Posted on November 28, 2022 | #blogathon2022 , #markdown


Markdown really is a great language

Throw your MS Word out of the window already. This simple language is all you will ever need. It really is the minmaxer king. If you are a developer, chances are a lot of things you are reading come from Markdown.

But aside from that.. not much. Try to ask a non-technical person what he thinks about Markdown and he will just stare at you. Why aren’t people using it?

Here are a few things I love about Markdown

A laser focus on content

Markdown gets out of your way so you can get things done. It provides you with all the basic building blocks so you can write a paper that gets your point across - and nothing more.

I’d actually say it is strict! It doesn’t let you deviate from your ideas to thinking about what line-height looks the best and what font to pick for this specific heading. None of that.

Instead of worrying about the looks and formatting, you can get your ideas out

You control the source

With other styling formats, you are writing what you see. That means if the cursor is big, the font will be big too.

With Markdown you are behind the wheel. You exchange a few extra typed characters for a boatload of certainties:

This is a powerful feature a lot of people seem to miss out on. It’s precisely what gave rise to household names like LaTeX in the field of writing scientific papers. I’m absolutely sure you could write a Master’s thesis in Markdown and no one would notice!

Export to whatever you want

Because the source of your markdown file is so simple, exporting the document is really easy. HTML is there by design, but commonly also PDF, RTF, or even things like DOCX.

Of course, it’s not all sunshine and roses. There are also very real facts that hold this amazing format back.

No mainstream markdown editor

This is a shame by design. Markdown was created with plain text editors in mind. Its source code is meant to be human-readable in its raw form. This means there was no real need and no intention for creating an editor dedicated to Markdown.

I think this is the main reason it never got adopted by the masses. When there is no MD editor for Windows, we end up with Word.

Unclear design

A problem that follows this format since its inception.

The initial description of Markdown contained ambiguities and raised unanswered questions, causing implementations to both intentionally and accidentally diverge from the original version.

This plays into the lack of a mainstream editor for this amazing format. But it also gave us GitHub Flavored Markdown, so I guess it’s not all that bad 😁

PS: You too can walk the Markdown path

…with the Typora editor!

I write all my school assignments (→ .pdf), work research (.md) documents, and this blog post (→.html) with it! Custom themes, file explorer, inline LaTeX, YAML frontmatter helper, built-in emoji rendering, flow charts… they have it all. The last editor you will ever need.

And it’s a gift that keeps on giving. Every time I think I know everything it manages to surprise me with something new!