text/markdown effort in IETF (invite)

Aristotle Pagaltzis pagaltzis at gmx.de
Thu Jul 10 08:18:54 EDT 2014

* Carl Jacobsen <lists at carlrj.com> [2014-07-10 12:50]:
> So, you might have:  content-type="text/markdown" flavor="tables+titleblock" processor="floobity-1.2.3"

That’s very nice, except it will never happen.

• No user is going to annotate their files in such a way that this MIME
  type would ever show up in the wild in such specificity, unless they
  use special software which automatically records the relevant metadata
  (rather than just a text editor + file system workflow).

• No implementor is going to write a Markdown processor that is actually
  capable of dealing with this MIME type. (Except of course the author
  of floobity 1.2.3 itself, in this example, of course – which is not
  for any attempt at making it work in a generic way.)

• If the flavours refer to existing syntax extensions and modifications,
  those are all only vaguely specified, and the implementations that
  offer them are not likely to be changed to follow a more rigorous spec
  of the respective syntax extension any time soon. So in practice these
  flavour specs are no more well-defined than saying the document is
  (some kind of) Markdown.

• Documents are generally written for a specific processor, not for some
  particular combination of syntax extensions in the abstract. There are
  a number of processors which implement half a dozen separate syntax
  extensions. Documents written for these processors notionally employ
  all of these syntax extensions. Will documents in e.g. GitHub-Flavored
  Markdown always have to list the entire enchilada in their MIME type
  (instead of just saying “GFM”)? Or do you force whatever part of the
  infrastructure picks the MIME type to parse the document (and contain
  knowledge of all possible syntax extensions) to figure out which of
  them are actually used?

• I won’t make a separate bullet point for the endless effort of keeping
  track of all the possible syntax extensions, which is going to be
  a cat herder job, because that should be an obvious problem. But what
  if someone wants to implement a new syntax extension – what process do
  they have to go through before they can assign a truthful MIME type to
  their documents?

Metadata is hard. Let’s go shopping.

Aristotle Pagaltzis // <http://plasmasturm.org/>

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