Thursday, June 21, 2012

Markdown versus Wiki Syntax

I often hear people complaining about Wiki Syntax, while praising Markdown. As I have said before, I find the two very similar. Markdown is indebted to Wiki Syntax. In fact, Markdown may be characterized as "Wiki syntax" without the wiki renderer, with scripts to produce HTML and other formats.

Let me make absolutely clear that I have nothing against Markdown, MultiMarkdown, or Tx2Tags, or … other minimal markup languages. It's just that I prefer a certain set of Wiki Syntax (and I know that this is subjective, but so is the preference for one or any of the other versions of minimal markup languages). I use ConnectedText markup as the example.

What difference doe it make whether you type: *italics*, _underline_ , **bold** in Markdown or //italics//, __underline_-, **bold** in Wiki?

The same holds for most other conventions. Some things may be simpler in Markdown, like the convention for headings. Markdown allow you to indicate them with different numbers of hashes, like "#", "##", etc., ConnectedText makes you type "=Heading=", "==Heading==", etc. Markdown is simpler, but the difference is marginal.

Other things are harder in Markdown. Take block quotes, for example. Markdown requires you to put a ">" in front of every line and hard-wrap the lines, or be "lazy" and put it only in the first line of a hard-wrapped series of lines. ConnectedText just asks you to put a ":" in the first line and will block everything until you hit return.

I could go on and on, but I think this is enough!

To say it again, I do not have anything at all against Markdown and I do not find it annoying in any way. And if I did, I would just not use it.


Reder said...

I agree with you. Actually, my favorite syntax is Creole. But it is not widely adapted, so Markdown is still my choice today.

And I wonder your opinion about Workflowy( Right now I use it daily as an outliner, keep all my todo list there and it also share some part of my note taking routine. It would be nice to hear your opinion. ;-)

MK said...

I looked at Workflowy, and it does look interesting, but I don't really see how it would fit into my note-taking routine.

Perhaps you could share how you use it.

Reder said...

Sorry for the late reply.

I tried to explain why I love it and showed some detail of my usage. You can read it on my blog:


Anonymous said...

Wonderful site! Glad I come across here it carries good data all in favor of readers actually, I was searching online articles that I can benefit.

Leslie Lim said...

I love this post, and I was absolutely thrilled to see the other links that you published that go along with this topic. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I am happy to be a new follower. :)