Join Ray Villalobos for an in-depth discussion in this video What is Markdown?, part of Up and Running with Markdown.
- Before we get started, let's take a minute to talk about what Markdown is and what it's for, and look at some of the advantages. Now, first of all, Markdown is a text format and conversion tool for people who write documents. It's essentially a plain text format and that means that you can create Markdown by writing a document using simple formatting characters in any editor. The format is designed so that it can be written with even the simplest of text editors. It's designed to be easy to read so that when you look at a Markdown document you should be able to understand the purpose and intention of the writer.
Even though the codes for formatting will still be there, you can easily read a Markdown document. The format is also designed to be easy to write, so that you can focus on writing. With Markdown, you focus on the content and write without having to take your hands off the keyboard. It's also designed to be easy to learn so there's only a few rules and you can get started writing Markdown pretty quick. Now, let's take a look at some very basic markup. You can see that we have a Headline, a paragraph, as well as some bullet points right here.
Now even if I told you nothing else about this document, you'll probably be able to figure that out. The only sort of strange thing in here are these double underscores. This is how we emphasize things in markup. And you can tell that it's pretty easy to figure out otherwise. Now because it's easy to write, it means that for a programmer, it's easy to convert or parse Markdown to other formats. So you'll find lots of editors that allow you to export for the web, or PDF, or even other formats.
There are tons of utilities that will convert Markdown for you. The format started out as a simpler way to write HTML, but like I mentioned, it can be converted to many other different document formats. Different tools will allow you to convert your markup from one format to another. Now the core Markdown language is pretty easy, but over time, there have been some extensions to the language, and some are super useful, so, I'll try to point that out in this course when something is an extension to the original language. Now Markdown isn't difficult to learn since it's pretty much just text.
But there's a bit of markup to learn and some of it can get complicated especially when we get to links, images and tables. Some elements that are fairly common in markup, are actually extensions to the original language. That's also going to be important to remember.
In this course, Ray Villalobos shows how to write common markdown syntax to create headlines, lists, tables, links, images, and block quotes. Then explore some of the different implementations of the language, including GitHub Flavored Markdown, MultiMarkdown, R Markdown, CommonMark, and Babelmark.