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beyond markdown — part 1

it’s time for the next step

markdown is broken.

broken into too many different flavors.

most of which manifest inconsistencies.

or have ambiguities that confuse people.

or simply do not do what needs to be done.

i’ve been working on my own form of light-markup.

it was initially based on the project gutenberg corpus.

i’ve spent about 15 years, making sure i got it right.

in the meantime, i was happy to defer to markdown.

i hoped it would succeed, so i could drop my thing.

because it can be a lot of work to shepherd a project.

unless… you know… you decide you will just ignore it.

but now it’s time to admit that markdown is broken.

so let’s start over, and go beyond markdown.

my system is called “zen markup language”.

you can call it “z.m.l.” if you like, or just “zen”.

i will introduce it more fully down the line, but

here is an encapsulation of its major philosophy:

  • a light-markup format for long-form text
  • simple enough for a 4th-grader to grok it
  • deploying to the full set of output formats
  • geared equally for writers, readers, coders
  • powerful range of state-of-the-art features
  • including change-tracking/version-control
  • complete variety of simple, powerful apps
  • tools that run well on every major platform
  • interactive instruction apps to teach deeply
  • no bugs, no ambiguities, no inconsistencies
  • fleet-of-feet on greeting new opportunities
  • good responsiveness to an active user-base
  • supremely flexible for private customizing
  • resistance to public forks and “extensions”
  • no technical debt to others, e.g., markdown
  • dedicated to improving the ability to re-mix
  • guaranteeing clear access to structured text
  • built to facilitate new vibrant cyber-libraries
  • leaving the past, and moving into our future

exercise your voice if you’d like to have a choice.

edit on 2014/09/25 to add this link to part 2 in this series:
beyond markdown — part 2 — z.m.l. was built to be easy to understand

edit on 2014/09/28 to add this link to part 3 in the series:
beyond markdown — part 3 — two types of chunks — paragraphs and blocks

edit on 2014/09/30 to add this link to part 4 in the series:
beyond markdown — part 4 — how to “tag” a block for formatting

edit on 2014/10/03 to add this link to part 5 in the series:
beyond markdown — part 5 — shining a spotlight on sections and headers

edit on 2014/10/06 to add this link to part 6 in the series:
beyond markdown — part 6 — notes on a few types of “special” paragraphs

edit on 2014/10/07 to add this link to part 7 in the series:
beyond markdown — part 7 — text styling and typographic niceties

edit on 2014/10/08 to add this link to part 8in the series:
beyond markdown — part 8 — alignment, horizontal rules, and breaks

beyond markdown — part 9 — pulling outside resources into your document

beyond markdown — part 10 — special sections in your document


and, for reference, as an extra bonus:

markdown considered harmful — or perhaps a loved but irritating old uncle



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