A few months ago I had people mention markdown but had no idea what on earth it was. I knew it had something to do with writing, but thought it was probably just a different way of talking about HTML syntax as people talked about writing for the web in markdown. Boy was I wrong.
Since then, I’ve learned a bit about markdown and I’m sure that it is a topic that would be of great use for the ChurchMag community, particularly those who write on multiple devices, on different platforms, or write for the Internet a lot.
So let’s take a look at Markdown 101.
The Origins of Markdown
Markdown was invented by John Gruber in 2004 and expanded into MultiMarkdown by Fletcher Penny in 2006. The basic premise was to create a system that was easy to write and read in no matter what platform, OS or device, and ultimately make it easier to write for the web without learning complex html syntax like
for bold etc.
Why Bother with Markdown?
Markdown does exactly what it claims to do. It makes it riddiculously easy to write a text document without having to take your fingers off the keyboard and use the mouse or look up some complex html tag. It is also really easy to read for someone who doesn’t even know markdown. They are probably already familiar with using
for emphasis as many do use this formate on twitter.
Markdown also allows the writer to use the most platform agnostic with the easiest to access type of file. A .txt file. it’s highly likely that this type of file will still be readable by computers years in the future and cause no conflicts, where as that old text documents file from my Dad’s Acorn computer way back when, probably won’t be accessible or will come with a whole load of random text that is near impossible to read.
I also never have to think about getting a special app that can access Google Doc/MS-Word/Pages file types. I just use a basic text editor or markdown program and it’s always compatible.
The Basics of Markdown
The most basic part of markdown:
for headers (use 1 for H1 headers, Use 2 for H2, etc etc)
- Use double
- To create a standard HTML link type the text you want within square brackets and then the html link in circular brackets straight after. like so
- To write an unordered list use a hyphen
- To write an ordered list just use a number with a dot after it.
- To insert a quote use
These are just the fundamentals, but to check out more details, I recommend you head over to the guy who started it all, John Grubers’ Daring Fireball website for his syntax guide (link at the bottom) or this handy cheat sheet:
[Click for Larger]
Apps to Write in Markdown
There are a whole host of apps to write in markdown, many of which have already been reviewed on ChurchMag. Some examples include:
Resources to Learn More
Do you write in markdown?
[Cheat Sheet via Ahren Code]