Styling Markdown approaches

Aristotle Pagaltzis pagaltzis at
Fri Apr 19 15:29:39 EDT 2013

* Sherwood Botsford <sgbotsford at> [2013-04-19 16:05]:

> * Aristotle Pagaltzis <pagaltzis at> [2013-04-19 13:30]:

> > * Sherwood Botsford <sgbotsford at> [2013-04-18 17:20]:

> > > (I wish that this was a toggle that could be set in a .mmdrc file.

> > > There are a lot of things that I wish I could set in an .mmdrc file.)

> >

> > That would be bad for Markdown.


> Why?


> Most reasonably powerful unix commands have some combination of

> command line or startup files to control behavior.

Because Markdown is a document format, not a Unix command.

> At the present stage when someone wants something new, they have to

> fork their least unfavorite version, and tweak it to their purpose.

Exactly. Every time you make a processor handle a Markdown document
differently from how a different Markdown processor handles it, even
just by changing an option in some hypothetical config file, you are
forking Markdown.

Consider then what happens if after writing 300 Markdown documents using
one setting for some option, you decide that you prefer to use another

Now you have 300 broken Markdown documents.

Not to mention, you can’t exchange Markdown documents with anyone else
very well, because their documents look wrong under your configuration
and your documents wrong under theirs.

If you did want to be able to configure how a Markdown document gets
processed, then the only reasonable place to keep that configuration
would be in-band, within the document itself, so that the document will
remain self-describing; rather than out of band somewhere it can become
separated or divergent from its document.

Had you had to put your settings within each of these 300 documents,
bloat though one might feel it is, they would all continue to render
correctly, both for others and for your own future selves.

In that sense, while the markdown="1" attribute may be less than great,
when compared to a setting in a configuration file, it is still a far
superior design.

Aristotle Pagaltzis // <>

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