Oh, the humanity

It seems to me that if you want to use a humane markup language, you have mostly got two options: Textile and Markdown.

Actually, no, there’s a lot of things wrong with that. Like, Wikipedia calls them lighweight markup languages – “humane” is just what Textile calls itself, but I wanted to have a goodish headline for this. And there’s a lot of different ones, even discounting those with different priorities. But Markdown gets all the girls these days, and any left over go to Textile.

Markdown or Textile. Textile or Markdown. But which is better, Markdown or Textile? There’s only one way to find out.

Markdown can do this:

  1. Bacon ipsum dolor sit amet meatball in elit irure, officia ex swine ad pastrami tempor et. Ullamco pork belly hamburger, exercitation eu occaecat tri-tip brisket irure laboris pork loin elit:

    Aute chuck tri-tip, short ribs occaecat turkey do drumstick corned beef shank rump in ribeye fatback anim. Quis t-bone short ribs officia, shankle pig swine cillum meatloaf esse. Tongue sirloin pork tri-tip, veniam sint pariatur esse proident t-bone pork belly.

    Shank short ribs sint, labore meatloaf beef aute incididunt non shankle consequat tri-tip officia. Velit meatloaf andouille pork chop.

  2. “A real leader of men neither acts like a spoilt child or a yobbo,” columnises columnist Jon Gaunt in his Sun column. (He’s arguing that John Terry isn’t a real leader of men.)

    This would be stylistically more elegant: “A real leader of men acts like neither a spoilt child nor a yobbo.” In your face, Rupert Murdoch.

Isn’t that beautiful? It’s some list items, and each list item contains some paragraphs. (To really rub it in, I added a blockquote to the mix.) Textile can’t do that, unless you break down and write the raw HTML yourself. Is that a problem? I don’t know, but I use that feature all the time.

On the other hand, Textile can do this:

Hello, holoalphabetic sentences:

Jackdaws love my big sphinx of quartz.

El veloz murciélago hindú comía feliz cardillo y kiwi. La cigüeña tocaba el saxofón detrás del palenque de paja.

Portez ce vieux whisky au juge blond qui fume.

By that, I don’t mean that Textile supports blockquotes within blockquotes, because it doesn’t – I mean that it’s possible to have multiple consecutive blockquotes next to each other. Markdown is so giddy about having multiple paragraphs together in the same wrapper that it merges the blockquotes you always dreamed of.

(Early versions of Textile actually lacked support for the super-blockquote that contains more than one paragraph. Now, there is the better of both worlds.)

There are other things. Textile’s link syntax can be fragile, but Markdown doesn’t do tables. Swings and roundabouts, Gary.


There is a Markdown dingus. It is the Markdown dingus. You can type things in and test things out. What better word for it?

For Textile, there are too many dinguses. Textism hosts a very outdated one. A more modern dingus exists elsewhere, but even that still talks about version 2.0. The version packaged with Textpattern is 2.2. Get with the program.

As for me, I use Markdown now. It is good. But sometimes I lapse into raw HTML, and it’s a frightening warning of what once was.