[conspire] markdown and pandoc
nick at zork.net
Thu Apr 19 02:52:53 PDT 2012
> Generally for me,
> Higher Level is better.
> LyX now on my Radar.
I have to say that I like "higher-level" markup specifically in that I
prefer my source text to be as legible and readable as possible. To
that end I can't stand HTML's requirement that you insert a flurry of
tags with awkward-to-type </> characters just to make a new paragraph.
I would always start with something that respects a blank line as a
I've come to enjoy pandoc, which uses an advanced dialect of markdown
as its preferred source markup language. It supports some of the
features of TeX/LaTeX (bibliographic citations, for example) that aren't
in pure markdown, but it won't do everything.
But for the most part, pandoc source documents look just like
1990s Usenet ascii-only markup traditions. You have *italics* and
**bold** and > for quoted matter, and indentation has the effects you'd
You can specify custom templates for each of the output formats (HTML,
LaTeX->PDF, epub, etc.) if you need better styling. A friend of mine
has been working on a no-nonsense stylesheet for the sort of bare HTML
pandoc spits out:
(live examples at http://zork.net/~st/typesetter/ )
The goal of this project is to set good typographical defaults for
things, rather than splash art-school design elements all over the
place. I kind of wish I could reliably insert this stuff into my
browser defaults somehow!
One other nice thing is that pandoc actually *parses* the markdown,
instead of just being a match-and-pray series of regexes (as is the
original markdown reference implementation). This is really helpful in
its goal of being a translator between formats. You can even feed in an
HTML document and have it spit out mostly-correct markdown for you. I
wonder if I can use that as my reader for the odd html-only mail...
I used to like reST (as used by Python projects for documentation), but
the HTML spat out by the docutils processors is really uncomfortable to
work with in CSS.
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