyone, including markdown, gets these conventions
from the same place -- the humans who "invented" them
using the keyboards under their hands. (and typewriters,
let us not forget; underscores, representing _italics_, came
from typewriters; so some of this stuff is really old-school.)

and it's probably good to remember that project gutenberg
was using this "intuitive" formatting way back in the 1990s.
when aaron swartz was really young, aged in single digits...

if markdown was the inspiration for you personally, i'm glad.

but markdown is assuredly _not_ where "the idea" came from.
it was already an old idea by the time markdown came about.

> I had a vanity markup language once, too.

i'll see if my users end up having a response to that charge... :+)


ishe said:

> I don't know how on earth I can

> add my signature to be the 90th.

don't worry, ishe. i will consider you signed up. it is informal.

> But I find that promising

thanks. i hope you find that i deliver on the promises as well.

> and just wonder whether it would work on Mac as well.

mac first. p.c. two seconds later. linux if there's any demand.
(but since cory doctorow signed up, and sent a flock of people
to sign up as well, i guess i will have to resolve myself to that.)

> I am also wondering whether there would be a way

> to split a document into many pages.

that will be a feature that i will provide sooner rather than later.

(the .epub format essentially demands that chapters be treated
as separate files, so a chapter-based split will be offered first.)

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