Next & Previous

CommonMark and Markdown

Markdown is the web publishing format which has exploded over the last few years. This blog engine and many, many others are powered by it. That means that we write posts that look like this and they come out looking like shiny webpages.

There are a load of ways of doing that conversion; Upblog, the software I wrote to power this blog, uses a PHP library to convert to HTML before the content is delivered to you, the reader. Other software like Pandoc lets you do it offline, perhaps even using a WYSIWYG Word-like editor.

Why CommonMark

Markdown is a poorly-specified language, so people implemented conversion software with differing behaviours. So a person’s understanding of Markdown ends up being based on whichever converter they use. This lead the CommonMark people to come up with a “standard, unambiguous syntax specification for Markdown, along with a suite of comprehensive tests to validate implementations”.

What next

There are a growing number of libraries which pass the CommonMark tests, including CommonMark.NET and PHP league’s PHP commonmark

Lastly, the powerful offline formatter Pandoc now works with CommonMark, and I’ve written a whole post about using CommonMark in Pandoc.

Let’s all try to implement this cool standard!
Happy publishing!

Written 2015-07-31