Using (or not) Markdown


In response to my previous post about Markdown file extensions, a few people asked me what I use it for.

For the most part, I don’t use it for web authoring. I understand the argument that Markdown is not a replacement for HTML, but given it’s exporting to it I don’t find the distinction pragmatic or useful here. I use inline HTML attributes, styles, citations and such for accessibility, RSS portability and semantics, all of which are beyond the scope of Markdown.

Where I do use Markdown is in my notes files. I previously ran a local MediaWiki install for note taking and general life organisation; I adored the hassle-free structure it gave my notes, the way I was able to assign them to categories, and then link those notes together. Markdown and nvALT have since given me these same features with greatly reduced overhead. This will be a topic in a future post I’m drafting now.

I suppose it also comes down to inertia. I’m used to coding in HTML, and have developed quite a library of snippets and macros for dealing with it in an automated, easy fashion. My inner developer likes that the code I write is the exact code the browser sees. Conversely, my notes files didn’t take long to port to Markdown, and now I benefit from other programs being able to parse them.

TL;DR Markdown isn’t a HTML Panacea, but it’s crazy useful for text notes. You are using text notes, right?

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Ruben Schade is a technical writer and infrastructure architect in Sydney, Australia who refers to himself in the third person. Hi!

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