Standard Flavored Markdown


First of all congrats on the achievement. But as much as I love markdown, this might come a bit too late now that Asciidoc has gain so much traction lately. Another point in favor of Asciidoc is how easy is to add extension points for your particular needs.


I looked at the standard and the reference implementation but could not find a grammar… does the standard really not have one or did I miss it?


I’ve just read the posts and have started a discussion around it. As soon as people wake up, I think there’ll be input :smile:


Congratulations on this great initiative. I am involved in a small effort called Scholarly Markdown, and Standard Markdown will make life much easier for us. I have to read up on the stmd specification to understand how extensions to markdown are supported, and we could extend the test suite for things we need in scholarly markdown such as citations.


That’s my question as well … for the same reasons I have switched for my personal needs to reStructuredText. Let’s see how the Standard Markdown catches up.


Interesting. For some time now I’ve been toying with the idea of making a project for community-sourced, uncopyrighted books for schools. The current situation in the school book market (expensive, paper-only, teachers may not copy, etc) is simply disappointing. But I could not figure out what format would be the easiest to use. I considered LaTeX, since it’s a de-facto standard (and very powerful), but it also has a very steep learning curve. If there would be a good support for all necessary features in a Markdown dialect, that would be awesome. :slight_smile:


Well guess what other language did not have a formal specification until recently?


Why wasn’t Gruber included in this? Did he pass?


Jeff this is not a good idea. Come up with a new name and proceed with excellence.

Otherwise someone else is going to do what you’re doing, in parallel, and they will claim to be the one true boss of Markdown, and then before you know it Markdown, which now means something, despite your saying otherwise, will mean nothing.

We all use Markdown, not just you and your pals. It isn’t yours to do with as you please. Create something new, and respect prior art. That’s fantastic.


I agree 100% with Dave. What you are doing is fantastic, but don’t call it Markdown. By doing so, you’re making things worse, not better.

Besides that, the hubris involved in calling your fork standard is a bit much.

I suppose you wouldn’t mind me making a blog commenting system and calling it Discourse Pro, would you?


I think it’s fantastic that there’s now a usable standard for Markdown, and having compatible implementations of Markdown in different languages (e.g. Java and JS) will help a lot. But I really think you should consider changing the name, particularly because there are some obvious candidates for new names. Standdown and Newmark come to mind immediately, and I’m sure there are tons more options.


I was surprised to not see the owners of Confluence (Atlassian?) included… or did I just miss that in your post?

That being said - awesome work! (and whether it should or shouldn’t have a different name from “Markdown” I’ll leave to others to work out… Awesome project and great work!


Call it Breakfast Burrito. Or Jeff and Joel’s excellent Markup Language. Or VisiCalc. Ray’s Famous Pizza.


This Standard Markdown spec is intended to be 100% compliant with the original Markdown syntax description, so of course it is still Markdown. Requiring it to be called something else is just silly. This is a new flavor of Markdown, one which several major users intend to adopt (after a public comment period), so calling this flavor Standard is only a little bit of a stretch. They just need to be careful when referring to it, using the full name Standard Markdown to resolve ambiguity, much like people refer to ANSI C, ISO C++ or Common Lisp.


This is a great idea, but the Markdown license is clear:

Neither the name “Markdown” nor the names of its contributors may be used to endorse or promote products derived from this software without specific prior written permission.

I agree that Markdown could use a kind of fresh start, but any such effort needs to do so under a new name. Not to do so is confusing to users and needlessly hostile toward John Gruber.

(I think the lack of a formal grammar is a pretty big problem, too, but I think the naming issue needs to be solved first in order for this effort to be accepted by everyone who needs to accept it.)


I think we mostly agree, but I take issue w/ this statement:

This Standard Markdown spec is intended to be 100% compliant with the original Markdown syntax description, so of course it is still Markdown.

Is it? If I put bbcode into my markdown file and run it through Gruber’s original markdown processor it will spit out gibberish. That’s not “100% compliant” by any stretch.

Honestly, this feels like a superset, and the name should reflect as such. There are at least two supersets of C that I’m familiar with: C++ and Objective-C. Both of them are ‘standardized’. What if both authors decided to name their superset “Standard C” instead?

To be clear, I think the Standard Markdown project is a great endeavor, but the name is dumb.


All in favor of Markdown++?

In all seriousness, Standard C would not have made as much sense since it already had a full spec, rather than being abandoned by someone who seems determined to make it as annoying as possible to use. The spiteful name makes sense in context.


I think it’s a great idea and it has every right to name itself “Standard Markdown”, as it is exactly that: an approach to a standardized markdown spec. All the other markdown “flavors” out there still call themselves markdown, so why shouldn’t this be called markdown too?

And for the record, because @NobodyMan said it: C++ is not a superset of C! It is somewhat similar and some or even many C programs are compiled fine by a C++ compiler. The semantics however… even the syntax isn’t exactly compatible (just try to get a perfectly valid C program containing ‘this’ as an identifier to compile with a C++ compiler…).

The idea for “Standard Markdown” comes exactly from the current/previous lack of any kind of standardization. And considering who is involved in this standardization, they are probably in a good position to actually propose and maintain it.


Note, I said compliant with the syntax description, not with Gruber’s If there’s nothing in the syntax spec that requires BBCode to render as gibberish, then an implementation that gracefully handles BBCode can still be compliant. That said, I agree that this could also be viewed as a superset like Objective-C. (C++ is not a true C superset, as simon_lmn notes.)

It just seems bizarre to me to advocate dropping the word Markdown from the name, when this is clearly still Markdown. Why does choosing one Markdown from the multiverse of possible Markdowns - and deciding by consensus that it will hereafter be the Prime Markdown - make it no longer valid to call it a Markdown flavor?


… rather than being abandoned by someone who seems determined to make it as annoying as possible to use.

Do I think that Gruber is being needlessly douchey? Yeah, kinda. But it smacks of entitlement to claim that someone is actively wronging you because they haven’t updated a spec. And if I wrote code gratis and only ask that you change the name of your derivative, I’m gonna be irritated when you make me out as the bad guy.