Markdown: a decent typesetting syntax

Markdown: a decent typesetting syntax was built on DigitalOcean VPS and Ghost CMS (which uses a Markdown editor for writing posts).

Markdown is a lightweight markup language that has a simple writing syntax, making it very easy to read and write. Many famous platforms, such as HackMD, GitHub, and even Reddit, uses Markdown for text editing purposes. So, what are the benefits of Markdown?

Coolest thing about using Markdown is that you actually don't really need a mouse. Almost every operation could be represented by symbols. Thus, everything could be written via your keyboard. For example, placing a # in the beginning of a paragraph makes it a header; placing your text in between a couple of * makes it italic and ** makes it bold etc. For the full documentation of the CommonMark, click here.

Now that we've finished writing, all we have to do is adjust the font settings, such as the font size and color of all "h1" headers etc. Then, we could export our document into multiple formats such as HTML, PDF, Word etc.

Today, most blogs (like Ghost, Jekyll) support writing posts in Markdown. If you are interested in writing Markdown documents, you could try HackMD, a Markdown based online text editor. It supports multi-user collaborations and even records the writer of each sentence/paragraph (NoobTW and I used to write our course notes here). For local Markdown editing, you could try Typora, a cross-platform offline text editor that supports writing, reading and exporting Markdown files into multiple formats.


A small downside to Markdown is probably the fact that there is no standard format of Markdown. Such as, to write bold texts in slack, the text is written in between a single * compared to the normal **.

Apparently, this is due to the fact that the creator, John Gruber, didn't continue the maintenance of the project after publishing the standard. Thus, many developers start proposing other standards. Fortunately, a group of people started a community that aims for standardization created a new dialect called CommonMark. Today, most Markdown editors are based on CommonMark.

So, where could I learn Markdown? You could learn it in 60 seconds here.

This post is inspired by Noob's Space.