Using Markdown

A suggestion given to me by a friend on Twitter was that "real bloggers use markdown". This was in response to a question I had posed among my blogger friends as to who preferred the WYSIWYG editor and who preferred the HTML editor.

At first I was puzzled, since I had only previously heard of markdown in passing. I wasn't quite sure how it worked or even of what importance it served, but I'm very glad I decided to learn more.

John Gruber (of Daring Fireball fame) created the markup language. It's released under a BSD license, so anyone running a Perl-language blogging platform can use it to write until their heart is content. However, this posed a problem for me: I run Wordpress.

Wordpress is a PHP-based blogging platform and isn't natively compatible with markdown. However, I found a neat little plug-in called Markdown Extra, developed by Michel Fortin. It's essentially a port of the markdown language so PHP-based platforms (like Wordpress) can take advantage of this awesome writing language.

I won't get into the syntax used in the language. If you're interested in that, you can visit the Daring Fireball markdown page for more information on how it works.