August 16, 2011

Using Markdown

Markdown, developed by John Gruber, is a fairly new markup language (a language that combines text and extra information) that is designed to be easy for a human to read and enter with a simple text editor. This is useful when you might be expected to read the document source as well as the rendered output. Markdown converts simply marked text input to valid, well-formed XHTML -- this can make formatting your blog posts easier.

Enabling Markdown

To use Markdown for a post, click to the HTML tab on the Compose page and select the Markdown option.

If you save a new post in Markdown mode, any new posts you create will be in Markdown mode as well. This is what you should do if you wish to have Markdown as the default formatting option for all new posts.

How to use Markdown

If you are new to Markdown, it might seem a bit confusing at first - but once you get started, you'll likely find it very intuitive. Instead of using HTML tags that can clutter up your text, Markdown lets you use contextual formatting that transforms itself. The easiest way to understand to Markdown is to look at a few examples.

If you were using HTML tags and wanted to create formatted text, you would use:

<em>This is some italicized text</em>
<strong>This is bold text</strong>
<strong><em>This is some bold and italicized text</em></strong>

With Markdown, you'd use:

*This is some italicized text*
**This is bold text**
***This is some bold and italicized text***

Not only can this be easier to read, it can be easier to compose.

Here's an example of an unordered and an ordered list using HTML:

<ul>
<li>List Item 1</li>
<li>Another List Item</li>
</ul>

<ol>
<li>List Item 1</li>
<li>Another List Item</li>
</ol>

And here it is in Markdown format

* List Item 1
* Another List Item
+ Pluses, minuses, and asterisk all work as List 
- This is so much easier than using HTML

1. I can also make and ordered list.
2. By numbering my items.
4. Even my order number doesn't matter
3. Still easier than HTML
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